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Author Topic: Alaska with the Stocks 2013  (Read 30705 times)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #90 on: June 28, 2013, 07:03:53 PM »

June 27   Day 41   Anchorage, AK

Dean says he will work on our satellite problems one more morning, and he has just one more person to contact before he gives up.  He sent an e-mail to someone, and then we went to the Anchorage Zoo.  We had visited it in '09, and we enjoyed it.  It's a community zoo--you can't compare it with the big zoos--but if you go only expecting to see Alaskan animals and a very few bonus animals, you will have a good time.  We had a Northern Lights Buy One/Get One Free coupon, so admission for the 2 seniors was $8.  We were greeted by one of my favorite birds, a robin (Picture 1).  We don't get robins in SoCal, and I look forward to seeing them when we travel.  He's my first on this trip.

I got to see my lynx--in fact, he came over and said hello to me.  I got to see the red foxes (and smell them, too--phew!  Very similar to skunk.)  And, I got to see active wolves.  One of them was very curious about my scooter, so I went along the fence once with him following, hung a U-turn, and did it again.  Fun!

The alpaca was a droll comedian, as he was folded up by his trough, enjoying hay each time we passed by (Picture 2) Isn't that a face that only a mother could love?

The two black bears were active, and we appreciated the elevated walkway so we could see them well (Pict. 3)  The Amur Tiger is not a Bengal tiger, even though he is sometimes misnamed that, because he does not live in Bengal (Pict. 4)

This zoo does a great job of giving information in interesting ways.  They give compare and contrast signs for animals like the polar bear, brown bear, and black bear.  They have fur samples to feel.  The signs are full of meaningful information, and almost all animals have signs.

We have seen the musk ox (oomingmak) at the preserve in Palmer and in several zoos, but I learned (or re-learned what I've forgotten) a lot about him today.  First, he has no musk gland, although he does have facial glands near his eyes, but they do not produce musk.  Second, he is not an ox.  He is actually a member of the sheep and goat family.  Third new fact--he was hunted to extinction in Alaska because he is so easy to hunt.  When threatened by predators, they form a circle around the calves and use their horns and speed to defend them.  An 800-pound bull can run 25 mph to chase wolves away.  However, they are no match for a gun, and with them all being clustered together, they are easy to shoot. 

The musk oxen that are in Alaska today were imported from Greenland in 1930 to the Palmer Musk Ox Farm, which I believe is run by the U of A.  I also learned that they determine status by charging and banging foreheads repeatedly--similar to a car hitting a concrete wall at 17 mph!!!  The musk ox and caribou are the only hooved animals to survive the Pleistocene Era 10,000 years ago.  In fact, musk oxen have been traced back 600,000 years ago! 

The qiviut underwood fiber provides income to 250 Alaskan Native knitters, who get the spun yarn from Palmer's captive herds.  I'd like to know how they get that yarn.  Sedate them?  Kill them?   Ask them pretty please, can we have 3 bags full?  Maybe Salty Adventurer will find out when she visits the Palmer Musk Ox Farm.

We saw their beautiful products at Palmer, and they were super expensive, hundreds of dollars.  But, they are extremely warm, 10 times more warm than wool.  They keep the musk oxen warm down to -100F.  The designs are specific to villages and depict aspects of their cultural heritage and traditions.

The relaxing zoo visit took only a couple of hours, so we went over to the Campbell Creek Greenbelt--an area in the city where they have beavers, moose, and bears, or so they say.

The paved path parallels a lovely creek in a lovely forest setting.  These were the prettiest trees I've seen since I've been in Alaska.  We met a couple who had seen king salmon and ducks in the creek.  I was pleased when I found a Canadian Goose standing perfectly still and looking like a tree (the white gave him away).  We've learned to shoot what we see because it may be the best you get.  (Picture 6)  I think he's a papa-to-be and his wife was sitting on a nest behind him in the bushes.  She popped her head up twice for a second to see what was going on.

 We walked another mile, and Dean laughed at this sign.  (Picture 7)  I hope it makes you smile, too.
We walked another half-mile and came to construction and "Keep Out!" signs.  Dean saw a bridge to the left, and there we found this Canadian Goose couple with their 6 tiny goslings.  I know for some readers this is an everyday event, but for those of us from the Land of Concrete it was a lot of fun.  We must have watched them for 15 minutes.  (Pictures 7, 8, 9)  The creek was running quickly and the parents allowed them to be right next to the bank for no more than 10 seconds.  Getting pictures as they scurried into the water and out was a challenge.  Dean and I were both pleased when he was able to get 5 chicks in the same picture.  As we left, Daddy Goose, who had been watching us as we watched his family, seemed to announce, "I AM THE MAN!" (Picture 10)  No sound, but his pose said it all.

We went back to our car and across the street to The Arctic Roadrunner, a favorite from last time.  They've been in business for over 40 years, and the wall decor is pictures and stories of all their patrons--it's like a history museum and well worth the visit just to read the walls.  Good food, too.  Of course, their specialty was--you guessed it--hamburgers.  I had an extra-small oreo shake with mine (another specialty).  Cash only.  $5.95.  It is a beautiful setting, right by the creek, with a patio outside, and I suspect they spray with mosquito repellent because they didn't have mosquitoes, and I saw a guy with a hose spraying a gentle mist right next to the ground.  They didn't have mosquitoes, and the path we took on the other side of the creek had lots.   I carry mosquito spray in my purse, which really helps because I can grab it at as soon as I see them and protect myself.

Dean dropped me off at the RV because I wanted to continue cleaning.  He has all the laundry done now; I folded, hung, and put away.  We're making exciting progress at returning to a normal state of cleanliness.  He really wanted to see "World War Z," and I'd prefer to clean alone.  He enjoyed the story and the acting, but he agreed that I would not have liked the film.

Dean came home and went to work on my phone (13 apps were frozen, and of course they were our most used apps which he doesn't have duplicates of on his phone).  He thinks he has it totally fixed. I hope so because he's spent at least 4 hours on it.  Hard work deserves success.

We both enjoyed our evening--a good ending to a wonderful day.

Too much to do.  Sorry for the inconsistency of posting.  I haven't had access to the computer, or we've been out having fun, or I've had a chance to be home alone and clean.  It's 1:00 A.M., and we have to be up at 7:00 to meet a friend tomorrow, and we can't get the park's WiFi to come up on either computer, so once again, posting is going to have to wait.

Staying at Golden Nugget RV Park--$42
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #91 on: June 28, 2013, 07:08:18 PM »
More pictures
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #92 on: June 28, 2013, 07:30:09 PM »

June 28   Day 42   Anchorage, AK

We met my environmental friend from Anchorage for a muffin at Fire Island Bakery, her favorite place.  They used wonderful fresh, healthy ingredients but all their tables inside were just two-chaired, so we sat outside in 55 weather.  The conversation was so stimulating that although we met at 9:00, we didn't stop chatting and exchanging information until well after 11:00.  We have many wonderful places to see that only locals know about.  Her husband is the BLM head for this section of Alaska (there are 3 areas), and one of the places I really want to go is a BLM site.  Dean enjoyed it, too, but when we got in the car, he turned on the heater and pronounced, "I'm COLD!"  He's never cold!  He and Terry Brewer wear shorts in freezing weather.

We went back to the coach so Dean could change into jeans and pick up our Siamese twin computers.  Then we headed to lunch at Snow City Cafe, a place my friend recommended highly and that I had a coupon for.  Alas, after feeding the meter for 1.5 hours of time, there was a 1 hour wait and about 50 people waiting, so we looked for another place to have lunch between where we were and the library.  If we were in the left lane, the fast food places and coffee shops were on the right.  We switched to the right lane, and they were on the left.  We bypassed our street looking and found an Applebee's on the right side.  We ordered and waited and waited.  They apologized because it took so long for our food to come and gave us free mini-desserts.  I think the restaurant temperature was also 55.  I drank coffee, which I rarely do, just to try to warm up.

We decided to catch up on posting and e-mail at the library because our WiFi at the park is non-existent 60% of the time, and when we do get it, it is so slow.  Their library's WiFi is lovely when you get to it.  You have to go through door after door after door after you discover that the library is on the second floor of the building.   I believe the air temperature here is also 55

The day is almost gone, and I hope we can get everything done so we can have fun tomorrow.

Staying at Golden Nugget RV Park--$42
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #93 on: June 28, 2013, 08:29:45 PM »
I WROTE THIS A WEEK AGO BUT HAD TROUBLE POSTING. Please pardon the tardiness.

June 21    Day 35    Healy, Alaska (Denali Nat'l Park)

We heard the alarm go off at 4:45 A.M., but at that time in the morning my ears are not connected to the brain.  The noise wouldn't stop, so I had to get up to shut it off.  The brain slowly awakened and said, "You have to get with it, big time.  Only one-and-a-half hours."  I washed up, made the sandwiches, and got the water bottles into the ice chest.  I made a list last night, knowing that I'm not a morning person.  I got the oatmeal going because I thought it would stay with us longer. I put the 35% Deet on all my limbs, and then I put on my mosquito-sprayed clothes.  I checked to make sure that my mosquito repellent was in my purse.  Last night I saw the hugest mosquito I've ever seen.  It was bigger than a silver dollar, and I'd swear to that!  Dean says he's seen 2 or 3 of those big boys, and I have heard that their bites hurt like crazy at the time you're bitten, and then they itch like crazy for a long time thereafter.  Then we carried out our presents from Christmas, 2012--my wonderful binoculars and Dean's camera with all 3 lenses, one of which is so long it goes from his neck to his belt and beyond.  We were out of the RV by 6:15, having made a list and checked it twice.  We hope we've thought of everything.

