Pat & Kathy's 160 mile bicycle beach ride from near Hope to Homer

August 2005
written by Kathy Sarns Irwin ~ photos by Kathy and Pat Irwin

Chapter 8, Homer Beer

Got up at 6 am. We ate instant dinners for breakfast. We were on the beach by 7:30am. Because so many people warned us to be careful not to get trapped on this section, we are a little nervous but excited as this is the last leg of our trip. We have a good early start with the tide. Great beach baby. Much better than Happy Valley area. I feel great today! Rest is a good thing. Some rock gardens. As the tide went out we could go further out onto very hard packed sand. It was like riding on wet pavement next to the surf. Unbelievable!! 9-10 miles an hour. Remote area, no houses. No truck or people tracks. Otters played in the surf not far from us. Some of them sat up and just stared at us as we went by. Otters have a way of sitting straight up in the water. Cute but very BIG. Like giant dogs in the surf. Sun started coming out. We were cruising 8-10 miles an hour. After a few hours we could see folks ahead on the beach and see 4 wheeler tracks. Then lots of folks out at low tide. We were near Homer! People looked at us and smiled. We got to Bishops beach at 11:00am hours before high tide. A little kid and her mom asked how far did we go today. We looked muddy and sweaty. We told them from near Hope to Homer for the last 5 days. I could hear her explaining to her child that we went all the way from Hope to Homer on the beach! They smile and wave as we head to town. We were relieved but sad it was over. We cycled the road to the Lands End resort at the end of the Homer Spit, which is the end of the highway system in the USA. Then we back tracked to the infamous Salty Dawg Saloon. We had 3 Homer beers (that come in recycled Sobe bottles). One for each of us and one for Surly Dave who sponsored us to try out Pugs. A Hells angel who looked like he lived at the Salty Dog offered to take our picture. He then explained he only had one good eye and he couldn't see in the view finder so he just held it out and clicked it. We knew we had come to the right place. It was crowded for 11:30 am on a Sunday . We asked if church had just gotten out or what. Everyone was in a good mood. Bikers, fishermen and tourists and we were the only cyclists that had biked the beach to the Salty Dog from near Hope. We spent a little too much time there after folks bought us some rounds as celebration. Later we found our way back to town to stay with some friends. We think it was about 25 miles today. Next day we road the Homer Stage Line back to Anchorage. We are sad it's over. We still miss Rowdy.

We planned to do just the section between Anchor Point and Homer on one low tide. We have been warned repeatedly to be careful of this section. Experienced folks all said we do not want to get caught there with 500 foot steep cliffs and no way out. So it would be good to be rested and get up early and have plenty of time for this last part of our journey.

Special note: Many of you have heard that Pat was diagnosed with MS in early 2004. He has been mostly following holistic therapy, taking supplements, and practicing different science of mind and spiritual stress reduction guidelines. Part of his therapy was bee sting therapy that helped him a lot. Since there is no cure for MS he has chosen to follow what works for him the best. He is doing very well and I have seen many improvements. He still rides more than most folks. And he is learning to rest when he is tired. New concept! He also has a strong belief that he has chronic Lyme disease and not MS. But nobody knows for sure and he has chosen to believe he can live a healthy normal life. And believing is the biggest part of healing. We are thankful for this latest wonderful adventure. Stay tuned for our next one! Kathy Sarns Irwin

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