Our Lazy Daze Motorhome

Our Lazy Daze Motorhome
2009 Lake Louise

Friday, July 10, 2009

Alaska - Part IX - Cooper Landing to Anchor Point, Kenai Peninsula

Day 40, Sunday, June 28, 2009

Today, we attended St. John Newmann Catholic Church. Before the service, Father Dick greeted everyone without his robe on. He told us on Friday that he would be teaching on healing and offer the anointing with oil to the sick. It was a very unusual service. The Catholic churches we have attended are usually not as warm as this one. The people were friendly and accepting of the anointing with oil. His homily was exceptionally interesting. Father Dick made a smoked salmon dip for us to enjoy after the service. After we went back to the campsite to change clothes, we all headed off to Soldotna to buy groceries, do laundry and find a hot spot to pay bills. We stopped at McDonalds for dinner and after returning to the campground, we all sat around the campfire until about 11:30 pm.

Day 41, Monday, June 29, 2009

Today, Ed and Hank went fishing again. Hank caught 6 and Ed caught none. We all felt sorry for him because they fished all day. It seems you can be standing next to someone that is catching fish and you won’t. Their grandson will arrive on Thursday and the Bergers will arrive on Saturday so they will make more time for fishing next week. The Sockeye will be running until July 14 and we think the limit will still be 6 each. Winkie and I relaxed all day, caught up on journaling, and birdwatched. I made spaghetti for dinner.

Day 42, Tuesday, June 30, 2009

This morning we vacuum packed Hank’s 6 fish from yesterday’s catch and took them to Hamilton’s Store to freeze. We stopped by the post office to mail postcards and packages to friends and family. We then headed the 125 miles to Homer. After all, we had nothing else to do. Along the way we stopped to take pictures and visited the small town of Ninilchik. There is a Russian Church there. The shop we went into was named “The Francis-Rose”. I was immediately drawn to Charlene, the owner of the shop. She was so happy and full of love. She mentioned that she was raising her 12 year old grandson because her daughter had died in an accident. Her name was Charlene and we were instant friends. We exchanged stories of loss and tears of joy. In some ways, her story of her daughter paralleled our loss of my niece, Faith. I had picked up a jasper bracelet and was about to pay for it when she said, “Let me give it to you as a gift. I want to.” It turned out, she was the gift, not so much the bracelet. We hugged several times before leaving her shop uplifted. It was one of those strange occurrences that only happen a few times in your life. We arrived in Homer around 4:00 pm and drove down the spit, shopped, checked on halibut fishing charters, and checked out Emerald Airlines. By this time, it was almost 6:00 pm. We decided to go down to the dock where the one-engine Otter float plane was located. This is the plane we will be taking on our bear viewing excursion on July 11. As we got to the dock, the people were just returning from bear viewing. They talked about where they had been and what they saw. How excited they were over the plane trip to Katmai NP! One young woman proudly showed me a close shot of a mother grizzly standing on her back legs with two cubs near. We returned to the RV for a dinner of grilled salmon, asparagus, cole slaw and corn bread. Yummy!! We sat around our campfire chatting with Hank, Winkie and Ron, our camp host, until mid-night.

Day 43, Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Yesterday, we made plans to ship our salmon home. This morning, someone from UPS sent Hank into a panic when he found out we needed to take the fish to the airport by noon. It was already 10:00 am so we grabbed the fish from the freezer at Hamilton’s store and “raced” to Soldotna. The guys dropped me off at a hot spot so I paid bills, checked email and uploaded to the blog while they took the fish to the shipper. As it turned out, the shipper held the fish in their freezer overnight and will ship them tomorrow for Friday delivery. We were happy that we were able to send home 30 lbs of salmon for $87, that’s close to $3.00 per pound. Not too bad!! When we arrived back at the campground, Ed and I took a bike ride up the road into an upscale log cabin community where the doctors and lawyers live. The homes were beautiful and right on Kenai Lake. We returned for a light supper and watched a chic flick, Steel Magnolias, before retiring!!

Day 44, Thursday, July 2, 2009

Today, we have been at Quartz Creek Campground for two weeks. Long time for us, we usually like to stay on the move. Early this morning, Hank and Winkie left for Anchorage to pick up their 15 year old grandson from the airport. We got a recommendation from Ron, our camp host, to hike up to the falls so we drove the motorhome to the overflow parking area at the Russian River Campground, biked up the hill to the trailhead, and hiked the 3 miles in to the Russian River Falls. It was incredible! Hundreds of salmon were taking turns jumping up the falls. It was hard to capture with our cameras, but what an experience to watch!! Those tired little fish trying to jump up the 6-8 feet and swim against the current to the top of the falls. We trekked back the three miles and felt really blessed that our bike ride back was all downhill!! We had steak for dinner and shared Herb and Nancy’s campfire.

Day 45, Friday, July 3, 2009

We went to Soldotna to do laundry, shopped at Fred Meyers, and stopped on the way back at Gwin’s store for more of their 50% off bargains. When we returned back to the campground, Hank and Winkie had taken Ryan fishing on the Kenai. Hank caught three. We walked over and visited with Herb and Nancy and their friends, Ross and Margie, and went to bed around midnight.

