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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Clams? Yes, but it is work

Low tide was scheduled for 10:30 am.  We were on the beach on 9:30—along with many others
P7310026 It is a big beach and there was plenty of room for everyone.  We managed to get about 30 clams.  It took a while to develop a technique.  First, we looked for a little indention in the sand—a little air hole.  We shoveled out sand, hopefully not hitting the clam and breaking it open.  (broken clams are very hard to remove all the sand).  After digging a shovel full, we dropped down on our knees and started digging with our hands.  This picture shows how deep Dan went down to get the clam by the hole.
We quit at 11:00.
P7310027I had Dan’s rain pants with sock feet boots.  Dan wore waders.  We were a mess top to bottom.  Thankfully, the sun was out all afternoon and dried everything out. 
Finished batch. 
Thanks to friends of Chips at the Soldotna campground and a very helpful camp host here at Niniletuk, we had a whole lot of fun.  Speaking of Chip, he and a friend showed up this morning.  They definitely found more than we did, but, hey, they had done it before.
Tomorrow, we are headed toward Seward.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ninilchik Beach State Campground

We will be digging for clams on Ninilchik Beach tomorrow morning.  Rather than drive the 30 miles down to the beach from Soldotna, we are staying right here on the beach.  This picture out our camper door shows the historic town of Ninilchik, a Russian settlement along the Cook Inlet coastline.  The old settlement is down in the valley.  The historic church is on the hill directly across from our campground.  There is a stairway down to the beach which is to the left of the picture.
I’ve decided clamming is a family and friends time for local residents.  There are large groups of families camped together with children running about having a great time. 
This little one gets to participate in all the action thanks to big brother.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Catch Up day and a decision

Part of the reason this day became a sort of catch up day is we couldn't make a decision. Here's our problem.

We were going to take off for destinations north, but thought maybe we would fish for salmon a while longer since we have three days left on our licenses. Then, we decided we should join half the state of Alaska on Sunday morning digging for clams. It is the low tide necessary then.

We've never dug for clams before. We're finding out there are many ways to do it as there are people digging. We didn't want to buy a clam shovel because we have no need in Kansas. We bought a spade. I think we'll move closer to the beach we want to dig on tomorrow. Of course I'll take a few pictures.

Homer back to Soldotna Thursday, July 28

Anchor Point was one of my favorite campgrounds so far.  It is an Alaska Wildlife and Parks maintained area.  Except for the city campground in Soldotna, we have stayed in State or National campgrounds.  We find them clean, well regulated and affordable.

Another interesting feature of Anchor Point was their ocean boat ramp.  They had huge tractors that had huge tires and would drive way out into the ocean with boat trailers to pick up boats.  I didn’t take a picture but worth a stop at the campground just to see it happen.

From Anchor Point, we took a scenic route back to Homer.  Here we discovered another Russian settlement.  This is a picture of their small Russian Orthodox church.

IMG_1588IMG_1590 It was a quiet little village with well kept gardens at each home.

Again at Homer, we visited the Alaska Islands & Ocean Visitor Center.  First, we viewed two movies, one about the Tiglax, a ship owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  There are many species of birds and other wildlife the  Aleutian Islands that is constantly monitored.  Major predators of different species of birds and animals have both been introduced, fox and rats.

Fox as part of an effort in the late 1800s to ”fox farm.”  There was a great demand for fur at that time so pairs of fox were introduced on many of the islands.  These predators soon caused a major upset in the food chain.  Rats were introduced with ship wreaks. 

Thanks to constant monitoring, mainly through the use of the Tiglax and removal of many of the fox, the balance is being restored on the remote islands.

Afterward, we followed the advice of the docent at the museum and stopped by 2 Sisters Bakery.  The loaf of bread is delicious, as was the cookie Dan and I shared.

This evening we met a very kind and friendly lady named Elizabeth.  She found my phone on the beach and called to let me know she would meet us to give it back.  She would accept no payment for her time  and gas.  Once again we have found the local residents to be helpful, friendly and just good people.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Homer Wednesday, July 27

If I described our campsite on the spit last night, you would probably think it was a nice setting. It might have been, but it rained all evening and we had to stay inside. It was still drizzling this morning so we left to drive around the lower point of the peninsula. Definitely wet sand it not a friend of this small space.

