Tom Bodett (you may recall his voice in the Motel 6 ads: “We’ll leave the light on for you.”) has always been a favorite storyteller of ours. We used to listen to his books on tape in the car when the kids were little. He started by writing essays about life in Homer, The End of the Road, back in the ’80s as a way to add some interest to his radio program on KBBI in Homer. They became so popular locally that they were picked up by National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. Then a Boston publisher offered him a book deal, and his essays expanded into fictional accounts of the residents of a town called The End of the Road, Alaska. You can still hear Tom on the NPR program Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. The sound of his voice is always a comfort. It takes me back to those wonderful characters he wrote about–everyday people dealing with everyday problems in a not-so-everyday part of the world. They were so wholesome, genuine, and decent you wanted to pack your bags and move to The End of the Road.
Well, here we are at The End of the Road. When driving south from Anchorage to the beautiful Kenai Peninsula, you can drive (relatively) directly to Seward on Alaska’s southern coast. And if your wandering spirit pulls you farther west (and a bit farther south), you can take the Sterling Highway off of the Seward Highway through the heart of the Kenai to Homer, on the southwestern tip of the peninsula. But you’re still not at The End of the Road until you drive out the Spit, a string of a road off of the Sterling Highway that extends 4.5 miles out into Kachemak Bay. And then, when you reach the end of the Spit and you are virtually surrounded by water on all sides, you are finally at The End of the Road. As Tom Bodett says, “…this would be as far away as you could get without a good boat and a passport.”