The bus

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When a motor vehicle dies in Alaska, it does’t go anywhere– there are old trucks and buses scattered all over this land.  This Ford school bus is situated just a mile from the Nabesna Road on the Tok Cutoff (Glenn Hwy) behind the Midway Grocery in Slana, AK.  Jay and Debbie Capps welcome cyclists by the dozen every season, allowing them to camp on their property or spend a night in “the bus”.  Power and propane are luxuries to a touring cyclist; a cassette player, a dinner table and a drip-coffee maker are divine.  With a selection of groceries nearby and a propane stove, creative home-cooked meals are possible and I finally sampled a can of corned beef hash that I’ve been seeing in rural groceries for four years.  Augmented with lentils and curry, it was a treat.  I stayed in the bus the night before my Nabesna adventures and again on the night following.  I drank a lot of coffee; read John Steinbeck’s account “About Ed Rickett’s” who was the real life “Doc” from Cannery Row; and got lost in Neil Young’s Harvest on a worn cassette tape.  I think Neil was a road guy like us.

“Think I’ll pack it in and buy a pick-up
Take it down to LA
Find a place to call my own and try to fix up
Start a brand new day

The woman I’m thinking of, she loved me all up
But I’m so down today
She’s so fine, she’s in my mind
I hear her calling'”

“Out on the Weekend”, Neil Young, Harvest, 1972

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The aura of goodwill and kindness extends to the handwritten notes on the walls:

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And assorted memorabilia from past bike trips:

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Be sure to stop in Slana at the Midway Grocery.  Our welcoming hosts, Jay and Debbie:

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10 thoughts on “The bus

  1. Wonderful and so glad you met some kindhearted Alaskans. I don’t know about that hash though. Next thing you know you’ll be bragging about eating Spam!

  2. Reading about cycle tourists’ encounters with the best folks America has to offer probably doesn’t compare to living it, but it’s still a great way to start my morning. Thanks. MBx

    • I met an awesome English couple in Dawson City, Yukon on custom Robin Mather frames after storming downhill from the Top of the World Highway. Finally, the sun is shining and summer is here. The solstice is a wonderful thing up here.

  3. No end to your creativity in the “kitchen”! Another beautiful corner of AK and great to hear about the kindness you find on the road!

    • My “creativity” has recently extended to surviving on a gigantic cinnamon roll and a bag of Lay’s potato chips for a day. An impromptu adventure requires an emergency “resupply”. Thankfully, $9 cinnamon rolls were on hand. Yes, a $9 cinnamon roll is huge.

  4. My husband and I met Jay and Debbie in Cabo, Mexico. They are great people. I immediately felt connected to them. I have pictures I wanted to send them but I have lost their address. Do you have their address, the grocery store’s address or an email address? My email address is jelaciclt@yahoo.com. Thank you! Not surprise they have a similar effect on others

  5. My brother and I pedaled through Slana back in the summer of 2005 and stayed a couple nights in the bus (we were on a bike trip from Chicago to Fairbanks). Jay and Deb Capps are two of the finest and most generous people I have ever met. I see the bus has since been painted. It was all colorful like the “Partridge Family” bus when we were there.

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