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

Sunday, October 29, 2006

"Just as long as Demi Moore doesn't come out and start shaking her saline bags." - Crow T. Robot, MST3K

So, as I said a three days ago three weeks ago, I'm sorry about teasing about when I'd be back. It's been hectic here, but not in a bad way. I could see it coming, so I gave everyone the high sign. Downside is that I don't have an array of pretty pictures to put up, so, you'll have to take my word for about what I'm about to say . . .

The thing about the road into Denali Park is that it's not your typical highway. A typical highway has things like guardrails, signs, and pavement. This is a dirt road back into the hills that's not (generally) open to the public. As a typical member of the public, the transition from "roads that are good and won't kill me," to "roads that are for professionals" is a difficult one.

After the Long Range Bears and Checkpoint Charlie, I tooled up the road in typical Wilder fashion, which is, as fast as I can. Scenery? Well, I'll have time for scenery when I'm six feet under.

This is a good idea for the first fifteen or so miles past the checkpoint, and Rangerette Jane. Beyond a certain point . . . well, I'll explain:

I was driving with The Boy when we came up behind a vehicle moving very slow around a tight corner. I hit the brakes. There are a few moments in your life when you wonder if you're going to live or die. This was one of them. My tires locked up on the dirt road, as I saw a precipitous drop in front of me. By precipitous, I mean straight frigging down a cliff.

I don't know, outside of watching Wile E. Coyote use his heels to create dust clouds in air as he failed to make a corner that that evil Roadrunner could, if you've ever felt this way. My tires were making dust clouds, out of real dust, and I was wondering if the end of my life would come as the Family Truckster rolled down a 1000' drop.

Since you're reading this, well, the suspense shouldn't be all that significant. We made it. But I must warn you - I don't have a fear of heights, but this road (no guard rails, no warning signs) made me want to hug the corner of dear, sweet earth as we drove onward. Unless you turn your wheel at the right time, the only thing they're going to find of you is metal samples from your car and enough scrapings of flesh to do a DNA test. I don't think the teeth would make it.

I spoke afterwards with a friend, and, apparently there are buses full of tourists that sometimes miss a turn. Why you don't read about this in the paper more, well, I don't know. Perhaps these weren't important people. I do know that after this near miss, my mind went to the fact that I was living in the most seismically active region in the world. On the steepest frigging road I'd ever been on. I know the odds are low, but I sure wouldn't want to be on any road near any cliff like this when the Earth starts shaking like a wet dog with ticks.

Makes for a bad day.

Next: Maybe some pictures.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome back John. I was getteing ready to call Alaska 911. My description would have been:
Probably has a chain saw and a six pack.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Jeffro said...

Pucker factor = high. Glad y'all made it.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

I have a dream that one day on this humble blog of Alaskan Life, that the sons of Wilder and the sons of Readers will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood . . . to chug beer and eat rare meat, to fire up the Coveted John Deere Snow-Blower Attachment (Some Assembly Required), to survey the swaths of cut firewood between the sweet, sweet oil fields.

And when this happens, when we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every snowmachine and every chainsaw, from every refinery and every garage sale, we will be able to speed up that day when all of Alaska's children, black men and white men, Republicans and democrats, independents and greens, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

Can you tell that we missed you John?

10:17 PM  
Blogger grannypie said...

well, I've always wanted to drive that road, but maybe now I don't!

...glad you're back. I missed you.

6:12 AM  
Blogger SusanE said...

Glad more then your DNA made it back.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Clara....in TN said...

Thank Heaven you didn't roll over the cliff. You would have been like one of those other people that disappeared off the face of the earth. We never would have known what happened to you. Glad you're back...safe and sound!

2:06 PM  
Blogger Clara....in TN said...

Yeah!!!!! I don't have to look for the bear anymore!!!!!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Lois Laine said...

Hey there! I must agree that I'm glad to have you back. I know I don't post comments very often. Hell, I haven't even updated my own blog in near a year (I guess I should get to that), but I check yours every day. Your absence has caused me 10 extra minutes of production each day this month. My boss was beginning to wonder what was going on.

