Capistrano has the swallows. The midwest has the robins. New Jersey has the Snookies. Every place has that thing that when the first arrives, it symbolizes that summer is almost here.
In Anchorage, that would be the coaches.
Many tourists coming to Anchorage (or more accurately, through Anchorage) arrive on cruise ships coming into Whittier or Seward. Many of them come into Anchorage because its where the bigger hotels are at, and its a good halfway point on the road to Denali. While many of those folks ride the train, the more visible mode of transport is coach buses.
During the summer, there are loads of coach buses. During the winter, there is practically none. It’s such a contrast between the two that you can literally predict the seasons by the number and appearance of coaches coming in. The last couple of weeks they began trickling in with rumors of the first cruise ships arriving from Asia. In a couple of weeks, it will be a flood of big white buses cruising up and down the major city roads. Parking lots at cheap restaurants will have the stream of heavy jacketed Lower 48s shuffling away. Walkways next to hotels with stacks and stacks of suitcases tagged with such and such exotic vacations waiting to be loaded in whatever comes to pick it up.
They say that Winter Anchorage belongs to us Locals, but Summer Anchorage belongs to the Tourists. Well, now the coaches are arriving, it’s time to start giving it up to them and find a nice place off the grid for a few months.