As Dean drove out on the highway, he turned left....but Denali NP is a right turn.  He's not an early bird either.  Fortunately, I caught the mistake.  We got to the Wilderness Access Center at 6:45, and then we went to get a wheelchair.  I can walk, but they told me that the distance from the ground to the first step of the bus was 18", which is higher than I can go with my arthritis.  So, we selected a time when the bus provided would be wheelchair accessible and I could enter via the lift at the back.  What a pain!

The green school bus arrived, and Dean reserved a seat at the front (that's the whole reason we got there so early) and then he, the driver, and the scheduler looked at how to operate the lift.  Meanwhile, I'm looking at the step and thinking, "That isn't 18 inches!  I think I can do that one."  I told them that I wanted to try.  It was no problem, though I was at my max.  They had great handrails inside, which were much appreciated..

Our bus driver Barr (middle name Bee--her parents had a weird sense of humor--put it together and you get Barr Bee--say it faster) is a school bus driver during the school year and has done this summer job at Denali for many years.  She is a very competent driver and has done a lot of research on her own to learn more about the animals and their habitat.  I like her a lot.

With 20 pairs of eyes looking for wildlife, you'd think we'd see something.  But, for the first 30 miles, nothing except 2 Dall sheep on a far away mountain.  (Picture 1)  They look like little white dots that move, but the binoculars help me make out a head and 4 legs on each one.

The total trip will be 85 miles each way, a total of 170 miles over 11 hours; end destination is Wonder Lake.  We bump, bump, bump along over the rough washboard road, but Barr misses the potholes and slows a lot over the roughest parts.  It would be so much nicer with luxury coach seats (which are not available). 

Barr spots a cinnamon-colored grizzly eating roots, their usual diet.  She tells us that he can eat 40 pounds of blueberries a day when they are available.  He is primarily vegetarian, but he likes meat--he just doesn't usually chase it down.  He lets a wolf pack take down a caribou.  They get a few bites to eat until he meanders over and claims their kill.  He can kill a wolf with one swipe of a paw--those claws are wicked.

We drive a couple of miles further, and Barr and I both see a hoary marmot scampering onto the road.  She knew what it was; I didn't.  He's a member of the rabbit family, but he kind of reminds me of a squirrel.  He bounces to the middle of the road and does a Happy Dance, running around, jumping up and down.  The other passengers couldn't see this because it's happening at the front of the bus.  Then the hoary marmot ran about 6 feet up on the side of a hill and posed for pictures.  Dean took two pictures.  We spent a good 10 minutes tonight zooming, enhancing, and staring, but his champagne color is the same color as the dirt and rock.  The camouflage defeated us, so there's no picture.

Rest stops occur every hour to hour-and-a-half.  We choose not to get off at Eielson (lots of hungry mosquitoes), but those who do are treated to the sight of a red fox prancing down the highway.  Darn!

We are fortunate to see Denali.  Only about 20% of the visitors get to see it on a clear day, and it's been without clouds for the last several days because it's been so hot.  This is the 100 year anniversary of it being climbed successfully to the highest peak (Southern Peak), and descendants of those climbers are now on the mountain doing the same climb in the same way.  I hope they make it without mishap.

We got to Wonder Lake and planned to get off until we saw the massive swarms of mosquitoes.  I've already been bitten too much, and even with all my protection, I'm not willing to risk it.  Those who do go out run back with lots of bites and mosquitoes stuck to their hats and clothing.  We are halfway through, and we haven't seen nearly as much wildlife as I expected.  I am disappointed.

The trip back turned out well.  We saw caribou (Picture 4), 2 more bears (No Picture), a moose cow having a bad hair day--shedding her winter coat (Picture 5), 2 elegant trumpeter swans (Pictures 6 & 7).   I loved Picture 7 because it seems like we get 4 pictures of animals posterior for every head or body shot.

Then we came across so many bull moose you'd think there was a convention.  The first one played hide -n go seek with us, hiding behind the bushes, and then emerging. (Picture 8)  The next one had a big rack (Picture 9)  The third had an even bigger rack (Picture 10).  Then we saw one that was lighter in color (Pictures 11 & 12).  He chomped away for quite a while, tired of it, and just laid down in the pond.  We encountered one very scrawny bull moose (Picture 13).  We saw 2 grizzly from too far to get a good picture, then another caribou (Picture 14), a baby caribou without parent (Picture 15, another bull moose (Picture 16), 2 different Dall sheep, (Picture 17), and the finale was a pretty moose calf (Picture 17 & 18).  We saw even more wildlife than I've noted--all on the return trip.  I tried to type them into my phone app, "Notes" without looking at the face of the phone because I didn't want to take my eyes off the bushes and meadows, lest I miss someone.  It's so garbled that it looks like a kid randomly typing letters.

We were really tired after the 11-hour ride roller-coaster ride.  We had a microwave quick bite to eat, and we were in bed before 8:30--the first time I think I've been in bed that early since I was about 8 years old.  Tomorrow we repeat the trip.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #94 on: June 28, 2013, 08:32:07 PM »
More pictures

Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #95 on: June 28, 2013, 08:34:32 PM »
Still more pictures...
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #96 on: June 30, 2013, 12:15:46 PM »
June 28 continued

We closed the library at 6:00 with still more computer work to be done.  Dean wanted to stop at REI and buy a sweatshirt.  What a great store!  We bought a membership because it saved us money, and it's good forever.  Not only did he find a wonderful sweatshirt, but we found Deet (we bought a spare, too--I will defeat these skeeters), thin, warm socks , and my mosquito net hat.  The netting folds up into the hat when not in use.  I am truly a happy camper.

Tidal Wave Books is in the same mall so we bought Coming Into the Country.  My Anchorage friend said that if I loved Alaska, I would also enjoy this book.  I hop so.

I've been collecting pay-back as I have eaten hamburgers with Dean.  So, he willingly (at least on the outside) came to my favorite Anchorage restaurant, Dish, a Japanese sushi bar with good cooked food, too.  Dean had teriyaki steak, and I went for an FBI roll (sushi) which was amazing and halibut tempura, most of which I brought home.  Their food is delicious, especially their sushi and salads, but I am not as crazy for their tempura as I am for their other food.  Free corn and barley tea and free desserts of tempura Oreo cookies completed the meal.

It's light outside so late that we didn't want to end our day, so we drove out to Kincaid Park to see moose again, as we did in '09.  The bartender was anxious to share her love of Anchorage, shared pictures she had taken of moose twin calves that she had taken a week ago on her run out there, and gave us directions.  She left out a step or both of us heard incorrectly.  We traveled off our map and into the very busy Alaska RR trainyard, where a nice security guard gave us directions to get home.  Meanwhile, we saw lots of fisherpeople trying to catch king salmon in the nearby stream.  The season closes after tomorrow.  The kings have the highest fat content, and many people say they have the best flavor.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #97 on: June 30, 2013, 12:54:15 PM »

June 29   Day 43   Anchorage, AK

Saturday at last!  I've been looking forward to the Saturday market because we had such fun there last time.  We didn't eat breakfast (a lesson learned), and we had a pieroghey (kind of like a Russian pasty filled with ground beef and cheese), delicious roasted corn-on-the-cob, kettlecorn, and Dean's hamburger. 

We met such interesting people.  At the burl booth, we met a lady who lives in the bush 40 air miles from Anchorage, accessible only by snowmobile or airplane.  She has raised 4 kids out there, 3 of whom are college graduates, and the fourth, who is a high-functioning autistic child, completed 2 years of college before deciding it wasn't for him.  They have no plumbing.  They go to the outhouse in -15 weather.  She says they just do their business quickly.  They bring in tanks of propane and gasoline on the back of the snowmobile using a barge/sled, so they use it sparingly.  They only have electricity for a few hours each evening.  They live with the bears, and she says bears are very curious, so they eventually have to shoot 50% of those they encounter.  The meat tastes like beef, and they make teddy bears out of the fur, and she sells them to tourists in the summer.  A true Alaskan!

We ate our lunch with a fascinating Yupik elder who had been a salmon fisherman.  He said his life had been stressed by having one foot in the "outside" world and one in the native world.  Of his large extended family of siblings, cousins, parents, and grandparents, only 2 have escaped the failed lives brought about by drugs and alcohol.  He didn't tell us if he was one of the 2 but he said he doesn't drink or drug, and neither do his two daughters.  Prices in his village are much higher than Anchorage because of transportation costs, so he has moved into the Alaskan Senior Home to be near his daughters and grandchildren.  He asked their permission before he came.  He spoke Yupik when he was young, but he has lost his language and culture.  He is very bitter toward the Catholics because he says they took away their customs.  He wasn't very verbal, but an occasional "Oh?" or "That's interesting!" would start him up again, and he'd tell us more.  We got a peek into another culture.

