Oh God, where am I?Dan | August 14, 2008
Today’s ride was fairly uneventful. We started out on a long stretch of level ground that eventually wound its way back into the mountains. With the mountains came the rain. We were riding through moose country, and at one point two of these large animals lumbered out of the woods ahead of us and scampered across. These huge animals were truly magnificent.
The real story of the day happened when we arrived at our destination, a place called Midway Services, which offered free camping, according to the Milepost we had read in Tok. We arrived after a long descent which soaked all our clothes through. As we pulled up, we noted the sign which said closed at 6:00. Drat. It was 6:30, but we saw some people inside, so we decided to knock. Someone opened the door for us, and when we stepped in, we looked around and all we could see were guns, everywhere, and animal heads, everywhere. There was a crowd of randomly assembled people in the room, all sitting around, apparently chatting. Two older guys with beards were sitting by the wall, smoking. One of them turned to us and said “We’ve been expecting you.”
Thinking we had just stepped into Deliverance, Aaron and I started backing up. The man continued, saying, “We saw you coming down the road. We passed you in our truck. We knew you’d stop here.”
Well, the fact that I’m sitting here typing this means that Aaron and I aren’t in the Alaskan bush somewhere in many pieces. It turns out that we had arrived at the friendliest, most hospitable place we had encountered in the entire trip. Jay (the man who talked to us first) and Debbie run a place called Midway Services, and seeing that we were wet and tired, they offered us their guest cabin for the night, free of charge! Jay had actually picked up two belgian hitchhikers, Bjorn and Lizalotte, who were the other people in the room, and along the way, saw us and forecasted that we would be stopping at their place, as many cyclists had done before. They let us get any food that we needed, and gave us warm showers and access to their laundry after hours. Best of all, we stayed under a roof that night!
We spent the next couple hours sitting around the shop with Jay and Debbie as Jay told us stories of his ‘other’ job, which was…hunting grizzly bears!!! He told us story after story of fighting off wolves, getting stomped by moose, and how to hunt down the great grizzly. COOLEST GUY EVER.
The belgians got there first, and got first pick at the free accomodations. Jay and Debbie offered them an old abandoned school bus (circa Into the Wild) that they had converted into a very livable little space, full with stove and beds.
Best of all, it was heated (which our cabin was not). The belgians invited us in and shared some of their wine with us over dinner. Full of food and stories, Aaron and I retired back to our cabin and slept really well that night. This was by far the coolest trail magic we had received yet, and we went to bed filled with stories of grizzly hunting and belgian hitchhiking.
We were really excited too, since tomorrow was our last day (ever?) of riding! We were arriving in Glennallen, FINALLY!