Glad you made it.

3:02 PM  
Blogger HP said...

I'm so glad you're back, I really missed the MisAdventures of the Wilder Clan (with beer and a shotgun)

Welcome back!

4:23 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ouch! I rather like Demi! Does she really show up out there? A friend I know met her on Herndon Beach in California and she was very nice to her. Looking forward to photos and have you linked here!

4:27 PM  
Blogger shawnkielty said...

We love you John.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

Well I can't even read your whole post right now. I clicked on here on my last click and saw the new post I have been waiting for. Too sleepiy cant ready.

Happy Halloween!
I have tricks and treats on my blog.

11:27 PM  
Blogger Jill Homer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:14 AM  
Blogger Jill Homer said...


Keeping everyone on pins and needles.

The Dalton is like that, too, isn't it? Truly a Great Adventure Road. I drove to Prudhoe Bay with three friends in 2003. We were in a 1990 custom Ford Econoline van towing a truckbed trailer. At one point, every single blot in the rear wheel jiggled loose and the entire thing came off - rim and all. How that van didn't somersault into the tundra-ous oblivion still baffles me. Later, we got stuck behind an avalanche at Atigun Pass for eight hours. Truly a great adventure. I hope to go back someday, on my bike. Maybe I can stop in Fairbanks and say hi.

12:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yikes! What did the boy think of that? Perhaps he was asleep at the time.

I can't wait for pics, I can't imagine a road like that. You see them in movies but I have never driven one.

Glad you are safe and sound.

John, when is your wife's release date for her book?

5:24 AM  
Blogger Joann said...

Could be the same people that don't talk about all the downed sightseeing helicopters in Hawaii.

8:10 AM  
Blogger S.S. said...

Thanks for the entertaining blog. I was born & raised in AK, but now live in MS. Traveled the park road via green school bus 3 years ago, and understand why my parents didn't ever take us there when we were little.

Glad you all made it!

12:05 PM  
Blogger Liang Boy said...

Hurray...~ John the Alaskan is back!

6:20 PM  
Blogger DEANBERRY said...

EXPECT A BIGGER, LOUDER 9/11. The amerinazis won't go without a fight. And, yes, they're just the type of "people" who would engineer another "terrorist attack" so they can declare martial law and suspend all elections. You heard it here first, folks. http://deanberryministries.org/index3.html

2:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Deanberry you need to relax. Life's not a dress rehearsal.

8:42 PM  
Blogger brotherbill said...

Best let The Boy drive from now on.

4:16 AM  
Blogger John said...

Six pack? Nah, I've been here a while. Most of those are gone.

the pucker factor was VERY high. Only about three times I've been driving I've been this tense, and one of them was a blizzard where I was navigating from reflector to reflector.

absolutely!!!! That is perhaps the most poetic thing I've ever read. I'm smiling from ear to ear. The Boy is eating.

I'd advise doing it, especially if the insurance is paid up. Otherwise, bus.

My DNA is everywhere. It's safe.

Back, safe and sound, and fingers ready to type. Type, like the wind.

I'm sorry to have added extra productivity to the world, though I'm happy to hear you've promised to update your blog!

Smiling. Just smiling.

I will never admit to having had a hot, sweaty fling with Demi while she was young and before the plastic surgeons got to her.

I'm sure she's cool, but, really, if your face shows up on People, I don't feel bad about bagging on you.

Awwww, blush.

Yay Tricks!

Keeping all on pins and needles helps my stock in pinsandneedles.com, the online source for pins and needles.

Alaska is adventure. Enjoy every second.

The Boy was in that particular zone where he trusts all things the old man does, and hasn't yet realized that I'm fallable. If Dad's driving, you're safe.


Yeah. Now what would be cool would be if a falling tour bus hit a helicopter. That's worth of a Movie of the Week.

Yeah, it's white knuckle, but worth it.

Back indeed!

Dude. Do you read stuff here?

b wagz,
LOVE that.

I would, but he's distracted by small candies. Not a good combination.

4:42 PM  

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