Before I leave the topic of the spit, though, here is a picture I took this afternoon as we left town for our campground that shows how this narrow piece of land called a “spit” goes out into the inlet.
What a beautiful drive around the point of the Kenai peninsula. We took several side roads. It was on one of the remote backroads that we came across this cemetery. We thought it might have been Russian because of names we saw in the area.  Perhaps because of the sea salt, the crosses were all aluminum.
We noticed as we came through town earlier there was to be a farmer’s market from 3:00 until 6:00 pm. Since it was already 1:30, we decide to use the parking lot to eat lunch and wait until it opens. I fixed salmon for lunch—delicious.
I purchased a huge cabbage as well as rhubarb. I really don’t have room to store extra food, but it just looked so good.   They use hot houses and a “tunnel” which is a covering over the entire garden to make their growing season last longer. Here is an example.

 The cabbages!

We  decided earlier to camp at the Alaska State Park site at Anchor Point. So here we are. We had time to ride our bicycles on the beach before cooking half the cabbage.
The highlight of the day was the end. We haven’t had many opportunities for sunsets here in Alaska. So often a rain comes up at the end of the day. Tonight, however, there was a brilliant sunset. Even though it wasn’t of the actual sunset, I like this one the best.  You know how the sun sets, of course.  It slips down and then drops below the horizon.  The sun here doesn’t exactly drop, it slides sideways down. It should be noted here that it was 11:15pm when it finally fully disappeared.  It was twilight a while after that. This sunset was the longest one I’ve ever witnessed. Definitely a thrill and memory I’ll cherish. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Soldotna to Homer Tuesday, July 26

The Centennial campground at Soldotna has an unusual system. Payment is by the day or week which is noted on a slip of paper. Then, you can move that slip of paper around as campsites open. That is how we were a part of Chip’s”hood” last night, at least his friends call it that. It was just a short walk down to the river where Dan caught two more salmon last night.

Before leaving Soldotna, we visited the Homestead Museum. Definitely it should be put on a “must see” list for any visit to the Kenai area. I say this because it is a well done example of the recent history of the state with furnished log cabins and early fishing boats. Our docent, Caroll, grew up in Soldotna, her parents settled there when land opened up, with preference for veterans, after World War II. Caroll is my age. She personally saw the peninsula grow from the very beginning. She was in the earthquake in the spring of 1964 and told of how it broke up the thick ice on the lake nearby nearly killing her brother.

I barely got away from there, though....

From Soldotna, we drove on down the peninsula toward Homer on the Seward Highway. Clam Gulch seemed a good place for lunch. The sign said, no cars on the beach unless 4-wheel drive. We’re that, so down we went right out on to the beach—and right down into the soft sand. After we backed out, with our 4-wheel drive, we decided maybe they didn’t mean with a heavy camper. We still had a beautiful view from the spot by the road while we ate our lunch. I looked for pretty rocks while Dan spied on an eagle and what might have her young one.

We are now sitting on the Homer Spit, parked on the beach looking out over the ocean. I am hoping the weather clears so I can get a picture of how beautiful this spot really is.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One more salmon post



Chip foul hooked (hooked anywhere but the mouth) this evening.   Salmon have to be hooked in the mouth so we couldn’t keep it.

Chip is our friend and neighbor and also Dr. Chip, a professor at KU.   After dinner tonight he explained the  salmon migration.  Fry are baby salmon.  They are born in their own part of a river meaning because they are born there, it is their home.  When they reach about 1 1/2 years old, they swim to the ocean.  At that time they are called Smolts. 

At age four or five, they return to the place they were born to spawn and die.  So that is why the fish are moving up the Kenai River where we are camped.  The Kenai flows into the ocean so it is their entry way to other rivers and creeks upstream.

We are fishing for Red Salmon or sockeye. Chip says all salmon have two names.  King Salman or chinook, Silver Salmon or coho, Chum Salmon or dog and Rink Salmon or humpback.

As the salmon swim up the river, smell tells them where to hatch. They may cross by several rivers or streams before one smells right to them.  Chip told us not to miss the salmon hatchery in Valdez that releases salmon each year.  When these released salmon return to spawn, they return to the hatchery where they are two and three deep trying to get back in.  Of course, there is no entry. 

Salmon swim two miles an hour and may swim as may as 70 to 90 miles.  The longest commute is 3,000 miles on the Yukon River.

