Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homer. Alaska

Tuesday: (07/19) We had oatmeal with yogurt, cranberries and honey for breakfast. We left camp about 8am continuing South on the Skilak lake Loop Road. It's a gravel road and was very good coming in to Hidden Lake. We explored a couple of campgrounds along the way. The road got quite like a washboard before we got back to Sterling Highway.

Rock And Antler Shop In Sterling
We stopped at Dan Cooper's rock and antler shop in Sterling. He spent a lot of time answering our questions  and showed us his work shop.

We stopped in Soldotna at Fred Meyer's to have Dawn's glasses looked at and pick up a few things. Fred Meyer's allows overnight stays and has a dump station and the parking lot was well parked up with RV's. While shopping Lou bumped in to Jeanie Helms, a friend from Quartzsite. She took us to lunch at Don Jose's Mexican Restaurant. She works summers at a local lodge. The food was very good. I had a chili relleno and burrito. Dawn and Jeanie  had enchiladas and Lou had a chile relleno.

Homer Spit Marina Campsite Homer Spit Marina Campground viewed from the beach with the tide out.
Our campsite on Homer Spit viewed close and far away and low tide

We made our way on down to Homer stopping for the night on the Homer Spit at the Marina Campground. Nice view of the ocean on one side and Kachemak Bay on the other side. We settled into a nice site and relaxed the rest of the day. For dinner Lou fixed baked potatoes, corn on the cob and BBQ ribs.
(GPS: 59.631696, -151.4949159)

Cranes Walking On Homer Spit Beach Cranes Flying away from Homer Spit Beach
Wednesday: (07/20) A nice sunny day with clear skies. Some cranes walked by on the beach in front of our RV until scared into flight by a fellow campers dog.

Homer Spit Marina Burro Walking On Homer Spit Beach
We explored the shops and marina on the spit.

Homer Farmers Market Eagle At Homer Alaska
We also visited the Homer Farmers Market  held Wednesdays and Saturdays.. You can tell the vegetables are locally grown or at least not grown hear our home by the huge size of them. An eagle resting at home near her nest across from the post office.

Of course we stopped at a couple of hardware stores for a look. One, Ulmers was more of a general store. I've been looking for good protective cases for our phones since we bought them. The cases came with Lou's and Dawn's but they are both different and not very good. In fact Lou's was a two piece case the broke and was taped together. Dawn's was similar to the one I bought but not as good. Since they didn't have one for mine at Best Buy when we bought the phones i got a credit instead. I located on at another Best Buy store later. When Lou's Broke we started looking in earnest but haven't found any other than the louse type Lou had. Not at any of a dozen Best Buys visited, Fry's, and numerous wireless stores. What an odd thing to locate at a store at the end of the world here in Homer. I bought them out. They cost 1/6 what I had paid as well. They wanted to get rid of them and I wanted them. How nice!

We stopped across from the post office to watch a Bald eagle perched on her nest with her two eaglets. We didn't get a view of the eaglets though.

For lunch we had grilled cheese sandwiches and white chili. (Stagg's white chilli uses white beans and sour cream instead of tomato sauce). Dinner was some a Chinese vegetables with noodles and chicken Lou stirred up.

During dinner Lou noticed the carpet was damp under the dinette table. A check revealed the water was coming from a lick in the kitchen sink faucet. I hoped it was just a loose fitting but it wasn't. The copper line entering the faucet broke at the base of the faucet. Must have been too bumpy of a road recently. No easy fix and too late to get parts tonight. Too bad we didn't know earlier when we visited the stores. I disassembled the dinette seats, We vacuumed the carpet and setup fans to dry it out. We also had some water in a storage cabinet below the floor as well.

RV Kitchen Leak Repair RV Kitchen Leak Repair
The sink faucet broke and needed to be capped off.

RV Kitchen Leak Repair RV Kitchen Leak Repair
A lot of the floor needed to be dried out. We used our fans after the wet vac.

Thursday: (07/21) We got up and went to breakfast at the Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery Cafe. I had a mix of potatoes and vegetables with some cheese on it, Dawn had French Toast and Lou had biscuits and gravy. The real purpose of our morning trip was to visit the hardware store. We dropped Dawn off at a book store and visited both hardware store, Spenards and Ulmers, which fortunately are next door to each other. i needed to get a new kitchen faucet or plugs to cap off the lines to stop our leak. Spenards had only really expensive fauscets with too many features for our RV. Ulmers had some tice simple cheap faucets but the lines weren't long enough to avoid reworking some of the water lines. We decided to just cap the water lines and live without a sink the rest of the trip or at least until we pass through Anchorage again. We intend to remodel the kitche to eliminate the double sink, which we don't use, and install a single sink and new counter top. The faucet can wait until then. So, a only plugs were neeeed to be able to turn on the water again. Afraid not. One line was cross threaded and couldn't be plugged. So another trip to the store to get another compression fitting to replace the cross threaded one. Finally no leak. We're still drying out so can't reinstall  the dinette until tomorrow.

Lou made hamburgers for lunch . We enjoyed them out at the picnic table on the beach.

