Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Bertha Creek Campground

The morning clean-up crew arrives at Bird Creek Campground.

Reached this campground, about half-way to Seward, around 1:00 a.m. Only $10 for a campsite! It's well off the highway, yet incredibly noisy, being situated in a narrow valley through which the highway runs. The sound of a creek only a short distance away is overpowered by trucks.

It's much colder in this mountain valley. And because of its remoteness, I'm more wary of bears. I stowed my energy bars, jerky and peanuts in the motorcycle's hard bags. (Until now, I didn't hesitate to keep these things in my tent.)

Speaking of bears, as I was breaking camp this morning, I looked through the bushes to the neighboring campsite, because I had caught a glimpse of some really hairy legs. A big black bear was foraging. It checked out the table and fire pit, then moved on to the site where a group of girls were camped. He created quite a bit of excitement over there. They were thrilled!

These guys are extremely quiet, sneaking around. Look at those feet!

Headed back into Anchorage after 11:00. Looking for an internet site, I went into what looked like a coffee shop. It turned out to be a Philippine restaurant. They were open for breakfast, but I couldn't recognize what the one customer was eating.

I tracked down the main library. Unfortunately, I couldn't hook up my own computer, but did use theirs to check e-mail. The librarian told me I could find wireless at "Kaladi Brothers" coffee shop, and gave me directions. He also showed me the way to Potter Street, where "The Motorcycle Shop" is located. Outside, a lunchtime bagpipe and drum "concert". A bit too much for me.

I was beginning to learn my way around the city and easily found "The Motorcycle Shop". Inquired about getting an appointment. They were booked for today, but said they might be able to fit me in Wednesday or Thursday. I was penciled in for Wednesday. They give priority to travelers.

While there, I met a Texan riding the same motorcycle. He's having some tire problems, since his dealer mounted the tires backwards! Fully loaded, the bike weighs 900 pounds.

"How do you know?" I asked.

"I got on it and had my wife weigh it on our cattle scale."

Not far away, in a strip mall, I found "Kaladi Brothers". They charge $4 per day for wireless (though the ice cream shop next door offers it for free!) Asked if I could share a table in the busy shop. Met a fascinating young fellow named "Andrew" who said he is doing his doctoral dissertation on health structures of indigenous tribes in Western Alaska. He's a student at "Case-Western" in Ohio, though he lives here.

I spent much of the day here, catching up on the blog and on e-mail. In a message, Jessica (my beautiful daughter!) reports receiving her final grades: A's and a B! That's wonderful! She rightfully states "I'm proud of myself." Not as proud as I am!

Another message, from Anne Girardin (fellow "Adventure Camp Graduate" and Alaska-to-Tierra del Fuego traveler) says she's just down the road, in Homer and will be here in a day or two to meet up with her traveling partners.

When I asked him about restaurants, Andrew suggested "Thai Kitchen", his favorite. Wrapping up at "Kaladi's", I tried to find it. Wandering what looked like the suburbs east of Anchorage (noting how the new homes, estates actually, were climbing high into the mountains beyond), I finally found the restaurant in another strip mall, next to a casino. Stepped through the door and was a bit shocked to find two young men wrestling on the floor. Embarrassed, they jumped to their feet. "We're closed."

No problem. I had spotted another of Jason's recommendations, "Moose's Tooth Restaurant". This place was really busy, but I was seated without delay. They serve up some great thin crust pizza. At the neighboring table, I couldn't help watching a family, who were speaking Russian.

I overcame my discomfort and asked where they are from.


I asked them to repeat it. I have not heard of Magadan, and only later found it on a map. It's in Russia, west of the Kamchatka Peninsula. They come frequently to visit their daughter, who lives here.

I was surprised when they said it is closer to Anchorage than San Francisco is, only a three-hour flight.

In Russia, they refer to the days of the midnight sun as "The White Nights."


cathie said...

More great pictures and stories. It's almost like being there, reading your blog. Thanks for your persistence and dedication!

timtraveler said...

I've got a reader!!!

Thanks - you're too kind...