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Published on July 24, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
It looks better with eyes than a camera.

It looks better with eyes than a camera.

I packed up this morning and headed Minnie back towards Anchorage. It was almost 1pm before I left the campground on the Spit, and I will truly miss the wonderful time I spent, walking the beach, riding Honda to town and along the East Road, watching eagles feast on morsels brought in by the surf, and most of all, I will miss the friends I met there.

Dena and Rick behind their pickup camper.

Dena and Rick behind their pickup camper.

We all said our goodbyes this morning with the hope we will meet again down the road sometime. Diana is from Ontario, traveling full-time in a 28′ class c, with a destination of Western BC where her son lives. She was planning on just traveling through Canada, but when she ended up in the Yukon, reasoned she may as well continue into Alaska.

Rick and Dena are from the San Bernardino area. Rick is a recently retired fireman. They are traveling like so many of us adventurers – going where we want and spending as much time as we want in each place. Rick, Dena, and Diana were all going to stay another day, but when the weather forecast for the next couple days was looking rather rainy, they decided to move on, too. We have all decided that Quartzsite for the Big Tent Show will be a good place to meet again.

Glaciers everywhere you look!

Glaciers everywhere you look!

The wind was blowing strong as I drove up Highway 1, but it was mostly a tailwind that helped me along. The traffic was not nearly as bad as the trip down the Peninsula. As I neared Soldotna, I turned towards the town of Kenai, looking to see if anything caught my fancy. There was mention of a lighthouse on my Google maps but I think it was just the name of a small community. There were a few places to drive out to the bay to look for animals, but the gloomy, cold weather wasn’t very inviting. If you are into it, one wildlife area was advertised as as a good place to see all kinds of birds. I think a high-power spotting scope would be a great tool to watch wildlife here in Alaska. Even through binoculars it is hard to see the birds sometimes.

Russian Cemetery.

Russian Cemetery.

I didn’t stop to see any Russian Orthodox Churches. I did, however, find an old Russian community on a motorcycle trip east from Homer while I was staying on the Spit. The settlement is called Voznesenka. I didn’t see much there, but I did walk around in a cemetery and puzzled over the pronunciation of the deceased names.

Tonight I’m at Fred Meyers in Soldotna. I have no idea where I will stay tomorrow, but there is no hurry to get to Anchorage for a couple days. Kleenex has Friday off so we will probably find a hike in the area.

 
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Published on July 23, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
Shops on the Spit.

Shops on the Spit.

One of the best parts of hiking the AT was the people you meet. This trip to see Alaska has been like that in some ways. In campgrounds, tourist attractions, beautiful scenic places, and all along the highway, you run into people with the same pilgrimage – to explore this great and beautiful land of ours.

Me and Diana at Lands End.

Me and Diana at Lands End.

When I was in Seward I ran into a fellow traveler and we became instant friends. We had such a good time talking about our adventures on our journey, we decided to meet up in Homer and spend a few days together enjoying the Peninsula.

I arrived in Homer a day before Diana and the next morning reserved two spots out near the water on Homer Spit. After spending the night at Fred Meyers in Soldotna, Diana joined me here in the Mariner City Campground.

In the afternoon we rode Honda down the Spit to walk around the many shops and tourist haunts scattered like an Atlantic City Boardwalk along the ocean. Diana bought a couple of souvenirs for her kids and I found a fleece jacket with a Homer logo that will always remind me of the good times here. We stopped at a fishing trip place where they were weighing the Halibut caught by the guys on a recent trip. One of the fish weighed 148 pounds and was over 6′ long. Diana has the picture and I will post it when I can get it, so no one thinks it is just a “fish story”.

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There are glaciers across the bay.

There are glaciers across the bay.

Later on we took a walk along the beach as the tide went out. The water was surprisingly warm. We thought it would be quite chilly this far north. Diana’s dog Carter loves to retrieve a stick thrown into the water and we watched him play fetch whenever we found something to throw.

On the way back we ran into another couple we had met earlier and joined them at their camp for good conversation until after 11 pm. The sun finally set and the air grew chilly, so we all retired to our RVs for the night. It was a good day with nice people on Homer Spit.

 
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Published on July 21, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
An unusual clear day!

An unusual clear day!

Views of the Chugach Mountains.

Views of the Chugach Mountains.

After several days of rain and gloom, Friday dawned bright and clear. I was camped in the same parking area as last night and enjoyed a very restful night. One other camper pulled in late and was gone early this morning before I even got up. With the promise of clear, sunny skies, I packed quickly and headed for Homer.

The drive through the Chugach National Forest was splendid. I stopped at most every pullout to take in the rugged and colorful landscape. The traffic was not bad until I turned on to Highway 1 and headed for Cook Inlet and points south.

The traffic turned into a steady stream of cars and campers that became quite concerning in the narrow stretch along Coopers Landing. I have a feeling that some of the foreigners that come here and rent RVs are not prepared for narrow roads. The guardrails were tight up against the narrow blacktop and I met several motorhomes over on my side. Eventually the road widened and the driving was normal to Soldotna.

Soldotna is a big city. I pulled into Fred Meyers and noticed about 50 RVs in the parking lot. Fred Meyers welcomes RVs for 7 days and they even have a free dump, water, and garbage dumpster. It’s no wonder the travelers love it there. I was on a mission to make it to Homer so I just bought a couple of supplies and headed out.

