June 15 – Homer, Alaska


The beginning to this day was exciting (I’m still in Seward) – at 6 AM I walked 100 feet from the coach to the end of the swimming portion (2.7 miles) of the AlaskaMan Triathlon – the first of its kind in the USA.

The water was probably 52 and the air 53 and 100’s of these athletes were swimming and reaching the end of the 1st portion of the race. Some of them could hardly stand up and others hurried over to the bike racks for the next leg of the race.

I then watched the bikers head out of town for 113 miles to Girdwood.

Better men and women than I. The final portion was then running up and down Mt. Alyeska twice which was 27 miles total.

The winner was Andrew Fast from Salt Lake City – do you know him Amanda? He took 11 hours and 18 minutes.

Then back to the coach for the comfort of morning coffee in a warm location.

Now the bad news – the news I have been hoping would never come – the slide would not go back in. Its 9 AM and after frantic phones calls to the manufacturer (not open on Saturday) and reading the book and talking to other campers and finally going to YouTube I discovered how to disconnect the motor and I sent Brenda out to find 3 strong guys to help push the slide in.

Mission accomplished by 12:20 and people were lining up for my spot.

Off we go – the slide is braced on the inside so it doesn’t slide out while driving – and the scenery on the Seward Highway was again beautiful. But when we turned and headed west toward Soldotna the landscape flattened out and there were no more mountains.

We did arrive at our campground in Soldotna by 3 PM and it is a large parking lot behind a motel – it will do for the night (we continue on to Homer tomorrow) as it has full hook ups and still no TV. Do the wash (as we cannot get to our clothes with the one slide stuck).

Soldotna is a fishing town on the Kenai River. And is the biggest city for supplies – don’t miss filling up here.

Sunday we carry on to Homer. Heading south on the Sterling Highway and the scenery is boring – no mountains, few hills but the weather is nice.

We did stop at Ninilchik (peaceful settlement by a river) a community that was first settled in 1847 and founded to allow Russians who had married Native Americans to retire and live – Russia did not allow foreigners into the country to retire.

They were right on the Cook Inlet and had a wonderful view – small community of many little houses every which way and no straight streets. They had no public water system and had to go to the water spot?? And bring home water.

Did see the Russian Orthodox Church in town.

Took a walk along the Ninilchik River.

Finally got to Heritage RV Park on the Homer Spit – the spit was formed by a terminal moraine composed of sand, gravel, coal and other debris left by a glacier retreating from the Kenai mountains and is 4.5 miles out into the inlet. Mountains all around and lots of water.

Park is full and has decent size lots. We have a beachfront site for two days and then we have to move.

Went into town to the Visitors center to gather information. Rode around town to explore and stopped at an Art Gallery – great work – there is lots of art in Homer.

Heading home and ran right into Grace Ridge Brewery – been there about a year and they had good beer.

Did spent time exploring the Homer Spit.

Sitting in the front seat of the coach looking out at Kachemak Bay I can watch the otters playing along the shoreline. DSC_0041This bay has the second largest tide in the world, average is 15 feet with max being 28 feet. It was amazing how much land was exposed at low tide.DSC_0059

Monday was supposed to be a good day to accomplish fixing the slide – called the manufacturer to make sure I understood what needed to be done – yes I can do it – after a few more phone calls and 3 hours I was not able to fix it all – I did get one side but the other wouldn’t budge. So called a mobile RV repair and he wasn’t sure if he could get here but would call later. Can’t wait so I called Anchorage (our next stop) and scheduled an appointment with the Winnebago dealer – all set for next week.

Then I found water in the basement – need to dry it out and find the leak – thought it was the inlet hose but after my shower there was more water there so back to investigating.

Then we were here only for 2 days and I can’t find another campground – they are all booked – note to self: popular cities plan ahead!

Did walk the dogs down to the Fishing Hole.

It was created by the Fish and Game Organization in 1984 and it is a large diked area that allows water in during high tide and during low tide the fish cannot escape – a great fishing hole. They do plant hatchery-reared smolt (baby salmon) here to come back at spawn.

Tuesday – did I tell you it seems to rain everyday here? Woke up to rain and rain.

We had to move sites within this campground because someone had already reserved my space – there are lots of caravans coming to tour Alaska so finding space gets harder.

Did get the move done in the rain and all set up again. We did take off for town to buy a couple of things for the coach and did explore the many different art galleries in town. If you like art – they have fantastic pieces here – great artists and they have 12 different galleries.

