Last night we left Homer and headed toward Anchor Point. This part of Alaska has started to have a few hours of semi-darkness during the night and as each day passes, the length of time of the semi-darkness and the depth of darkness is beginning to increase. We left our favorite observation perch at the end of the Homer Spit after midnight and there were still a number of die-hard fishermen fishing along the shore despite the increasing darkness. We headed north on the Sterling highway but since we hate to drive in the dark (hate to miss any scenery) we found a gravel turnoff along the way and spent the night. Outside our window is a wooded area leading to the Anchor River. The Anchor River is one of many rivers closed to salmon fishing, likely for this season. The near-by Sterling Highway becomes very sparsely traveled at night so it was very quiet.
Northwest of Homer is Anchor Point. When we traveled south to Homer last week, Anchor Point was totally fogged in so we bypassed visiting there. It is the westernmost place in the North American highway system. The population there is less than 2000 and the town has a Russian heritage. This town is located in a beautiful area on the Cook Inlet and the Russian River so all things related to fishing is the main focus. Right now, most salmon fishing has been restricted so this must be greatly impacting many a business related to fishing.
Kalfornsky Beach Road–
This paved road off the Sterling Highway runs along the Cook Inlet and is considered a lovely drive. (I love that in Alaska, you look to see if the road is actually paved when making travel decisions. This is a rare consideration anywhere else in the USA.)
We missed the southern entrance to the Kailfornsky Beach Road so that ended our planned visit the Kalisof Regional Historical Museum for today. Will do that tomorrow.
We did find the north entrance to the Kalfornsky Beach Road though. Just a tenth of a mile in we came to the Homestead Museum and that is where we spent much of the day. It is free with plenty of parking. We really enjoy museums but this is a hidden gem if ever there was one. There’s an unexpected, beautifully done, wildlife exhibit along with other displays from world class collections that would proudly be shown in any high quality museum. Outside, all the cabins are original. All the exhibits are the best we have seen so far in Alaska! We took the tour with a docent. Her family was an early homestead family and she had wonderful stories to tell about each of the cabins, their furnishings, fishing and hunting, food preservation and her own experiences. All of the items in the museum were donated by members of the community. This was a true serendipitous find. I read about this museum but the printed information scarcely tells all the wonderful stories that bring this museum to life. So glad we missed our turn and had more time to spend at this museum today.
How quickly you lose your anonymity when you boondock! We’ve been showing up every morning for the last few days at our great daytime viewing spot at the tip of the Homer, AK. spit. Well, we’re fairly friendly. When folks ask where we are camping we tell them about our boondocking and our boondock site in Homer. Last night at midnight when we got to our boondock site, we were the 4th boondockers there. Ha! Free catches on quickly for those who don’t want/need to hook-up to the grid and other services. We’d pretty much had the place to ourselves before but we were fine with company. Sharing information is a good thing.
The temp. was 47 degrees F. this morning at 7:00am and it was overcast with a very light rain. No wind and the rain is intermittent so maybe the sun will come out and the sea will be calm.
Took a cruise to Seldovia today. The ship left Homer at about 11:00 am and in less than an hour you arrive in Seldovia. For the return trip the ship leaves Seldovia at 4:30 pm to return to Homer, AK. We had a buy one/get one free coupon to Seldovia so the cost for both of us traveling round trip was $46.00 (just don’t tear the coupon out of the book until you buy the ticket). The boat we’re taking is a two year old Catamaran. Getting out on the water gives us a chance to see some of the wildlife of the seas and since we love wildlife viewing, this is perfect for us.
The catamaran is very fast (also fairly quiet) and I worried that if we did see any whales we would not stop because we were going so fast but the Captain (Captain Joe) stopped repeatedly for whales, repositioning the boat to stay near them.The weather was sunny and warm and the seas were very calm so it was a perfect day to go out on the water. A great day for us made even better by seeing lots of whales and sea otters!