I bought a $20 raffle ticket from Mike, another brash Alaskan.  He held forth on how Alaska should not be subjected to the environmental laws of the United States.  They could govern themselves quite nicely, thank you.  He wants Alaska to be its own country on environmental issues, but he wants the protection of the armed forces, etc. that the U. S. provides.  Mike is very proud that in December there will be a new series on Animal Planet called "Alaskan Moosemen," and he will be playing a part in it.   My purchase supports a volunteer organization that responds to calls from police when a moose has been killed on the road.  They come out to the site, winch up the moose in about 4 minutes, and take it to the charity that is next on the list, where it feeds the poor.  If I win, I will get a huge Harley-Davidson motorcycle.  I would have to arrange for shipping, and I am not a biker.  I guess I'd sell it or donate it back to them.  I kind of hope I don't win.

I got a $45membership to Sam's Club because we boondock there.  It came with a $40 gift card and a cookbook, so I can't go far wrong. 

Dean got a beautiful ulu with a caribou antler handle (they shed their antlers--no one was harmed in making this object) and cutting board, which is not only decorative, but we will find it very useful.

I bought a cute, warm, fluffy hat with long, wide band of fluff hanging down which terminates in a pockets for you to put your hands in.  It will be perfect for my niece at the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.  I got a purse with an outside cellphone pocket for myself.

We wanted to see the art stores on G Street.  We have 2 favorites, Artique, and the one on the corner of 5th and G with the beautiful, high-quality work (sorry that I forgot its name).  Steven Gordon displays exclusively with Artique, and someday we will buy one of his paintings.  We saw one we loved in '09, but it was already sold.  We've really liked several others, but for us to spend that kind of money, we've decided we have to love, love, love it.

It was now around 7:00, and we were hungry.  We went to Vallarta's, a Mexican hole-in-the-wall that we discovered last time, and I had a buy a dinner/get a dinner free coupon.  They make the best chili rellenos, stuffed with beef and cheese, and covered by a wonderful sauce.  Their guacamole is bland, and I wouldn't order the flan again--it's good, but not special.  But their dinners are delicious!

Staying at Golden Nugget RV Park--$42
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

  • ---
  • Posts: 1195
Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #98 on: July 01, 2013, 08:08:43 PM »
June 30   Day 44   Anchorage, AK

Last night we stayed up chatting outside with Susan and Don.  How much fun it was to share our very different experiences in Alaska!  We all choose to go different places and enjoy different activities, and it's interesting to see this grand land through others' eyes.  We're looking forward to meeting up with them again while we are here.

When we came inside the RV, there was still much to do, so late to bed made us late to rise.  We decided on a quick oatmeal breakfast; maybe they'd have good native foods for lunch at the Alaska Native Heritage Center ($24.95 w/our Alaska Toursaver buy one/get one free coupon). 

Outside the entrance was a Yup'ik (1/8) 18-year-old girl playing with "Moose Balls", which in Hawaii are known as "Poi Balls."  They are  orbs covered with moose hide attached on a string, which you swing through the air and create fun geometric patterns.  I was a lot more interested in her story than her game that could be bought at the gift store.  She is from Bethel, a Northern town of 4,000-6,000 people.  A plane is the only way into Bethel, and it comes once a week, depending on weather.  Sometimes in the summer it comes more often.  Good brought in from the "outside" are very expensive.  Milk runs $10/gallon, and most people drink powdered milk.  Fuel runs $40/gallon.  Many of the Yup'ik are lactose intolerant and have no enzyme to break down milk, which was not a part of their diet long ago.  The water there is not very tasty because it has a large iron content.  They prefer to drink Coke.  The Yup'ik fisherman I met at the market had also commented on how many Yup'iks have rotten teeth.  I wonder why???  They pick vegetation that grows on their tundra and sometimes find berries, but their diet is 95% meat and fish.  In the winter the average temperature there is "only" -30m but they will have a few "cold" days of -70.  Their winter has 90 days without ever seeing the sun!  The hottest it ever gets there is 75-80. 

Michelle will be going to a small college in Iowa to study Native American Cultures.  She will only pay $215 per semester, with the rest of her tuition being paid by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  She's only 1/8 Native American, and you need to be 1/4 to enroll in the "corporation".  Each tribe has its own corporation.  So, she and her father, who is 1/4 Yup'ik had to fill out massive amounts of paperwork, provide documentation, send it off, and then await a vote by the board of the corporation.  They voted to let her in.  Later in the day, we met a young lady who is enrolled in three corporations.  Being in a corporation makes you eligible for federal government programs, like the college scholarships, as well as providing healthy annual checks from revenue-producing ventures.  These ventures include drilling for oil on the native lands, but also businesses like automobile insurance firms in Anchorage.  The businesses do not have to be on tribal lands, just owned by the corporation.  It was explained to us as like owning stock in a company.  But no one knows or understands my question when I ask if every member gets the same amount, or if someone who is 1/8 only gets half as much as someone who is 1/4, if different members have different amounts of "stock".   Cost of living in the village is so expensive that many people leave.  They have a medical clinic, and if you are really ill, they bring in a plane to take you to Anchorage or Fairbanks.

As we entered, a Native speaker from St. Lawrence Island was giving information.  She said they close the NAHC from September to April and provide education on Native dances, culture, and language to children from Anchorage so they won't lose their tribal ties.  They bring in instructors from all over the state of Alaska.  She described each of the 6 areas of Alaska and compared and contrasted their ways of living.

Following her, the "games" presenters came on stage.  WOW!  For me, this was the highlight of the day.  In the winter, it is important to maintain physical fitness.  Hunting is very dangerous and strenuous, and it requires speed and accuracy. Once you kill an animal, you have to carry it back to the village.  So they had competitions, which are still taught in the Alaskan schools as part of Physical Education.  Every two years, they have Arctic Games, similar to the Olympics, in which they do many of the Olympic events, as well as these "Alaskan" games.  Participants come from Greenland, Alaska, Canada, and Russia.  There are also Alaskan Games, which are held yearly and are open only to Alaskans.  The next Arctic games are in two weeks in Fairbanks.

The narrator explained that in all the Native cultures, the man was never supposed to be boastful.  If both men and women were present, the men should sit on the floor, while the ladies sat on benches.  The man was supposed to boast by doing good actions.

In picture 1, the athlete has to balance on one hand and touch a ball.  As he is successful, the ball is raised higher and higher. 
Picture 2 is the Butt Race.  Holding both feet together (which in and of itself is very difficult!), they bounce on their bottoms.  First person to the finish line wins.  This was hilarious and extremely difficult.

There is no picture of the Hop Hop.  They hop from left foot to right foot, right foot to left foot, taking as long strides as possible, four times.  The person who covers the greatest distance wins.  This was to maintain balance on ice.  You have to maintain balance on the icebergs, so you don't fall in and freeze. 

In Picture 3, he has to only have his hand on the floor, hold his foot with the other hand, while kicking (a small touch counts) a moosehide ball.  The ball is raised progressively higher. 

In another game, the player runs up and kicks the hanging ball.  Stephen was able to kick the ball when it was 8'3" in the air.  The record is 9'6", but his kick was high enough for the audience to gasp and applaud loudly. 

Lunch time!  The only eating place was outside, and it was 60, totally overcast, and felt like 50 with a breeze blowing.  BRRR!  Their main item was coffee.  It was before noon, and they were almost sold out.  I got their last turkey & cheese sandwich, and Dean got a ham & cheese (the only sandwich selection left).  So much for my Native food, but it was filling.  We brought it to inside seating to eat it. 

Then we bundled up and went outside to the six villages.  Four years ago, they had a Native American at each village, and we loved it.  This time, there were none.  The only way you get a narrative is by going on the tour with 20+ other people.  I loved being able to ask questions last time and hear the speaker tell about first person experiences.  That's where I learned that ocean-caught salmon is better than river-caught.  The speaker said he wouldn't eat any caught in the rivers because they are mushy.  He explained that the salmon expends energy going upstream, and as he does, he builds acids which soften his muscles. 

Each village had a good general sign about the house, but no explanation of the realia inside.

Picture 4 is of the longhouse made of cedar trees, used by the southeastern Native Peoples, like the Athabascan, Tshimian, and Haida.  Then the camera battery went dead.

Talking with the Iditarod veteran at the sled dogs was great.  The sled ride behind those powerful dogs is the fastest I've seen, and if we had the camera working, I'd have spent the $10 to do it and get a picture. 

Back inside, we saw beautiful dresses, capes, headbands on display. They were made from beaver and wolf.  Beads and lace came from "outside" after contact.  Six craftspeople were making items on site for sale.

We heard singing, so we went into the stage area and saw girls dancing. (Picture 5) The dances have meaning.  The fans are made from gruff (goatee of the caribou) and have a rye grass base.  So much of their lore has been lost that I think much of what we see is how they have best pieced together remnants of knowledge and how they think things must have been, as well as some that is backed up by evidence. 