Hope it doesn't erupt for a few days!

Hope it doesn’t erupt for a few days!

Views so nice I showed them twice!

Views so nice I showed them twice!

The views along the Inlet were gorgeous. It was so clear you could see all the Chigmat Mountains across the water. One turnout told of an active volcano named Redoubt Volcano in the Clark National Park. It stood out clearly and ominously across the bay.

Not on the ocean side but it's OK.

Not on the ocean side but it’s OK.

Tonight I’m in Mariner Campground on Homer Spit. I’ll probably stay for a couple days to do some exploring. I already unloaded my motorcycle, signifying not just an overnight stop. I hope the weather stays like this for a few days.

 
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Published on July 20, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier

The weather turned rainy and chilly two days after I arrived in Anchorage. I was reaching for a jacket most of the time but the residents up here didn’t seem to mind and continued their activities in t-shirts and shorts. Even the two days when it didn’t rain were socked in with low clouds and fog, so I have not been afforded good views of the spectacular scenery that surrounds Anchorage.

Early bush plane

Early bush plane

On Tuesday I found a place to fill both my propane tanks and then went to the Aviation Museum located near the Anchorage airport. The museum was good but I thought a little pricey. A lot of the aircraft displays had some connection to the war with Japan in 1942. I never realized before what a significant role Alaska played in WWII and the many battles that took place in the Aleutian Islands.

Later in the afternoon when Kleenex got off work we went out for ice cream. We both agreed that with her hectic schedule for the next week, I should do some exploring for a few days until she had a couple days off. The next morning I set out for the Kenai Peninsula.

Along Turnagain Arm

Along Turnagain Arm

I drove through a light rain most of the morning, and I’m sure I missed a lot of beautiful scenery along Turnagain Arm and through the Chugach National Forest. I could still see many snowcapped mountains through the swirling clouds and fog and I hope that on my return trip it will be clear and I have good views at the many turnouts along the road.

I arrived at Seward early in the afternoon. Seward is an interesting little seaport town. Besides having a rich history, it has the northernmost ice-free port in Alaska, the starting place for the Historic Iditarod dog sled race to Nome, and is a mecca for tourists tours, sightseeing, fishing trips, and souvenir shops. Of interest to me this morning was the camping along the waters of Resurrection Bay.

Resurrection Bay

Resurrection Bay

The campground was $40 for electric/water hookups and $20 for just a place to park. I kept the option open but still hoped to find a free place to stay the night. The lady at the welcome center told me that I should find a spot at the campground soon because they fill up fast. She also mentioned that some people park along side the road going to Kenai Fjords National Park.

Near Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield.

Near Exit Glacier and the Harding Icefield.

The national park is 8 miles north of Seward on a nice highway that ends near Exit Glacier. I found several good pullouts along the road that didn’t have “No Camping” signs on them so decided to stay in one for the night. I continued on to the park and walked the short trail for views of Exit Glacier. The light rain made hiking uncomfortable but at least it kept the mosquitos away.

Tomorrow I will hike further up the glacier if the weather cooperates. I would love to hike all the way to the top to see the Harding Icefield, a vast sea of ice and snow that feeds some 40 glaciers in the Kenai Mountain Range.

 
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Published on July 18, 2017, by admin in Alaska Trip.
A new supply!

A new supply!

After enjoying a relaxing week along the Susitna River near Talkeetna, I decided to drive to Anchorage to start my exploration of the coastal area. The morning was a little drizzly but I managed to get everything loaded without taking too much of the wet river sand with me. It was only 120 miles south on good road with cheaper gas along the way to the sprawling city of Anchorage, and I arrived at Cabelas shortly after noon.

Cabela’s allows RVs in their parking lot for 48 hours and they even have a dump station. I took care of the regular chores whenever I get to a big city – laundry, groceries, dump, and water – and gave Renee( who will always be known as Kleenex to me) a call to let her know I was in town. We agreed to meet later and go out to eat.

Castaway and Kleenex

Castaway and Kleenex

It was such a joy to see my friend and trail companion. It has been 5 years since I last saw her and we both agreed the time has in some ways flown by. Kleenex has spent the majority of her time since the trail as councilor and mentor to young adults in an organization called Service Adventure, an organization that helps kids with a positive start in life. Alaska has really taken hold of her heart and I think it will be her permanent home for the foreseeable future.

At Earthquake Park.

At Earthquake Park.

Kleenex has a Costco membership so she took me in her car to purchase the much needed staple of maple syrup. I have been looking for good fruit here in the north but so far been disappointed with what I have purchased. She said that Costco here in Anchorage has the best fruit so I stocked up on that too.

I told her I have been hungry for pizza. I usually go to fast food places when I go out to eat and frozen pizza that you cook at home doesn’t cut it. She knew of a couple good places to get pizza. The first place was pretty crowded but we only had to wait 20 minutes to get a seat at the next one. It was a great time of catching up and reminiscing about the trail. After dinner she drove us to Earthquake Park and we walked around reading the signs and looking out at Cook Inlet until the mosquitos chased us back to the car.

Kleenex has to work and “house sit” for the next two weeks so we can either spend a little time together between her commitments or maybe I will continue on down the coast and come back when she has a couple days off. Once again my plans are set in jello.

 

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