The Summer Solstice

Tue, Jun 20, 2017

Happy summer solstice everyone!

Hope you are enjoying a warm sunny day.  For us on the Kenai penensula, it’s doom and gloom with all day rain.  Yuck.

But on the plus side, the sun is up for 19 hrs and 21 min.  And it doesn’t really get dark at night.

Here’s yesterday’s picture of our site on the Kachemak Bay.

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The Homer Spit

Mon, Jun 19, 2017

Just 75 miles down the road from Soldotna lies Homer, the halibut fishing capital of the world.  Or so says the sign.

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But Homer is also known for the 4-1/2 mile long Homer Spit that juts out into Kachemak Bay.  It’s claimed to be the longest road into ocean waters in the entire world.

It is natural and was created by sand build-up from tidal swells or was pushed into place by now-retreated glaciers.  Either way, it’s impressive.  Here it is from the highway on the approach into town.

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Another interesting feature is the Nick Dudiak Fishing Lagoon.  It’s a fishing hole that was carved out of the spit and is stocked with king salmon fry every spring.  They grow and then leave for the open ocean and live a normal salmon life.  Then they return for spawning and the fishermen and women come out it droves.  We watched the action for a bit and saw four Kings jump out of the water.

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This guy caught and cleaned a nice 20 pounder.

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The World Record Salmon

Sun, Jun 18, 2017

We’re in Soldotna on the Kenai river where salmon fishing is king.

Chinook salmon are commonly called king salmon and they’re the largest of all types of salmon.  And the strain that runs in the Kenai are the largest of the kings.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that the world record salmon was pulled from the Kenai.

Back in 1985, a local Soldotna fisherman landed a 97 lb beast.  The story is told in this article and you can imagine trying to haul that in.  The locals at the Soldotna visiter center say that he fought the fish for two hours before getting it on board.

The fish was preserved by an expert taxidermist and is on display at the Soldotna Visitor Center.  Here’s a shot looking through the plexiglass.

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This shot doesn’t do justice to the size so I’ve grabbed a shot from the article linked above.  Mega fish, no?

Big Salmon

 

The Kenai Penensula

Sat, Jun 17, 2017

After ten relaxing days in Anchorage, we hitched up and headed south to the Kenai Penensula.

It was a beautiful drive around the Turnagain Arm and then south to Soldotna, about halfway to Homer.

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Soldotna is a fisherman’s paradise as it sits on the world famous Kenai River.   Quoting Wiki, the Kenai River is the most popular sport fishing destination in Alaska, particularly for King or Chinook salmon.  Each year there are two runs each of king salmon, silver salmon, red salmon, plus a run of pink salmon every other year.

Soldatna has built a boardwalk along the river for the fishermen and women.  Steps are provided so that you can access the river since you’ll be fishing in the water wearing your waders.  They’ve even provided cleaning tables and have signs to throw the remnants back in the river for their nutrient value.

Shore fishing works because the fish are going up river fighting the current.  But the current is slowest near the shore.  So that’s where they are.  Here’s the boardwalk.

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The Good Friday Earthquake

Sun, Jun 11, 2017

On March 27, 1964, the Good Friday Earthquake with a magnitude of 9.2 blasted Anchorage and the surrounding areas.  It lasted 4 min and 38 sec and was the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in North America.

The Alaska earthquake was a subduction zone earthquake (megathrust earthquake), caused by the Pacific plate sliding under the North American plate.  Land to the west of the fault line dropped 2-7 ft while land to the east was uplifted as much as 50 ft.  These are major movements.

But the real killers were the tsunamis.  The largest was recorded in Shoup Bay, Alaska, with a height of about 220 ft (yikes!) but there were others caused by underwater landslides.  Seward and Valdez, two port cities, were destroyed and Valdez moved inland four miles rather than rebuilding at the same location.  Tsunamis killed 124 of the 139 deaths.

