What can I say about Chicken, Alaska? With a permanent population of three, it’s
certainly the tiniest town we’ll visit on our summer odyssey. Since our last
visit in 2010, the “town” has prospered. There is a second campground. Chicken
Gold Camp is the one we stay in and it has nearly doubled in size. And good
news for Jim, the gift shop is A LOT BIGGER! Why, they even added a nice restaurant. I had the
Dredge Sandwich. Slices of roast beef, cheddar cheese, sauteed onions and bell
peppers and creamy horseradish spread on
toasted sourdough bread. It was HEAVENLY.
There’s a fancy metal chicken proudly perched
on a hill overlooking the campground and one of those directional signs with
cities and mileage listed that are all chicken related.
Names like Roosterberg,
Belgium, Fowl Cay, Bahamas, Two Eggs, Florida, Cluck New Mexico, Cockadoodle, Australia
or Poulet Island, Malvinas. It was a great idea.
Today we visited downtown Chicken for a cold beer and some friendly conversation. In the Chicken Creek Saloon we met Toad, clearly a character worth knowing. Toad started out the conversation by showing Jim where Jimmy Hoffa carved his name into the bar. Toad said he sat right next to Jimmy Hoffa and pointed at a bar stool and said "that seat right there." Jim asked if Toad talked to Hoffa and Toad said "No, you don't talk to Jimmy." The best part is this all occurred after Hoffa disappeared. Now Toad will tell you he’s either 84 or 86. Looking at him, I
find it hard to believe he’s either of those, but who knows, Toad may just
carry his age well. Toad arrived here in 1969 and commenced to building himself
a home all by himself. Total cost was $2.53. Toad says Mother Nature provided
almost everything he needed. From the trees he cut for logs and timber to the
moss he packed between the logs for chinking. 44 years later the cabin floor is
still bare earth. Wondering what the $2.53 was for? He spent it on Plexiglas
for windows. Toad spends all year here. Cool old guy, still loves Ronald
Reagan, hates politicians, worries about claim jumpers and likes ice cold beer
in the morning. He’ll even ask if it’s OK to light up a cigarette. This is Toad with Linda, another interesting local.
Had a young
man stop to say goodbye to all the locals. He was off to college to learn
how to make wooden hull sailboats. He says he’s excited to learn how to steam bend
wood. Who knew there was a college degree in sailboats? As I said the town is prospering, they put in public toilets for all the tourists. It's called the Chicken Poop and it's a three holer. Pretty up town.
Tomorrow we'll drive to Eagle. It's a 3 hour, 100 mile drive. The own is very old and still has it's original fort. Should be interesting.