ANCHORAGE – Nice hospitality Saturday night from my host family, Rose and her husband John.
The pair work at Paramount Cycles in Anchorage. Rose hails from El Roy, Wisconsin. “Yes, I know (former Wis. governor) Tommy Thompson,” said Rose. “His mother was my teacher in grade school.”
Rose came to Alaska more than seven years ago with her husband, who was originally from Utah.
“You’ll find a lot of Midwestern transplants up here,” she said.
I met Rose online while looking for a place to stay in Anchorage. (I was discouraged by the drug -and-bedbug reviews I found while researching the local youth hostels.)
Rose said they normally don’t take in bikers, not a lot anyway, but she felt comfortable with the Wisconsin connection and was impressed with the tour’s effort to raise money and awareness for Alzheimer’s.
“My mom has Alzheimer’s and she’s the same age as your dad,” said Rose, having done some research on me by reading this blog.
“It’s amazing what passes for memory care these days,” said Rose, frustrated. “We’re paying for hands-on care and activities and we’re just not getting it.”
John and Rose live in a house at the corner of Apollo Court and Apollo Drive. “We’re the only house half-covered with siding and the other with Tyvex,” she laughed, referencing their ongoing fix-it project that had taken over their lives.
“It all started with a mouse our cat chased into a crack in the living room,” said John. “I tore up the carpet and one thing led to another and the floor buckled and we had to jack up the wall near the foundation…”
Neither spoke negatively about the overwhelming construction; both were patient, do-it-yourselfers that knew the project would get done when they finished.
Casual conversation that evening at the kitchen table ran the gamut – mostly about biking and adventure, bears, New Zealand, and family – in no particular order.
Rose sat with a glass of red wine; John cooked.
His presentation was amazing. A simple salad with mixed greens, halved grape tomatoes, thin wedges of avocado, fresh basil, chopped zucchini and a couple spears of cucumber with a peanut oil dressing.
Dinner was a salmon wrap. The spices forced a teary-eyed Rose to crack the window. The tight wrap was more than an inch thick and included dark beans, rice, some random vegetables and chili spices.
“My mom was not a mac-and-cheese kind of person,” said John.
The next morning, over a hot cup of pressed coffee, John was at it again making a breakfast omelet with cubed pieces of salmon topped with a fan of avocado. There was a side of thin wheat toast and a spoon for the jar of homemade blueberry jelly.
Rose spooning up some homemade blueberry jelly.
Day two of the tour would start with a 40-mile trek to Girdwood.