300 Miles to Nowhere
It was sometime after 8:30pm that we limped into Anchorage. One foot was broken - the other was missing. We had traveled around 300 miles in just over 6 hours. I suppose it would be a good time for a dog sled team. The problem was that we were driving a car. My butt had been glued to the seat for at least an hour more than it should have. Things were starting to go numb, and sadly I was starting to enjoy the feeling.
The road to Soldotna is as much a road race as a pleasure cruise. There is nothing like doing 75-80mph while looking at a lake, “who’s colors just can’t exist”, and then realizing that a 1200lb bull moose just walked into your path. You jam on the brakes praying that you don’t hit the thing. Not because you don’t want to kill it, but because you don’t want it to kill you. The moose are dangerous. The people are downright insane.
No need to follow any laws out here I told Dianne. Civilization is 300 miles behind us I said. That’s when I saw the cop with flashing lights. Luckily it was in front of us and already pulled off to the side of the road. As we drew closer I noticed the yellow police “do not cross” tape. It was a sure sign that something, “serious” had happened. As we passed I got a glimpse of just how serious. Someone, or something was covered in a blue tarp. Just about the size of a person, and with either human like feet, or a moose that was wearing tennis shoes.
About this time, Dianne turns to me and says, “Well, so far we’ve seen 2 sheep, one moose, and a dead body, I wonder what’s next”? I was too busy craning my neck to try to get a look at the body to hear what she said. I asked her if we should turn around and drive back to get a better look. She didn’t think it was a good idea. I mumbled something about getting a good picture, but it was too late. We were passing a naked man with a walking stick. I think he may have been hitch hiking, but we didn’t stop to find out.
About the moment that we reached our destination was about the same time that we decided to go home. I mentioned eating and Dianne agreed that food was good. Finding a place to eat wasn’t hard. It was the first place we stopped. Sal’s Dinner was the order of the day. From the outside it looked strangely like it had been there for 70 or so years. Faded paint, dirt lot, strange people. I liked the looks, so we went in.
I was handed a newspaper. It turned out that the paper was also the menu. We sat down and I read. Dianne asked me what I wanted, and I quickly replied, “The fried fish sandwich and a Ford f-250”. I didn’t think she got the joke, so I quickly told her that the Ford was on page 4. She just shook her head. The food was very good, but what was amazing were the cinnamon buns. They were the size of entire loaves of bread. I asked the waitress about them, and she replies, “yea, those are the small ones”. Thinking she was joking, I said, “yea, right..” She was not joking. She went over and pulled out something that was the size of a bread box. She needed two hands to hold it, and said it was heavy. I believed her. It was the largest baked thing I had ever seen. I quickly wondered where you get a pan to bake something that large. One slice of this thing was probably bigger than most dinner plates. I stared in amazement.
The ride home was much like the second time on a roller coaster. It was exciting, and fun, but it lacks the thrill and excitement of not knowing what is just around the corner. The fear of death that comes with every twist and turn. The newness of the act has been replaced with the fact that you will survive and that there is an end to your journey. The moose have moved on, the bodies have been removed, and the sun is setting fast - Time to go home.