Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The New Generator

It was off to Homer early this morning to find a new Honda generator. The old one was just two months old and just getting broken in, but yesterday afternoon a thief cut the lock and made off with it while we were away. Drat! We're hearing more then a few stories this summer about thievery on the Kenai Peninsula, so if you come this way watch your stuff. Anyhow,  for RV'ing you sure can't beat a Honda EU2000i. Quiet, reliable, and easy to service.

I realized that I haven't put too many pictures up that actually show what $10 buys you here at Deep Creek Beach in terms of a camping spot. Enjoy the photos.

Looking west toward the beach front sites.

Same camera position, but a more southerly view.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Go West Young Man, Go West ...

Or not! Anchor Point is where Horace Greeley's 1865 urging seems to run out of room for wheels to roll. This is the farthest westerly you can drive on the continuous American road system. It's boats, barges, or airplanes from here on to Nome.

Anchor Point was named by early settlers to note the fact that in 1778 Captain James Cook's boat lost an anchor off-shore near here while he was exploring what is now Cook Inlet looking for the fabled Northwest Passage. He got to turn around.

On a more contemporary note, Anchor Point is know far and wide for the burgers, shakes, and fries at the Blue Bus Diner. Yes, a blue bus is built into the north wall of the place. Joyce and I give it three stars.

With a 4x4 you can go 100 yards farther west out onto the beach.

Seldovia Day Trip

Joyce and I took the tour from Homer across Kachemac Bay to Seldovia run by Central Charters and Tours. It was a great day. Along the way 'Captain Ron' (without an eye patch, unlike the movie) guided our 70 foot boat right up to Gull Island so we could get a good look at all the nesting sea birds including two kinds of puffins. He even put the boat downwind so we could confirm that guano has an odor! Further along we encountered raft after raft of sea otters, and two humpback whales. We got close enough so you could see the baby otters using their mothers' chests as day loungers. Even 'Captain Ron' admitted we had a special crossing to be able to see so much.

Seldovia is small enough to easily explore on foot. We ate halibut tacos at the Tidal Pool Cafe and then wandered around the rest of our three hours land-time on the back roads and alley ways and along the Seldovia Slew. We even found a remnant of the original wooden boardwalk that wasn't destroyed by the flooding after the big 1964 earthquake.

The trip back was the direct route and in just over an hour and one more humpback viewing we were back in Homer and looking for a pizza joint for supper. At $90 for two we thought the day trip to Seldovia was a great value and it certainly added to our enjoyment of the Kenai Peninsula.

Point of departure, Homer. The boat we took has the white dot.

 Gull Island

Gull Island close-up.

A raft of sea otters.

Seldovia Harbor.

Seldovia Slew

Who can resist visual humor?

Seldovia has lots of 'pocket parks'  loaded with flowers.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Intrepid Travelers

We had a couple from Germany spend the night with us on their way to Homer. Peter and Loei shipped their RV over to Halifax, Nova Scotia and have been working their way across Canada and Alaska. They've already been up the Dalton Highway to the Arctic Circle so we got a road update from them - lots of construction going on with up to two hour delays, but very good road surface.

Ultimately they're headed to the southern most reaches of Argentina. They figure it will take two years.

Their Euro RV has the same five cylinder diesel engine as Winnebago uses in a small class 'C' motorhome. Are we looking at the future of RV'ing here. Might be. It will be fun to watch Americans have to slim down to match the rigs! Yes, it is probably part of the "One World Order" conspiracy they yammer about on the radio up here. :-)

Tierra del Fuego bound travelers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Skyline Trail

It dawned on us that we've already burned thru 40% of our time here on the Kenai Peninsula. Less polishing the porcelain and more time hiking and exploring I'd say. To that end a group of us decided to hike the Skyline Trail off the north side of the Sterling Highway way back up the road almost to Coopers Landing.

For our first real hike here we picked a doozy. Only one mile in length, but 1,800 feet of vertical - I kid you not.  We scrambled over rocks, roots, ledges and spooked off a momma black bear and her cub to get ourselves a grand view before the rain caught up with us. Here is a link to a nice newspaper article about hiking the trail in the fall.

Joyce on an 'easy' section of the trail.

The Kenai Range behind Jean and Skilak Lakes

Chocolate Lilies

 Sue, Shadow, Joyce, Gene, Lin, and Rich.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Summer Solstice

The earth has moved in orbit so its 23.5 degree tilt is leaned toward the sun in the northern hemisphere now. That makes a huge difference this far north. We'll have just over five hours 'night' here on the Kenai Peninsula. The sunsets at 11:35 PM, but the northern sky still carries some light even at 2 AM. Sunrise is 4:41 AM which I keep missing for some reason.

Like most everybody else here in the 49th State we tend to go, go, go until we drop. Dinner is around 9 or 10 PM maybe, maybe not, and we seem to finally run of of steam around midnight or even 1 AM. The bedroom windows have been taped over with aluminum foil so we have a very nice "sleeping cave".

We just shook off seven straight days of rain, so having the sun back for this pagan time of the year is very, very nice. I'm not sure if we should worship the sun or our solar panels; maybe the panels are minor gods.

10:00 PM

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lucky Break

Sometimes things just fall into place. This old guy has been hanging around and letting photographers get some great shots.

Click to expand.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hello Homer

The tide of humanity here has flowed out, it's been raining for two days, and we have a day off. What to do? Time for another trip to Homer! We had a great day - we walked all the shops on the north side of the Spit, and didn't spend a dime,  visited the great displays at the Oceans and Islands Visitor Center and took a hike on the loop trail out back, we drove to the end of the pavement on the East End Road, and tried the pie at the Caribou Cafe. Now that's a run on sentence!

On the way home we made a list of things that made us happy:
1) Gore-Tex anything
2) Dressing in layers
3) Propane, lots of propane
4) Honda generators
5) Knowing where the clean bathrooms are on the Homer Spit
6) Spring flowers, any with vibrant colors will do, names optional
7) Did I mention propane?

Here are some photos from our day trip, you can get the usual Homer pictures from the Chamber of Commerce web site, so I'm featuring other aspects today.

A nice moody day in Homer.

Definition of a 'slab' of pie!

Homer housing I

Homer housing II

Showers bring flowers.

Amazing what you see when you look.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Do you know where everybody goes when you close the Kenai River for King Salmon fishing, and make the Anchor River catch and release only? Good guess, Deep Creek! We got slammed just like Memorial Day weekend, this time we handled it without any extra troopers, rangers, fire patrol, or other authority figures. The four of us did fine of course, and folks were on their very best behavior. Oh, yeah - the fishing sucked.

It has been a series of extra low 'clamming tides' and some very high tides too. We're perched about five feet beyond the reach of we think is the highest tide - we'll see tomorrow morning when we get a + 21.3 tide right at sunrise.

 This is one camp site. Enlarge for editorial comment.

A visual weather report, featuring Alaska summer wear.

And you thought I was kidding about the tide line. A view from our 'dining room' window.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


The small town of Kasilof ( pronounced Ka-SEE-loff, not CASTLE-off I'll have you know) puts out a great travel brochure full of history, local color, and maps. We decide to use our day off to go north up the Sterling Highway and see what we could see.

We stumbled into Rocky's Cafe just above the Kasilof River for breakfast and it was excellent. Funny too - the menu is entirely entertaining. After you've been seated for a while your gaze catches some really nice stained glass that fills the transom of each window.

Later we toured the small but interesting local museum just down Kalifornsky Beach Road. We looked, but the rest of Kasilof eluded us.

 Welcome to Rocky's.

Joyce kept her menu for some light reading.

The Bard ate here?

One of many stained glass windows featuring local scenes.

Monday, June 7, 2010

White Rice

Our Internet friends Bob White and Cathryn Rice just rolled in to spend a few days in the area. This is our first get together other then cyberspace. We share a mutual love of Mexico, towing Arctic Fox fifth wheel trailers all over North America, and a summer of adventures in Alaska.

This is their first trip to Alaska so we've already shared a few tips about the local scene with them and as luck would have it found a sunny beach-front site here for them to call home. Now if we can just get a few eagles to land on the beach, a king salmon to leap in the creek, and that moose back in the meadow...

Cathryn writes a great blog about their travels, which is how we stumbled on to them. We love their sense of adventure and ability to roll along easily with the unexpected challenges that any travel presents. Check out Cathryn's blog here.

Bob White and Cathryn Rice, our new friends.

Leveling up the 21 foot Arctic Fox fifth wheel on the beach front.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

King Salmon

The king salmon spawning run here at Deep Creek has finally started - big time. I can stand on the banks of the creek on an in coming tide and watch the fish roil the water as they head inland and run the gauntlet of fisher-folk. The fishing has been good too. I watched a guy take 15 minutes to land a 25 pounder last night, he skillfully played the fish into shallow water and even without a net managed to land it.

All is not peaches and cream however - emergency fishing rules have been issued closing the Kenai River for a month and prohibiting the use of bait on the rivers further south, including here at Deep Creek. The closure of the Kenai River has brought a few extra folks our way. Official link here.

Historically the Kenai River sees about 3100 king salmon enter from Cook Inlet by now, the count this year was 739. Hence the emergency closure.

On the plus side, a pod of Orcas came by just off shore behind our trailer this morning looking for their portion of salmon too.

Deep Creek looking upstream.



Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blowin' Up a Storm

After a windless, sunny, 68 degree day yesterday we're having a onshore gale with driving rain, and 48 degrees temperatures. Some of the charter boats returning had a heck of a time getting recovered by the skidders in the surf. This boat got totally cross-ways on the trailer and only a heads-up decision by skidder driver to yank him up onto the beach anyway saved the day. The next wave would have rolled him over.

An E ticket ride fishing charter!
Ready or not the skidder is about to pull him 25 feet up the beach.

Fish Camp

We've changed moods here at Deep Creek Beach. We've gone from a family fun outing destination to more of a live-in fish camp. We have two groups here now that launch out into Cook Inlet each day rain or shine in their Zodiac rubber inflatable boats. They come usually come back late in the evening and  fillet their halibut and salmon right on tables set up at the high tide line. They are kind enough to load the scrapes into a small trailer and tow it with an ATV way down the beach and deposit it well below the high tide line. The eagles are appreciating the feast. Fishing has improved greatly, folks are trolling for king salmon out in the Inlet and catching some, and the size of halibut caught is increasing. Given the great tidal change and the rips and currents that generates you do have know what your about - the water is 40 degree, so there is no margin for error.

Of course we're benefiting from all this fishing action. We were given some king crab legs that were brought into camp - we had those last night. We're also adding to our freezer's cache of halibut piece by piece.


Big water, small boat. Click to enlarge.

Fish camp at 11 PM.