Friday, June 12, 2009
We departed Riley Creek Campground in Denali N.P. at 1:15 pm AT and headed toward Talkeetna. We stopped at Cubby’s for a few food items and took the 14 mile road into Talkeetna where we found a site at the Talkeetna Camper Park with water and electric. Our mileage was 25,530.3. We arrived at 6:00 pm. After checking in, we drove on into Talkeetna and had dinner at the Wildflower Café. (We parked next to the grass airfield where bush planes take off and land.) We both had a grilled Halibut sandwich and bought a small rock vase from the management made by a local artist for $30. Our campground was at the train depot and there were lots of folks from the tour buses loading and unloading onto passenger trains. Talkeetna is the base for mountain climbers that are climbing Mt. McKinley. It was wet and chilly so we stayed in and watched a movie and headed to bed early.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
After we checked out, we drove back into Talkeetna and bought t-shirts for the Burgers at the museum, bought another rock vase, and walked through the gift shops. We had elk sausage and veggie flatbread sandwiches at the Mountain High Pizza. We left Talkeetna at 2:15 pm in the rain headed for Wasilla. Wasilla is larger than we thought and is spread out along the Parks Highway. We arrived at Walmart for the night at about 4:00, however over-knighting was not allowed there. We met a nice couple from Nebraska that was having wheel bearing problems. We offered to help but what do we know about wheel bearings…nothing. He got it fixed temporary and we followed them to the Big Bear RV Park about a mile away. Mileage upon arrival was 25,600.5. The woman working there shared lots of information on the Kenai Peninsula and Katmai National Park. We had local Anchorage TV, watched a little and turned in.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We spent most of the day housecleaning, doing laundry, etc. We stayed on the phone quite a while making reservations for the Marine Highway ferry and with the Bergers finalized our flight from Homer into the Katmai NP. We had tacos for dinner and just relaxed and read the remainder of the evening.
Monday, June 15, 2009
We left the Big Bear RV Park at 11:30 am on our way to the Kenai. We shopped at Fred Meyer in Wasilla and stopped at the post office to mail post cards and birthday cards to the grandkids. We drove through Anchorage intending to stop at the Creek wood Inn Campground with full services. It was less than appealing, on one of the busiest urban streets in downtown Anchorage so we decided to drive back to a Centennial Camper Park municipal campground. It was lovely, but because of political reasons the campground was closed from Monday noon until Thursday morning, so we continued down the Seward Highway, drove through the Bird Creek State Campground. The roads were more than rutted, and as Ed got out checking one of the sites, we found that it was mosquito-infested. He had about 10 mosquitoes on him getting back in the LD. So we continued driving along the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet. It was beautiful. The day was sunny and warm. We stopped along the way at a turnout and saw Dall Sheep up on the mountain behind us. We turned on Portage Valley Road toward Whittier. This was our first stop on the Kenai Peninsula. At mile 4, we turned into the Williwaw Campground (USFS) with lots of trees, wide paved roads and large sites. It is surrounded by mountains and glaciers on three sides and sits directly below overhanging Middle Glacier. It is right next to the Williwaw Creek Salmon Viewing Area. The salmon will not be running until late July, but there are trout in the creek. We had a glass of wine sitting outside while we enjoyed the view. Ed grilled chicken and Jeanne made a nice wine sauce and broccoli. It was a great having dinner under the glaciers!!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
