Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The price of the short commute

So... I am starting to resent my new neighborhood. It's nice enough, and our cabin is beautiful, but running up and down Chena Pump is starting to wear me thin. My neighbor down the street commented on the same thing to me while walking her dog, Toby. "Is there anywhere else to go? Besides this way (pointing to the left) or that way (pointing to the right)?" There are lots of little side streets, but most of them don't have sidewalks. Chena Pump has a nice little footpath separated from the main street, so it was fine for Summer, but now that we are out in the dark, it sucks to have all these bright headlights pointing at us.

Our old neighborhood was much less busy, so running on the street and being blinded by the occasional pair of headlights was not an issue. We also had an extensive network of trails that were hardly traversed by motorized vehicles, and the girls could run off-leash. Now, our nearest place to run off-leash is this park where people litter like mad, and the girls keep finding disgusting things to eat and then yakking them up at home. It really ticks me off how disrespectful Fairbanksans are in general when it comes to littering. They even litter tens of feet away from a trash bin, seriously! They litter beside trash bins! It's insane, and it really chaps my ass! Last week was the final straw--someone had left an entire bag of household trash in the park. Never mind that the same road runs right past a transfer station, oh no! God forbid they actually take their trash to the trash place! Let's just leave it in the park! I cannot even tell you how this makes my blood boil. GRRRRR!!

And then the other day I had the cultural shock of my recent life. Some guy pulled over, rolled down his window, introduced himself, and proceeded to ask me out on a date! I was like, eh? If I had wanted to be "checked out" while running, I would not have left the Silicon Valley. I had thought that things were different here, as I had delightedly commented on before. But apparently, not so much. It made me sad, like I had had a loss of innocence. I had used to love when people would honk and wave at me, because, although I could rarely make out who it was as they drove by, I assumed that they were either my former neighbors, a lot of whom commute along my current road, or friends from school. It actually gave me a warm fuzzy when I came to realize how many people I knew commuted along Chena Pump and saw me each morning. I felt safer knowing that if I were to hurt myself and my phone were to go dead or something, it wouldn't be long before someone I knew came along. But now I think the majority of those honkers and wavers are actually oglers! Because most of my friends who commute that way have commented, "I drive by you every morning, but I don't wave because I don't want to startle you..." Well there you go... the difference between a friend and an ogler!

I just keep telling myself, short commute! Short commute! It's such a nice short commute!


blippir said...

You don't have to live on a busy road to have a short commute do you?

Be careful about those oglers. There are crazy people out there, especially in cold, dark, middle of nowhere places like Fairbanks in the winter!

Arvay said...

Well, you don't have to, but... housing shortage. You were so shocked that I moved into a dry cabin, but... same answer: housing shortage!

Rena said...

Well if anyone stops you and asks you out again, you can say something smart-ass like:
I wake up at 4:30 in the morning to go running 10 miles with my dogs EVERY day, even when it's -20 degrees out. I see you don't have any dogs and you're not running right now. Don't think it's going to work out, buddy.

mudder said...

Stay a good distance from the stopped cars at all times unless someone you know.

Do not be in a reachable distance.

Do not chat because many guys think friendliness is invitation.

There were too many reports women being grabbed/dragged into a car and they never returned their homes.

Arvay said...

Well, I guess that is the upside of a busy street--other drivers would notice a confrontation! I'm just so shocked that this guy actually asked me out! Usually, guys just holler things about how they like my various body parts, but this one was actually... serious. Weird. I must say, though, that one time that one guy back in the Sili Valley hollered at me, "I like your boobies!" I was actually flattered! Me! Boobies! And here I thought I didn't have any! Hah! I have boobies!

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

{joke}Nice boobies!{/joke}

Are you close to Chena Small Tracts Road? (Oh, you do know about the ice road over the river from chena small tracts road to the bar at Pike's Landing, right?)

Anyways, if you cross over Chena Pump Road from Chena Small Tracts (heading west, towards the ridge) you'll find a great network of trails.

It's called Old Chena Small Tracts Road and isn't on any maps. You cross over chena pump via chena small tracts and you'll find a nice, old, rickety wooden bridge (it's safe, trust me). Once you cross that you have access to a cool trail network.

In the summer you'll find runners, four wheelers, mountain bikers, motorcyclists, DOG WALKERS, etc using the trails.

In the winter, it's mainly snowmachines and a few xc skiers. With a few odd, moronic, idiotic winter bicycle riders (ahem!) thrown in, aaaaaannnnnnnnddddd DOG WALKERS.

See, the mushers don't use these trails cus they don't connect to the longer mushing trail system. They aren't groomed for skiers. Dogs are fine! (Loose dogs on mushing trails is a no-no).

You'll also find that once it starts to get cold (at least -25 F) the snow machine trails get good and firm and are fine for running/walking on.

I would suggest some type of headlight and make sure your dogs are on good voice command. Fortunately, the snowmachiners don't open the throttle on the trails (unlike on the river) cus of the tight twists, turns, trees and hills.

Do you know where I'm talking about?

Arvay said...

Dingo Dave likes my boobies! :D

No, I didn't know about that area. I'll have to check it out during the daytime first... this weekend! Yay! Thanks! This sounds awesome... I can't wait to check it out.

mudder said...

Please check out that Old Chena Small Tracts Road with someone together. Don't go alone.

Many places are safer for guys than women, let alone a single woman.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Just had a look at google maps... It appears that they've changed old chena small tracts road from a trail to an actual road! So the ole rickety wooden bridge may have been fixed.

Some of the trails appear to have been swallowed up by the Sherwood Estates housing developement, sigh. However, there appear to be lots of good trails to the south once you cross the bridge (it's cripple creek, btw). There were a lot going up the hillside, but it looks like they may have swallowed too.

Oh well. Still, check it out cus it looks like well over half of them are still there.

Also, you should be able to get onto cripple creek in the winter, it's fun for xc skiing on.

If you need info about some good trails off Ester Dome for next summer, lemme know, no worries.

Ha! My word verification is


Giggle, snort, chortle!

Arvay said...

Yup, it's an actual road now. There is a transfer station right there, so when I first read your post, I wondered if maybe this bridge was past the transfer station... But anyway, as we walked, I began to realize "um, I'm walking over the creek right now, so this must be where the bridge used to be," and yes, it's a fully-developed road called "Old Chena Ridge Road." The "Old" part is kind of ironic huh? But it does look like there are still some nice walking paths off to the side, but I was getting cold and had to turn around at that point! Thanks for the heads-up all the same!