We are moving on to Homer today.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This one is for Aaron, Adam, Evan, Trent, Carly and TomCat(fish) Price


Saturday Farmers Market Day

I mentioned yesterday we were planning on getting up at 3:30 in order to be fishing by 4:00 am. Believe it or not, we were on the river at 4:15 am.  It was twilight at that time.  As I said before, the sun coming up over the river is beautiful.  We caught three salmon as well
When we were in Kenai watching the dip netting yesterday, we noticed there was a farmers market scheduled for the Kenai Welcome Center parking lot.  We were interested to see what fresh vegetables would be available. As it turns out, not many. There were some nice cabbages, though.   Even though the growing season is short, plenty of rain and long days is enough for cool weather vegetables.

The most impressive booth was the beautiful pieces of clothing made from locally trapped fur.  There were boots, hats, and scarves.  I did not take any pictures, but here is the web site for Howling Wolf Furs which tells the artist’s story and here is her order web site there are pictures of her creations.
In the end, all we purchased was a garlic scape pesto.   The vender explained that scape is the top of the garlic that is cut before it gets mature.  It is delicious
After reindeer brat for lunch, we did some wash.  Then late this afternoon, the fishing picked up again and Dan caught three more fish. 

I'm getting spoiled with Chip's cooking.  Tonight we had salmon rice pilaf.  He is exceptional with the seasoning bottles.

We are staying here at the Centennial campsite until Monday morning so I can replace my phone.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dip netting on the estuary

An estuary is a place where salt water meets fresh water.  At high tide the salt water may be 12 miles up river.  However, it was low tide when we traveled to the city of Kenai to watch for ourselves the dip netting that only Alaska residents can participate.
The dip nets are huge.  They are hooked to the top of small cars traveling to the beach to participate in this Alaska tradition. 
The netters form lines along the inlet and as the tide comes in with their big nets.  Sometimes they will form a “conga” line where they all work together to get the fish. 

There are tents, RVs, food vendors out on the beach.  It looked like everyone was having a great time.  And, the weekend crowds weren’t even there yet.
IMG_1380 Notice the mud the guy with the net is walking through.  It is almost like quick sand.  We visited with a friendly local man about his day of netting and he said years back, there were people killed when they became stuck in the mud and the tide came in.  While we were visiting, he explained that a old looking plane struggling to gain altitude  out over the inlet was full of gasoline for the remote settlements.  How about flying an old airplane full of gas for a job!

It was a beautiful sunny day today.  Still only in the 70s.  Not to say that to rub in our cool temperatures to our family and friends in sweltering Kansas, but to say once again how beautiful weather we have been fortunate enough to have here.  Everyone says it is more often than not, rainy.  The other interesting thing is when the weather is sunny, the parents let the children play until there is no longer light—11:00 or later.  I guess they experience enough darkness in the winter
While I’m on the subject of interesting observations, there are handguns for sale in the grocery store and fishing supplies in the hardware store here in Soldona.  Only in Alaska.

The only down part of the day is that I lost my cell phone, possibly on the beach. We retraced all steps but could not find it.  So, I disconnected service to my number until Monday when I can get a new phone.

Got to get to bed.  Plan on getting up to fish at 4:00 am.  A final picture of Mt Redoubt, an active volcano, visible from the beach.
Copy of IMG_1360

Catching up on Salmon July 21

Somehow I lost a day on this journal.  Time to fill it in
 The Kenai River flows past the Centennial campground where we are staying.  It is a wide fast flowing river, maybe like the Kaw when it’s high.  Many of the streams formed by melting snow empty into it, so it’s cold.  Salmon come in from the ocean to begin their journey to spawn at their birthplace river here.  According to the Anchorage Daily News, There are record numbers running through the fish counter at the river’s mouth—230,600 salmon in one day.  Some year's peak doesn't hit 100,000
 This picture was taken at 5:00 am this morning.  After not having a lot of luck yesterday, we decided to get out there early.
Obviously we were the only ones with this idea.  Here it is looking the other direction.
I later found out some were out at 2:30 am!   First, fly fishermen are serious about their sport.  The lady in the foreground moved so we could get in.   Oh, yes, and it was raining.  By 8:30 am, I had lost two fish and my feet were froze.  Dan took a break a little earlier so he came down with hot coffee.  That helped.
We finally quit around 11:00.  Chip, Dan and I were rotating in one spot.  When we quit, we lost the spot.  That’s OK because I was tired.  This afternoon, we cleaned up all the salmon fillets and vacuum packed them.  Chip took them to a place that will freeze, store and mail them at the right time.
What is interesting, though, is the personality of this campground.  Through Chip, we have met many of the other visitors and learned their routine.  Many bring pressure cookers to can their salmon.  This evening we visited with a gentleman who had been tending his smoker full of salmon all day.  Everyone is having a good time all centered around the salmon harvest.  
Here’s how I understand how salmon are caught.  After they enter the rivers from the ocean, they have trouble with the change in water so are swimming with their mouths gapping open.  Catching them involves throwing a line out and letting the current carry it down and hoping one of the salmon will be swimming by with their mouth open and grabbing the hook.  If any of them are caught in any other part of the body than the mouth, they have to be thrown back.  It’s not as easy as it sounds.  There is technique, but in the end, there is also luck. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to Soldotna Centennial RV Park July 19

