Saturday, June 30, 2012
Friday, June 29: Sunny and beautiful! Hot shower and a quick breakfast before we pack up and head head for Homer. We decide to stop at the visitor's center here in Kenai first and find that the area has a very interesting history. First the Russians came; they were interested in trading for furs with the natives, and eventually built a fort here with a church and a school. The European influence began with Captain Cook's visit in 1778 and then the US, once the government purchased Alaska in 1867 (Seward's Folly) and the traders and miners came. We decide to take a walking tour of their historic buildings, starting with an enjoyable stop at Veronica's Coffeeshop in a historic cabin. We come upon yummy frybread at a church garage sale, and then I buy a leather coat for $5 at a rummage sale along the road. I put it on--b-r-r-r! We walk through a lovely art gallery in a 50s fire hall/city jail; the cell, doors and all, is still there housing the gallery office. Ron got a tip on a great spot to shore-fish from a teen on the beach last night, so we head there for a picnic lunch. We turn on Kalifornsky Road (a native went to California and loved it so much he changed his name!) in Sodoltna, heading for their city park, Centennial Park. We watch the fishing (not much luck; they say maybe the reds will be running next week) while we eat, then, after I wash out the dishes in the Kenai River, we get serious about heading for Homer. It's a beautiful drive along the Cook Inlet, with the mountains that make up the Aleutian Islands across the inlet. We stop to photograph the recently active volcanoes, Iliamna and Mount Redoubt, over 10,000' high and see eagles soaring over the beaches. Then we see the broad expanse of Kachemak Bay with Homer Spit ( formed as a glacial moraine) curving off toward the Aleutian Chain. We check into our beautful cabin on Beluga Lake (a landing area for float planes) in Homer, then meet Sue and Chuck at the local hangout down on the Spit, the Salty Dawg, for a couple beers; there are dollar bills tacked all over the walls and ceilings there! We find out the cabin the tavern is in is one of very few buildings on the Spit that survived a fire in 1930. ( I also find out that my favorite beer, MGD, is the #1 selling beer in Alaska--I've fund my people!) The waitress recommends Captain Patty's for great seafood. Ron has sable cod and I have razor clam chowder and watch the harbour seals out the window; I can also see the cone of the old volcano, Augustine. Lovely evening, then we head for our cabin and a good night's sleep.