DAY 147

August 8, 1999

While awaiting the shuttle today, I biked around a bit to keep my legs moving.  When I headed back to the visitor center this morning, I met Martin, a very tall Swiss guy.  We talked about our rides and when he found out I left Key West on March 15 and was headed to Prudhoe Bay, he said "I leave Miami on same day and I hear about you for a long time."  Martin strongly encouraged me to go to Vancouver Island and said that he wouldn't go to Prudhoe Bay, "not worth it, nothing to see."  On his bike, he had a giant bottle cage that housed 2 liter bottles.  He said that he keeps 2 liter cokes there, as that is what he mainly drinks.  There is  a smaller 22 oz water bottle that he keeps for water.   Martin soon left and headed south towards Anchorage.

Later I met Guro again and her boyfriend Terje(pronounced Tah dia).  We discussed our journeys and Terje shared many of his mountain climbing experiences with me.  He made an assault up Mont Blanc from the base in just 14 hours.  We also talked about some of the attitudes of other climbers and reaching the top no matter what the cost, even the life of another.  Many climbers will just leave their team mate behind and continue on leaving them to die in the snow.  Terje had told me about when he found a climber lying in the snow that was left behind to die.  He helped him up and walked the guy back to his camp and saved his life.  Well we traded many interesting stories and both of them invited me and anyone I want to bring with me to visit them in Norway.   I too gave them my info and invited them to visit me sometime.

By 2:30 PM I found myself in an 11 passenger van on my way to Anchorage.  The lady beside me asked about my bicycle and my ride.  She too had been on several rides and looked to be now in her 60's.  Her name was Barbara and we talked for a long time trading stories and discussed some of the exact same books both of us had read.  She was very excited to have met me and told me so, and I too was excited to have met her.   After about 2 hours into the ride, the bus driver seemed to be looking very tired with eyes barely open.  The van drifted into the middle a bit and then the lady right behind him smacked the back of his seat with a book and said "get back over, you're driving down the middle!"  He didn't say anything and just kept driving.   we soon had a break to eat at a small cafe'.  Thirty minutes and we had to be done and back on the bus...oh! I've become one of them!  hoping off a bus and in a hurry.  Having to rush like a tourist. Well at least it is only for this 7 hour ride. 

There were some other people we had to pick up down the road whose car had broken down.   Upon arriving at the Grizzly Store, we saw a couple with 2 small children and LOTS of luggage.  There was one empty bench seat and it didn't look like enough room for their stuff.  The lady in the front seat had a little bit of an attitude and said that "they're not fitting on here!"  Geez what a remark to say when a family is stranded way out here.  They managed to get all there luggage in and the four of them occupied the seat in the back.  I turned to talk to them since I was directly in front of them.  I asked about their misfortune and about their vacation.   Both of them were pleasant and we had a great conversation.  After I told them about what I was doing and my escape from healthcare, I found out that he is a doctor and she is a nurse.  They own 3 clinics in Michigan. 

By now I am trying hard to not feel sick.  The frost heaves in the road this guy kept flying over had been making me feel naeuseous for a while.  And with has very bad driving, all over the road speeding while half asleep.... AHHHHHHHHHH  I'm feeling "domed"  someone please smash my head in with a rock and put me out of my misery.

Soon, my conversation with Ray and Nora was shattered by the sound of "BAM" and breaking glass up front.  I turned to see the drivers side door glass falling down and the side view mirror smashed against it while a large 1 ton pickup drove inches by our window.  The lady behind the driver immediately slammed her book against the back of his seat and was furious with him for crossing the center line.  She accused him of crossing over, smashing side view mirrors with the other guy and was afraid he would kill us all with his driving.  The rest of the van was very quiet, no one spoke a word, an awkward silence as the two of them began to argue and he threatened to make her get out and walk.  Constant arguing back and forth, both of them had to have the last word in.  I thought "come on lady, give it a rest".

The driver of the other truck walked up and also accused our driver of crossing the center line.  He said that his window was also smashed by his side view mirror.  After about 25 minutes of waiting for them to exchange insurance information, we were back on the road.  And the driver is still driving a little crazy with his blurry bloodshot eyes.  This ride seems like it is NEVER going to end!

Continuing on to Anchorage, we continued our discussions and Barbara soon joined in too.   Nora was VERY funny and made some jokes about me on this journey.  By the end of the evening I had a definite job offer to come work with them and they wanted me to continue with them to Homer.  I really wanted to go with them as they caught a taxi to pick up their rental car.  But I had to stay behind to get my camera repaired.   They are a very fun couple and I know I would've had a blast staying with them on their vacation.  They told me that if I don't come to work with them to at least come visit and gave me their address and phone number.  WOW I'm sure glad I decided to catch the shuttle to Anchorage and that they had the unfortunate luck of having their car break down.

They drove away in the taxi and it was if some really good friends I've known for a long time were leaving.  I rode to the Inlet Inn across the street and got a motel room for $75.00, the cheapest in town.  The hostel was full and I reserved the next 2 nights there.

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