June 23-24 – Alyeska

This morning we woke up to this…

Yes – 3:30am in Alaska sometimes looks like this. A little haze, the sun highlighting the mountain tops, the moon still hanging in the sky… it is worth getting up super frigging early!

After work, we moved on to Girdwood, home of Alyeska, which is a ski resort with summer activities. By 6:30am, things started looking hazy. We would later find out that it was smoke blowing up from forest fires in the Kenai peninsula. We stopped at an overlook called Bird Point, where eagles and other birds are frequently seen. We did not see any, but we did spot a mountain or two.

We also found that Sarah’s bike had a bad valve stem and needed a new tube in the back tire. (Sometimes when you see a bike pump/repair station on the trail.. you stop and see if you need a bike pump or repair. )

Moving on to Girdwood…

We got to the gas station at the base of Girdwood and found it to be insanely busy. Lots of vacationers / campers / fishers coming back from weekend trips or heading south for their own adventures. That is what happens when you hit the last gas station for 90 miles on the only road leading to the peninsula. We filled up, attempted to get propane, but they were too busy, so we drove into town.

Girdwood is a cute little town, but it is also an expensive resort town. We oooo-ed and awww-ed at the houses and found a spot at the resort’s parking lot to camp for the night. We were at the base of the ski mountain and made dinner while we watched mountain bikers ride the ski lift to the top of the mountain with their bikes, and then ride down it. Not something we were excited about doing ourselves, but fun to watch!

We went to bed at our normal 7:30pm ish time just as another RV parked next to us, started setting up their dinner table outside, cooking, chatting and playing music. It’s a bit unnerving to employ too many “sensory deprivation devices”, as you want to be alert to your surroundings… but Sarah went for the earplugs this time on top of her fancy pants sleeping mask. We were able to doze a little until they shut down at 10pm. Whew! We couldn’t be mad at them since we are the ones on the early schedule. We COULD be mad at the people renting a condo just behind the tree line we were parked in front of that got smashed drunk and started playing music and yelling at 12:30am. We layed awake for a half hour hoping they would go away. Since they were not on the resort property, there was nothing anyone could do about them, so we moved to another parking lot where RVs are not allowed. If the resort security tried to make us move back, they would have gotten an earfull from us. Sometimes you gotta fight… for your right…. for naaaaaaping!!!

The next morning, we got up, did the work thing and thought about what to do for the day. We drove back to the gas station and once again were thwarted by the chaos, so still no more propane. We did succeed at getting coffee. Then we drove back to the resort and got Sarah’s bike fixed at the bike shop they have on site. Lucky us!

We were going to take the gondola to the top of the mountain for lunch and views, but the smoke had rolled in some more and we would not have been able to see much. We instead decided to bag the dog and ride our bikes into town!

The downtown is fairly small, but it was a nice day, so we rode around and hung out in a little park. Then it was time to head back. The ride in was easy because it was mostly downhill. Uphill going back hurt a little, but we made it!

That evening we drove to a local brewery to taste their beers (very good IPAs there!), then went back to Bird Creek Access to spend the night again since we had a much better experience there than at Alyeska.

It seems a bit crazy to never know where you might park for the night.. and guaranteed this is going to bite us in the butt at some point… but we have been really fortunate so far. Alyeska is proof though.. that even when you pay for a spot, there is no guarantee that you’re going to make it through the night there.

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