49 Voices: Kate Mongeon of Eureka

This week we’re hearing from Kate Mongeon in Eureka. Mongeon works and lives at the Eureka Roadhouse.

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Kate Mongeon of Eureka (Photo by Rashah McChesney, Alaska's Energy Desk - Juneau)
Kate Mongeon at the Eureka Lodge (Photo by Rashah McChesney, Alaska’s Energy Desk – Juneau)

MONGEON: We’re at Eureka Roadhouse at mile 128 on the Glenn Highway. I live right here at the lodge. I was living in Palmer and I was tired of the city life. I came up here and been here ever since.

I wait tables, I bar tend, I clean rooms. I yell at employees. (laughs) I’ve been here a little bit over six years now. I snowmobile, I four-wheel, I hunt. Not successfully hunt, but I do go out and hunt. And I hike. Cross-country skiing, not my thing. Too much work, I’d rather just hike.

I had left, well I’d been in Palmer another year. I left in ’02. Came back in ’09, so I’ve been back for almost 7 years now. But I moved here in 1994, originally.

So I don’t have to worry about the big city rush. It’s not a rush up here. We’re pretty mellow. We like to be mellow. It’s not a town. It’s prety much a vacation recreational area. So I know there’s at least seven of us here, year-round (laughs). At least. Differs every year, I mean this area is building up quite a bit, so we have a lot more people from Anchorage that have cabins out here that come up on the weekends. Snowbirds, so that’s what’s going on right now. They come up for the summers, leave for the winters.

… I don’t know because I lived in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho for a while. Very similar. I lived at lodges. And it’s the same. The winters definitely here are longer. I mean definitely longer.

I think the tourists really think it’s funny when the planes land on our highway. There’s an airstrip right across the way here you can’t really see but it is an airstrip. It’s not maintained, so it is a bumpy ride. The pilots know this so they’ll just land on the highway. Scares the heck out of oncoming traffic. (laughs) And they’ll just pull on in, get gas, have some pie and go on their way.

As long as Jim and Darla have the lodge, and if Ryan takes over, yes… I’l be here as long as they’ll have me. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. This is where I wanna be. Ryan’s son calls in “My-reka”, so we’ve all called it Myreka now.

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Rashah McChesney is a photojournalist turned radio journalist who has been telling stories in Alaska since 2012. Before joining Alaska's Energy Desk , she worked at Kenai's Peninsula Clarion and the Juneau bureau of the Associated Press. She is a graduate of Iowa State University's Greenlee Journalism School and has worked in public television, newspapers and now radio, all in the quest to become the Swiss Army knife of storytellers.

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