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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Location: United States

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage." - Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark

All the pictures have bigger, chewy, picturey goodness if you click on 'em. This one is the standard tourist shot, except for the Bermuda Shorts and black socks.

Up the road we continued, seeing the same pipe and the same tundra for miles and miles. The tundra itself is a very thin layer of usable soil, while underneath is a biological wasteland devoid of life. I imagine this is much like the surface of Keanu Reeves’ brain.

We finally, after traversing Beaver Slide, made it to . . . The Arctic Circle. Inexplicably, the road is again paved at about this point, marking the first paving in about seventy miles of road.

Most tourists take a picture of the front of the sign. We did, too. We also took a picture of the back of the sign. Seems like you should not allow certain people to have spray paint, but, what the heck. They didn’t mess with the front, so we could get a nice picture.

Even the vandals in Alaska are nice.

Most people stopped, got out, took a picture and left. Probably a good idea. I don’t think basking in the circleness of the Arctic makes you smarter or anything, even though the Arctic Circle line is moving about 45 feet (57 meters) a year to the north. It’s really a case of been there, done that. I emptied the gas can that I’d brought into the tank again, lamenting (slightly) that I’d brought a vehicle that had 137,000 some-odd miles on it. I reassured myself that I’d only have to push it halfway home, since each hill has another side, right?

We stopped at the Hot Spot Café on our way back home. Any other place in the world, the Hot Spot would be known as “three construction trailers.” In Alaska, it’s an outpost of civilization.

Think about it . . . the Hot Spot doesn’t have electricity from a utility, there’s no phone, there’s no mail delivery, and the credit card that I used may not be billed for some time, since they used one of those old-time card imprint machines to make the slip.

The Mrs. was looking at buying a shirt. The Hot Spot Café logo is . . . a naked girl in a coffee cup. I didn’t know that The Mrs. would approve of such a purchase, yet here she was buying a shirt with a nude chick on it. Hmm. Here’s what it looks like:

Okay, perhaps I made this out to be bigger than it was. But, women, coffee, and burgers. Is that heaven or what?

As you can see I bought the hat pin version. The Mrs., after seeing that she would be advertising unclothed women was a bit aghast, and put the shirt back on the shelf, like she had touched a lizard. I noticed that the shirt was stacked right under rack of sling shots with the Hot Spot logo right in the center of some silky material. In actuality, The Mrs. informed me that those weren’t sling shots, but thong underwear. I decided not to buy a pair because I thought they weren’t in my color.

Even bears like the Hot Spot.

I wanted to buy gas at the Hot Spot, but apparently the pump had been broken since Nixon was president, and they sent me down the road a half a mile to where the pumps were working. On the way I mused about what life would be like on the Yukon. The Mrs. indicated that I would die, lacking the Internet.

I bought gas on the banks of the Yukon at $3.79, only $1.00 more than in Fairbanks. The couple in front of us bought 220 gallons for their boat. I remarked that was a lot of gas, but The Mrs. pointed out that running out of gas on the Yukon River might be a bad idea, what with the starving to death and all.

If Indiana Jones had a boat, it would look just like this, and be right where this one is.

The bridge over the Yukon is steeper than I had first thought. He’s a snapshot.

Dangerous when icy, perhaps?

On the way home I ran into some folks that had thrown a tire. I stopped to help and saw an acquaintance helping out, so I lent my jack. Turns out my acquaintance had just stopped to help some people he didn’t know. Fairbanks is like that.

Finally, home. Cold beer.

Been there.

Done that.

The mud from the Haul Road covered the Wildermobile in a fine dirt patina, about a quarter-inch thick. If I did this trip a few more times, I could have a really dirty car.


Blogger Duck Hunter said...

How many other cars did you see while on your trip? Is that a popular trip to make? I would have thought traffic would be few.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So that is that. Why do I feel sadness at the end of the story.

(Yeah, get a life women... heard it before!)

So glad the Mrs. put that horrible shirt back. Wonder how many of those things they sell? Maybe I call and see if they can send me one, for giggles. Maybe not.

Glad the trip was safe and the automobile made it.

5:09 AM  
Blogger Coldfoot said...

Heh, heh.

You said the shirt was stacked.

6:36 AM  
Blogger HP said...

heh heh heh

chuckling to myself as I read the "the surface of Keanu Reeve's brain" You are killing me

I'm glad you had a good time

2:16 PM  
Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

I wonder if the Hot Spot is owned by the same folk who run the Stockman's Bar on Front Street in Missoula, Montana? Their t-shirts say "Liquor in the front, Poker in the rear." Nah, I think Skinny Dick's and Stockman's are a joint venture.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Sara Jean said...

Horray for circles.....cold, arcticy ones!...yeah thats the ticket.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Joann said...

I like the shirt, but don't tell anyone.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

This was a great story. Great pics too!
I am sad it is over. Now I will have to go on just on the wonderment of what you will write next.
Any more wood to chop?

11:34 PM  
Blogger Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

John, dude! I've been reading you for a year now (or at least your blog) and I think you are the perfect person to ask a HUGE favor from...

The Red Green Show

With your love of duct tape and all things Squarebanksy, and being from me ole home town you KNOW the show I'm talking about. I'd give ANYTHING if some nice, kind, wonderful soul would record it for me (DVD, VCD, VCR, any format, PAL, NTSC, ANYTHING).

I'm desperate for my fix of Uncle Red...

If you don't know the show I'm talking about then you obviously don't have your stick on the ice.

Leave me a messege at


Oh, I'll pay postage, no worries!

cheers from the land of the endless summer,


12:21 AM  
Blogger Al said...

That shirt was very cool...I like it. Reason number 85 to move to Alaska - cool shirts. If I had a cool shirt from The Hot Spot, I would be the envy of all my hillbilly friends. Now I just get my Alaska shirts from EBay.

What! No pics form Old Man Camp? What gives?

6:41 PM  
Blogger SusanE said...

The trip looked great.

6:58 PM  
Blogger John said...

Not all that many, and most of them were hunters that dropped out fairly early on. In a fifteen minute construction stop, we had six behind us.

Ditto. A wonderful trip. Nice thing is that there are more to come.

he hehe heheh ehhe

it's a dark, cold, lonely place. Both Keanu's brain and the tundra.

hehe hehe hehe you said "joint"

Couldn't agree more. Mmmmm, cold.

your secret is safe with me!

wood is done. On to Denali!

e-mail me. I think I have some I could burn to DVD.

We're all in this together.

Hey, you gets what you gets. I've got *dozens* that I can't put up, merely due to bandwidth.


9:20 PM  
Blogger John said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:27 PM  

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