Monday night we camped right along the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet.  There was a road and railroad track between us and the water, but still a nice view.  Tuesday morning we made our way toward Soldotna where Chip is camped.  At his advice, we first stopped by the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.  We were able to view close up and personal brown bears, caribou, moose, buffalo—not as exciting as seeing them in the wild, but still interesting.  This is as close as I want to get to this bear part.


Then on to the Centennial RV park at Soldotna.  The first part of that drive is how I imagine Hawaii.  Vibrant green mountains, wildflowers and overlooks over flowing streams.  We are on the Seward Highway which is on the Peninsula so it is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer than inland. 

As we got closer to Soldotna, I told Dan that I could easily forget that we were in Alaska.  It was beginning to feel like Branson Missouri.  Lines of cars and RVs all headed one direction.  Once we reached the city, it was even more congested.  All of this is over salmon.  We see mostly Alaska tags, but many vacationers like us are also converging for the annual salmon run. 

Chip has been here for nearly a month.  He has filled his limit since the run began four or five days ago.  It didn’t take Dan long to catch this beauty.


Too late to write

We are here on the Kenai. We fished until 10:30. Dan caught a 7 pounder. Pictures and the story later tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tetlin Wildlife Refuge (near Tok) to Anchorage via the Glenn Hwy Monday July 18 387 miles

The trip must have caught up with us because we didn’t get up until 7:30 this morning.  Still, we were in Tok near enough to lunch to stop at the Caribou Restaurant for our first Alaska fish—halibut.  Definitely fresh and  delicious. 

We opted not to go the usual northern route to Fairbanks or Chicken because we heard from Chip that the salmon were starting their run down on the Kenai. The route from the Alaska Hwy to Anchorage is the Glen Hwy.

The Glen Highway is designated as a National Scenic Route.   It parallels the Mentasta and Wrangell mountain ranges.  The grand mountains are close with ranges beyond.   I tried but hardly could capture the majestic beauty.  Certainly Alaska earns its name as the last frontier.  There were two glaciers, one being the famous Mantanusta which heads in the Chugah Mountains and winds northward for 27 miles.  The average width is 2 miles and is four miles as its end.  There is a walking trail to the head, but at the time we were there, it was pouring rain.  My picture was not good either.  The picture I am adding is another glacier on the highway.  I think the cloudy mist gives the mountains the surreal feel that I felt when I saw them.  IMG_1292

There are many opportunities along this route for hikers and ATV trails.  Streams have trout and salmon runs.  We stopped at the Copper River but did not see any.  Hatcher Pass on the lower part of the route was part of the gold rush area of Alaska. Over 500000 ounces of gold has been produced from this district since it was discovered in Alaska in 1886.

The beauty of the drive ended abruptly as we entered Anchorage, a big, noisy city.  We stayed long enough to get groceries and then headed out of town.  We are currently camped on a small pull off area.  Cooks Inlet is right across the road.  The long days intrigue me—daylight until 11:00.

I see it is 3:30 at home.  Dan and I are fouled up with all the time changes.  It is 12:15 am as I write this.

Tomorrow, maybe salmon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teslin to Alaska! 449 miles July 17

Yes, we’re here.  Only about 30 miles in, but we crossed the border at 5:45 this afternoon. No pictures, but it was a good feeling.