In one of the tribal villages, they emphasized the separateness of men and women, with each having their own dorm-type sleeping huts.  The area was very north and very cold.  I wondered how they managed to keep their people regenerating (Did I put that PC enough?).  It's a question I would have asked if there had been anyone to ask.

There were films about native life every half-hour in a beautiful auditorium, but we really wanted to see "The Heat," with Sandra Bullock, and the movies were right across the street.  We gave into temptation and enjoyed a hilarious movie.

It was after 7:00, so we stopped at the 50's City Diner (Northern Lights Coupon-Buy one dinner/ another is free).  We had crispy fish (cod) and chips for $14.95.  I changed my chips to a salad, and it was a tiny salad (less than a cup of lettuce with 1/8 of a tomato and enough dressing for 4 salads).  They charged me $3 extra and didn't inform me at the time of order.   The service was great.  A panhandler approached us as we were eating, but he saw the waitress coming back speedily, and he high-tailed it out of there.  She said they have a CSA (community service assistance) program that they call when there are drunks or druggies around and they come pick them up, as a danger to themselves or others, take them to a central hall where they sober up or come down.  Then they give them referrals to other agencies for help, but most prefer to return to the streets.

Staying at Golden Nugget RV Park--$42
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

ArdraF

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #99 on: July 01, 2013, 11:48:52 PM »
Especially interesting commentary, Linda.  Those kids are doing tough exercises!

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #100 on: July 03, 2013, 04:09:19 AM »

July 1      Day 45   Anchorage, AK

Dean went to the Jeep dealer today because we had a warning light that showed that the Jeep's gearshift was in the wrong gear.  They took a look at it and said it was fine, but it would be weeks before we could get an appointment to get it fixed.  They suggested that we go to the other Jeep dealer, but he had terrible reviews, so we passed on that idea.

Dean picked up our mail at the General Delivery post office.  It is the first time we have used general delivery, and it is SO much cheaper.  I need to figure out the percentage, but it is well over 50%.  It does take some planning to ensure there are no glitches, but I only actually spent about 10 minutes on it after I learned exactly how the delivery process works.  Part of that time was spent getting over the shock that Fairbanks's post office was only open one day a week and deciding to use Anchorage instead.   We had one large box delivered by Fedex on our last trip and it cost well over $100, and that was in the Lower 48.  I decided there had to be a better way, and general delivery is working nicely.  It was a cold (50's), cloudy day, so we stayed in and took care of business matters.


July 2      Day 46   Anchorage, AK

We took care of more mail business this morning and planned to reward ourselves with our first breakfast out in a restaurant.  The Country Kitchen's menu sounded great, so we headed there.  It is out of business.  We decided it was now too late for breakfast, so we went to the Pub House for lunch.  It was at a hotel, and they only had a pre-made turkey sandwich box lunch. 

We were ultimately headed for the Anchorage Museum, so we decided they probably had a cafe.  We called to make sure--no answer at the public information desk, the administration offices, or at security.  We decided to just go and see what we passed on the way; it turned out there were no restaurants on the way.

We missed the museum garage entrance the first time because the door was down, but I glimpsed the sign that said that the door closed after each car entered, so we came around the block again and pulled into the short driveway.  No public parking until after 5:00 P.M.

Dean headed for a homey restaurant we had seen several times called Peggy's, which had good food reasonably priced, but nothing extraordinary.  By this time it was 2:30, and we were meeting friends in 3 hours, so we decided we'd postpone seeing the museum until our next trip through.

We met RVForumers John and Susan at Simon & Seafort's Restaurant for our Farewell to Anchorage Dinner at 5:30, and it was extraordinary.  My 1/2 salad of spinach was excellent, and the halibut cheeks (yes, they really are the cheeks of halibut) were truly wonderful.  Dean's well done steak was tender and cooked through, just the way he likes it.  We loved hearing stories and seeing familiar faces accompanied by a memorable dinner.

Interesting Fact from the newspaper I bought today:  A bear pulled a 200 pound trashcan that was bolted onto concrete out of the ground and once uprooted was able to use gravity to unlock the locking lid.  It took 2 strong men to put it back upright.  This has happened twice this week.  No one has seen this Super-bear, just evidence of his destruction.

We move on to Homer tomorrow.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #101 on: July 05, 2013, 02:05:50 AM »

July 2      Day 46   Homer, AK

We leisurely prepared for our "short" 85-mile drive to Homer, stowed everything neatly, and decided to skip breakfast and eat on the road at a favorite BBQ place halfway to Homer.  As we departed, I started perusing the Milepost, and I thought, "Golly, this is a LOT of pages."  So I Mapquested it, and found that Dean had only calculated the first leg of the 230+ mile trip. We had made reservations, so we couldn't break it up into parts, and getting a place over July 4 weekend would be a pain, so we just decided to go for it and do a leisurely drive on our way back.

We decided we should buy gas for our much longer trip, and we paid $4.16/gallon at the last gas station for 84 miles.  It was about 25 miles outside Anchorage, but all of Anchorage was around that price.  Good thing we did because after those 84 miles, the price jumped to $4.60/gallon, and here in Homer it is $4.68/gallon.

We found a lovely scenic turnout and had Costco's wonderful Ivar's clam chowder for brunch.  The scenery was the most beautiful of the trip so far--a lovely variety of healthy trees and bushes, small waterfalls, rivers, and ocean.  At dinner last night, Susan said that she had heard this was the most beautiful drive in the U. S.  The drives in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and the Blue Ridge Parkway are also breath-taking. I don't think their beauty can be compared, but this was very pretty. 

As we zipped through Sodoltna, we went by the woodcarver's where Black Jaxx BBQ had their BBQ wagon when we were here four years ago.  It was several driveways later before we got slowed enough to turn into the bumpy, washboard gravel semi-frontage road.  We both agree that Black Jaxx has the best BBQ we've ever eaten, and we've had BBQ all over the South, Texas, and we have our own serious smoker that was Dean's Christmas present.  I can't think of anything else that Dean would have backtracked over this awful road for.  We went really slowly, got to the woodcarver's, and no BBQ wagon.  Dean parked, went in, and found out they had moved to 35635 Kenai Spur Highway (also known as Mile 1 Kenai Spur Highway) in town because their business had grown so much.

We found their little cabin and 2 smokers across from a spacious furniture store parking lot, but there was room enough for us to pull into Black Jaxx.  Dean ordered our 2 pulled pork dinners, and he chatted with them for a while.  He smokes 500 pounds of meat each day, and he sells out before his 6:30 closing time.  He got a visit from the police, who told him that he was creating a traffic hazard because the line for his business was always blocking traffic.  So he opened a second location down at the water, and a lot of people find that convenient.  He only smokes 300 pounds of meat per day for that one.  His sides--potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans are good, but it's his meats that are so delectable.  We bought his last pound of pulled pork and his last half-pound of brisket, and he gave us a free large jar of his rub just because we like his food so much.  It's not cheap, but if you figure how many dinners we'll eat in and the money we won't be spending eating dinner out, the per meal cost is cheap.  And, it wouldn't matter if it were expensive...it's that good.

By the time we left,  it was 7:00, and we had see only one animal.  I glimpsed a cinnamon grizzly bear on the bank of the Ninilchik River as we passed by on a bridge, doing 45 mph.  About 20 miles outside of Homer, I spotted a moose calf up ahead, and Dean pulled over so he could enjoy it, too.  His tire hit the edge of the rumble strip, and the terrified moose scrambled up the bank and into the forest.  Simultaneously, on the other side of the road, a moose cow came running across the road--maybe his mother???  I'm glad we were stopped.  One of my biggest fears is hitting a moose. Signs say that there have been 163 moose killed this year so far.  And, hitting a moose does a lot of damage to the vehicle hitting them, as well as the car.  The Alaska Moose Federation works with big tractors to crush browse that is away from the highway so the new growth will be more attractive to the moose than that which is near the highway.  In areas of high moose collisions, they are working at clearing 200'  on each side of the highway to give the motorists a longer look instead of just seeing the moose when they emerge from the forest.  They have 13 big moose tow trucks, and they can remove a moose from the highway in 4 minutes and deliver it to a charity who will use it to feed the poor.  Alaska State Troopers figure it saves 2.5 hours per collision.

The high today was 55, and it's windy out here on the spit .  You can tell which people are Alaskans.  They are wearing tank tops and shorts. 

We are staying at the new record-holder of the Most Expensive RV Park We've Ever Stayed At.  Previous high was $65 to park on the hot, hot blacktop parking lot at Circus Circus, FHU but no WiFi or TV, in Las Vegas when the whole town was sold out.  Dean wanted the 50-amps here, and I figure we saved $40 by gassing earlier.  It's definitely a splurge!

Staying at Heritage RV--$73.10/night (hard to believe that isn't a typo), FHU, wide spaces, but roads are very congested and difficult to negotiate, Cable TV (very snowy--not sure if it's us of them), WiFi.  When we were unhooking, another RV was at the other end of the row, and a man who wanted to leave couldn't.  No grass, trees, just gravel.  Location, location, location, and the only place with 50 amps.


July 4      Day 48   Homer, AK

We listened to the national news we've missed for a couple of weeks.   The picture is really bad, but the sound on the TV is good. This inquiring mind likes to know, so I'm happier.

