Day 21 // 7/4
Today, we were woken to Matt blasting the National Anthem and other patriotic songs through Seaside Farms. Our breakfast was bagels with fruits like strawberries and cherries, which was nice after going awhile without fresh fruit. After changing in the van (our tent was already mostly taken down), I helped Korinne, Emma, and Rain finish disassemble our tent for one of the last times. A bit later, Mossy came and talked to us one last time before we left; she told us about how sad she would be to see us leave for the last time. We took a group picture with her, then we hit the road on our way to Palmer.
We drove for a while, then stopped in Soldotna for lunch and gas. We ate sandwiches which were served by the Otter Van; then, some of us got free hotdogs from a stand outside the Safeway, and others got more food and ice cream from McDonald’s. After about an hour, we bought gas from a nearby gas station, where Taylor told our van the (hilarious) story of how Seb rounded up the late participants from McDonald’s. Then, we left Soldotna; our next stop was a quick one at a campground for the bathrooms. We also made a short stop for pictures near a beautiful river. Our last official stop before we arrived in Palmer was at a visitor’s center for a glacier.
This van ride was probably one of the best ones we’ve had so far. At first, we didn’t talk much, but after lunch, everything went (slowly) crazy. Literally. First, Alexandra and Olivia made a bet; Alexandra wouldn’t say anything stupid (a frequent occasion), or she would have to buy ice cream for the entire van. Whether or not her statements classified as stupid would be voted on by the van’s participants and junior leaders. A few things were said, but we let them slide at the time. Next, we voted for the Moose Princess: the most dependent, late, and messy van member overall. Of course, everyone voted for Courtney except for her, who voted for Seb. Later, we announced our choice over the radio, and each van appointed their own princesses. Not much later, Alexandra decided she wouldn’t talk until 6:30; during this time, we all tormented, tickled, and mocked her to make her talk. However, she survived.
After this, one of our van members decided they just couldn’t wait to use the bathroom until we arrived in Palmer. Because of this, we pulled off onto a road off of the highway to let them out into the woods. After a bit of arguing, they walked a little ways off of the road, then returned a few minutes later. We mocked them a bit, then started to drive back to the highway; however, less than fifty yards away, we passed a rest stop complete with a bathroom and garbage bins. To top it off, there was a sign stating ’24-hour video surveillance’, and ‘no littering or dumping’ (which was hilariously ironic, given the situation). Needless to say, everyone found this completely hysterical except for them.
After this fiasco, we finally arrived at the church (no thanks at all to Courtney’s wrong turn) which will be our home for our last three days in Alaska. We were able to call home (and, in my case, a friend whose birthday it is), and set up our tents for the last time so they could dry before taking them down a final time tomorrow. Afterwards, we had dinner (pizza and salad), hug time, and then we all went to bed.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s market in Anchorage, but the feeling is also bittersweet because of short our remaining time in Alaska is. I’m not ready to go home, but at the same time, I can’t wait for consistent running water and to see my dog again. Regardless of going into tomorrow with mixed feelings, today has been a great day, and I’m sure tomorrow will be just as great.