Thursday, July 29, 2010

Soldotna to Homer, 76 miles, July 29, 2010

Homer:  Oceanview RV Park, full hookup, 30 amp, $45.00+tax

Today we decided to move on down the Kenai Peninsula to Homer.  The RV park we left (Best Western King Salmon RV Park in Soldotna) was becoming deserted.  Last weekend it was almost full.

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Early on our 76 mile drive down the Sterling Hwy towards Homer was this sign.  What I don’t know if this number is from July 1st, 2010 or ??  Seems high for 2010 but who knows.  Luckily for us we did not meet any moose up close and personal.

IMG_1999 Here is what Bob does now when we arrive at a RV park, he has to unwire the closed steps and securely wire them open.  Works for us!

IMG_2000 Quote from the Lonely Planet’s,  Alaska book regarding Homer, “Lucky is the visitor who drives into Homer on a clear day.”  Although it was not clear, you could see some blue sky, more than we have seen for a few days.  The forecast for the next few days are for clouds with some showers.

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This afternoon while I was putting up our RV antenna, I was telling Bob that one of these days it was going to come apart as it was loose, well as soon as those words were out of my mouth, the handle and spring flew apart.  Soon Bob had it back together, evidently the Allen screw had loosened up.


Surrounding all the RV spots at the park is white and pink clover also some daisies.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hanging around Soldotna, July 25-28, 2010

IMG_1960Well, we are still in Soldotna.  Bob ended up with a bad cold, but is through the worst of it.  I thought some chocolate zucchini cake might help, this time I baked it in a 9x9” pan, worked well.  Also made a big crockpot full of navy bean soup, hit the spot for a rainy dreary day.


Here Bob is reviewing the Medicare Supplemental Insurance coverage plans.  What a JOB!  We finally figured out what he wanted, then took an hour with the help of an Anthem Blue Cross agent to fill out the enrollment forms online.  We then chose a Drug Plan for him, applied online for that.  Almost done, I had to remove Bob from my health care plan.  Back when we started to fulltime, I had gotten our health care policy through Anthem BC (Bob had read somewhere that is what you should do, since I was younger than him), and added him, so when this time came (for him to sign up for Medicare), it would be easy to just remove him and my policy would continue.  Had to fax that request in, so found a UPS store near the RV park, faxed the request to them AND hopefully that chapter is behind us.


Tuesday morning we saw some activity next to us, they were loading their freezer in preparation for  leaving.  Yes, it was full of salmon, and yes, I am jealous!


Tuesday afternoon, the sun came out, so we did too.  I drove Bob was a passenger as he was recovering from that cold, about 10 miles northwest to the town of Kenai, where the Kenai River enters the Cook Inlet.  Here, if you are an Alaskan Resident, you can use a dipnet to catch salmon.  The rules are pretty interesting, check them out here.  Everyone is in this area because you must dipnet the salmon before they enter the river from the Inlet (bay), the Kenai River is just to the left in the photo.



Kenai is the home of this Russian Orthodox Church, built in 1895, the oldest Orthodox Church on mainland Alaska.


Before heading back to Soldotna we walked around a city park, and you know me and flowers.IMG_1989 IMG_1987






Thursday we are driving about 75 miles to Homer, a new area to explore.  Sure would be nice to see some more sun!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Do Nothing Saturday, July 24, 2010

This is a first, no photos were taken today.  Bob woke up with some sinus drainage so…think he is getting a cold, first one since arriving in Spain, April 2009. 

We both pretty much had fun on the internet all day, I got the three days I was behind on my blog caught up. Also answered some website related emails for Bob.

In the afternoon I thought some orange juice might do Bob some good, so off to the Fred Meyer store along with 100’s of other folks.  The parking lot was full.  Their parking lot also had a sanitary dump for RVers, so there were a few RV’s thrown into their overcrowded parking lot.  I found OJ plus other needed items, then braved that parking lot again, then back to the RV.   Also forgot to mention that all day the sky was dark, almost like at night, but it was while I was in the store that it actually started to rain.

Since we have full hookups, I got the laundry caught up.  Even  ran both heat pumps for some cozy warmth, sure was nice to get that damp feel out of the RV.

This morning I had extended our stay here in Soldotna until Monday morning, but with Bob getting a cold, perhaps we will stay here a few more days.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Williwaw USFS CG near Whittier to Soldotna, 104 miles, July 23, 2010


We hated to leave this beautiful treed site at the Williwaw USFS but it was time to move on down the road towards Homer.  We drove back to the Seward Hwy, then down the Sterling Hwy to Soldotna.

Many of the RV parks in Soldotna are full, but we did find space at the Best Western King Salmon RV Park, full hookups, 50 amp for $37/night, and a clear view of the southern sky so our internet satellite connected quickly.  Even our batwing TV antenna brings in several stations very well.