The town of Seldovia was severely damaged by the huge 9.2 Alaskan earthquake/tsunami in 1964 changing their business fortunes for the worse to this day. It is a very nice, very small, former Russian town that now mainly depends on tourists for it’s income.
Went into the local grocery store. Food in Saldovia is very expensive, eggs are $8.75/dozen. Of course, everything comes into this town via boat or plane so that drives up the cost. Most of the Seldovians we met had lived in this town for a very long time. For example, I bought some earrings from a woman that made jewelry to sell and she had moved to Seldovia from Chicago twenty years ago so folks seem to stay when they move here.
This morning, while waiting for the cruise to start, we parked the RV in the dock side parking area and Jerry immediately started working on his stock options trading. While we were dock side, we watched Golden and American Eagles fly overhead like the drones we’re always hearing about, silent and stealthy. What appears to be a casual decent to the water ends with the eagle grabbing a fish right out of the water and taking it somewhere to eat it or feed their young.
Last night, around 11:30 pm we left our “observation” spot at the tip of the Homer Spit and drove through some of the docking areas. We’d heard there was an eagle’s nest out there somewhere and we were on a mission to find it. We know there are some nests elsewhere but we wanted to find this near-by one. It took us about five minutes and we spotted it. It is large but appears abandoned. This didn’t surprise us as it is located near a busy area, though up on a stanchion surrounded by water. Still, it was interesting to take our time and see how big this nest was and some of the intricacies of the way it was built, knowing our being near the nest would not be a stressor for the birds.
Alas, traveling does not absolve you from the usual issues of life such as the need to watch your diet. We don’t want to get that “girth of contentment”, though in truth we are content with our lives. So, despite the fact that most every new place we visit has interesting foods to offer and wonderful “Mom and Pop” bakeries we try to resist in most places.
Our boondock site was quiet last night and we were undisturbed so we will try to use the same site for the couple of more days we will be here. There are “no camping” and “no overnight” signs all around Homer so we’re hoping we are enough out of the way that we won’t be noticed. We don’t get there until about mid-night and leave the boondock spot usually by 7:00 am. The moon last night was so intriguing we took a few snaps. Also, found that we can get PBS on our TV with the aerial from most places in Homer so we watched Nova last night.
This morning, woke to a gray day with the sun trying to break through and a temp. of 51 degrees F. Today was the day the weatherman said would be sunny and warm. Not so much with the sunny and warm part. We like being parked down by the Bay at the end of Homer Spit and find we can walk around the area and explore using this spot as our base. There were no fishermen lining the shore when we arrived but as the morning progressed the fishing groups arrived. I think the fishermen wait until the fishing boats leave the harbor. Then the waters will be undisturbed.
Today we took a cruise to Gull Island. It’s a small rocky outcropping across the Kachemak Bay and can actually be seen from the Homer, Alaska Spit and it’s considered one of the near islands of the 1200 mile long Aleutian Island chain. The birds congregate in colonies or “bird cities” all along its coast so almost the whole thing is a rookery and is especially interesting for birders. Unfortunately, the seas had swells and was choppy so it was harder for the boat captain to “park” the boat in the water off shore and hold the position while we took pictures but he tried. When we arrived the birds were flying fast in every direction and complaining loudly about four or five eagles that were harassing them. Though it was cold, windy and overcast it was still interesting. Along the way to and from the island we saw numerous coastal seals and sea otters. The sea otters put on quite a show for us and a few had babies riding on top of their bellies. I must say, they really are very cute.
Met up with some nice folks from Ohio that we met at our boondock site on the Resurrection River in Seward, Alaska. They joined us this morning in our “observation” spot at the tip of the Homer Spit. Now we are both backed up to the water and we’re watching all that is happening along the beach here. Tonight we’ll share a salad together and talk about travel. Tomorrow we’re going sightseeing together.
Woke this morning north of Homer, Alaska at our boondock site just off the Sterling Highway to rain and a temp of 48 degrees F. We’re very close to Cook Inlet and we’re socked in. Later in the morning the fog lifted slightly and we were able to get a peek of the Aleutian Range from the motor home. The weather forecast is for rain today and tomorrow all day.