This morning we ate brunch at the Sourdough Express Cafe & Bakery.  We knew it had a new owner, as of September.  When we were here in 2009, it was for sale because the owners of 30-years wanted to retire.  The food was good, not great--way too many potatoes.  Their bakery items looked delicious, and they are famous for their honey pecan rolls, which we didn't try. 

We then went across the street to the tire repair shop because our Jeep's tire that has had a very slow leak for the last year has decided to speed up its leaking rate and the rear tire has developed a slow leak.  Both have lots of rubber left, so Dean wants to repair them rather than replace them.  The sign on the door says that the shop will be open tomorrow.

We returned to one of our favorite Homer attractions, the Islands and Oceans Visitors Center.  In 2009, we found sandhill cranes and their two young colts up close to the $250,000 boardwalk.  The small City of Homer paid all of this.  We spotted them again with one new colt (I'll bet it's the same pair), but they are smarter now and stay far away from the boardwalk. (Picture 1)  But their voices come across LOUD and clear when they vocalize.  We also got our first photo of a bald eagle on this trip.  We went all the way down to the beach, which is known as an Important Birding Spot.  We then went to the modern building, which is a combination visitors center, museum, and auditorium.  They give lectures every couple of hours and have films, as well as excellent exhibits.  Their exhibit that is new to us was about the Japanese invasion of the Aleutians and was interesting.  Their permanent exhibit focuses on restoration of habitat, removal of non-native foxes who eat native birds' eggs, and providing protected nesting areas.  Their volunteers are very knowledgeable.

We drove around town for awhile checking out favorite haunts and then drove out to the end of the spit.  We stopped at the Coal Point Trading & Fish Company and bought a small container of seafood chowder.  I had planned on saving it and having BBQ for dinner, but the aroma in the air and the warmth on my hands made it irresistible.  I had it for dinner.

Fireworks are illegal, but they have been going off continuously for the last 3 hours.  Punishment is a $300 fine.  I hate it when communities make laws and then don't enforce them.  As Betty Brewer says, "What you expect, inspect."  Just don't make the rule if you can't enforce it.

Staying at Heritage RV Park--$73.10/night
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Henry Wishard

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #102 on: July 05, 2013, 10:57:19 AM »
    Hello Linda and Dean, You guys passed us up. We are at Riverside RV Park in Soldotna. Just to let you know we tried the Bar-b-que and thought the meat was good but the beans were a little to sweet for us. However saying that I will give them 4 out of 5 stars. We are heading back to Anchorage next week to pick up the grand kids then back to Homer. Glad to see you guys are having fun. Tell Dean the salmon is great, we even bought a small freezer yesterday to pack some more away. Bye "Gone Fishing"
Henry & Margaret Wishard
12625 Lake Vista Dr
Willis, Texas 77318
2017 Tiffin Open Road

2012 Jeep Rubicon

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #103 on: July 05, 2013, 12:50:50 PM »
Just to let you know we tried the Bar-b-que and thought the meat was good but the beans were a little to sweet for us. However saying that I will give them 4 out of 5 stars.  Glad to see you guys are having fun. Bye "Gone Fishing"

I've been enjoying your log.  You had so many responses about the fishing that I didn't reply, but we were happy for you and enjoyed the bear peeking from the bush.  I agree with you.  I, too, think the beans are too sweet.  I am initiating a post for them on tripadvisors, and I will call them when it's up.  We took their picture and sent in their info.  Then tripadvisor has to accept it.  We'll do an evaluation as soon as I see it on their site.  Then I'll call Black Jaxx and suggest that both of us had the same comment on beans.  How did you find them?  We discovered them when we stopped to see the woodcarver and the aroma was magnetic.  I hope you got to see his work, especially his carousel.  He's on the main highway.

Dean doesn't like fishing, but I am calling today to see if I can find a handicap accessible halibut fishing expedition.  Even more amazing, Dean doesn't like salmon--though I love it.  He only eats halibut and cod, not even shellfish.  I figure that it saves us lots of money, though I don't buy lobster and crab very often unless it's fresh-caught. 

Happy fishing and happy eating!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Terry A. Brewer

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #104 on: July 05, 2013, 07:54:01 PM »
Linda

>>Dean doesn't like fishing, but I am calling today to see if I can find a handicap accessible halibut fishing expedition.<<

I doubt you will find one, but if you do make sure you get an electric reel as halibut fishing is arm & back breaking work. It is like hauling up a barn door from 300' , it is my least favorite type of fishing.

Save your back & arms and purchase fresh from the docks...much cheaper also.

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #105 on: July 07, 2013, 04:08:44 AM »
July 5      Day 49   Homer, AK

Dean took off early to get our leaking tire fixed, but he discovered that there were many earlier birds there already.  The tire repair is also an auto repair.  Dean got back a little after 3:00 with news that the nail had been removed and all is good now.  While he was gone, I cleaned, reviewed brochures and the large magazine the community publishes, planned, and did paperwork.

It rained all day, and it was too late to do much, so Dean worked on getting our satellite Internet up.  Again!  I rated his chances were somewhere between slim and none.  In 2009, he must have spent 40 hours on it with no success.  So far this trip, he's spent about 10 hours.  I wanted badly to get him to declare failure so I could disconnect the service and its fees.  Imagine my surprise when he actually got it working!  And working perfectly!  I felt like shooting off our own fireworks in celebration.  Wow!  Dean just doesn't give up.  This means we won't have to go to libraries or count on RV parks' WiFi.  Hurrah!  What a genius I'm married to!

Staying at Heritage RV Park--$73.10/night

Weather:  High of 55, rained all day

July 6      Day 50   Homer, AK


The small Farmers' Market is open on Wednesday and Saturday, and we had a good time there last time.  The produce there was delightful, but unfortunately, we have a lot of produce that we need to use first.  The radishes are triple the normal size, and we saw so many different greens that were new to us.  In 2009, I bought lettuce here that was the best I've ever had.  We saw halibut cheeks at $15/pound, and I was tempted.  However, I am sure I couldn't make them near as well as Seafort's, and I didn't want to tarnish the memory, so I passed.  I did buy "green garlic", which had a fresh, mild flavor, and looked like chives.  We bought a "samores (sic, I think she meant s'mores) cookie" from a young girl, and we split it.   It was really good ($1)  Dean bought banana nut bread from her, too.

We had lunch at Fat Olives. It had been recommended by a local for the delicious fish salad, but it's no longer on the menu.  Dean had a meatball sandwich, and I had a calzone.  Both were good.

We went over to the Pratt Museum ($8 with my Alaska Toursaver coupon).  The manager is a great lady, and she gave me an update on an Old Believer, Luka White, who was breaking the mold and cultural expectancies by going to the University of Alaska at Anchorage.  Old Believer girls are expected to be married by 13, and most have 10-15 children.  Luka is not able to carry a full load because she has to work many hours to pay for her own tuition, books, and living expenses, but she is still at UAA and making good progress toward her degree.  The manager said that when she saw her at UAA, she was wearing jeans and a short leather jacket--very taboo by Old Believer custom that dictates that she wear a long dress that covers her wrists and ankles, and a scarf bonnet.  She told her that sometimes she likes to go "incognito."  There has been a substantial loosening of rules in the Old Believer village we visited in 2009.  We were glared at as we drove to Nina's restaurant, and we felt very out of place.  But, I see in the booklet we were given by the RV park that they now have a museum and visitors are welcome at their church.  The museum is a small, community museum, although it is 3 stories high.  Their current exhibit in about whales, and I learned a lot.

We drove out East End Road past 2 small villages and many beautiful houses.  It was really pretty, and we were supposed to see wildlife and birds.  No animate objects, but the view of the whole area from up there is gorgeous.  If there were a sunny evening, I think it would make a beautiful sunset picture over the whole bay.  It's only been a couple of weeks since Summer Solstice, and I can't believe how dark is gets at night now.

Staying at Heritage RV Park--$73.10/night

Weather--High of 55, but no wind, so I was fine with a sweatshirt.  Rain started when we came home at 7:00, and has rained all night.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #106 on: July 07, 2013, 04:16:32 AM »

I doubt you will find one, but if you do make sure you get an electric reel as halibut fishing is arm & back breaking work. It is like hauling up a barn door from 300' , it is my least favorite type of fishing.

Save your back & arms and purchase fresh from the docks...much cheaper also.

Thanks so much because I didn't know anything about what was required.  I used to deep sea fish out of Dana Point with our son, but we caught little fish that were easy to bring in (and I was 25 years younger).  We always hoped for bigger fish, but it didn't happen.  Then one day I let him bring a friend, and they sneaked off to the galley and bought a dozen donuts.  I got concerned when I couldn't find them.  It turned out that they spent the whole half-day in the head, sicker than dogs. And, he never wanted to go fishing again!

