Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Road Trip 2010: Day 34
Anchorage to Homer

Monday, July 12

Our ride from Anchorage to Homer on Monday morning was a pleasant one. As per our usual routine, the sun was out and shining brightly as we departed the Golden Nugget Campground. Even a little problem with our sewer line (it broke at both ends!) didn’t spoil the morning. And, having driven down to Girdwood along the same route the day before with Rev. Paul we were able to spot the differences (tide was most definitely in) and enjoy the ride. I even spotted a Dall Sheep on the rocks on the northwest side of the road as we drove past Beluga Point. (No whales, however.)

Terry and I pulled into the gas station at Girdwood to fill up the Tundra and noticed there was a full service, honest to God bakery in the little strip mall that Paul had pointed to on Sunday and said “ Tourist Trap.” There was also a little store called “The Alaskan Tourist Trap” so I’m not sure if Paul was referring to the high prices for baked goods (which were delicious, BTW) or the aptly named store abutting the bakery.

We stopped at the Katmai Welcome Center as we rounded the end of Turnagain Arm so Terry could refill her tea cup and to pick up a few brochures.

We made our way over Turnagain Pass on the Seward Highway and then through the beautiful Canyon Creek country to the junction of Seward with Sterling Highway. Turning left for Homer, we went on through Cooper landing and Russian River Rendezvous. We stopped at the Kenai Wildlife/Wilderness Visitors’ Center and spoke to an Alaskan Parks ranger about the fishing we saw taking place on the river. He said the red salmon were not yet in and that the folks we saw were probably fishing for rainbow and grayling. Mentioning that we were on our way to Homer and planned to do some halibut fishing, he told us that the Land’s End Resort at the end of Homer Spit was one of his favorite places to hang out--which was good to here since we had a group dinner scheduled for that evening. He also said the halibut were indeed hitting pretty hard at the moment and we should have little trouble taking our limit of two fish.

We continued on our way and got to the bluffs that form the southeastern side of Turnagain Arm. Every once in a while there would be a pullout that offered spectacular views and we were able to spot Mt. Iliamna and Mt Redoubt. This time we saw them from a totally different direction than we had had up on Flattop in Anchorage. They were still beautiful in the sun light.

At one point, in the small town of Anchor Point, we reached the furthest point west you can drive along the highways of North America. There was supposed to be a sign, but everyone in the group agreed that it either 1) did not exist or 2) was cleverly hidden by all the scenery. No one saw the darn thing.

In any event, as we left Anchor Point, we veered slightly east of south and headed down the final leg of the Sterling Highway on the west side of the Katmai Peninsula toward Homer.

Reaching Homer we descended down to sea level again but not before getting a great view of the mountains and glaciers on the other side of Kachemak Bay.

We continued to drive through Homer and out onto Homer Spit and to the Land’s End Campground. We would have had a great view of the bay if they had not recently constructed a dozen or so three story condominium/cottages right on the beach. Still, we were close enough to the Resort to walk over for our dinner.
After dinner, one of our party was determined to have a real live campfire—only with wine and cheese instead of s’mores. She had spent some time in the afternoon splitting some pine logs left in the campground and although they were damp, they lit easily enough using some fire starters (the same pine hearts I use to light fires at home). She did, indeed, get a fire started and people had started to gather when, as might be expected, it started to rain around 9 PM. And it rained all night long. Figures. We were on the coast and 20 of us were scheduled to go out on a fishing expedition early the next day.

I took a few pictures along the way...

Mt Iliamna from Katmai bluffs

Mt Redoubt from Katmai

Welcome to Homer, AK

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