Since we're eventually going to visit Denali National Park I needed to make reservations. With extreme difficulty on a really bad website I finally was successful at reserving our campsite at Teklanika campground. I couldn't complete the order for the shuttle tickets with the reservation so I had to call to complete the entire reservation. You get a special shuttle ticket when you're camping beyond the 15 mile point. Visitors can only drive in tothe 15 mile point but people camping inside can drive in to their campsites. They can't move again until their departure and we also have to leave our Jeep outside since it can't be used. Rules, Rules. So we needed the shuttle passes. So, two normally simple tasks that developed into complex efforts were successfully completed.

Now we can play here in Homer then on our way back up the Kenai peninsula. We still need to visit Whittier on our way back up. We just have to limit ourselves a little and meet our arrival date of August 1 at Denali. Lou and Dawn are out on the town visiting book stores. They stopped by a nice market before coming home. The Save-U market has interesting stuff and some interesting prices. They have lots of ethnic foods and a row dedicated to Trader Joe's food items. Lou found some fresh chorizo there and got some for breakfast.

Friday: (07/22) Lou fixed some fresh chorizo and eggs that she got at the market last night. She also prepared sandwiches for lunch.

Pratt Museum Homer Alaska Pratt Museum Homer Alaska
We headed up to the Pratt Museum. It's another excellent little museum. It has three floors. The upper main floor is the museum with displays and hands on displays about fishing, the 1964 earthquake, local native people and pioneers settlers. It takes quite a while to get through the displays if you're like us and read and watch everything. The second floor has some life fish and sea creatures and a camera that you can control that's on Gull island across the bay from the Homer Spit. The lower floor contains an art gallery. and information about the Exxon Valdez oil spill. There are also some stuffed animals including a huge wolf, a quite large brown bear and this Lynx that reminds us of what spunky may grow up like. There is more art scattered around along the halls and stairways.

Pratt Museum Homer Alaska
Outside there is a pioneer cabin that we found quite interesting. Compact and functional and one of the best and most realistically appointed pioneer houses. We finished off with a hike on their nature trail where we were supposed to see som birds but none cooperated. they also have some interesting art displayed along the trail. one of the things we found interesting was that doing service and or projects at the museum is part of the school curriculum here. We ate our sandwiches in their little arboretum.

After the museum visit we headed out the East End highway.That's the name of the road that continues beyond Homer. It goes about 22 miles further and is a nice paved road for all but the last three miles.

East End Of East End Road 22 Miles East Of Homer East End Of East End Road 22 Miles East Of Homer
It turns into a gravel road and then a treacherous dirt road going down a high cliff to the beach at the upper end of Kachemak Bay. We walked the beach and collected some nice shells.

East End Of East End Road 22 Miles East Of Homer East End Of East End Road 22 Miles East Of Homer
A bunch of paper or cardboard like crust was on the beach at the end of Kachemac bay.

Homer Alaska Eagle And Eaglets
We stopped by to watch the eagle feed her eaglets. The mother eagle on left, an eaglet on the right.

We had dinner at AJ's steakhouse in old town Homer. Lou and Dawn shared an excellent ribeye steak. I had halibut tacos. After dinner Dawn visited a nearby book store and Lou and I stopped by the Save-U market. I had seen it before. It's a big and includes pet foods, hay, gardening items, tools, a deli, an excellent selection of foods.

When we got home I reassembled the dinette. Nice to have it back. Lou will get the rest of the storage organized in the morning.

Saturday: (07/23) Granola with yogurt, honey and fresh strawberries for breakfast.

Homer Farmers Market Marimba band
We started the day with another stop at the Farmers market. There was an excellent marimba band playing there.

Norman Lowell Gallery Anchor Point Alaska
We then headed up the highway a little ways to Anchor Point and visited the Norman Lowell Gallery. An outstanding gallery in a town without a gas station. Lowell homesteaded here in 1949 and has been paint successfully for a while. Nothing in the gallery is in our reach. The cheapest I saw was over $24,000.  .

Norman Lowell Gallery Anchor Point Alaska  Norman Lowell Gallery Anchor Point Alaska
We got to tour his original cabin with a nice tour guide dog that only wanted to fetch sticks.  The original homesteaders cabin is just to the left of this second phase addition. the original is too dilapidated to enter now.

Norman Lowell Gallery Anchor Point Alaska Norman Lowell Gallery Anchor Point Alaska
The part you can tour isn't in too much better condition but has some nice items displayed in it.

We drove out a road in Anchor point to the end of the road and the farthest point West you can drive in the US from the 48 states on a paved road. Yesterday we drove the furthest distance into Alaska when we went out to the end of the Kachemac Bay on East End Road.

We also drove out the North Fork Loop road. Lunch was goodies form the car reserves.

Homer Spit Marina Tour Homer Spit Marina Tour
We then returned to the Spit and took a tour of the harbor given by a Pratt Museum docent.

Homer Spit Marina Salty Dawg Saloon Homer Spit Marina Salty Dawg Saloon
We finished the day with a visit to the salty Dawg saloon for a drink. It is supposed to be a must do for visitors here.

Homer Spit Marina Salty Dawg Saloon Dawn And Lou At Homer Spit Marina Salty Dawg Saloon
They have that wonderful green wall and ceiling paper, dollar bills. We enjoyed talking to a group of people originally from Switzerland now from Puerta Valarta, Mexico. Dinner was leftover tuna and noodles and hot potato salad.

Homer Alaska Coal From Beach
Some of the coal that Dawn collected from the beach. it would have been nice for a fire but we had rain and wind except for one night's fire. The stuff can spontaneously ignite so we didn't take it with us as much as we wanted to.
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