I arrived in Anchorage on Wednesday evening. For all the times I have visited here, I still have no concept of the layout of this "big city." I drove in increasingly larger circles for nearly 20 minutes, looking for my new place. The street I live on is called Juneau Drive. It's fitting.
I arrived at home just as the setting sun cast its pink light on the Chugach Mountains. It only took me an hour to unload my car. By midnight, I had my room mostly arranged the way I will probably keep it. In four hours, my whole life, transferred. This is who I am, and for the most part I love living a somewhat transient, simple lifestyle. But I also must cope with the uncertainty and perpetual disorientation of it all, which is where I am right now.
I set out on my bike for most of the afternoon Thursday, trying to get a sense of the place. The greenbelt trail system is mushy with slush and soft snow, but for the most part still rideable with my "skinny" studded tires on my Karate Monkey. Although I tried to force myself onto the busy streets so I could get an understanding of the different parts of town, it was difficult not to drift back onto the trails when I saw them. And just like that, I was back in the quiet part of Alaska, birch trees and snow-swept muskeg.
I followed the Coastal Trail from end to end, but got stopped just short of Kincaid Park because there was a cow moose on one side of the trail and her calf on the other, and neither of them were moving. Earlier, I had waited for 10 minutes for the moose in this photo. I couldn't bring myself to pass her until I watched three joggers do so. Moose don't live near Juneau, so that's another thing that's going to take some getting used to.
So what will I do now that I'm in Anchorage? It's an excellent question, and one I'm pretty freaked out about right now because I'm not even sure. I intentionally set out into the unknown without much of a plan, and now I will have to forge a path. There are a lot of directions I can go. I plan to meet with several editors I have already been in contact with, in Utah and in Anchorage, and get a few projects set up. I hope to pursue an outlet for this book project I already have going, because I think it's a worthy project and it's not getting any better just sitting here on my computer. I'll probably peruse job listings daily and keep my ears open in case something awesome opens up. But I do hope to find the time to tour around and do several of the trips I have always wanted to do, especially as summer opens up new terrain. I hope to do some bike tours, visit Homer and Valdez and Fairbanks. I am the type of person who needs a job - or at least some kind of structure, even if it's just training for a big bike race - to stay happy, so I have to keep reminding myself that I am taking this chance because, for better or worse, I have to freedom to do so right now, and even if I fail it won't be the end of the world.
Right now I am still having problems with my right knee. It gets unhappy after just an hour or so on the bike, and after four hours yesterday it was downright livid. My knee became stiff and inflamed enough that the swelling came back for a few hours. I'm a little frustrated about that, but I'm trying to keep some perspective on it. Long bike tours might be out right now, but at least I can ride a little, and hiking and even mild running doesn't seem to hit it too hard.
But for now, right now, I am going to take advantage of this transitory period to travel down to Utah to visit my family and my new nephew. I'm actually leaving Saturday morning. Pretty soon, but that's just the nature of the available standby tickets. When I get back here, I'll do something. Still not sure exactly what. I guess that's a big source of the anxiety, and the excitement.
At least Cady seems happy at home. All is forgiven.