Ghost of Road Trips Past: Missoula, MT to Homer, AK Loop

Twenty-five hundred miles in a little under three weeks.
Pretty good for a hitchiker!

I decided to hitchike to Homer, Alaska to work on the slime line in a cannery. It was to make enough money to pay for another year of college in just a couple short months. I also decided to bring my German Shepard, Nik, along with me. And a guitar. And enough food for a long time because I didn't have very much money.

I ended up staying outside of Seattle for a week. Nik and I got picked up by a drywaller named Charlie Decker. I hung drywall with Charlie for a week to earn a little more cash for the trip. After I got paid , I did what ant sensible college kid with a guitar and a dog who was hitchiking to Alaska would do: I bought a banjo at Al's Guitarville.

Nik and I caught the Alaska Marine Highway to Haines, AK. Nik had to ride in a travel cage, one of those big plastic boxes, which I had brought with me. Have I mentioned that I didn't used to travel light? So Nik had to be below deck in her cage and I was up on deck in a tent.

In Hanes I got picked up by a guy who lived in town, he wasn't going anywhere, but he was having a cookout with his family and he invited Nik and I over for hamburgers. He had started a fishing charter service called Harts Charter Service (looks like he's still in business). The next day, I Nik and I got an early start sitting by the side of the road hoping for a ride. One guy picked us up and drove us about ten miles out of town, which at least seemed like it would be a better place to sleep if need be. Nik and I sat by the side of the road 10 miles outdside of Haines for the next four days. There's not a whole lot of traffic going through Haines, AK. Ferry traffic from Haines is about it, and there was one ferry per day.

Finally we got picked up by a guy in a big U-Haul headed for Soldotna, which is just a wee bit north of Homer, our destination. Nice guy, he was moving the family up to Soldotna because he was the new Public Defender. The rest of the family was still in Seattle. He was hoping to pick up a hitchiker to help him unload that U-Haul. Did I mention that Nik found a dead bear carcass to roll in the day before? She did, and she stunk. Even though I had washed her three or four times in the ice cold creek with my last bar of soap. Lucky for us this guy needed help unloading his truck.

Eventually Nik and I made it to Homer. We had twenty dollars in my pocket, so we bought a big bag of inexpensive dog food and some peanut butter, cheese, and bread. I got a job at the cannery and only had to wait for two weeks until I got paid. Luckily Nik had plenty of food and there were plenty of cookies in the breakroom. Nik didn't like her food though. I knew this because I would fill her dish with food when I went to work in the morning and she would fill her dish with sand while I was gone. The food was still there -- under the sand. After a couple of weeks, things were a lot better.

At the end of the summer I bought a '73 Chevy pickup and Nik and I drove home to Missoula along with a couple of friends.

Banff and Jasper parks are really worth the visit.

Questions? Comments?

No comments: