Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day 15 Kenai, Homer

After leaving Izaak Walton Campground, we headed towards the town of Kenai where we will take a side trip up the peninsula to Captain Cook State Park.  There is a campground up there I wanted to see as well as a drive up the coast aways.  So, we turned right at Soldatna towards Kenai on the Kenai Spur Highway.  Kenai is a nice little town, very clean, wide streets and right on the coast.  We see several places we wanted to stop at on the way back through.  We also spot what looks like a very new Walmart that we weren't expecting to see.  This is a Super Center and has a full on grocery store.  We stop for a small resupply as this will be the last Walmart until we return to Anchorage.

After doing our shopping, we continue north on the Kenai Spur Highway.  The coastline is right there, but you can't really see it like I thought you might.  We keep going, the road is nice and the scenery is pretty good.  We go past the Tesoro refinery.  This is one of 2 refineries in the lower part of Alaska.  The other is in Valdez.  The other 3 are in Prudhoe Bay and North Pole.

As we continue north, the road starts to get smaller and not as well maintained.  There are fewer houses and business as we go north.  Soon we are at the state park named after the explorer Captain Cook, not to be confused with Captain Hook of Peter Pan fame.  We pass by several day areas and boat launches.  The campground road is the last thing you come to on the paved road.  After this point, the road continues but is a 4WD access road for a pipeline.

I'm glad we didn't try to come up here and camp last night as the campground is fairly full and what spaces were open were way off level or suitable for tenters only.  As we leave, we see a mama moose and her baby.  She gives us the evil eye and disappears just as I am getting out of the truck with the telephoto lens.  Here is a shot Sharon got from her window.

As we head back towards Kenai, Sharon mentions the visitor center and wants to stop there.  We pull in, but find the place is closed still.  It is still early.  She says that there are some old Russian churches on the streets behind the center.  We drive out the back entrance and turn right.  The churches are easy to find and worth the very short trip.

Looking at the map, it seems that you can get down to the coast and I can see a road down there, but I cannot find any road that goes down that way.  We are way up high on a cliff.

So, we leave Kenai and head towards Homer.  We take the Bridge Access Road and then Kalifornsky Beach Road.  Hmm, I wonder if this would get you to the beach.  Right before you cross the bridge is a wildlife viewing pull over and we stop to see if there is any wildlife.  Nope, a few birds, but no large mammals or dinosaurs.

Van Haulin in all his glory.

As we leave the area, we spot a caribou on the left side.  I turn around and return to a spot where we can see it better.  This is the first caribou we've seen.  

As we approach Homer, you can see the coastline from time to time. We even spot a pair of moose on the side of the road.  One tries to run out in front of us and then turns back.  Thankfully, she went back as hitting a moose can really mess up your day.

After what seems like an eternity, we arrive in Homer.  Our plan is to spend a couple of nights here seeing the sites and sampling the local food.  We really like seafood and this is the place for that.  We drive through town taking note of places that we might want to visit and start towards "The Spit".  This is a projection of land out into the Kachemak Bay.  If you follow any of the Alaska shows, there is one about a family of homesteaders who live near here called the Kilchers.  They live near here on a 600 acre homestead that their forefathers settled and passed on to subsequent generations.

As we head out to the spit, we notice 2 things right off.  The wind is ferocious out here and it is very crowded.  We drive through to the end of the public access road and discuss our options.  We had thought we would stay out here but we don't like crowds and the wind would make it unbearable.  It is the kind of wind that makes your head whistle from the wind going in one ear and out the other. 

We decide to go back into town and look for an RV Park.  Since we will be here two nights, we need some creature comforts like hot showers, laundry, electricity, water and beer joints that you can walk to and crawl home from.

We went looking for a place, but could not find it.  We did find a KOA in the place where we thought it might be.  We figure they must have sold out to KOA.  We don't do KOAs.  Nothing wrong with them if that's your thing.  It's just not our thing.  We stop and call the Driftwood Inn and RV Park and inquire as to vacancies.  They have a spot for 2 nights we can have for $55 a night.  Done deal.  They have everything we need plus it is a short walk down to the "beach" (more like rocky water access).  They are convenient to town and lots of eateries.

After getting settled in, we go for a walk around town to stretch our legs.  The town is pretty interesting and we find several eating establishments that will fit the bill.  After our walk, we decide to head back out to the spit for lunch.  We had seen a place that specializes in halibut fish and chips.  Even though it is crowded, we find a parking spot pretty quickly and head over to the eatery.

The halibut is "market price" which is a code word for "if you have to ask how much, you can't afford it".  We go for the cod instead.  They also have bread pudding and the hostess/order taker informs the man in front of us they have 2 pieces left.  He takes one and tell here to put my name on the other.  We find a table to sit at and wait for our food.  They bring the dessert first.  This is as it should be.  We polish that off pretty easily, I swear I saw sparks flying off the forks as they clashed for another load.  I think that since we got the last piece, it was a bonus sized portion.  Not enough for 2 servings but larger than 1.

Our meal comes out and man was it ever good.  We both clean our baskets.  Now, we have to waddle our way back to the van, but decide to do a little window shopping first.  Got to work off that monstrous meal.

When we checked in the owner gave us the rundown of the town sparing no facts no matter how insignificant.  In the assorted paperwork was a map showing the businesses in town.  We spy a bakery down the street.  Sharon likes bakeries.  Me too.  We make plans for breakfast!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing, doing laundry, catching up on other tasks that have been put off.  I wander up to the NAPA store to get an oil filter.  The place in Anchorage said they had the oil but not the filter.  No problem.

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