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We had another rather short travel day today, but it involved negotiating some very busy city streets as we passed through Anchorage, AK.

I did some research and here is what I found: Anchorage has an estimated population of 292,000+ (40% of the entire state) and you'll have to add up the next 35 most populated cities in Alaska to match that many people. That includes the second place city of Juneau, AK (32,000+) and the third place city of Fairbanks, AK (31,000+).

What that means to me is that the Anchorage city streets are the busiest in Alaska and it sure felt that way today when we passed through towing THE POD. In my head I knew we were still in Alaska, but for the short time we were in Anchorage it felt like we could have been in any big city, anywhere in the Lower 48 States.

Over the next few days we found that Anchorage does have some benefits. Gasoline was a little bit cheaper here, presumably because they sell more of it and there is more pricing competition.

Also Tricia was able to locate some new knitting needles she hasn't been able to find in the smaller towns we've been in. There were a lot more restaurants to choose from and we were able to get a really good Halibut Sandwich and Fancy Cheeseburger while in town at a very affordable price.

By making the decision to change campgrounds mid-morning we arrived at our next location early afternoon. When arriving at a First Come First Serve campground I usually like to arrive an hour before checkout time, which in this case would have been 11:00AM. By arriving closer to 1:00PM we found the small 24-campsite state park nearly full for the day.

There were only 4-sites left to choose from and both Winston & VerJean and Tricia & I needed a site. We picked the best of what was left of the less desirable sites and hoped to upgrade the next day when people left. By checking the permits posted on all the campsites I learned that nearly half of them would be leaving the next day.

I spoke to the couple on Campsite #16 and verified they would indeed be leaving and not extending their stay, then made a request to post my permit on their post the next morning so that after they left I would be able to move onto their site before anyone else had a chance to grab it. They had no problem with that, so we were all set with our next day upgrade!

I also noticed that there were a several sites with permits on the posts, but no sign of anyone camping on them other that a folding camp chair in the middle of the driveway? I rationalized that these campsites were all occupied by people traveling in vans and Class B's who were out sightseeing for the day and would soon return. You'll see later I was wrong!

We were on Campsite #2 for our first night here ...

... before we moved to Campsite #16 for the final four nights.

Bird Creek Campground in Chugach State Park is one of Alaska's most visited state park campgrounds. It's not related to the views you have from the campsites or the luxurious bathrooms and hot showers located here, because there is none of that! It's because of what every real estate salesperson always says, "It's location, location, location!"

This campground is located on the shore of Turnagain Arm where Alaska’s most famous bore tide occurs. Most of you may be wondering, "What is a bore tide?" For an indepth explanation check out this LINK, but for a brief explanation read on.

In order for a bore tide to occur several things must be just right. First, you'll need a shallow and narrowing inlet from a broad bay, which perfectly describes the Turnagain Arm just south of Anchorage. Next you'll require a large tidal difference between low and high tide, which here at Turnagain Arm could be as high as 27-feet under perfect conditions, like the five days before and after the full or new moon. Even better if it's near the equinoxes in March and September.

This is what Turnagain Arm looks like during low tide, just a bunch of mud banks.

All of this could result in a 10-foot tall wave rolling into the Turnagain Arm at 15MPH like a tsunami. Well our first night here was ON the full moon, but the results weren't that impressive from where we were watching.

Wednesday night's bore tide did not impress.

Check out Winston's Bore Tide video by clicking HERE!
(WARNING: Turn down your computer's volume if you're watching this at work!)

I'm totally paraphrasing one of Humphrey Bogart's lines from the movie Casablanca when I say:

"Of all the (gin joints) campgrounds, in all the towns,
in all (the world) of Alaska, (she walks into) they pick mine."

You probably have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?

Remember back in the Yukon Territory outside of Whitehorse on May 24th when we crossed paths with Ursula and Tim (who are from Hawaii), plus Karen and Lenny with their daughter Lilia (from Missouri), along with two other couples, one former Airstream owner and another current Airstream owner we haven't met (although we were told they too were at the Airstream Rally last September in Ohio where we met everyone else). They were all in the campground when we returned from watching the bore tide.

Better yet, they were the ones holding the campsites with the folding chairs!

This group sends the former Airstream owner ahead of the pack with his Class B motorhome to scout out a place where they all can camp together who then secures the four sites by paying for the first night on each site and placing folding chairs in the driveways.

