GIRDWOOD – Knocked down 44 miles Sunday from Anchorage to Girdwood. Started on the Old Seward Highway which hooked up with the New Seward Highway.
It was bluffs, a two-lane highway, fast traffic, a rumble strip and me. There was about three feet of paved shoulder, waters of Chickaloon Bay and mountains in the distance. .
It was a blustery day as Winnie the Pooh would say. My speeds, buried by the winds, limited progress to 6 to 8 miles an hour.
With about 20 miles in and 20 left to go, I was joined by three bicyclists that looked like me, fully loaded with gear. “We’re headed to Girdwood and then on to Yellowstone,” said Rick.
Two women, Mary and Kathleen, were on that same self-guided tour. We pedaled on a paved path that ran parallel to the Seward Highway drifting into the small, ski-resort town of Girdwood where I met my host Jim, owner of Girdwood Ski and Cyclery.
“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said, walking onto the porch, the squeeky screen door slamming behind him.
Jim looked like he just walked out of Woodstock. Curly gray hair, full beard, round wire-rim glasses, big smile and welcoming demeanor.
He was also from Wausau, Wisconsin. An Alaskan transplant years ago, he met a girl and opened the bike shop.
There were bikes hanging from U-hooks on every support beam available. Random skis made up the slats to the fence that ran along the edge of the raised porch.
“So you have your choice…. you can camp or I have a little trailer back here you’re welcome to sleep in,” he said, as we walked back on a gravel driveway through an area that looked very Sanford & Son.
“You can see, I’ve been here a while,” said Jim, referencing the collection of blue inflatable rafts that fought for space among the rustic outbuildings, porta-potty, and various what not.
The small camper reminded me of the Air Streams from the 1950s. There were rectangular windows in front and back, plenty of vents and inside there was a wood stove, a bunk on the rear wall with a mattress and pillow waiting for me.
It was perfect – I felt like a posh Alaskan camper.