Anchorage Exploration

Anchorage Travel Blog

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8.5.08 Anchorage Exploration


We were slow arising this morning, but were happy to meet campground neighbors with a Lazy Daze, Beth D. and her son- we just love meeting others with a Lazy Daze RV and had a good time sharing information.


Then we headed off into the city this afternoon- the 5 mile ride in on the Glenn Highway is terrific except for construction lanes lined with orange flags and barrels.  Occasionally, a barrel is moved into the lane a few feet and provided challenges for slaloming by- but I don’t think I hit any! 


Thanks to the Church’s book, we knew just where to park our RV downtown- I didn’t see any other places.  It was the north side of 3rd Avenue, between A and C streets, just across from the Howard Johnson’s.  You stuff bills or coins into a numbered slot in a mailbox-like, self-pay box, which corresponds with your parking site number.  There was no ticket to put on your windshield, no timer or ticketer that I witnessed, but we dutifully stuffed in $1 per hour.  We saw these interesting payment boxes all over the downtown parking areas.


Then we walked around downtown, visiting the 3 Visitor’s Centers on the fun and touristy 4th Avenue.  One is the Anchorage Visitor’s Center log cabin with the sod roof, one is the Public Lands Information Group (in the Federal Building requiring a security screening), and then an Alaska Visitor’s Center, where they can help make ferry reservations.


We’re really torn on making ferry reservations as we’re tired of having reservations rule our actions.  We might just wing it, although apparently August is getting full.  We would rather not wait until September to head down into the NW Pacific, we don’t think.  Jazy wisely suggested we work out a plan tonight and book tomorrow if we want to.  We found online a "See Alaska Pass" which would allow us to buy a southbound pass from Haines to  Prince Rupert (our plan all along) and to hop off in 3 different cities along the way.  We could add the RV and pre-book if wanted and still get up to 25% savings per person (not for the RV).  So that may be what we do.  However, I’m for just winging it!


Lia finally bought some native moccasins, made of soft beaver fur, and she’s thrilled.  I’m not too happy that they are animal skins, but I do think she will cherish them.  If needed, in a few years we can ship them back to the store owner, Ms. Hernandez at Alaska Fur Enterpirse (333 W. 4th Ave, Ste 226, 99501) and for $15 she'll put in new felt bottom and lining.  She said the skins will last for many years and stretch over time.


Jazy and I stick more to the local chocolate and birch caramel.  Charles prefers the Alaska blueberry gummy bears.  We did buy some elk jerky at a highway stand, only to learn that our proprietor gets them from Utah.  What culinary experiences!


We also walked down to the Ulu Factory and bought a small ulu with a bowl-shapped cutting board for the RV.  It was fun to see the massive production of these famous Eskimo palm knives.  We see their ulus all over Alaska, so I waited to buy one at the factory itself.


We returned to ride bikes around the campground.   


I think the campground here is an oasis from the city, although we’ll head in again tomorrow to see more Anchorage sites like the museum, the solar system (walk one step per second and it is like a light year, starting at the sun), and Earthquake Park (huge 1964 earthquake here).  I looked at the campground closest to downtown and it is still a distance bike ride to 4th Avenue area (and I’m not real confident of the kids’ city biking ability- can you say "stress"). 


Perhaps we can bike the Anchorage famed bike trails if the weather is nicer tomorrow.  It’s still overcast and chilly, but at least it isn’t raining, and we’re hoping it clears later in the week.

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photo by: anupa_rk