 I wanted to have the experience, but unless I can get an electric reel and understanding captain, I will let that dream go because now I know I couldn't do it.  We haven't bought fresh halibut yet because Dean isn't crazy about barbecuing in the rain, but we did check out the price.  In 2009, halibut was $11/pound, and now it's over $20.  But, it's still worth it.  There's nothing like fresh halibut!  And that's from a salmon lover.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

SaltyAdventurer

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #107 on: July 08, 2013, 11:02:31 AM »
Linda, I was so amazed when I founds really fresh halibut in Anchorage at Fred Meyer for $14.99 a lb and realy fresh sockeye salmon at $9.99 a lb. Bought both! Reading your posts about Homer have me so intrigued...I hope the 5 days I've scheduled for Homer isn't "too much of too much". We too had heard about Fat Olives, but didn't know it was under new mgmt. Sounds like one we can miss without feeling bad. But I've just made a BIG note to stop in Soldotna at Black Jaxx for the BBQ...We have to think carefully about anything we buy at this point because we want everything used up and out of the refrigerator and the freezer by the time we go on the ferry at Whittier the night of July 15...so I have exactly 8 days to get rid of some frozen sausages, a few cheeses, some lettuce, yogurt etc. I think we can do it...
Klondike Susie aka Salty Adventurer
2013 Itasca Reyo (25', no toad)
Married to oldedit
Resides in Denver CO area & Silverthorne CO

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #108 on: July 10, 2013, 01:27:42 AM »
July 7      Day 51   Homer, AK

It rained all morning, but when it let up, we went to Radio Shack to get a wire Dean needed.  It was closed.

We went out to the boardwalk on the spit.  We found beautiful carvings ($4000+), nice alpaca capes from Colorado (better than China), and Captain Patties Restaurant, which was recommended to us a few times.  We hadn't eaten, so we had brelunner--breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I ordered the seafood sampler, which had shrimp, scallops, salmon, and halibut.  Dean had a beautiful hamburger.  We were almost finished when the hostess asked us if we would please change tables because they had a very "pushy" party of 12 who had arrived before their reservation.  She made it clear that we could choose to stay, but we were happy to move--it wasn't any big deal to us.  But it was to her.  She gave us each free desserts--delicious chocolate raspberry cake and carrot cake--and apologized at least 12 times and thanked us another 12.  I'd already asked for a box because my dinner was so big, so the desserts went back to the RV for another time.  The halibut and salmon were great, the scallops very good, but the shrimp was poor.  I loved their tartar sauce, so the chef came and gave me the recipe.  It starts with 3 GALLONS of mayonnaise, so I will get to use my math skills to bring it down to a reasonable size.  On the way back, we found a bald eagle posing on a pole outside the Pier One Theatre.  We stopped a fair ways back from him, but as happens virtually every time, another car came and parked halfway between the eagle and us.  Then another van went in front of him.  The bald eagle was thoroughly acclimated to humans, and didn't seem to have a care in the world, though there was a strong breeze ruffling his feathers.  (Pictures 1 & 2)

Then we went on a scenic drive along Skyline Drive.  We didn't see any sandhill cranes, moose, or porcupine, but I did spot a bear!  It was on a distant meadow, and I only got a quick glimpse.  Dean put it in reverse, and I was so pleased as we came to the opening on the brush that he was still there--perfectly motionless.  Yes, someone had fun at the tourists' expense and had placed a bear statue in the middle of the lea, and I fell for it--totally!  There were scenic pullouts.  On a clear bright day, you could photograph all of Homer, Kachemak Bay State Park and and Kenai Mountains.  You can also see Cook Inlet and its volcanoes.

When we returned, I asked Dean to take a picture of the tall, lush, bright lupine that abounds everywhere.  (Picture 3)  We have also noted an abundance everywhere of cow parsnip, which blisters the skin badly.   We don't remember seeing this much in 2009.  You can't even burn the stuff because it releases an acid and burns the lungs.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #109 on: July 10, 2013, 01:28:54 AM »
July 8      Day 52   Seward, AK

We had planned to spend a couple of days in Sodoltna, but we discovered this morning that all the acceptable RV parks were sold out to fishermen, so we decided to go all the way (180 miles or so) to Seward.  It was a beautiful drive.  We decided to go the extra  10-15 miles to drive the "scenic" Kalifornsky Loop.  It wasn't anything special, and we saw no wildlife.  We did stop at Black Jaxx BBQ in Sodoltna and pick up enough sides to complete all the surprise meat they gave us.  Five days ago, when we bought their last remaining pork & brisket, and they threw in all their chicken so they could close.  I thought my half-pound of brisket weighed a lot when I took it out of the refrigerator.  Surprise!  3 meals of chicken were inside, too.

We couldn't get a spot in the RV park that Dean had selected in Seward, either.  So I talked with the City of Seward, which has a lot of spaces right on the water in Seward.  He said if the park fills up, there is also a vacant gravel lot which will accommodate 200 overflow RVs, and there is only one RV parked there now.  I didn't want to get aced out of anything else, so I called Major Marine and made reservations for their 7.5 hour tour on Wednesday when it's supposed to be 70.  Our coupon book saved us the $169 cost of the second ticket.

When we pulled in at 7:00, we found an empty space with 50 amps and water.  The dump is 1/4 mile away.  Dean never dreamed he's find 50 amps in a city park, so he is thrilled.  We are in the second row from the water, and Dean made a new friend who has a spot on the water and is leaving tomorrow.  The city has a host and parking assistants that we found very helpful.  Our first space had an "open ground" (Dean's tech talk for "the electricity doesn't work").

Resurrection (City of Seward) RV Park---50 amps, water, gravel, second row from the bay, spaces are wide enough to put your toad next to the coach
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #110 on: July 10, 2013, 01:37:36 AM »
July 9      Day 53   Seward, AK

Dean's friend had told him he would be leaving "mid-morning", so we were up, packed, and ready to move out by 9:00.  We waited and waited and waited some more.  I got nervous as I saw LOTS of other people eyeing the space and reading its tag.  The couple didn't leave until about 1:00.  Our eyes had been glued on their rig the whole time, but Dean didn't want to disturb them by asking if we could put our new registration in the holder so nobody else would try to take it or dispute it.  When I finally saw legs outside the rig, Dean dashed over there and got our registration affixed.  I love our new spot, right on the bay, but I don't know if it was worth the anxiety.

Our next door neighbor, Mike, lives in Anchorage, but he spends every summer in Seward fishing and relaxing.  His working wife drives out every weekend and brings supplies and clean laundry to him.  He was a fountain of information.  I love listening to Alaskans' opinions and stories.

We then went to the Seward Visitors Center.  The lady was great.  She gave us a great map with all the tourist spots numbered with a legend.  I asked her about some places from last time, and she skipped her "Into to Seward" talk and gave us the advanced course, with some little-known new places. 

Then to Safeway to pick up dill pickle relish for my tartar sauce and some new non-drowsy Dramamine that the VC lady told me about.  I don't recall seeing either at home, but then I wasn't looking for them either.   On to "Radio Shack" (actually a small section of a general store which stocks some Radio Shack products) to get a longer cord for the computer now that Dean has the satellite working.  Currently, you have to be a Chinese acrobat to use it because all the input thingies are on the left side of the computer.  Silly, I say, especially to have to put the mouse's cord under the computer.

Then on to Thorn's Showcase Lounge, which Mike told us has a barely breaded fried halibut that is wonderful.  We bought halibut only--no sides--and it was the best!  But the price was not...$29 for about 12-14 2" pieces.  We didn't want to eat in a smoky bar, though the restaurant area had pretty good air.  So, we brought it back to the RV for a quick "lunner"--the day's meals had already been screwed up by our late moving and snacking while waiting.

The VC lady told us she had just seen the new Lone Ranger film at the theatre in town, and she said it was really good.  Dean checked the movie time on his iPhone and it was to start at 5:00.  We made it with 10 minutes to spare, but the sign on the door said it was showing "Today at 7:30." 

We wanted to check out the parking and lay of the land for our marine cruise tomorrow, so we took care of that.  Then we drove out to a pretty area off the Seward Highway and found the breeding pair of swans that return to Seward every year.  Dean played the stand-up, curl-up and nap with head under the wing game with them (Picture 1).  Of course, when he walked all the way back to the car, they both put their heads up bright and perky.  As he got halfway down the boardwalk, they both took a quick nap, but he out-waited them.  Eventually, he got a good picture.  (Picture 2)  The green is a true color--it is that bright!  I thought it was interesting that they were at 180 to each other--the perfect way to watch for predators.

The water lilies in a pond near where they are nesting are bright yellow and orange and are already pretty.  But, when they bloom, they will be awesome. (Picture 3)

We are now enjoying our view of the sea gulls diving, splashing, and feeding, some chasing fishing boats and tourist boats that are returning, a cormorant flying by, a kayak, and people and their dogs walking by.  It was worth the wait and anxiety.

Resurrection (City of Seward) RV Park---50 amps, water, gravel, second row from the bay, spaces are wide enough to put your toad next to the coach
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #111 on: July 15, 2013, 12:37:26 PM »
I haven't posted recently because we've been so busy enjoying ourselves.  I have scribbled notes, and Dean took over 500 pictures, which is a lot to sort through.

July 10   Day 54   Seward, AK

We scouted the pier parking last night and decided to eat breakfast at the Bakery (quiche and omelet were OK), just across from the Major Marine dock to give us timing insurance so we wouldn't miss our marine cruise.  At the VC, I learned Captain Nicole, National Park Service Ranger Tom, and Mother Nature gave us our best experience of our Alaska trip.