We awakened at 9:30 am, chilly and rainy. We caught up on our journaling. We drove into Whittier through the 2.5 mile single lane (shared with the train) tunnel. Whittier was depressed. It looks like something left over from WWII because it was. Founded in 1943, when the US Army used this ice-free port to build an Alaska Army Base. The town was made accessible by the road-rail toll tunnel which connects Arm with Passage Canal, an arm of Prince William Sound. What we discovered while here is that this is the only piece of land that connects, making the peninsula (instead of an island). After a short driving tour, we returned through the tunnel and pulled over on the other side to take pictures of the Portage Glacier and met four guys from Alabama; two from Montgomery and two from Birmingham. They had just flown into Anchorage and were headed to Soldontna to fish for 10 days. We returned to the Williwaw Campground. It was cold, but we took a hike on the trail next to the salmon viewing stream. (There was no salmon!) We grilled marinated salmon from our freezer (from Hoover’s Costco) for dinner. We hardly slept; the wind was howling and it was cold.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
We woke at 8:30 am and Winkie and Hank Boemer, our friends from Georgia, were knocking on the door at 9:30 am. We decided to take another trip into Whittier with them. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center and saw a great little 20 minute film about how glaciers form and viewed the icebergs in Portage Lake. We went back into Whittier with them. A cruise ship was there, so some of the shops were open. We walked around, visited a coffee shop and had coffee, chai and fudge. We returned to the campground with quite a delay. There had been an accident in the tunnel and we waited an extra hour to return to the campground. We got back around 5:30 pm and visited with them in their travel trailer and made them a CD with their pictures on it, so they could format their camera card. We watched a movie and turned in around 11:00 pm.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
We left the Williwaw Campground with the Boemers at 9:00 am and drove up Portage Glacier Road to the Seward Highway. We saw eagles on Arm and one was sitting very close to the highway so we got some photos. We needed gas and propane, so we backtracked to Girdwood (home of Senator Stevens of the “Bridge to Nowhere” fame!) then headed toward Cooper Landing, where we luckily got two campsites at Quartz Creek Campground on the Kenai Lake. It was beautiful. When we arrived, we thought we had a propane leak, but it was overfilled and when the tank got to the correct level, it stopped leaking. We drove down to where the Russian River meets the Kenai River. It was amazing…there were hundreds of fishermen, combat fishing for migrating red salmon. We stood at the Russian River Ferry and witnessed many fish being caught. Ed and Hank were very excited to fish tomorrow.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Hank and Ed went fishing. Jeanne and Winkie were headed to Soldotna and got a call that Ed had fallen into the river while trying to catch a salmon. Jeanne drove the rig up to the river and brought him dry clothes. Ed and Hank returned to fishing. Jeanne and Winkie shopped at Soldotna. The guys were freezing so they came back to the campsite and the girls came in later. The guys had seen a grizzly about 400 feet away from where they were standing eating the discarded salmon carcasses.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Ed and Hank fished Quartz Creek. We later met Herb and Nancy Quinn from Eagle River, AK who had the site next to Hank and Winkie. They were canning salmon and we were curious, so we asked them how it was done. The guys went back to the river to fish with the other thousands of fishermen while Jeanne and Winkie visited with Herb and Nancy. They gave us recipes for canned salmon, barbecued salmon, and smoked salmon, along with reindeer food. Jeanne and Winkie were invited to eat dinner with Herb and Nancy. They ate barbequed salmon, salad, and watermelon. We have found that Alaskans are very warm and accommodating. The guys returned from the river around 11:00 pm and found Jeanne and Winkie sitting around the campfire. The guys had no dinner and too much scotch. We retired around 1:00 am.
Sunday, June 21, 2009 Father’s Day
This morning we decided to stay several more days here at the Quartz Creek USFS CG. We all (Jeanne, Ed, Hank, and Winkie) took off to Soldotna in Hank’s truck. We shopped at the Hardware and Fishing store, did our laundry, paid bills, went to Fred Meyers, visited Hank’s friend’s Walter and Wilda’s campsite, and took a drive through the Centennial Park CG where the Lazy Daze people, Pat and Lee Koontz, are staying for the summer. They live in NC in the winter. We were not taken by the Centennial CG. We left Soldotna and got back to Quartz Creek CG about 6:30 pm. All Ed’s kids and Tracy and Amy called today to wish Ed a Happy Father’s Day. We watched a movie and turned in.