Whoa! Homer is one busy place! First there’s world class fishing here and many Alaskans come here to catch their limit during the season to feed their families all winter so “combat fishing” usually ensues at this time of year. (combat fishing–fishermen lining the shore with hardly a foot of space between them) Also, this is a tourist mecca as there’s every type of adventure offered, albeit for a price. So between the Alaskans trying to provide for their families and so many tourists, this place is hopping! Oh, but it’s also beautiful. Just about everywhere you look there’s a water view and the Aleutian Range can be seen and enjoyed from most vantage points in Homer. With the tourist come lots of restaurants, gift shops, etc. One of the many good things is there is a well respected museum here that we will visit that tomorrow.
So, here’s the problem. The salmon aren’t running yet! They’re always running by now! The fisherman are waiting. The scientists say it’s related to the global warming but that the salmon will be running soon, hopefully.
Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center–
This museum/research/information center is free. The staff are very helpful and friendly and were able to answer all of our questions. There’s an estuary adjacent to the center and beyond that is Kachemak Bay and the ocean. The museum displays are mostly about the Aleutian Islands and supposedly takes the place of being there by allowing visitors to “virtually visit” interactively. Not so much for me, it just made me want to see the islands more than before we came here! Ha, this from someone so prone to sea sickness and the ocean here is really rough!
We took the trail through the estuary out to the Kachemak Bay. Beautiful. Saw Sandhill Cranes and many other birds. The rain has stopped and because there’s a light breeze there are no mosquitoes. The sun is out this afternoon and it’s 65 degrees outside (feels much warmer in the sun). OK, so I’m thinking the weatherman doesn’t look out the window. Hope he’s wrong about tomorrow as well. We spent most of the day between the center, estuary, and Kachemak Bay. Ate our lunch near the beautiful Kachemak Bay.
When we got back to the parking lot there was a moose grazing near it! Goes to show you just how much wildlife there is in Alaska! We seem to see wildlife just when we least expect it. Jerry laughed and told some arriving visitors “See, you practically don’t even need to leave the parking lot!”
Left Soldotna to move south down the Kenai Peninsula. There are still some things we want to see in Soldotna so when we come back this way in about a week we will take care of that.
Today is a rainy day. It is supposed to rain on the Kenai Peninsula all day today, Tuesday and Wednesday. This is pretty normal weather for this area. In fact, we’ve been told all those sunny days we were enjoying last week raised the fire hazard so these rains will take care of that. Fire is a constant threat throughout Alaska and they have suffered many devastating fires in the past. Despite the rain, Sterling Highway is a very good road and is lovely with lots of wildflowers blooming along the side of the road.
Cohoe Loop Road–
Off the Sterling Highway is the Cohoe Loop Road. The N. Cohoe Loop Road ends at a short dirt road leading down to the Cook Inlet beach. This area is a very popular Alaskan fishing area. There were quite a few campers/fishermen camping in the area. One fisherman told us he had already caught two large salmon. The day is overcast with frequent rains but apparently the fish don’t mind. The N. Cohoe Loop Road connects with the S. Cohoe Loop making a continuous good paved road that returns you back to the Sterling Highway. There are numerous private homes and a few small business along this road that runs along the ocean for more than half the loop. Some of the homes are beautiful and expensive looking and others look like they had seen better days. Having a rundown property next to a beautifully kept property seems to be a frequent occurrence in this the “land of few rules”, Alaska.
We visited the former Russian village of Ninilchek. The historic old town still has some of the old buildings from when Russia “owned” Alaska. When we visited the historic Russian Orthodox Church we also walked around the Russian Orthodox Graveyard for awhile. This is an interesting place to visit and is truly a land that thrives on a rich fishing tradition. We spent a good part of the day here.
We will be boondocking along the Sterling Highway tonight and head for Homer, Alaska tomorrow. Even though it is overcast/raining, we still have solar due to the extended daylight hours.