Is this fair to the other campers looking for a site? It's not much different than me placing my permit on a site before the previous occupant has left. It's not breaking any of the campground rules which only require that each site be occupied on the first night and not left vacant. I'll let you be the judge!

THURSDAY - After such a busy day yesterday we kind of took it easy after we switched sites this morning, except for when we later went into the nearby town of Girdwood to refill one of our three 30-lb. propane bottles.

Tonight we'll once again attempt to observe the bore tide, this time from a location about two miles closer to camp where the inlet is a little bit narrower which supposedly increases the wave height. We'll see how it goes!

Now that's a little bit better, I'm judging it as a possibe 3-4 foot wave from this distance.

You can really see the true height when it comes crashing on the nearby shore.

This guy missed surfing the wave and is trying to catch back up to it, Good Luck With That!

Here are the rest of the paddleboarders trying to make it safely back to shore.

Just as the show out on the water was winding down we got another big surprise. Remember Katherine and John who we camped with just last week? Well they safely dropped off Lis and Kenton (who were heading back to Southern California) at the Anchorage Airport and picked up their daughter (from Houston, TX) and long time friend (from South Africa) at nearly the same time.

They are currently camping 100-miles south of us in Seward, AK and spent the whole day on a whale watching cruise in Whittier, which is only 33-miles south of here. They too decided to watch the bore tide come in and then just happened to visit the exact same place where we were watching it from. It was great to see them again and to meet their daughter and friend who will be leaving in a few days. We will briefly cross paths with them again at the end of the month when they will have yet another pair of visiting guests.

FRIDAY - Upon arriving here on Wednesday Tricia took the short walk down to Bird Creek. It's what the town and campground are named after. There is also Bird Point, a short piece of land nearby that sticks out into the Turnagain Arm and Bird Ridge where you can find longer hiking trails up into the mountains lining the coast in this area.

This is Bird Creek during low tide.

This is a photo from the same location during high tide.

That is what a 27-foot tidal change can do to a shoreline.

We stopped to take the second Bird Creek photo this morning while we were on our way into Anchorage to do a little sightseeing and shopping.

First up on our little sightseeing adventure is the Sky Harbor Airport. This airport is no ordinary airport, it only has one 1800-foot long runway for take offs and landings and is flanked on both sides by residential homes, right in the middle of Anchorage. It's official address is Cange Street and only the dozen or so residents who live on these two blocks have use of the runway.

Each house in addition to having a garage has an airplane hangar on their property. This situation is not unique to Anchorage, so why does a place like this exist in Alaska? Well consider these few facts. Alaska has six times as many pilots and 16 times as many aircraft per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. and 82% of the communities in Alaska are not accessible by the road system.

Next up we visited the Alaska Wild Berries Store, but not for what you'd think!

Inside of this store you'll find wild berry products, but you'll also find the World's Largest Chocolate Waterfall. They're happy to let you sample most of the products in the store, BUT NOT THE CHOCOLATE IN THE WATERFALL!

After the sightseeing was done we found a place to eat lunch, purchased new knitting needles for Tricia's new hobby and visited the Anchorge Museum. This turned out to be more of an art museum and not the natural history museum that we expected to see. We didn't spent a lot of time there before heading home.

Then just before leaving town we got a phone call from the City of Anchorage Parks and Recreation Department. They informed us that they have cancelled all camping reservations for the rest of the season "in order to address a citywide safety need."

We have had reservations in this city campground for the middle of next month and were just down the street when we got the call so we drove over to see what the problem is. Turns out the city has temporarily turned the campground into one large homeless shelter and does not expect it to revert to a campground anytime soon.

We drove through the campground while we were there and saw all the sites filled with brand new donated tents from several different manufacturers and only a half dozen or so beatup old motorhomes in the few electric sites. We later heard a rumour that there has already been at least one death in the campground, but we are unable to verify the cause of it.

SATURDAY - We sadly said goodbye to all of the Airstreamers in the campground today and wished them safe travels down to Valdez, the location we visited first upon arriving in Alaska.

They had just left the Kenai Peninsula region where we are heading next.

SUNDAY - Tonight marks our 💚 50th night in Alaska 💚, that's half way to our goal of spending 💯 nights here before we leave.

We're going to celebrate with a fancy breakfast at The Bake Shop in Girdwood and then go back to the campground and make preparations to leave Monday morning whenever there is a break in the rain. The forecast basically has it raining everyday for the next ten days. Welcome to the typical Alaska summertime weather pattern!




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