Our introduction back into civilization after camping, hiking and biking for 3 days was the pull-off at the bridge where the road to Hope cuts off. There is an 8-mile or so stretch of beautifully paved bike path from the Hope Bridge (I don't know if that's the formal name but I'm going to call it that), following alongside the Seward Highway from the cutoff to the Johnson Pass trailhead. I've often wanted to bike it but have never had my bike or the time to do it. We decided it would be a nice, mellow thing to do before we headed home. The bike ride was mellow and fun, but the parking area was insane!
We've driven by and noticed two coffee trucks parked in that parking area before and wondered how they ever got enough business to sustain themselves way out there, well over an hour south of Anchorage and in the middle of, quite literally, nowhere. Now we know. From the time we pulled into that parking lot, tour bus after tour bus stopped, spit out folks who queued up for either the bathrooms or the coffee shops, snapped a few pictures, got back on their bus and away they flew up the road to Anchorage or down the road to Seward. RV after RV, campers, cars and more streamed in with people getting their pictures taken with the view. Doug and I looked at each other, puzzled. The view was so boring compared to most views we see in Alaska--rolling hills (not even mountains) with a river rushing by (which you couldn't see in the picture anyways). No peaks, no snow, no cliffs--none of the stuff we would expect someone to get a picture of.
So we crashed this tourist party with our grimy, smokey selves, got on our bikes and enjoyed the ride. As long as you can ignore the highway with tons of traffic zooming by (day after the Fourth, and a Friday, and the beginning of dipnetting season on the Kenai Peninsula), it is a very pleasant ride. We had a headwind the whole way out so I was looking forward to turning around and getting that wind on my back. There were rolling hills and then flat sections, which we discovered when we finally did turn around that the flat sections were actually gradual uphills, so gradual we hadn't realized we were going uphill. So when we turned around we cruised. It was so sweet!!
We went almost 7 miles out and then back, so a nice 14 miles. It was just about right. Granite Creek Campground is right along this section of paved trail and Johnson Pass is at one end of it so we very well may be back again. I don't know if I have ever, in 6 years of driving along here, have seen anyone biking or walking on this bike path. But then, when I'm driving I only go by for a few minutes every month or so so I could easily miss other users. We had it to ourselves. I don't think I'd want to rollerblade it: we were going 20 mph on our bikes and I just don't see myself braking that on rollerblades!