Lottery and bear viewing–
OK. I think it is going to be important that we win the lottery and
very soon. So far we have traveled over 7000 miles in the RV since
leaving San Diego. The price of gas has been fairly high but doing
some of the really exciting touristy things in Alaska can be very pricey.
Have been looking into going to Kodiak Island, Katmai, etc. to see the
brown bear (grizzlies). Yikes, the trip we want to take is well over
$1200 for the two of us for the day. Can’t justify spending that kind
of money for a single day excursion, though the trip sounds absolutely
wonderful. With the cost of fuel for the plane, etc. this is probably a fair price,
it’s just more than we can justify spending. Of course if we hit the lottery big time
then maybe more then $1000 would be just “chump change”. I suppose this means
we’ll have to buy a lottery ticket, something we haven’t done for quite
awhile. I do think if you have a lottery ticket it improves your chances of
winning, but only very slightly. Well, luckily we do have a Plan B.
We’ll be going to Hyder, AK. near the end of the summer and
Hyder is famous for bear viewing. Also, they don’t demand you bring a
Brinks truck with you to Hyder to pay for it.
It’s not that we haven’t seen grizzlies. We saw lots of them when we volunteered for a
summer in Yellowstone and recently while in Denali N P. It is just that we get such a thrill
seeing them just being bears in the wild.
We spent the last two nights at Soldotna Fred Myers in their parking
lot along with quite a few other RVers. This Fred Myers has
designated spots for RV overnighters of up to three nights, a dump
station, and potable water at no charge. So we’re thinking Fred Myers
caught on to something that Walmart has known for years…when RVers
stay overnight in your parking lot, they spend a lot of money in your
store. It’s just a smart business move. We’re here and it’s
convenient so we bought gas, stocked up on a lot of supplies, Jerry
bought a new camera and we’ll buy more “stuff” before we leave. Will
boondock along the way when we leave Soldotna and head south down the
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Soldotna, Alaska–
This place is huge. The visitor center is just outside Soldotna and
is located at the edge of this “Alaska size” refuge. I love that you
get to the visitor center from Soldotna on “Funny River Road” (The
names of some of the places in Alaska are sooooo interesting).
The rangers in the visitor center are quite knowledgeable and helpful.
The visitor center itself is interesting.
There are some easy loop trails of only a few miles into the refuge that
start next to the visitor center. It rained today but mostly it was
a light rain and it did not deter us from taking this trail.
Foolishly, we went off into the loop trails without applying our Deet
spray. Big mistake! About a quarter of a mile in, a full air force
regiment of mosquitoes descended on us. There had been no mosquitoes
to be seen prior to this so we were lulled into complacency. We
increased our walking speed, put our bare hands into our pockets,
Jerry pulled up his hood to protect his neck and ears, and since my
hair is long I walked along swinging my hair as a switch. Undeterred,
the mosquitoes followed us along all the trails landing on any exposed
skin that stopped moving for more than a second. Somehow, we were
successful in warding off bites but we won’t be caught unprepared
again.Despite the mosquitoes and the rain, the trail into the refuge was beautiful.
It leads to a large lake then around through forested areas. Though
we were warned of bear and moose, we saw only a few birds on this
There’s lots to learn at the refuge and we spent a considerable amount of time
learning as much as we could about this habitat, it’s history and the
animals protected here.
One of our readers suggested a bakery in town so this morning we headed to “The Moose is Loose” bakery. Well, the word is out on this place. It was so busy the pastries and bread were just flying out the door. We bought some pastry and some dark bread and went out to the RV to sample it. Everything was wonderful. In fact, the bread was so good we went back for a second loaf. Our thanks to Jim for the suggestion.
We decided to go to Kenai today as our research showed their visitor/cultural center had great exhibits and that their historical society is very active. Took the Kenai Spur Highway which is a good road and of course it was lovely along the way.
The Kenai Visitor and Cultural Center is very good. The staff was helpful, the museum excellent, and they had a fairly complete and well done wildlife display. We attended a Wildlife Art Show. The art was beautiful.
