Monday, July 26, 2010

Still In Soldotna

Yes, we’re still hanging out here in Soldotna.  Rod’s dream of coming to Alaska and fishing for salmon on the famous Kenai River has certainly come true.  He wanted to spend a month here fishing and he has caught his limit every single day since the fish have finally come up the river.  The limit has recently been doubled to six a day because there are so many.  Rod has had a little bit of trouble getting into his favorite fishing spot lately though.  The Germans have shown up in their “Rent Me” motorhomes by the dozens and they don’t stop fishing all day long.  I haven’t been down to the river since the crowds have moved in but apparently it’s pretty bad.  People wait on the skinny little portion of the bank waiting for their turn.  That’s just not for me so I’m sad to say that I have NOT caught any salmon myself.  Fighting a crowd in the cold, pouring down rain is just not my idea of a fun time.

Rod’s catch one day last week.  Aren’t they gorgeous???


Rod even tried his hand at filleting but decided to turn it over to the professionals


We have made a few day trips around but there really isn’t much to do in this area unless you fish.  LOL


We went down to the city of Kenai to watch the dipnetters.  The residents of Alaska are allowed to use what they call dipnets to catch their salmon and they are allowed ten more than whatever the limits are that day.  Most of them were done for the day because the tide had gone out.  It was pretty disgusting though because they had cleaned their fish right on the beach so there was fish guts, flies and seagulls everywhere!!  When the tide comes back in it will take it all away.


One of the dipnetters


Mt Redoubt peeked out between the clouds


We celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary on the 20th so we decided to go out to dinner.  We checked around and there really wasn’t anything we were interested in here in town so we drove 40 miles up to Cooper Landing where there was a lodge and restaurant that supposedly had the best smoked salmon chowder.  It didn’t disappoint but the rest of the meal wasn’t so good.  The paper menu had the recipe for the chowder and the waitress said I was welcome to keep it.  I’m happy to say that I now have all the ingredients for it and I’m excited to make it myself.  I’m always looking for recipes for my salmon.

Yes, it’s for sale


We took a trip up to the Swanson River to check out that area.  We were told there were a lot of moose and bear up there and to be careful.  Well, we didn’t see a single one of either.  It was a gorgeous drive though.  We traveled 20 miles on a gravel road to get there but there was a sign that said No Fishing to save the rainbow trout that were spawning.



Even out here there is oil


Friday we went out to have some beef!  There was a restaurant that we passed every time we went fishing on the Kasilof River so we decided to check it out.  They serve a ribeye steak for $10!  I got mine with King Crab legs.  The steak wasn’t so good but the crab was YUMMY!!  I think if we go there again I’ll just get the crab.  Our meal also came with Caesar salad.  They do give you a choice of half salad and half fries but we didn’t want the fries.


There is a female moose and her baby that show up in the early morning hours at the RV park we’re staying in.  For obvious reasons we have never seen them.  LOL.  Well, as we were driving home from the restaurant we saw them on the side of the road.  There was no place to pull off so it was a challenge getting a picture of them.



We have one more week here before we head up to Denali National Park.  I’m really looking forward to that.  As we move away from the coast the temps warm up some.  Even Prudhoe Bay which is the furthest most northern city in Alaska is warmer than we are.  Most days here it’s in the low to mid 50’s and the temps don’t change much at night.  As I write this at noon it’s 52 degrees outside (and raining) but Prudhoe Bay will be 60 today!!  And yes, we’ve heard the same statement we’ve heard many times before.  “This is not normal weather for us”.  HA HA!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Computer Meltdown

Well, I’ve been trying to retrieve the blog I was writing  a week ago but I guess that’s not going to happen.  My laptop died as I was writing it and I can’t restore anything.  I had backed up everything but that’s not working either.  I’m trying to copy ALL my over 10,000 pictures to an external drive and it has taken me all week to do this and I’m still not done.  I took it to a computer shop here in town and was told it’s not the hard drive, it’s a Windows issue.  So, a 3 hour drive to the Best Buy in Anchorage was in order for a new laptop.  I also found out there was a Popeye’s Fried Chicken there so guess where we went for lunch?


So, the blog I was writing about was our day trip to Seward last week.  I finally got it off the old computer.  Here it is!!!


Not a lot going on around here.  I don’t think anybody wants to know when we go to the grocery store or when we do laundry.  We have done some fishing though.  Nothing has been caught by us but Ed has caught one every day.  His new nickname is “one fish Ed”.  The limit on the sockeye salmon is three per day.  If you leave and take your fish to be processed you can go back and catch three more.  I haven’t seen a single person even catch three.  Even on the local news they said the salmon run has never been this bad since they’ve been keeping records.  Oh yeah, and it’s their worst summer in a long time too.  Hmmmm

Fishing on the Kenai River (and they say this isn’t crowded yet)


Yesterday we decided to take a break from fishing and head out to Seward with Ed & Mary Jo.  They picked us up and off we went for our 180 mile round trip day.