We did dinner at AJ’s Steakhouse (been there since the beginning of Homer) to hear Hobo Jim – the official balladeer for Alaska.

He was great as a singer and his songs told the stories of Alaska.

Wednesday is overcast but not raining. I ventured out on the bike and rode the entire spit – one end to the other – about 11 miles with some side trips.

Saw the harbor and the “end of the road”

and the “wooden boat society”

and an eagle DSC_0048and lots of water.

Spent some time trying to find the leak but have not found it yet.

Did find the Homer Brewery that has been in operation 21 years. We had Fresh-shucked Jakolof Bay oysters for a snack.IMG_3524

Thursday is overcast but no rain. I think with all this water it is always overcast.

Had to move again because of previous reservations but we are now settled until we head out of town. Did buy my fishing license for a Halibut Charter tomorrow.

Brenda spent most of her day quilting and I trying to figure out the leak in the basement.

We did take time out to visit the Bear Creek Winery in Homer – they had fruit wines that were good – we did a sampling and bought 3 bottles for later enjoyment.

Friday is my fishing day – up at 5 and to the docks by 6. I am going with 5 others and the captain and his daughter out Halibut fishing. An hour and half ride – before I go too far it is sunny outside and 56 degrees at dawn – out into the inlet and we anchored and pulled out the poles – our girl Friday baited the hooks and gave us advice as to how to hook the big one.DSC_0043

Did get to see some of the volcanos that are located across the bay – the latest one erupted in 2009.

 

First fish in turned out to be the biggest (58 pounds) – not me – but we continued to fish. With Halibut fishing you are only allowed one under 29 inches and one over. My first was 27 inches and the mission to find the big one. I eventually hauled in two sharks and 3 more small Halibut that were returned to the sea. Everyone was rooting me on – remember they had their two and I was the last – finally got my last one – again not the biggest but it was the smallest of the big ones – I was happy and besides my arms could not reel in another fish.IMG_3520

On the way back to the dock the Coast Guard pulled up and did an inspection with the Fish and Wildlife to check our bounty and the boat safety issues – we passed and they let us go on.

Lots of sea otters in the water and we did see one whale.

Back at the dock another company picks up the fish and hauls it up to the cleaning tables – they hang it and everyone gets there picture taken.

And then they fillet them and bag them for you – you can have them pressured sealed and quick frozen and delivered to your home – wherever.

Brenda processed our catch and we ended up with 14 pounds at a cost of $24 per pound. In gratitude for her wrapping up all that fish I had to take her back to the Grace Ridge Brewery for a reward.

Saturday is the second day in a row with sunshine – oh are we blessed – though the temp is only 56.

I did take off for a bike ride into town and out on the spit – did 13 miles.  Quite the motorhome!

But today is our day – we are headed to Halibut Cove on a water taxi. Got to the harbor early as parking is an issue on the Spit, so we stopped at Salty Dawg

for a beer and waited and talked with the locals.

We left at 12:30 from the harbor and arrived 45 minutes later – saw sea otters and Gull Island – whoa that is a lot of sea gulls.

Halibut Cove started as a fishing village with herring salteries to an artist community.

What a gorgeous place – no outside road access – no roads within the town and all private land. They only allow visitors to come (unless you are staying the night) between 1 and 9 PM – the couple of restaurants and art galleries don’t open until 1 PM.

The most beautiful place we have been – seemed like Fantasy Island, but it was a cove with some large and some small homes butting the shoreline.

Had the greatest lunch at Saltry Restaurant (no Wi-Fi to post on FB) and all local foods and fishes. Enjoyed Ceviche, Smoked Salmon Pate and Sockeye Salmon tacos – soooo good!

After lunch we were able to walk around on the boardwalk (only way to connect the buildings) and visit a couple of art galleries and a hike thru the woods. DSC_0072Ride back uneventful.

 

Did something we haven’t done before – Moose Looking – yes we took a ride at 9 PM and drove the Skyline Drive – top of the mountain in Homer. Lots of houses but a lot of woods and nature. Didn’t see any mooses but the view was spectacular.

Have to show off my two grandsons that we miss so much – especially Tecopa’s first Birthday.

Despite the problems you face along the way, the journey and scenery is so worth it.DSC_0062

Sunday is off to Kenai and then Anchorage.

Categories: Uncategorized

2 comments

  1. Love hearing of your journey, thanks for sharing your experiences. Safe travels all the way.

    Like

  2. WOW, great shots. So glad your enjoying Alaska. Hope all goes well with the repairs.

    Like

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