One of the absolute best things about Two Rivers is Pleasant Valley Store. The Store is the local ‘hang out’ or meeting place, the final school bus stop out the road, the only place to buy coffee, bananas or cake mix. It is also the last stop to buy fuel, get your fishing license or buy ice cream. You can pick up a quart of oil, toilet paper, a gallon of milk, the newspaper or even a bottle of wine. Pleasant Valley Store holds our little community together.
The owners, Becky and Alex, are the very best people who seem to have the ability to hold together an independent, opinionated bunch of Alaskans who live half way out a dead end road to no where. As Cindy – one of the mainstays behind the store counter – told me yesterday “I see everyone come through our door at one time or another. We talk about everything – just not politics, religion or trapping.” It must have been very challenging for her this past week!
Trailside Mail is our local Post Office and it sits alongside the Store. It is a contract post office and the BEST post office in the world. The service window opens at 2PM and closes at 7PM. The hall with our post box (#226) is open all day so you can mush, drive or walk in to check your mail anytime. Sometimes you will be the sole customer in there and sometimes you are one of many having a pleasant conversation about the weather, trails, hunting or dogs.
It’s amazing to see how busy they are and the number of parcels they deliver to local Two Rivers folks. Do we order more mail order items? Do we get more love letters? Or do we have more bills? Yikes… I don’t want to think about which it is! They are overly good to us at SPK. They sometimes call and let us know that we have parcels to pick up, or to tell me I left my key, my wallet, my parcels or my love letters. Oops… just kidding! They always know when the Kennel is in a popular news story or the Iditarod starts because they get to sort the many letters, trinkets and gifts we receive. I often open surprise gifts or culinary treats while at Trailside Mail so they can share our goodies.
I am always greeted with a smile and a “Hello” when I walk through the door. As soon as anyone walks through the door, they walk by a hanging quilt on the wall which is 20 quilt squares made by individuals from the community. Yes. I have a square in the quilt. Yes it does have to do with dog mushing. Duh!
Going to Trailside Mail is usually the end of the day. Moira usually has a spreadsheet and tries to prioritize all the SPK parcels before to dropping them off. Nevertheless we can leave them with an awful lot of sorting and work.
If there is ever a waiting line you have three options:
- go next door and have a cup of coffee and talk about everything except politics, religion and trapping.
- stand in line and talk to your neighbor about anything (one of my best conversations was with my young neighbor Noah who had mailed a letter to the Queen of England and actually gotten a response. (Is that politics?)
- wait my turn and admire all of the Yukon Quest posters for the last 20 years that adorn the walls of the PO. Cool, huh?
So the first SP Kennel mailing left Trailside Mail yesterday. Many of the ‘Join the Team’ packets left the peaceful tiny town of Two Rivers. Their journey starts with a truck ride to Fairbanks and then onto Anchorage. The out-of-state and out-of-country sorting is done in Anchorage. Most parcels will leave Anchorage via airplane. From that point on… your guess is as good as mine.
If you ever find your way to Two Rivers, Alaska please stop at Pleasant Valley Store – it will be worth your while!