The city of Seward was named after William H. Seward who was the Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson.  In 1867, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia.  Seward is also the seventh most lucrative fisheries port in the United States per value. In 2004, 49.7 million dollars worth of fish and shellfish passed through Seward.  Another major industry in Seward is tourism.  It’s also an Alaska Railroad terminus which has a dock for cruise ships and it controls a shipping terminal for coal.  Cruise ship passengers can fly into Anchorage and take the six hour train ride all the way to Seward and board their ship.  There were no ships in while we were there yesterday.




We found this stuffed grizzly bear in the Visitor Center


We had to check out the local marina and see what people were catching, if anything.  This area is big for Silver Salmon.  The limit for those is six per day.  I’m thinking we may have to come back for that.



We spotted this eagle guarding the nest


Pretty cool waterfall right on the main street in town


Seward is also the start of the Iditarod which is a dog sled race from here to Nome, a distance of 1,910 miles


We fortified ourselves with lunch at Alaska Nellie’s.  Nellie was a pioneer woman who left her husband because he drank too much rum (oh my!!) and homesteaded in Alaska.  I had a really good meal of halibut and chips but nobody else really cared for their meals.  Rod had a caribou burger but it was way overcooked.  Ed had some fish chowder and Mary Jo had grilled halibut.


From there we headed about 10 miles outside of town to Kenai Fjords National Park where the Exit Glacier is located.  It’s one of the few that you can walk to from the road, or in this case, from the parking lot.  The hike up to the glacier isn’t too bad.  It’s only .9 mile one way but most of it is uphill so, hard going up but easy coming down.  LOL  I had been to this glacier about eight years ago when I worked for the cruise line and I could definitely see that it had receded some.  But, that’s what glaciers do.





This car came all the way from Argentina!!


So, the rest of the time we have been fishing.  Me, not so much but Rod has been going out every single day and sometimes twice a day.  He has only caught three fish total.  Not a lot of fish have been caught because there just isn’t any fish coming up the river yet.  They will come, it’s just that nobody knows when.

Today we decided to try a different spot on the Kasilof River (pronounced Kuh SEE Lof).  No fish caught again.  :(



Whew, I can’t tell you how happy I was to retrieve my blog about Seward.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!


Yesterday we finished up with breakfast, packed a lunch and headed out to pick up Ed & Mary Jo for a trip down to Homer.  We all had wanted to check it out and we thought we might like to stay there when we leave here.  Homer is down at the bottom of the Kenai Peninsula and we’re almost at the top.  The one thing we forgot was that it was Saturday, it was the 3rd of July and it was the end of the Key West to Homer motorcycle race called the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge.  It’s not really a race, more like a road rally that started on June 20th in Key West, Florida and ends on the 4th of July in Homer.  Some riders have already arrived and family and friends are there to welcome them.  The prize for the winner is $500,000 in Alaska gold!!



On the way we stopped in the little town of Ninilchik.  Ed had heard you can ride 4 wheelers on the beach so he wanted to check it out.  When we got to the beach we found a lot of tractors.  These tractors are used to get the fishing boats in and out of the water here.  I’m not sure why they do this but we found it very interesting.

The lighthouse



From there we headed for Homer.  We found the Visitor Center on down the road.  I have to say, this is probably the coolest Visitor Center I’ve seen.  It was more like a museum.  It actually was part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve.  Because it’s a National Wildlife Refuge I got a stamp for my National Parks Passport book!!


They had a lot of displays


My favorite was the Puffins


Okay, on to Homer



Boy was Homer ever crowded!!!  There is dry camping and RV parks all over the place.  We checked out one RV park and the rate was $87 a night!!!  OMG!!!  I like where we’re staying better.  We also checked the price on some King Crab and salmon and it was double what the price was in Soldotna.



All the buildings here looked like barns


We headed back out of town and look what we saw!!!  I swear he was posing for us.  Nice picture for the 4th of July.


This looked like a boat graveyard.  I know my friend Steve would have a field day in here.


Another lighthouse


We stopped at the Kasilof River on the way home to see if anybody was catching anything.  Apparently the salmon haven’t come up the river yet.  For those that don’t know, the salmon go out to the ocean after they’re born upstream and then somehow their internal clock tells them after a few years that it’s time to go back where they were born.  Once they arrive, they die.  The fishermen catch them as they are going back upstream.  We saw LOTS of fishermen but nobody was catching anything.



We headed on down the road to go home but of course, had to make another stop!  We found a moose!!  There’s lots of moose here but this is the first one I’ve seen.  It’s a real problem for motorists as 174 have been hit by cars so far this year.

He really was checking us out.  I saw the antlers this time, JB.



THEN we finally headed home.  Well, after a stop at the grocery store.  LOL.  Today we’re heading over to Ed & Mary Jo’s for a barbecue.  It’s a beautiful day here today with the sun actually SHINING!!!  We haven’t seen the sun much up here.  I don’t think they do fireworks up here, either.  It never gets dark.  At least not that I’ve seen.