Later we moved the RV to a lovely location for lunch. Had considered moving the RV to the Cook Inlet Overlook at Scout Park but there was a wedding being held there. The view from our dinette window was lovely and relaxing at our lunch site.
Next, we took the Old Town Walking tour. It was a beautiful, sunny, breezy day for a walking tour. Enjoyed the old buildings, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Chapel. Best of all was the Russian Orthodox Cemetery. It was beautiful. Some of the graves receive a lot of upkeep and visits. This cemetery is still in use today. We were warned by the church pastor to beware of grizzlies in the cemetery but there were none when we were there.
Headed back to the RV after our walking tour and while fooling around on our computers we looked up in time to see a Mama moose and two calves running across the field next to the RV. Grabbed the camera and took the only shot we could get they were running so fast. Jerry went out later to see if something (a bear?) had been chasing them. Seeing the moose family made a lovely end to a lovely day.
This morning we left our lovely boondock site on the Resurrection River in Seward, Alaska and headed toward Soldotna. It was a beautiful day in Seward. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool and the river was entrancing. There is no doubt that it is beautiful here but the winters can be brutal so we are not tempted to put down roots. I think these beautiful months in these beautiful places are known as “sucker months” and you had better be prepared for the more difficult conditions this area has to offer.
The Seward and The Sterling Highways–
Everywhere you look as you travel these highways, there is a beautiful view. We feel most inarticulate in such beautiful areas. We keep repeating “Oh, Wow!”, “Look at that!” and “Amazing!”. We try to do better than that, but in the presence of such beauty, we become quite tongue tied. Driving these roads is just a constant search for a spot to get off the road and drink in the views. It took many more hours to travel from Seward to Soldotna than our GPS said it should take because we could not resist stopping every few minutes.
There are plenty of places to pull off the highway to enjoy the views, fish and boondock if your so inclined. There is every type of tourist experience offered along the way from river rafting to organized fishing experiences.
We knew we would be coming into/through Soldotna so we ordered our mail to be delivered from our mail service to the general delivery in Soldotna. Then we called the Soldotna Post Office…no problem. They said they will hold any general delivery mail for 30 days. Works for us as we are never exactly sure what day we will be somewhere.
Just to be sure, we called Soldotna Post Office last week to verify they have our mail. Our vehicle tags will expire at the end of July and the new ones are in the mail. “No”. They don’t have our mail! What!?! We checked the tracking and it had been delivered to Soldotna. Called back. “Oops!” “Sorry, I didn’t see it the first time”. Ok. Breath! “Yes”. It would be there when we get there and it was. New tags on vehicle. All is right with the world.
A day of rest–
Today we rested by the Resurrection River in Seward and watched the water and time float by our motor home. It is a beautiful day, warm with a cool breeze. The sun is out and is sparkling across the water. Occasionally an eagle lazes through the sky overhead and the day is just another beautiful day in Alaska.
Fellow Boondocking RVers–
This morning, we met a wonderful couple from Ohio. They had been boondocking near us at one of the Resurrection River boondock sites. They were in need of some of the information we have garnered over time about some of the tips and tricks of RVing and boondocking and we were happy to share. We spent a good part of the morning chatting and enjoying each other’s company. They have traveled on now so Ron can fish the Russian River but hopefully we will meet up with them along the road.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
Yesterday, we went out on a cruise into the Kenai Fjords National Park. We took so many pictures that we spent most of the afternoon going through them. It was a calm water, no wind, beautiful day yesterday and we have A LOT of pictures. As we went through the pictures we were so thankful that our country was smart enough to save these beautiful places so we and all future generations could enjoy this place. We wondered, would all this be put aside for future generations if our generation had to decide about making this area a National Park? I would hope they would but I’m not sure we have that same vision that previous generations exhibited.
For the blog today, we decided to post a few more of the pictures we took in Kenai Fjords National Park that, for economy of space, did not make it into the blog yesterday. What a wonderful place we have in this National Park.