We stopped in Whitehorse long enough  this morning to fuel up, buy a couple things and stop by McDonalds to post to the journal.  Then it was on to Haines Junction. 

The Alaska Highway was built in the early years of WWII as a way to get supplies to Alaska.  Since that time Canada has done an excellent job of improvement and maintenance, except from Haines Junction to Alaska.  Because 85 percent of the traffic in this section is from the U.S. our country entered into the Shakwak Agreement in 1977 to help bring the road up to the same condition as the rest of the highway.  They are still working on it.  We had delays, spots of gravel, really just slowed us down.  For once we were glad for the daily afternoon shower to cut down the dust. 

So, here we are at the Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge with a beautiful view of the lake, camping for free.  We enjoyed visiting with the couple camped next to us, they are from Missouri.  We were sitting down by the water when Dan saw this beautiful sight.

I was thrilled to get a picture of this swan family. 


Tomorrow we’re going to pick up supplies and wash everything and then head to the Kenai Peninsula. 


We're here. More when I have a better connection.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stone Mountain to Teslin Lake 412 miles July 16

Teslin Lake is only 133 miles south of Whitehorse—we’re getting there.  If everything goes as planned, we will be in Anchorage to pick up supplies in a little over  a day and a half. 

It’s hard to believe we fit everything in today and still made our destination.   It was a big day for wildlife.   We saw many buffalo, a black bear, grizzly bear, and this moose and her baby.

IMG_1231 Muncho Lake is a popular stopping place on the highway.  Planning the trip to include a stop there would be nice.  It is brilliant turquoise and fills  a wide valley with a backdrop of mountains in the distance.

Liard River Hotsprings, $5 per person, exceeded expectations. We changed into our suits in the camper then a short trek on a boardwalk took us to the 108 to 126 degree springs. The hot sulfur pool soaked away the road weariness.  The area around the springs supports more than 250 boreal forest plants,including 14 orchid species.  Signage warned of bears, but we did not see any. Thankfully, because flip flops and a swim suit is not bear watching attire.  After soaking until we were red, we ate our lunch and continued on down the road.



From the hot springs, Dan drove 65 to 70 mph.  We passed several tempting stops, short hikes to overlooks or waterfalls. However, the salmon are scheduled to run and we want to see them. 

Dan and I discussed how we would describe the Alaska Hwy. We decided in great spans of miles it is as good as any super two in the states.  At its worst, it is like old Hwy 40 or Hwy 4 in the Flint Hills.  At no time is it gravel.  However, we can see where it has been repaired and the excellent quality of the road may be the time of the summer we are traveling it. 

It is 12:15 pacific time as I write this.  It didn’t get what I would call dark until 10:45.  I am comfortable in a light jacket and I hear raindrops on the roof.  It rains most afternoons and sometimes nights. 

Alaska Highway Mile one to Stone Mountain July 15

First, it is the Alaska Highway, not the AlCan.  I am sure all who are reading this already knew that. 

We left Dawson Creek, Mile one, at 10:00 this morning.  Sorry, I had to post this picture—everyone takes one.  I thought it was clever the car dealership has a big sign in the background that is in every picture taken in front of this sign.IMG_1178

We are camped at Mile 373, Stone Mountain campground tonight. It is a Provincial Park and the camp hosts are friendly and helpful  They directed us to site 12 where our back door opens right on the lake.  Out our driver’s side camper window is Stone Mountain, the highest summit on the Alaska Highway. There are trout, whitefish and rainbows in the lake, but of course, I don’t have a fishing license.  It has rained almost the entire day, including this evening, not hard though.  It was a good driving day.

We spotted two moose and a caribou today also.  No pictures, hopefully later.

There are several tempting hikes nearby, but we will press onward.    

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Baniff and almost to Dawson Creek

The Ice Fields Drive and glaciers within through Baniff National Park are inspiring.  There are so many words I could use to describe the beauty, but I know I’ll be over using those as this trip goes on.  However, Alaska is a long way from home, Baniff National Park is within reach of everyone as it sits just north of Montana. 

This first picture is the first glacier we came to so it was special.  As it turns out there were many others. 

IMG_1140 This second picture is of a lake at the end of a 15 minute hike.  I am so glad we took the time.  The pond was a vibrant color of turquoise from the glacier run off.  Also notice the shape of the lake. 


