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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

More eagles


We took a drive further down the Oil Well Road, where we are staying.  We were told it is a 20 mile drive with about 2/3 of it on gravel.  It was a pretty drive with wild Fireweed flowers as far as you could see.  There was change in elevation and several small lakes along the way.  After about 15 miles we decided to turn around and head back.  We had a low tire indicator showing the right rear tire was low; so we stopped and checked all of the tires, they all looked good.  When we hit the paved area we immediately heard a noise that did not sound good.  We stopped right away and found a flat tire, not the right rear but rather the left rear tire.  We did not see a nail or any cause for the flat so after airing it up, we continued our drive home.  The indicator showed we lost about 4 pounds of pressure before we got back.  When we got home, Forest pulled the wheel off and was able to find where there was a small cut in the tire.  So he plugged it and aired it up again.  We will get it checked out tomorrow when we drive down to Homer for the day.  Guess we always need a little excitement to start the week off.
fireweed is taller than Cindy

We visited the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center in Homer.
Picked up Prawns to boil up at home.  Best boiled shrimp in all of the Kenai Peninsula and the MOST expensive shrimp we ever bought.  We paid $27 for a dozen and a half shrimp!  That worked out to $1.50/shrimp!  About 20-25 count.  Pretty expensive appetizer.

Drove down to the shore to see the eagles.  Drove back to the pond to look for moose, none to be seen.

don't know who Bob Chenier is but here is his memorial

Drove out to Homer for the Skyline Drive.  Scenic drive with several pullouts with views of Downtown Homer, the Spit and Kachemak Bay.  Views of the mountains, glaciers and Cook Inlet.  The Harding Ice Field on the far side of Kachemak Bay is the source of over 30 glaciers covering over 300 square miles.  The three most visible glaciers closest to Halibut Cove are Growing, Portlock and DIxion Glaciers which you see from the East End Road and the Skyline Drive.  There are two more, Wosnesenski and Doroshin, which also can be seen from Homer beyond Post Peak and China Post Bay.
We had lunch at Lighthouse Seafood Grill overlooking Cook Inlet. 

Drove out to Kenai.  Watched the dip netters fishing for salmon at the mouth of the Kenai River.  
Lunch in Soldotna at Frosos Family Dining Restaurant.

Took it easy.  Attended Mass at 12:30 and received a special blessing from Father for our 41st wedding anniversary on Monday.
Lunch at Keen Kow Thai Food, very tasty and leftovers to bring home.  
After lunch we stopped at the Ninilchik General Store for an ice cream cone for dessert.  We each ordered a waffle cone.  Well we could have ordered ONE waffle cone to share with a family.  These were the largest ice cream cones we had ever had.  The young man filling the cones said he does them the way HE would want one made. 
 He first added a couple of small scoops of ice cream that he carefully packed into the bottom of the cone until the cone was filled almost to the top.  He then packed three or four scoops of ice cream together forming a very LARGE scoop of ice cream which he placed on the top of the cone.  Each of our cones contained more than enough to fill a pint size ice cream container.  WOW!  Had we known the cones were so large we would have skipped lunch and just had ice cream.  I guess we should have gotten cones from here last week when we first arrived.
Cindy couldn't wait for the picture, me either!

Happy 41st Anniversary to us!
We woke to the prettiest, clearest day since we arrived here in Ninilchik.  We were paid up here till today so we needed to decide if we wanted to stay longer or move on.  Since it was such a clear day, and it was MONDAY, we decided to take a drive down to check out the Deep Creek Campground on the beach.  Most weekends this campground is full but empties out during the week.  As we were hoping there were a couple of sites open right along the beach.  We spoke with the campground host and she allowed us to “tag” a site “occupied” until we could return with the coach.  That is what we did!  We drove back to All Seasons and finished getting things put away to move.  It is only a 5 mile drive and we were back in no time.  We are now parked right on the beach overlooking Cook Inlet, Mt Redoubt and Mt Iliamna (the two volcanos) across the inlet.  What a beautiful view!  
this otter has been floating around all day

one of the tractors they use to launch boats

you can see the volcano steaming

The tide was coming in by the time we got parked about 11am.  We took a walk down the beach and spotted a few eagles up on the bluff.  There were lots of seagulls all along the beach.  During the afternoon we walked out again along the beach and along Deep Creek to view the eagles.  In the evening we saw the tide going out again exposing a much deeper shore.  The tide ranges about 20+ feet with 2 low tides each day.

We got up to low tide and spotted a few eagles sitting out along the beach sunning themselves.  Everything out to the water was calm and peaceful.  We saw no movement except for the birds, looks like everyone is sleeping in this morning.
We will drive in to Soldotna today to do a little shopping.  We plan to stay here a few night to enjoy the views before moving on up to Fairbanks.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Midnight snack

7/19 Friday
Friday morning we took a drive out to see the small village of Hope.  The drive down the Hope Hwy off of the Seward Hwy follows the Six mile Creek and the Turnagain Arm taking you to Hope at the Resurrection Creek, just before it empties into the Turnagain Arm.  It was a beautiful drive on a good windy but paved road.  Hope is a small village with dirt streets and lots of old buildings and a couple of small campgrounds.  There were a couple of little restaurants, stores, gift shops, library and a museum.

