Winding through the Matanuska Valley, it isn’t long before you reach mile marker 101. Beyond the reflective sign, fireweed creeps over the black hood of an old Ford ice truck. The sign fastened to the front of the truck reads “MICA Mocha”, telling of an ice cream and espresso shop within.
As you walk around the truck, adjacent to the MICA Guides base camp, one of the best views of the Matanuska Glacier meets you. Additionally, a porch with chairs and tables nestles up to a canopied ordering area, the backdoors of the ice truck. The inside of this truck has been converted so as to serve locally roasted espresso and some fan favorites of ice cream. Sitting on the porch, enjoying the epic views of mountains and glacier, eating ice cream, you start to wonder; How did this antique find it’s way to this superb resting place?
The truck made its first moves with the MICA team as a transportation vehicle to the glacier for guests
The journey of this 1948 Ford F5 ice truck to Glacier View started on a road trip to Seward, Alaska in 2007. The Ford F5 was made to originally transport ice and cooled goods across miles of roadways when it was fabricated in 1948, and sports a more vintage design. Owner and operator of MICA Guides, Don Wray, easily spotted this interesting piece of auto-mechanical history. It sat on the side of the highway with a for sale sign as a converter camper. It didn’t take long for the idea to spring into his mind to take it for a journey back home to the Matanuska Valley.
What normally would be just a few hours drive turned into a 10-12 hour journey. The trip was filled with an abundance of mechanical stops and fixes. Finally, after the elongated haul, the wheels were chugging across the gravel drive way in Glacier View. Once the ice truck found its way to the parking lot it was time to adapt. With a little creativity and some splicing of marine and auto mechanics the ice truck soon found its next life, guest transportation for glacier travel.
The Next Chapter
With van seats in the back and few manual hand pumps to a marine fuel injector each time the truck needed to start, the ice truck was ready for glacier tours. The F5 had some good runs up and down the drive way over a few years. However, it was becoming apparent the ice truck needed a more restful job. That’s when the wheels rolled themselves into the wildflower overgrowth near the entrance of the MICA Guides lot.
One of the first days of service as MICA Mocha for the ice truck
The Final Resting Place
Over the years the truck intermingled with guide culture and became a marker of memories. By 2012 the truck was converted to the ice cream and espresso stand we see today. Each year new home made baked goods and flavors hit the counter. And, a picture deck sits right in front of the truck. This is a perfect place to capture some of the best scenic glacier views around.
MICA Mocha adds a little different flavor to your normal morning coffee. Simultaneously, the deck is perfect for those waking up from a stay at Alpenglow Luxury Camping looking for their morning jolt. It serves anyone waiting for the next ice tour with MICA Guides. Or simply the space is great if you need to take a break from the road and grab a treat. This ice cream stand isn’t your typical stop. It is exactly what you need to add to your visit to Alaska.
Ali Lukitsch is a ski instructor by winter and an outdoor guide by summer. Intertwined in the seasons Ali is also a website content manager, creative writer, and commissioned artist. She currently manages content media for various websites and is a writer for Exposure Alaska and Alaska Adventure Center. You can find her skiing the backcountry or taking extended backpacking trips in her spare time and indulging in her love of home cooked meals over a fire.