Adios Anchorage

We arrived in Anchorage on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and checked in to the finest RV park in Anchorage. Alaska is part of the the United States, but in many ways it is a different country. The finest RV park in Anchorage (the biggest city in Alaska) has very tight unlevel dirt sites with only 30 amp electrical hookups. The park looked in need of a lot of maintenance and pretty scary in general. The cost for an unlevel dirt site with substandard electrical hookups and almost no water pressure just barely long enough for our RV to fit is $52.00 a night and that is with a 10% Good Sam discount.

Within 48 hours of arriving in Anchorage we heard a lot of sirens followed by the whop-whop sound of a helicopter. We opened the door to see what was going on. There were police cars everywhere and a helicopter just over the tops of the RVs circling the park. Cops and police dogs were running through the park. We went back inside and locked the door. Soon the swat team arrived in bullet proof vests and vests carrying assault rifles. Needless to say, we were not feeling real good about our new home. A couple of hours later, an ice cream truck (just the like the ones in the 1950's came through the park playing music and selling ice cream bars. Welcome to Alaska!!! We discovered that evening that the criminal did not live in the RV park nor was the crime committed in the park - the criminal just ran into the park trying to escape. This happened at least two more times during our time in Anchorage.

We quickly found bike trails across the street from the RV park and
started exploring on our bikes. We have never seen an area with so many trails. The trails are throughout Anchorage. Anchorage has at least as much green space and parks as it does business, industry and residential land. We discovered that it is frequently faster to bike to a destination than it is to drive.

We also discovered that Anchorage is the most diverse place we have ever been. This is the only place we have gone (other than the southeast) where we have not been teased about our accent. If anyone noticed we had an accent they didn't say anything. Not only are there more ethnic and racial groups than we have ever seen, there also appears to be much more acceptance and mixing of the various groups.

We spent most of the summer as school stewards in the Anchorage School Districts camper host program. We lived on a school campus for free in exchange for maintaining a presence on campus. The school even had 50 amp electrical hookups. Mary and I both agree that living in the school parking lot is the best RV site we have ever had (at least for any length of time). We had a beautiful view of the Chugach Mountains and access to multiple bike trails leading all over the city. We were not crowded in an RV park. Our neighbors were the people who used the fields on campus for playing; flying drones and model airplanes; walking dogs; etc. The only other visitors were moose who were passing through.

Anchorage provided a great base for all our activities. If you are visiting Alaska, I would suggest bypassing Anchorage there are much nicer places to visit. There are some things about Anchorage that we will miss - the bike trails, the beautiful views of the mountains, the proximity to other places that we really enjoyed, the people we met and friends we made. There are also things we will not miss - a shortage of good restaurants (not great - there are none of those - just good), the Golden Nugget RV Park, and the aggressive drivers.

Alaska (including Anchorage) are part of the United States, but in many ways they are very different than the lower forty-eight. The people are different and the values are different. I don't mean that negatively, but I don't know any other way to explain it. If you have watched any of the shows about Alaska on the Discovery Channel or other channels, they are pretty accurate representations of Alaska outside of Anchorage. Alaskans describe Anchorage as being about ten miles outside of Alaska.

I don't know that either one of us will miss Anchorage, but I am sure both of us will miss Alaska. Alaska is beautiful and there is a lot to see and do. We have had a lot of "firsts" in Alaska - if you have been reading our blog, you are aware of many of those, if not you might want to read some of our earlier post.

Adios Alaska - Hasta luego!!!