Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On the homeward leg

 NOTE: This is the post I was working on when I lost the connection the other day.  We're parked by a McDonalds in Whitehorse right now and I have some internet.  Headed South on the Cassiar Highway today for some spectacular scenery.

Here are a few of the photos that failed to load the last time I was here.
Our marvelous host, Don Kartevoldt, showing the guys how to properly fillet the catch of the day.   He was a wonderful guide and told great stories, too.
Dean showing off a few of his catch.  This was their best day fishing.
Like I mentioned - the freezer is full of salmon.  Note that there is room for a gallon of ice cream, however.......
After we left Soldotna, we drove to Homer for the day.  Watched them fillet the fish - those pros can do it in no time at all!!  Huge halibut.  But we noticed that the charters for salmon didn’t do as well as the guys did in the Kenai.  I wanted some oysters since I had read that they are supposed to be so good.  Janet had a recommendation of a restaurant, so we went there for dinner.  The only oysters they offered were raw or Rockefeller - I had wanted grilled, but settled for Rockefeller.  6 tiny ones.  Disappointment.  Taste was just ok, rather overwhelmed by the “sauce”.  We’re used to higher prices, but this was something else.  Oh, well, another adult adventure!!
We drove out of town about 20 miles to an overlook to spend the night - hoping for a good big mountain view across the bay.  Fog bank.  Did get a glimpse of the top of one, though.
On our way back to Soldotna we took a detour to Kenai to see the town - very nice!  Well kept and clean.  Then we gassed up at Freddy’s then headed to Seward to take a glacier cruise on a 2 for 1 deal from a coupon book.  Sounded like a good deal till we got to the window and the gal totaled it up.  Not such a good deal after all and no glaciers.  We passed and went to the Aquarium instead which was a much better deal.  Very nice and lots of displays.
On our way to Seward, we stopped at a secret fish viewing place - secret because although it was mentioned it our 5 year old Milepost, it wasn’t marked on the highway or at the pullout.  I walked down the eighth of a mile or so trail - whistling the whole way because bears also like to view fish - to a nice viewing platform over the river where I was totally entranced by the spawning salmon.  Bright red female fish wiggling in the gravel beds to lay their eggs and shooing off other females who want that particular spot.  

The males were showing off by rolling and fighting of the other males for the privilege of fertilizing those eggs.  The preceding commentary is totally my own - since the info board mentioned in my Milepost was missing, I’m only guessing!!  But I stayed for a bit, then went back for Dean, Jim and Janet.  We spent some quality time there.  And, I loved walking through the woods to the creek/river.  That was the best part!!
After the Seward adventure, we headed back - through the 4 miles of road construction, I might add - and over the Turnagain Pass to the road to Portage and Whittier.  We found a nice Forest Service (1/2 price for us old folks.....) campground with a great view of a glacier.  Sooooo blue!!  I wanted to take a photo, but decided to wait until morning when the light might be better - but it wasn’t :<{.  We left early for our trip to Whittier because we wanted to make sure we made it through the tunnel in time to get there for our 1:00 Glacier Cruise reservation.  Turns out, no problem.  We were only a few vehicles back in the line to go through the Whittier tunnel.   The 2 1/2 mile tunnel was built during the WW2 originally to transport military supplies by train from Whittier to the interior because the harbor there does not freeze over.  Even today, most of the goods entering Alaska come through there.
We did get our glacier cruise from Whittier and it was wonderful.  Up close and personal with several of them and got to see them calving.  We went out on a small boat and I'm glad we did because we could move freely around with only about 50 people on board.  Met people from Texas and Australia and had a great time.

Right now, we're in Tok, Alaska getting ready to head back into Canada, so this will likely be the last post for a while.  The trip has been good and we've learned and experienced a lot.  When we get home in a few weeks, I will take the time to further edit photos and post some good commentary about the trip.  It's been a bit difficult since we haven't stayed in the fancy campgrounds with unlimited wifi.  I think the roadside pull-offs have served us quite well - with a much better view.  And I've learned that being hard of hearing has it's rewards.  When I take my hearing aids out at night, I don't hear the traffic!!  It hasn't been that bad, though, because Dean seems to have no problem!
The weather is good right now, and I'm looking forward to being in the interior where it will be warmer and sunnier, I hope.  I sure have faded.  
Looking forward to seeing home in a few weeks.  Till then........

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

From a laundromat in Soldotna.....

Well, we left Anchorage Thursday AM in pouring rain.  Drove out what would be a beautiful route on a non-rainy day, up to Girdwood, around the end of the bay on what is appropriately called the Turnagain Highway and through the mountains to Soldotna where we dumped and filled at Freddy’s and eventually found the home of our wonderful hosts, Grace and Don, who have a cabin and a couple of small lots in an area of part-timers dedicated to fishing the Kenai, and boy, do they know their stuff.  We crowded all 3 motorhomes onto their parking area - 1 small, 1 medium, and 1 larger. 
The first night we were here, several of the guys got together and cooked us dinner - BBQ pork loin, dirty rice, fruit, coconut deep-fried salmon, Wow!!  The following night, Rick cooked 5 (yes, 5....) chickens and gave Janet his special recipe for Greek Pasta Salad.  Another Yum!!  The next evening, I made a Tetrazzini from the left over chicken - yes there was some left over - and Zenna made a big green salad.  And the next night was fresh salmon on the BBQ by Janet and a lot of left overs.  The salmon was silver which, according the the locals, does not freeze well, but it sure was good fresh!!
Monday (Happy Birthday Janet and Happy Anniversary Grace and Don), Jim fished on the gravel bar and limited, Dean and Larry went with Don and they got a bunch more and threw back a bunch.  The freezer is now FULL!!!  And we have a pretty big freezer for a small RV!!

Most of today’s catch is going home to be smoked in brother Larry’s smoker.  We’ll divide the rest when we are ready to part company with the other 2 rigs.

For whatever reason, none of my photos would load today.  So, I'll just finish this by saying we are now headed to Homer, then back here and to Kenai, then Seward, Whittier, and Girdwood.  Hopefully I'll be able to post the photos soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

VERY short update

We went up to Talkeetna yesterday on our way from Denali to Anchorage.  Quaint, cute little town with an unexpected overabundance of tourists - from bus and train.  Managed to have a late lunch at a nice brewpub - had something called Matt Porter which was a combination of a stout, a red, and an IPA.  Very nice.  Also, some pretty decent fish and chips.  While strolling through town, I had to take a picture of these guys waiting for the official driver..........

A few more random ramblings:
Drivers here are either in a big hurry - or no hurry at all.  We got behind a guy yesterday pulling a tiny trailer whose top speed was about 30mph.  At one point, we were going 20 and not able to pass on the windy road.  OR, people are in such a hurry that they pass unsafely.  We've seen a lot of big rigs do that - obviously not our boys driving, huh, Jimbo and Gary!!

Previously, when I thought of Alaska, I thought up - as in elevation.  Not true!  Most of the time, we've been below 1000', often around 200'.  I think the highest we've been was the Top of the World Hwy at about 4000'.  And, we certainly thought we would see more wildlife.  Maybe coming up on our trip down to the Kenai.  We're heading to Soldotna tomorrow and will be down there for the next week or more.  Don't know what wifi we'll have, but I do have texting ability - hint, hint......

Well, we're 'camped' in a Home Depot parking lot tonight and I want to thank them for the use of their wifi, but not too speedy, so couldn't upload photos from my big mega-pixel camera.

To be continued..........