The Soggy Bottom Bike Race, a 108-mile ride with 10,000 feet of elevation, starts and ends on Hope’s Main Street. That’s where neighbors Dru (left), Mason (middle), and Rebecca (right) live. As racers flew by, they waved the Alaska flag as hard as they could.
Everyone in town knows who Dru is. She’s a bubbly, energetic woman married to Johnny who helped organize the race. When I asked Johnny about the campground next door, he told me we could just camp on their property to save $15.
Love brought Rebecca to Alaska. Visiting from Melbourne years ago, she met her now husband when she hopped on the back of his snowmobile on a wilderness tour. The town of Hope is pretty isolated so typically when people first move here, they live in cabins that either lack water or electricity. Since bringing up Mason in a dry cabin (no water), the family has upgraded to a house that has both water AND electricity.
It’s a tight-knit community that becomes even more tight-knit in the winter. Rebecca remembers walking to the shore with Mason before the Seaview Cafe & Bar opened for the season. The cafe is the mainstay of town –– where everyone hangs out and where we all sat and cheered on the racers as they finished. When the cafe was closed, the land was absolutely barren; a ghost town. But the next day, when the cafe opened its doors, it came alive with people. It was like night and day.
Living under such sparse conditions has made Rebecca more aware of what she throws away. She joked that every time she goes to toss something in the garbage, one of her neighbors raises an eyebrow and asks her what that is and whether it can be used for something else.