Day 46, Saturday, July 4, 2009

All five of us crammed into Hank’s truck and went to Seward for their big 4th of July Celebration. The Mount Marathon Race is 3.5 miles straight up a 3,022 foot peak overlooking Resurrection Bay. Some slopes are as severe as 60 degrees. The runners check before the race starts, check in at the top, and get down any way they can. The youth only run half way up the mountain. Believe it or not, there was a 7 year old that finished in just over one hour. We watched the women come down the mountain filthy dirty and cut up as they took short-cuts down over rock shears. The men’s race was too late for us so we had lunch at the Catholic Church and then headed back the slow 45 miles to the campground at Cooper Landing. After dinner, we walked over to Herb and Nancy’s site. Hank, Winkie, and Ryan also came over. Ross and Margie, Herb and Nancy’s friends, were there and Margie began sharing that today is the anniversary of Nancy losing her husband, son and his best friend in a car accident several years ago by a drunk driver. As Margie told Nancy’s story, we felt as though we were intruding on a secret personal moment in Nancy’s life, but we also felt blessed that they felt comfortable telling us. Herb and Nancy are two very special people that we had the privilege of meeting and getting to know on this trip. We will definitely stay in touch with them in the years to come. This is what we love about camping, not just here in Alaska, but everywhere…the people are so great!!

Day 47, Sunday, July 5, 2009

We drove to Anchorage to meet Martha and Jim. We went to Sams, Costco, Fred Meyers and several outdoor stores for supplies for them. Their RV rental came equipped with all the utensils and equipment, but they needed food and fishing stuff. Jim finally settled on buying waders with the shoes built in. We are working to make their Alaskan RV experience a nice one. They are growing more accustomed to camping, something they have never done on their own. After all, another couple showed us the ropes and we are returning the favor. We returned to the campground and had dinner around 10:00 pm, way too late for me!!!

Day 48, Monday, July 6, 2009

We had lunch at the Sunrise CafĂ© and headed to Gwin’s store where we picked up a few ½ price t-shirts and Jim got a fishing license. In the afternoon, Ed took Jim fishing on the Kenai across the ferry. Neither caught anything, but they had a good time anyway. Jim broke Ed’s rod so Ed let him fish with his. Later, Hank came over and asked us to help him copy his pictures to a CD so we made him several CDs so he could format his card. We sat around the campfire listening to the guy’s fish stories about the big ones that got away. Jim thought it was comical the way everyone got so mad when they lost or foul hooked a fish. We girls listened until either we were bored to death or the wine had kicked in, or all of the above -- and headed to bed.

Day 49, Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hank and Winkie left this morning headed for Denali so Jim and Martha moved into their spot across from us. We drove into Soldotna to return Ed’s broken fishing rod to the Trustworthy Hardware store. We stopped at the St. Elias Brewing Company for lunch. Their pizza was excellent. In the afternoon, Ed and Jim went fishing on the Kenai and Ed caught one so they filleted it and we had ½ of it for dinner. Martha and I just relaxed awhile and then took a bike ride around the campground. She hasn’t ridden a bike in years and had to get readjusted, but then did just fine. After dinner, we sat around the campfire for a while then decided we were all much too tired to socialize and went to bed.

Day 50, Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Can you believe that we have been away from home 50 days already? In some ways, it seems like we left only yesterday and in others it seems we’ve been gone a year. This is the longest trip we have made thus far, but hope to do something similar again…but who knows? Today, we planned to take a glacier tour in Seward so we took the rental. Martha was pilot and I was co-pilot. Before we left, they wanted fill up with fresh water but we had trouble getting the tank to take the water. I guess we weren’t holding our mouths just right. We got away a few minutes later than expected for our 11:30 departure but could have made the dock by 11:35. We called ahead and Renown wouldn’t hold the boat 5 minutes for us. Oh well, we did some shopping and sight-seeing around town. We stopped at a small campground just next to the Sealife Center and the host gave us a recommendation for lunch. Ray’s down by the docks was absolutely wonderful. The glassed-in patio was cozy and bright. Everyone had the cod special as recommended; three pieces of lightly battered cod, cole slaw, French fries, and hot bread, and all for only $10 each. Every bite made us happy that we “missed our boat”! Before leaving Seward, we drove up to the Exit Glacier. We walked the .5 miles out to a good viewing area and took pictures. The glacier has receded considerable since before the turn of the century so we were questioning how Al Gore’s thoughts on global warming had much impact back then.

Day 51, Thursday, July 9, 2009

Today was a sad day. After three weeks of heaven on the Kenai Lake, we left our little nest at Quartz Creek Campground in Cooper Landing, along with the wonderful hosts, Ron and Carol McNaughton, and took off for Anchor Point. We stopped in Kenai to watch the dip netting, but it doesn’t start there until tomorrow. Dip netting is something only Alaska residents get to do. They take these huge nets and fish for salmon. There is a limit as to how many they can catch, but it is to sustain them for the winter. Primarily, from what we have seen, most fishing done here is sports fishing for the non-Alaska residents. People fly in from all over the world to fish. While in the small town of Kenai, we visited the Kenai Russian Orthodox Church and got a tour by the priest there. Along the way to Anchor Point, we stopped in Ninilchik and visited the gift shop to see my friend Charlene and then walked up the hill to the Ninilchik Russian Orthodox Church. Small world. The priest we visited earlier in Kenai pastured this church for many years before going there. While there, we found the dock where the group will be departing for their halibut fishing tomorrow and picked up a fishing license for Martha. With our detour, we traveled about 150 miles today, arriving at the Kyllonen RV Park about 6:00 pm. Kyllonen is a commercial campground with full hook-ups and wi-fi for $34 per night. They also have a laundry and nice restrooms with showers. We started a campfire and Ed grilled the remainder of the fresh salmon. It was great!! Everyone is looking forward to a great day of halibut fishing tomorrow so we turned in early. It sounds as though this part of the trip has been all about fishing!! But, when the fish are running, one must take advantage! Along with the fishing, there are many diverse areas to visit and sights to see that you can’t see in the lower 48. Our visit to Alaska has definitely been interesting and educational.

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