Sunday, April 11, 2010

A "town trip"...

For those of us who live in "the bush", or at least not in any community of any size, going to town, which for me means Tok at 78 miles away or in most cases, Fairbanks at 300 miles away, is generally an eventful ordeal. But yesterday's trip gave new meaning to "eventful". A town trip usually precipitates from one or two items on a growing list that is compiled continuously, that finally "tips the scale" in favor of making the trip now rather than tomorrow or next week. In yesterday's case, it was a few items that we were following on Craigslist or Alaskaslist that necessitated immediate response. So I left for town on a beautiful spring morning with every intention of enjoying the drive through Alaska's springtime magnificent scenery and returning the same day. The 78 miles coursing through the southern Fortymile and upper Tanana country was pretty breathtaking, even for someone who drives this road on a very regular basis. A brilliant, blue-sky morning of clearing weather from the previous day's snow squalls revealed crisp, freshly snow-capped mountains and numerous bands of caribou from the Fortymile herd grazing mostly on the higher slopes and showing no intention of making their way west and north which is normal for this time of year. Continuing on to Fairbanks from Tok, brought more incredible spring scenery which I pretty much had to myself. It is ironic, that the northern roads this time of year, when I consider Alaska and the Yukon to be at one of the peaks of annual beauty (the other being in Sept/Oct), are mostly empty and during the summer, the roads are busy with Rv's, campers, boaters and other travelers who come to see the scenery, all sharing a view of the back of the rig in front of them.

But the reason for the trip is not to sight see and I finally arrive at my destination. On this particular trip, I encounter the frustration of a dis-functional cell phone, which means that my normal 6 to 8 hours of eliminating items from "the list" is going to be more difficult and time consuming and in addition, time will have to be taken to visit AT&T to hopefully get the phone fixed (I don't have a lot of patience and understanding for digital equipment so would rather hand it to the experts even if that means that I totally underscore my ignorance). The largest bulk of my load was to be plywood, so I began tackling the list at Home Depot. As I approached the area in which Home Depot is located, the congestion was way beyond any I had previously experienced in Fairbanks but it wasn't until I had parked and had entered HD, that I learned of the reason. Some wacko gunman had been seen on foot in the vicinity, so the entire Fairbanks police squad descended upon the area and set up headquarters in the Home Depot parking lot. Of course, we went into a "lock down" mode and I was stuck for a few hours and stuck without a working cell phone. Consequently, my 600 mile one day round trip turned into a two day trip.

Fortunately, the weather and scenery were almost equally as beautiful on the return leg to Chicken so my frayed nerves were soothed by the time I arrived back home in "the bush". I have no misgivings as to why I live here....


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