Saturday, September 03, 2011

Sourdough Campground

Sourdough Campground in Tok, Alaska is one of those "must stop" places on the Alaska Journey. In June and July they have nightly shows, but we arrived too late in the season to see them. We did, however, get to experience the infamous "Pancake Toss."

Dave of Sourdough Campground explained the rules as he set down a fresh batch of sourdough pancakes that smelled, well, yummy:
  1. Everyone gets two tries.
  2. You can roll the pancakes, ball them up, frisbee them -- anything you want.
  3. The entire pancake must go into the bucket labeled "Buckit." Hangers-on don't count.
  4. You must stand behind the line drawn in the sawdust.
  5. Winner gets a free breakfast. Wimps get ridicule.
I got mentally and physically prepared. I rolled my sourdough pancake into a baseballesque approximation. I visualized it arcing gracefully into the bucket. I channeled Madonna in "A League of Their Own."
I felt the energy -- I could actually see the pancake soaring through space to land precisely in the center of the bucket. I launched my pancake into the void.

It landed two feet behind the bucket.

I took my second try, and repeated everything, including the overthrow. Doughy crumpled bunches of pancake now littered the floor like tiny "agonies of defeat." Dejected, I gave the floor to John.

John stepped up to the plate. He stared at the target, his expression one of determination and will. He aimed. He threw. He missed. He also repeated -- everything. No free breakfast for us!

So we may not be the best sourdough pancake throwers, but the second part of the evening was just beginning -- the bonfire.

Our friends, Harlan and Sue, had unexpectedly selected this same park on a night when we were there, along with a father and son from Switzerland and two tent camping women from Germany. Harlan, Sue, John and I had some educating to do -- none of the others had been in North America long enough to learn about toasting marshmallows! We took this duty very seriously, and soon had them gobbling gooey, flaming cubes of caramelized sugar, the perfect accompaniment to a light, golden, and ultimately tasteless American beer:

Sourdough Campground was a lot of fun. We did have breakfast there the morning we left, which was sourdough pancakes and reindeer sausage. Here is John sampling a "Reindeer on a Stick":
And John shared a very special photo with the owners. When he was here in 2006, someone had rearranged the letters on a Sourdough Campground sign:
The woman who owns the campground laughed when we showed it to her. She said she vividly remembers that night -- they had an extraordinary amount of business! I still can't figure out what the sign originally said -- "Free Show, Free Wi-fi, Laundry" are obvious (and confirmed by the owner), but there are too many letters left over. Any guesses?


Sharon Del Rosario said...

It might be Free Showers, Free Wi-Fi, Laundry, but I can't do anything with the letters GIHAD. HI GAD? HAGID? Nope, must be some other letters left off. It was a neat place to visit, anyway!

O. B. Sirius said...

I thought it was "free showers," too, but the cg owner confirmed it was "show" or "shows." Unfortunately, she couldn't remember the rest!

Ann Owen said...

I still can't remember exactly what it said!
David and I are now married <3