Jasper is a quaint tourist town at the end of the drive.  We only drove through, then took off to see if we could make our day’s goal of Dawson Creek, Mile One of the AlCan highway.  We didn’t make it.  We were getting tired and this little farm town between Grande Prairie and Dawson Creek has a small camping area that works for us.  As a bonus, it has free internet!

A few other comments:

This campground has the before mentioned hungry mosquitoes.  A few sprays of the high powered deet purchased in Kalispell worked like a charm.  Dan even rode his bike to the local liquor store for a bottle of wine without too many problems.

As some of you know, the refrigerator was not working in the camper.  We would start it when stopped, but as soon as we were on the road, it would go out.  Thank you Cindy for referring us to the S & S Camper Sales in Kalispell.  They charged $35 to clean out the lighting mechanism and check for gas leaks.  Best money we have spent so far because it has not gone out since we left Kalispell.

We’ve driven a total of 2411 miles so far.  The truck is running fine.  Something we had not anticipated is diesel is cheaper than gas in Canada.  Still, with the conversion, we’re paying between $4.26 and $4.91 a gallon.

I am totally amazed at how many RVs there are up here.  Many of you remember our Roadtrek, well they are all over as are other brands of van conversions.  Not as many big rigs as I expected, but still seeing many.   In the National Park there were many Hostels and in Jasper private homes had little signs saying they offered rooms.  (Janice, I thought you would like to know that.)

Finally, we have not seen one other vehicle from Kansas. Of course, we can’t see all the plates.  I’ll let you know when I do.

Baniff National Park – Canada July 13, 2011

We sailed through Customs.  What a relief.  The horror stories of having to empty all containers, etc. did not happen to us.  I  say it is a combination of age and Kansas—they know there are good elder people there.

Not long after entering Canada, we entered Baniff National Park with an entry fee of $16.50 (Canadian) for a one-day pass. 

We are now parked at a Canadian National Park campground at Lake Louise.  Of course there is a lake, but it is also known for its ski slope.  The campground entry sign said, “full.”  My heart sank.  We decided to give it a try anyway.  Sure enough, there had been a cancellation so for $26.00 we have a place to sleep, which Dan is doing as I write.  Here in the park, we did not feel comfortable camping in a spot other than a campground. 

Dan and I discussed what made the mountains here different than the Rockies.  There are many more trees.  Actually, in most places, the trees are right up against a sheer straight up mountain.  It rained a little and a few clouds were lingering.  Here are my two pictures of the day. 

By the way, if you click on most of the pictures, they will be bigger.



(Morning) The days are getting longer as we go north. It was still twilight at 10:00 last night.  It was 52 degrees this morning.  Had to dig out the third blanket in the middle of the night.  Coffee is perked & the furnace is making it toasty.  Maybe Dawson Creek and the AlCan tonight.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Said goodbye to Cindy this morning after finishing up the delicious breakfast casserole. I'll post the recipe later. She lives in a beautiful part of the country and is a gracious hostess.

I think we're stocked up for a few days. Set to cross the border into Canada in a half hour at the Hwy 93 crossing. The word is the mosquitoes are big and hungry where we are headed. Stopped in Whitefish for 40 percent Deet. Wouldn't you know we forgot our mosquito suits we bought for our last trip into Canada. Might have to have Kim send them General Delivery to Alaska. Will let you know, Kim.

Location:Winding Rd,Topeka,United States

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Glacier National Park

Flathead Lake and nearby Kalispell are very near the 101 year old Glacier National Park. Although the Going-to-the-Sun Road is still not open for the season because of the heavy snows, we decided to hike the Trail of the Cedars which follows Avalanche Creek to Avalanche Lake.  A four mile round trip trail that only gained 500 feet certainly was within our abilities and so beautiful .  Dan & Cindy were good sports putting up with me and my camera.

IMG_1102 At the top—waterfalls—three high cascading waterfalls which dropped into a lake before forming the creek.  We ate our lunch and took in the view along with other visitors.


Copy of IMG_1090 

Guess we don’t have to go to Alaska to see Eagles.  We watched this one bring a fish up from the lake after we returned from our hike while enjoying beer on the deck of the lake house.

Copy of IMG_1052

Speaking of Cindy’s lake house, it is a part of the little lake community called Lakeside.  Likeside can’t afford a sheriff but needed some method to slow down traffic.  Enter Lucky.