Today the weather was awesome--78 and calm.  Greeting us within 5 minutes of departure were two lazy otters (Picture 1). 

Looking up, we saw 2 nesting bald eagles in a very tall tree.  (Picture 2)  I wonder if their eaglets are as large as the Whitehorse eaglets I've been following via cam on-line.

A few minutes after that, a humpback whale showed us how he gets his name (Picture 3).   Picture 4 shows the same whale from a different angle and demonstrates some of the challenges of taking pictures on such a beautiful day--lots of glare from the ocean.  This whale came up at least 12 times, twice with his mouth open as he gulped huge amounts of fish.  It was the first time I'd ever seen baleen hanging in a live whale's mouth.  Each time he came up was a thrill.  Wow!

Then a sharp-eyed passenger spotted a mountain goat (Picture 5) on a cliff.  This is the only the second time I've seen one in the wild.

We motored on to enter Kenai Fjords National Park, which was established by Jimmy Carter.  Throughout the trip, we saw many kittiwakes (small gulls with black wingtips), jumping salmon, and Dall's porpoises (look like baby orcas) who loved playing in the water by the boat. 

It got colder as we neared Bear Glacier (Picture 6), which is composed of two ice streams.  Therefore, it has a medial moraine (a line of crushed rock, which is formed when the two ice streams intersect). (Picture 7)

Glaucous gulls are everywhere throughout the trip. (Picture 7)  Cute tufted puffins kept their distance from the boat (Picture 8).

Harbor seals were basking on the rocks enjoying the lovely weather (Picture 9). 

We went to a stellar sea lion "haul-out" where juveniles were sparring and siesta-ing.  Three of them were being macho and sparring for the top rock. (Picture 10)  The ranger told us that 80% of sea lions have disappeared.  Why there has been such a decrease is unclear.  Scientists are studying possible causes and feel that it is symptomatic of a bigger decline in the ocean system.

Throughout the day we saw at least 12 humpbacks in 6-8 sightings.  This humpback (Picture 11) repeatedly showed us his fluke as he dove deep (Picture 12).  The average humpback has one meter of blubber surrounding his body.  The tongue weighs 4,000 pounds.  When calves are born, they weigh 4,000 pounds.  Those numbers seemed so unbelievable that I verified them to make sure I heard it right.

We saw a mama otter with a baby on her belly (Picture 13).  Captain Nicole said she couldn't go too close because the mom might roll or dive, and the baby might not be prepared, and he could come up sputtering.  We then saw a raft of six otters, all enjoying their beautiful day.

Next, we saw rhinoceros auklets.  I got to see them with my binoculars, but they were shy and flew off.  This was the first time I'd seen them in the wild.  I tried to arrange a bird-watching trip in Homer, and the captain said seeing them was unlikely, so I felt privileged to have seen them on my first marine cruise this trip.

The Holgate Glacier gave us our best view of glacial blue (Picture 14).

We saw pigeon guillemots two or three times, but no pictures.

We enjoyed seeing a humpback mom and her baby doing synchronized swimming. (Picture 15)

We saw cliffs with hundreds of nesting kittiwakes (Picture 16).

Another colony of sea lions was making lots of noise.  (Picture 17)  Then we saw more shy tufted puffins who gave us about a minute to "ooh" and "aah" at the beauty before they flew away, and even horned puffins.

We ended our day watching a bald eagle evade 3 glaucous gulls.  He won!  And so did we!  I don't think we ever went 10 minutes without an exciting wildlife sighting.  What a fabulous day!

The cost was $169 (buy one/get one free with the Alaska Toursaver coupon book) + $19 for the salmon/prime rib lunch (optional). 

I came home with every intention of posting, sat down at the computer, and slept for 3 hours until Dean wakened me to go to bed.  I'm usually a night owl, up until at least midnight, so falling asleep at 8:00 says I was exhausted.

Resurrection (City of Seward) RV Park---50 amps, water, gravel, second row from the bay, spaces are wide enough to put your toad next to the coach
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #112 on: July 15, 2013, 12:41:50 PM »
More pics (I selected 16 of the 216 Dean took today.)
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #113 on: July 15, 2013, 12:44:10 PM »
Picture Finale

Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

workingtorv

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #114 on: July 16, 2013, 08:14:22 PM »
Linda, what beautiful pics, loving your write up as usual.  What a thrill it must have been seeing the whales, I'm so envious of your travels.  Thanks once again for the wonderful story telling.  I am enjoying Henry and Salty's travels also, keep them coming gang!
2004 Georgie Boy Pursuit
2008 Saturn AuraXR
Ontario, Canada

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #115 on: July 16, 2013, 09:19:30 PM »
We headed out about 11:00 and didn't even get out the door before I spotted an otter right out front of the RV (actually about 1 mile away, but directly in front of us).  The distance across Resurrection Bay is 3 miles, but seems much closer, and with my wonder binoculars I could see every whisker on his cute little face. 

He was lazily eating, and 3 glaucous gulls wanted to start a Share Plan.  They tried to land on his feet and get scraps.  Sometimes he'd ignore them, and other times he'd do barrel rolls.  They all flew on him at once, and he dove under the water.  They'd fly up by his paws, and he'd do a 180 turn so his back was to them and he continued to eat his food as if it were corn on a cob.  I thought it was a regular fish, but I've only read about otters eating starfish, clams, and oysters.  I laughed and laughed as he non-chalantly evaded them, and he may have even kicked one of them once.  The gulls must win some food sometimes or they wouldn't stay so long, but I didn't see them ever get a morsel.  Dean convinced me to leave after more than an hour of enjoyment by memorializing the experience with a faraway picture.  (Picture 1)  He made me laugh, and it is one of the most fun times I've had.  I had to enlarge the photo a lot, so only one gull is in the final picture. Can anyone tell me if otters eat true fish? 

Admission at the Sealife Center with my Northern Lights buy one/get one coupon was $20.  It's not a huge center, but it does have most of Alaskan birds, seals, and sea lions.  One visitor was distressed that they didn't have any sea otters.  Their primary mission is rescue, rehabilitation, and release, so they usually do have otters on display.  They have an orphaned pup that had just arrived and was getting special care in the back.

Dean loved the ease of photographing animals that were so close and not having to cope with a rocking boat and waves obliterating his subjects.  The tufted puffin was so shy when we were on the cruise, and this one as much as said, "Aren't I handsome?  Take my picture." (Picture 2)  The murre, which we only got glimpses of on both cruises, also posed. (Picture 3)  Frequently, big prolonged splashes got our attention as the puffins have to keep their feathers wet. (Picture 4)  Picture 5 of the harlequin duck doesn't show all the colors, but he's hard to shoot because he looks like a big blob with paint drips and his feathers reflect from the overhead lighting.  Picture 6 is the rhinoceros auklet (see his horn?), and I got to see him in the wild for the first time on this trip.  I love his breezy face feathers.  The male King Eider is a beautiful bird (Picture 7). 

They also had an impressive jellyfish tank.  I had no idea there were jellyfish in Alaska.  They had a lot about conservation education, but Dean and I skimmed the information, which we already knew.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #116 on: July 16, 2013, 09:27:43 PM »
Linda, what beautiful pics, loving your write up as usual.  What a thrill it must have been seeing the whales, I'm so envious of your travels.  Thanks once again for the wonderful story telling.  I am enjoying Henry and Salty's travels also, keep them coming gang!

Thanks, Workingtorv, for the compliment on the pics.  Dean works hard at it and has the patience of Job.  His one Christmas present this last Xmas (and probably for several Xmases to come was a big lens and extender--big in terms of size (he lugs it around his neck) and big also in cost.  So, your words mean a lot.  I give him kudos, but comments from others not related mean even more.

We loved the Major Marine cruise and all the humpbacks, but my one regret was not seeing any orcas. 

I'm enjoying Henry and Susan's logs, too.  It amazes me that we are all looking for such different things in Alaska and all having such a good time.  For Dean and me, it's the wildlife--Denali and marine cruises are our magic moments.  For Henry, it's fishing.  For Susan, it's walking, enjoying the scenery, and talking with people.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #117 on: July 16, 2013, 09:53:16 PM »
July 15   Day 59   Anchorage, AK

I got way behind on posting, so I'm trying to post my daily post and then also posting my notes and some of Dean's 300 pictures from our second cruise and other days. That's taking time, and Dean has to be here (and awake) to ask him questions about what things are.

This morning was very overcast, so we spent in planning (me) and electronics (he).  I thought I'd schedule our tours out of Whittier.  I discovered that my 2009 trip's second favorite Alaskan marine cruise line, Prince William Sound Marine Tours, has gone out of business.  My #3 ranked Alaskan marine tour line from 2009 was Renown in Seward, and it had been gobbled up by Major Marine.  Seward is now down to 2 cruise lines, Major Marine and Kenai Fjords, which is owned by CIRC (Cook Inlet R? Corporation--the governing body of the Cook Inlet Indians).  Mike, the fisherman who spends every summer in Seward and was our neighbor at the RV park in Seward, told me there was some connection between the 2 cruise lines in Seward.  I am beginning to wonder if the Indians are buying back Alaska and its tourist businesses.  We had planned on doing 2 or 3 marine cruises out of Whittier, but we are now only going to do one.  Oh, and they have also made all the cruises shorter!  Bummer!

