Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"Nothing personal, but life at the end of the road just ain't for Captain Vic and Empress Ramona." - Dan Aykroyd, Neighbors


The Boy preparing to take flight on a snowmachine older than Woodrow Wilson’s floss at Chena Hot Springs. I don't know why I used that analogy, but I figure Woodrow Wilson's floss is really old.

Alaska is the end of the road.

There are entire villages where people, if they use a last name use “Smith” or “Jones,” since they are, shall we say, avoiding legal scrutiny. Alaska, especially a cabin back a few hundred miles from any road, is probably a good place to do just that.

It’s the end of the road for stuff, too. Unless it’s very valuable (gold, mass quantities of oil) or someone else is paying for it, you don’t move stuff out of Alaska. At a few bucks a pound, the cost adds up in a hurry. That would explain why there are probably three or four rusty cars or buses here for every Alaska resident – if it’s broken, just leave it here. I would say that we probably tie with Delaware in rusty car hulks.

(I thought I’d start a hate campaign against Delaware because out of the last 6966 visitors (last month’s haul), only two more people came from Delaware than came from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Seriously I guess that the computer in Delaware must have been busy.)

Okay, bagging on Delaware aside, this is still the end of the road. The things that are up here boggle the mind, from the Tundra Land Train (protecting us from Soviet Nordic skiers?) to the snowmachine above, to the dohicky below. If people are done with it up here in Alaska, this is probably where it’ll stay until the Sun swells into a big honking thing (probably too much McDonalds) and swallows the Earth, so maybe that’s how the Tundra Land Train will finally get out of here. Drastic solution, if you ask me.


My guess is the giant pictured above was used to haul the 48” diameter pieces of pipe all over Alaska as they built the Alaska Pipeline. As it sits now, I’m thinking that it may qualify as the world’s largest diesel-powered paperweight.

Even given the one-way flow of Big, Heavy Things Made from Steel That Are Later Abandoned, Alaska still sends out more stuff than is abandoned here. A bit less than 1,000,000 barrels of oil per day flow to Valdez though the Alaska Pipeline (that’s almost 80 BILLION pounds of oil per year, which is like 17 kilograms in communist units). All that oil is worth $56,000,000 dollars a day. In some places, people work a whole year and still don’t make $56,000,000!

The Mrs. and I are doing our best to balance this flow of stuff out of Alaska. I figure the beer bottles we’re sending to the landfill will have some impact, but I fear it will not be enough. We need your help to stop Alaska from running out of mass. My suggestion would be to send more beer.

It’s a start, and a way that you can help. If Alaska keeps losing 80,000,000,000 pounds a year, in a million or two years it will only be twice the size of Texas! Act now, before it’s too late!

11 Comments:

Blogger Shawn Kielty said...

Where should I send the beer?

I know you'll need it because despite a million gallons of oil a day flowing out of Alaska -- you are still just getting a few thousand a year in oil money. Something's wrong here -- I think you might be getting shorted.

So - where do you want the beer to go -- I bet I can write it off.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I have a weird obsession with abandoned things. Yeah, yeah - paging Dr. Freud. If I ever get out that way (and I will, it's on the list. About halfway down, but it's there) I'll be coming out with the digital camera and many memory sticks. You could do a whole photoblog about all these abandoned, rusting things. Or a book. Or...something.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Lois Laine said...

As a proud Delaware reader of your wonderful blog, I would just like to make you aware of the HUGE campaign I have been working on to elect you as head-decision-maker-in-charge-of-all-oil-sales-and-distribution. It's going pretty well. I'll keep you informed.

(Actually, I live in Maryland, but I read your blog while I'm at work... in Delaware.)

8:38 AM  
Blogger Jacie said...

Do you like Canadian beer? eh? Oh like that was original, sorry, my brain is melted mush today!

As we generally say in Eastern Canada, there are 2 kinds of beer in this country, one tastes like Moose Piss and the other one is Moose Piss. I think my grade school teachers were referring to the beer " Moosehead".

In high school, I learned about the barter system and received grade 10, 11 and 12 history and my principal got a bottle of brandy.

I love reading your blog and I enjoy your rusty junkers! Hey do you ever wathc our Canadian T.V show "Corner Gas"? Your blog is better!

8:46 AM  
Blogger TheTundraPA said...

Hey John--HOLY CRAP! You get 7,000 readers per month?! Wow... and I'm hoping for 500... *very impressed*

Thanks for listing my blog on your blogroll. I'm not nearly as funny as you are, but maybe a few of your readers will find it interesting.

On a small technical note, do you have any problem with Blogger loading your photos? I go through a 5-minute wait period while the computer groans and strains and tells me "your photo is being uploaded" but when I click the DONE button, there is no photo on the post. Makes me homocidal! But of course, there is no actual human being at Blogger ready to offer friendly and sympathetic customer service. Any suggestions?

10:49 AM  
Blogger Jacie said...

Dear Homicidal,

Perhaps you are more comical than you think! Blogger upload also gives me the same problems, particularly when I type text first and then try to up load a picture in amongst the text. It makes me a homicidal woman with PMS!Stay clear! I reload and wait, and reload and wait.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous CWH said...

So you're tracking me huh? Can you see me while I read your site as well or is that your next move towards 1984? On the communist conversion I still think you forgot a 5/9ths or 9/5ths or something like that, too many of those Fat Tires messes with my head (and my own fat tire). Good post. I miss the Wyoming version of abandoned vehicles, where the vehicle weight slowly disappears because of bullet holes, lots of holes.

8:27 PM  
Blogger Sara the NewEnglander said...

Hey we at the other side of the continent love your oil. Viva Alaska.

In other news: Boo to Delaware, its tiny and insignificant, lets throw rocks at it. Rhode Island can go too.

As far as ppl livin in the woods My town had a woodcrazy named Mike but we all called him Milwakie Mike for his favorite beer....just thought i'd share!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

With all the snow (and beer) that you get, I thought you still have conservation of liquid.

5:36 AM  
Blogger John said...

shawn,
Hmmmm. Just bring it on up to Fairbanks. Summer's nice. We can stop drinking when it gets dark. In September.

michael,
Yeah, I have the same sort of issue, as you can see. Nice thing about that is I rarely forget something when I travel.

lois laine,
Ahhh, the network must be out of somewhere else. My apologies! I'm gonna pull out the big guns on South Dakota, then.

jacie,
Absolutely, I love Canadian beer, eh!

I haven't seen Corner Gas, but I'm still holding out for a contract to turn this into a full length feature movie. The Mrs. and I have casting all done.

thetundrapa,
I did last week, on Wednesday. Since then (and before then), no problem. I use Picasa and Hello to do the transfers, that that works well for me.

cwh,
I'm so good at the tracking thing, I even know your name. Perhaps it's the whole "knowing you for fifteen years" thing.

sara the newenglander,
Thank you! But instead of Delaware and RI, let's focus our disgust on South Dakota.

Oh, Mike. Yeah, he lives up here, too.

woof,
Nah, all that liquid runs off. The salmon have to have something to swim upstream on . . .

11:04 AM  
Blogger The Lone Beader said...

Hmmmm...I don't know. I think either New Hampshire or Maine has more rusty cars than Deleware. And, I hope you like Sam Adams:)

4:54 PM  

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