This car is periodically moved around.  Inside is Lucky, a very official looking dummy.  The tags say, “Slow Down.”  Not a bad idea.

Tonight we ate at a popular restaurant full of locals.  One of the specials of the microbrewery is Vanilla Burbon Ale.  Very dark and very good.

Then it is home to sit on the deck and watch the almost full moon rise over the lake.

Tomorrow we will enter Canada.  Unless I can find a wireless hookup,  will not be able to put up a post.  I will keep a daily log and put them up when I can. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flathead Lake, Montana

Cousin Cindy’s cabin


The lake was perfect for a tour.  Our captain and her boat. The mountains behind the boat are Cindy’s view from her cabin.


2nd Mate and Dan


Pine Creek Campground

National Forest Service campgrounds are most always a good choice for overnight parking. Usually priced affordably and half price if you've reached that magic number of age 62 and have the Golden Age Passport. Pine Creek Campground is no exception.

It was only about ten miles off our route--if we wouldn't have made a wrong turn and traveled an additional ten miles on gravel. It was a nice backroad trip and we eventually found our way. Driving back into the camp area took us up over and around to catch a scenic view of the Yellowstone River Valley.

The Ivan Doig books Dancing at the Rascal Fair and English Creek,which are set in Montana, came to mind. I could almost see those sheep grazing high up on in the National Forest Service lands.

Pine Creek flowed through the campground at what I would call a dangerous rate. Locals tell us record snows and unusual spring rains are causing record run offs.

This campground may require another visit. According to the camp host, there is a beautiful waterfall only about a mile's hike away from the campground.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Better than a parking lot

Update on the road

Clue to current location


Wyoming!  Way to early to stop for the night at Cheyenne so on to Casper.  I25 north follows the Larame Mountains and Medicine Bow National Forest and on through the North Platte River Valley.  It is majestic in its starkness with the high rock sided mesa formations.  Doesn’t it make you wonder what is on top of those?

I should say at this point that we often boondock, in other words camp cheap.  So, it was Walmart in Casper last night.  We weren’t alone—two toy haulers with Harley’s in back, two big motor homes and this classic rig.

IMG_1014We aren’t used to all that paved area, so we rode our bikes around like kids.

Through Wyoming and on into Montana today.  Looking at staying in a National Forest tonight.  Should be more scenic.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

North to Alaska

We left son Doug, Drue, Trent & Carly's home in Monument about two
hours ago.  Stopped for fuel and now can say we are headed north.
Plan another family visit at my cousin in Kalispel first. For sure
Cheyene WY tonight, probably further.

A good visit with the grandkids the past two days.  Played games
mostly, but swam today.  Dan & Doug built a stairs off their deck.
Drue is a wonderful cook and this visit was no exception.  Besides the
tasty ribs and eggplant dishes, we enjoyed homemade ice cream with
cherry crisp (made with bing cherries) and this appetizer:

Drue's Baked Brie
1/4 cup apricot jam
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
Wheel of brie about 6 inches in diameter (about 20 oz)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Slice off top of brie.  With a knife or spoon, dig a wide hole in the
cheese leaving an inch around the sides & 1/2 inch on bottom. Save
the removed cheese. Fill the hole with the jam mixture, then cover
with saved brie. Top all with pecans. Cover loosely with foil & bake
20 min at 375 or until cheese is melted. Serve with crackers or break

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bike carrier

These pictures were taken at the Ellsworth Rest Stop on I70. We stopped for supper--brats, potatoes, onions & broccoli cooked while driving in the truckers oven--more on that another time.

Anyway, this is Dan's answer to how we are carrying our bikes to Alaska. The aluminum tray is normally used to carry a motorcycle. It is bolted onto a salvaged swivel chair mechanism. The upright in the middle that the bikes are strapped to is a handyman jack upright and stand. So far it is riding well, without any scratches on the camper.

Hoping to make it to Quinter tonight which is half way to Doug, Drue, Trent & Carly's home in Monument, CO.

Location:N 1150 Rd,,United States

Still home


but rain and clouds have cooled off the loading process.  Did you see the beautiful wrap around sunrise this morning?   Plan is to get half way to Colorado by night. 

It is hard to tell what direction this journal will take.  Traveling far and long is new territory for Dan and I.  However, my plan is to post one picture each day that best shows our day.   Welcome to all who are following along.  I look forward to a ride of a lifetime.