We went to the Anchorage Museum today.  It was an average art museum, but they had a special traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian on the First Peoples of Alaska that was spectacular.  They had many artifacts I'd never seen samples of before, and it had the quality you'd expect from the Smithsonian.  I wish I'd discovered it first and spent all my time in that one section instead of finding it last and only having about 30 minutes in it.  It was labeled Smithsonian Arctic Research, and I thought it was an administrative office or scientific research group.  If I ever see the Smithsonian name again, I will check it out first.

I'm becoming more and more interested in the tribal corporations.  There were 13 of these formed, entirely of tribal members, to choose the land they wanted when it was dispersed in 1971 or 1989.  There were two contracts made, and I'm not sure what happened in which, but I will find out.  Their purpose was to choose what lands in Alaska they wanted to claim as tribal lands and to arrange the disbursement of a large amount of money--I've read almost a billion with a "B" --but that just seems like too much.  The purpose was to repay them for taking their lands from them.  The nomadic tribes found it difficult to choose because they have traditionally followed their food.  The Aleuts got all of the Aleutian Islands except those owned by the U. S. government.  The Inupiak got all of the northern land except the Arctic Oil Reserve (not the exact name, but same meaning).  The oil up here does not lay in pools.  It has to be extracted from rock.  Their lands are right next to the oil reserve, and they probably have lots of oil in their rocks, too. I just get little morsels that aren't connected.  However, in the museum they had a tape of an Inupiak elder, who was explaining that last year their corporation made $350,000.  Traditionally, they give 35% to tribal members.  Everyone on the tribal rolls in 1971 got one share.  Some people have told me you had to be 1/4 of that tribe; others have told me 1/8.  I'm wondering if different tribes have different rules.  Anyway, if I'm a member of the corporation, I can sponsor my relative to join the corporation, even if they aren't of the prescribed percentage, but they have to prove that they are connected with learning tribal ways and traditions, and not just in it for the paycheck.  Then, after they present copious amounts of paperwork and recommendations, the board of the corporation has to vote for them.  If they are accepted, they are eligible for both tribal programs and federal scholarships.  But...we have only one share, so I now only have 1/2 share, and my relative has 1/2 share.  We met a lady at the Native Heritage who belonged to 3 corporations.  I'm now wondering, what happens to my share if I have no relatives or they aren't acceptable to the board???  Maybe I can find out at the Capitol.  I'm also going to do some reading online.

We ate at their cafe', and while our lunch was fine, those around us had lots of problems.  I think their kitchen is way understaffed, and we did wait about 30 minutes for our lunch.  I'd eat elsewhere before you come.

It looked like it would rain at any moment, but never did.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #118 on: July 16, 2013, 10:13:11 PM »
July 16   Day 60   Anchorage, AK

Today was taking care of business.  Dean got his hair cut ($17 + tip) vs. $12 at home.  A pedicure for me at Tantrix would have run $35 + tip as versus $17 at home, but they had the spa chair set up on an 18" pedestal.  There was a small ledge to stand on and then to step into the deepest foot spa I've ever seen.  I decided to forego the opportunity to kill myself.  Weirdest thing!

We had seen lots of people at an appealing bistro a block from the RV park, so we tried Yes.  The focaccia was superb!  I wasn't very hungry, so I ordered a smoked salmon appetizer, and it would have been plenty for a regular lunch.  Dean had a good burger and fries.  I'd recommend this place.

We then went over to Costco, where I found Trapper Creek salmon products.  I had their lox at the museum, and it was so delicious that I asked for the brand.  Their bananas are always green green, and they were out of Diet Snapple, but we laid in supplies because it will be quite a while before we see a regular grocery store.  Gas is 10 cents a gallon cheaper at Costco.

Staying at Golden Nugget, 50 amps, FHU.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Alaska with the Stocks 2013
« Reply #119 on: July 17, 2013, 04:01:01 AM »
July 14         Day 58      Anchorage

We took care of housekeeping this morning.  I had checked the tides charts for Cook Inlet because I wanted to try to get a look at a beluga whale.  I knew that they followed the fish in as they came in with the high tide, so I figured if we left at 3:00, with the high tide being at 5:00, we'd be good.  I couldn't find Beluga Point on Mapquest or anywhere else, but I remembered that it was near Potter's Marsh, which I wanted to see, also.  Potter's Marsh was about 30 minutes away.  We came across a National Park Service office, so we stopped to verify what I thought I knew.  We found out it was only open on Tuesdays, so we progressed along the ocean until we came across a sign, which said......

Beluga Point      31 miles

Oops!  We decided that we had a slim chance to start with, and we hadn't left on time, so we wouldn't be there until about 4:15.  Oh, well, we'd go visit our secondary site.

Potter's Marsh is an estuary.  Rabbit Creek meanders through it.  We met the host, who lives there in a trailer, and he told us that the king salmon, up to 24" in length, had been returning to Rabbit Creek (RC).  He told us the smallest fish were salmon who were trying to grow up (they spend 2 years in the creek before they go to the ocean) and dolly varden, who we would recognize by their white-tipped fins.  The medium fish were rainbow trout.  As we talked, lots of these large, drab ducks swam by (Picture 1).  The host assured us they were mallards, both male and female, and they were getting their winter plumage.  I see mallards almost every day at home.  In fact, I helped a male mallard nurse his mate back to health after she suffered a wing injury.  Right before we left, we were quite frustrated with their choosing to make our swimming pool their swimming pool, with resulting excrement.  We constantly shooed them away.  I think they wanted to nest in our yard.  So, we've had lots of experience with mallards, and I've never seen any as dull as these, not even the females.  I have to assume it has something to do with the geography.

As we talked with the host, dowitchers and yellowlegs were fishing.  The yellowleg on the left was successful, as you can see. (Picture 2)  Actually, they both were having a nice feast.

We found beautiful electric blue damselflies who were carrying pieces of grass almost as long as they were.  Lots of them did it, so I assume there must be a reason.  They were even prettier than the camera could record. (Picture 3)

When we were here in 2009, we had lots of fun watching 2 outstanding Canada goose parents watching over their 3 goslings.  We were talking about how we were later this year, and they'd probably already flown away, when lots of geese (20-25) came around a curve in the creek.  There was a group of 5 bachelors, and at least 3 family groups.

 Picture 4 is the largest family.  They had 10 very active young 'uns and had recruited a nanny who was also helping to round them up.  They watched us closely as we went along the boardwalk.  Then the male almost stood on the water, flapped his wings powerfully, as if to say, "Look at my family!"  He was a proud papa! 

Then he ran on the water, flapped his wings, and fell into it with a splash. (Picture 5)  OOPS!   If he was giving flying lessons, he needs to practice some more!  He regained his composure, and he and his mate made a short flight. (Picture 6)  He made a tight circle and demonstrated how to land. (Picture 7)  After expending all that energy, the parents must have announced that it was time to eat, and it was bottoms up!  They all started diving, and they were catching fish like crazy for about 10 minutes.  Each one  of those splashes is a fishing gosling.  The parents were feeding also.  (Picture 8)  Then it was time to groom and preen those feathers. (Picture 9)  It reminded me of a kindergarten classroom, where you change subjects being taught every 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, the yellowlegs had been watching all this, do he quietly stalked any remaining fish (Picture 10).  There were lots of fish that we could see through the clear water.

We passed by trees and found lots of yellow-rumped warblers, and black-and-white warblers feeding and flying.  The yellow-rumps were a beautiful splash of yellow as they flew by, but they are hyperactive and don't stay anywhere long enough to get a picture.  The leaves obstruct and cast shadows, so I was very pleased when Dean got a picture of a black-and-white male (Picture 11) and a female warbler (I can't tell which type) (Picture 12).

We spent about two hours there and had a delightful time.  By this time, it was 6:30, so we decided to go to Humpy's, a restaurant/bar/local hangout known for its fish & chips and their king crab.  I have learned that all the king crab is frozen, and I can get that at home.  The only time you can get it fresh is in January.

The good--halibut & chips were great!  Dean had a delicious berry crisp, and I had their wonderful bread pudding--all to go.  The portions were large.  The price of $20 is cheaper than we've paid elsewhere.  The waiter was very nice.  They had wonderful pictures on their TV screens--we haven't seen that good of a picture in over a month.  We really enjoyed the soccer game!

The bad-- The seating is a trolling system, where you walk around and search for a table--kind of like Musical Chairs.  There is no organization, so you could be there a long time and have someone just walk in and they may get the table. All of the inside seating is at high tables with high chairs, which is hard for this old lady to get up into, but once there wasn't too uncomfortable.   I substituted their "special" garlic mashed potatoes for the fries, and my potatoes were cold & dry.  The waiter was over-worked and had tables all over the place instead of one area--just as chaotic as the seating.   Everything was slow.  It took us almost 2 hours to eat dinner.

Staying at the Golden Nugget RV Park--which is sold out and has been throughout our stay.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

 

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