Anchorage has an Earthquake Park located in the Turnagain Heights area overlooking the Cook Inlet.  During the earthquake, a mile and a half of bluff that was a quarter mile deep ruptured into large blocks and slid toward Cook Inlet.  This monument in the park depicts the slide.

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Now that’s a Nice Offroad Rig

Thu, Jun 8, 2017

Our neighbors, a German couple, pulled in last night and boy do they have a nice rig.

They have a military spec Mercedes G Class SUV.  Formerly known as Geländewagen, ‘cross country vehicle’, but commonly called a G wagon.

And it’s set-up for off road travel.  Full height snorkel for fording streams.  The same wheels and tires on the trailer so that their two spares can be used on either vehicle.  A large roof rack with kayak, extra water & gasoline cans.  You name it, he has it.

They shipped their rig from the EU to Baltimore and made their way up here.  Next they’ll head south and are planning to drive the Baja.  Then on a ferry for Mexico and on down the coast.  Ambitious.  I love it.

Here it is:

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Anchorage!

Wed, Jun 7, 2017

Beautiful drive today and not only due to the scenery.  For the first time in quite a while, we were on a road without frost heaves.  Well, not too many of them anyway.

The drive from Glennallen to Anchorage is known as the Glenn Highway and is part of the Alaska Route 1.  It’s gorgeous with mountains on your left the entire way.

Here’s an early section with black spruce in the foreground, a swampy lake and the Chugach Mountains.

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And there were a couple of glaciers along the way.  The little town and lodges near this one is called Glacier View.   I wish we had stopped for a better shot but Carol wanted to keep going.  She doesn’t impress easily 🙂

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The route follows the Matanuska River shown here.  For this one, Carol let me stop and get out of the car   The one above was shot out of the side window 🙂

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Almost to Anchorage

Tue, Jun 6, 2017

We turned south off of the Alaska Highway this morning for Glennallen, a town about halfway to Anchorage.  Can’t wait to get there.

It was a gorgeous drive but it came with a price.  Here’s a quote from Milepost “the highway becomes a patchwork of good highway going bad (frost heaves, damaged pavement) and improved sections of highway.”  Not as bad as Sun as we were able to ave 43 mph but still slow going.  We are just too heavily loaded to risk damage to the Cayenne or Airstream.

Others, especially pick-ups, ignore the conditions and blast on through.  And some aren’t so lucky.  Out neighbor stopped at an auto repair shop to remove a nail from a flat tire.  And on the tow truck next to them?  A pick-up with a broken axle and a displaced wheel. That person is going to be there for a wile.

Back to the beauty.  The latter part of our drive was along the Copper River.  You know it if you’ve ever bought Copper River Salmon in May.  Brilliant marketing as it’s sold as something special.  But the reality is that it’s an early run and it’s large.  Good for them.

Here’s one shot from the side of the road.  See that speck flying in the middle of the river on the left side?  That’s our first eagle sighting 🙂

That’s Mount Sanford (16,237 ft) on the left and Mount Drum (12,010 ft) on the right.  Both are in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.

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Here they are from near our RV park:

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Alaska – The Last Frontier

Sun, Jun 4, 2017

After five weeks traveling through Canada, we finally crossed into Alaska 🙂

But the last two days sure have been tough.  Rain mixed with the worst roads we’ve encountered this side of the Baja!

Frost heaves are the culprit and when they tear up the road, they do a fine job.  They cause dips more than potholes but they are tough on the suspension.  Thanks to Canada and Alaska road personnel, they do a good job of marking them.  First with a sign and then orange cones marking the spot.

This is a crappy picture but does show the situation.  Yellow sign followed but the orange markers.  They’ve been everywhere the past two days.

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I have to be really careful as my Cayenne is fully loaded and there aren’t many Porsche dealers out here.  So we went easy.  In fact, over yesterday’s 142 miles, the best we could do was a 35 mph average.  On a highway with a 65 limit.

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And finally we hit the border at the 141st Meridian.  The US and Canadian governments have cut a swath along the border.  Check it out on the horizon. And are those some scraggly spruce trees or what?

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