The Hope - Sunrise Historical Museum was filled with memorabilia of life in Alaska and the gold mining of years gone by.  There were several buildings which had narrated information.  Under a covered area was a collection of old mining equipment.  Very nice collection in this small town.

My dad lived in a quonset like this in the Aleutians during WW2

The Resurrection Creek empties into Turnagain Arm at Hope.  The road in this little old town ends at the creek which is a great fishing spot.  We watched several people fishing right in and on the edge of the creek, and they were catching.

It was a nice side trip with more beautiful Alaska landscape.

We returned to Girdwood and after a quick lunch, hooked up the truck and rolled on down the Seward Hwy to the Sterling Hwy taking us to Soldotna where we pulled in at the Fred Meyers for a grocery stop.  The last time we passed thru and stopped at Fred Meyers we easily found a place to park, this time the parking lot was packed.  This is peak fishing season on the Kenai which runs through town.  We slipped into a spot just the size we needed.  We loaded the fridge and pantry and even found room in the freezer for unlicked ice cream (had not been able to buy ice cream in a long time).  Then we squeezed back out of the parking lot and back onto the Sterling moving south to Ninilchik.

Ninilchik is another little fishing village along Turnagain Arm.  We found All Seasons Campground there which is a Passport America Campground.  GREAT!  Dry camping in a state park typically costs about $15-20 per night, with our Passport America discount we pay $21 per night for a full-hookup site.  What a bargain!  The campground is only 3 miles from the highway, not a bad location and we like the smaller campgrounds.  We will stay a few days and make this our home base.

After checking with the campground host Saturday morning, Forest washed the dust off of the coach while Cindy caught up on laundry.  After lunch we took a ride out to the small boat harbor to see if there were any eagles to be found.  The timing was not right,  we were after low tide so none were feeding.  Someone told us the best time to see the eagles here is at High Tide which would be about 7pm.  We will come back later.

We turned down another little road taking us into Ninilchik Village where we found Mission Ave Gallery & Gifts.  The owner, Jim Lee is a local artist who does fossil Ivory carvings.  His little shop is filled with carvings, jewelry and Moose Antlers all made by him and other local artists.  We will be back to purchase a special piece to take home.  His work is some of the nicest we have found on our trip.

We found the St. Peter Catholic Church in Ninilchik which has a Saturday Vigil Mass at 8:00 pm!  We found this to be such an odd time but when you remember the sun does not set until almost mid-night it is not unusual for this area.  We had a snack in the afternoon to hold us until after Mass for supper.  

After Mass we visited with a local couple who asked where we were from.  He is a Viet Nam Vet and has a couple of good friends from Lafayette and Abbeville.  We had a nice visit with Mark & Liz.  When we left the church after mass we drove back down to the small boat harbor to see if the eagles were feeding.  There were 6 or 7 eagles and several sea gulls.  The local charter boats dump their fish carcasses on the beach.

As we were leaving the harbor we met Liz and Mark, the couple from church, driving in.  He rolled down his window and they invited us to come to see their house.  WOW, we said yes and followed them home.  They have a beautiful log cabin and property along Deep Creek.  She is very proud of her garden and beautiful flowers.  They have been living in their log cabin for many years where they raised their three sons.  He is originally from Illinois and she is Native Alaskan.  We enjoyed our visit with them.  When we realized it was 11pm it was time to go.  Hey we still made it home before dark!  Had a quick ham sandwich before we went to bed.  What a nice day.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Not so wild-life, and ice

Today we decided to take a short drive to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.  After parking we did a 2 mile walk around all of the exhibit habitats which were set up nicely.  We saw elk, wood bison, black bears, grizzly bears, a porcupine, sitka deer, reindeer, and a few others.

After that we drove down the Portage Highway, stopped at a pullout for a short hike through the woods along a creek.  There were 2 college guys from Texas A&M who I talked with for a bit.  Oops, forgot the bear spray so Cindy went back to the truck for it.  While there she talked with the 2 Texans a bit more.  She told them we were from Louisiana and one of them said "yeah, I heard".  Huh? guess we do have an accent....
Then we drove down to the boat dock to get tickets for the Portage Glacier cruise.  Short cruise, maybe 15 minutes to the glacier which is on a landlocked lake.  The Park guide said the lake is sterile due to the opacity of the water from all of the glacial silt.  We spent about 20 minutes drifting along the glacier taking pictures.  Didn't see any calving but the day was beautiful with no clouds.  
Which they say is unusual for the Kenai.  Their usual weather is rain.

Tomorrow we'll head over to Kenai City for a few days then further down either to Ninilchik or Anchor Point.  We still want to take a bear viewing flight to see the bears feeding on salmon in the creeks and rivers.  We'll either do that from Soldotna or call Mark again in Homer.