We have been told that areas like this with dead spruce trees are here because of the 1964 earthquake. The land sunk in this area, the roots are now in or near the sea level (saltwater).


This is the  only place, so far, where the steep green mountains with snow are similar to Switzerland.  Quite beautiful!


Loved this turquoise color of the Kenai River.


Please excuse the black bugs, but wanted you all to see the fact we are seeing more and more folks, we are heading west to Soldotna.


As you can see on the above photo, it is bug removal time, again!  I sure do like our new collapsible ladder.


Cruising on Prince William Sound from Whittier, July 22, 2010

Since we knew the tunnel schedule we only waited a short time in line, but at the end.

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Our refuge for the day, Nanatak, was only about half full.




Found a nice booth, with us on the correct side, facing forward.


First stop was a Black Legged Kittiwake (gull) nesting area.

IMG_1863  Every nook and ledge had its resident.  Also a definite odor was in the air.

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Lunch included Alaskan King Crab cakes, rice pilaf and a roll.




IMG_1867Let me introduce Station # 46081, this buoy is maintained by the National Data Buoy Center.  Check out the above link, very interesting information. Do believe this station sends data to the Tsunami Warning Center we visited in Wasilla a few days ago.

The Wally Noerenberg Hatchery was our next driveby.IMG_9685 Near this fishery were several bow pickers, they deploy a line of gill nets to capture their fish.

IMG_1871  Then off to a very small island to view these Stellar Sea Lions warming themselves.



Now, we are getting closer to the glaciers.  We drive by Cascade, Barry, and Coxe Glaciers and head towards Surprise Glacier.



Surprise Glacier is over my left shoulder.  Yes, it was cold while the boat was moving.



Surprise Glacier is approximately 1 mile wide and 300’ high.  When we first arrived up as close as we were going to go, about 1/4 away, the Captain turned off the motor and we just sat there silently.  No one told no one not to talk, but everyone was silent, totally awesome, listening to the distant groans of the ice.  I wanted to burst forth in song, but due to my  lack of a singing voice, chose not to. 


IMG_9722 IMG_9724We did not see any major calving, but did see a chunk probably the size of a car fall in followed by a huge splash.

Our last parting shot of Surprise Glacier.


Some shots along our way back.




Back to the campground, fire time again.  We burned an old box we had been carrying around forever, but with the flames being so high and hot, part of the cardboard became useful as leg shields, also rain shields as it started to do that too.



Friday, July 23, 2010

Wasilla to Williwaw USFS CG (near Whittier), 91 miles, July 21, 2010


We left Wasilla and headed down the Glenn Highway towards Anchorage.  Boy we haven’t seen this much traffic for a long time.  We  then continued on the Seward Hwy out of Anchorage a few miles.  Amazing views.  Straight ahead is a glacier.

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Notice our new mode of entering and exiting the RV.  Since our steps are not fully functioning the stool works great, it does have a rope to pull it in when we are in the coach.  When parked though, Bob secures it open with a wire so no extra step is required.  We  had fun making a short video of how the auxiliary step works.  We stopped at a RV repair shop, we were told it would be better to wait until we were on the “Outside” to get either parts or new steps.  Loved the term “Outside” to refer to areas outside Alaska.

Before long we exited to the Whittier/Portage Glacier Access Road, traveled about 4 miles to the Williwaw USFS Campground, with Bob’s Senior pass the rate was $9.00/night, asphalt pad but no hookups.  We settled into our campsite and then headed off to visit Whittier, just about seven miles away.  But this seven mile entailed driving though a 2.6 mile tunnel, the longest tunnel in North America. 

IMG_1798 The toll for cars was $12, and up from there for trucks, motorhomes, and semi’s.  Here we are lined up, we ended up not knowingly arriving early.  The tunnel is one lane and  is shared with trains so they do  control the traffic, to Whittier on the half hour, from Whittier on the hour, trains get to go through whenever they arrive.  Our first trip through the tunnel had us leading the pack.  Yikes, speed limit 25 MPH, so here we go, enter the one lane railroad tunnel and as you can see, exit safely.









Whittier is very small, population about 175.  One cruise ship does visit a couple days per week, we lucked out today, no cruise ship.  Our purpose of coming to Whittier was to check out the cruising tours from the Prince William Sound Glacier Cruises.  We had a 2 for 1 coupon, but there was a problem, that cruise only went on Fri-Sat-Sun, and their Fri tour was full.  So after some discussion at their office, we ended up booking a longer tour than the coupon would have provided for tomorrow (Friday) for a pretty good discount. 

We explored some of the roads in Whittier and found this secret cove, beautiful!

IMG_9624 Back through the tunnel and to the RV spot.  Enjoyed a great evening and dinner out by the fire.  Bob was proud of himself, he found a pallet behind out behind our site and had fun cutting it up for firewood.



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