We awoke to a lovely morning, a combination of bright and sunny but cool, and set off on the long drive to Homer in very pleasant driving weather. The scenery was lovely on the way to Soldotna but improved significantly after the quaintly named village of Clam Gulch when the snow covered peaks and volcanos of the Katmai Peninsula came into view across the Cook Inlet. Heading south on the highway we were pleased to have our first sighting of Moose, one of them running and others grazing, at the side of the road.We think they were possibly juveniles because there were no signs of any antlers.
One of the recommended sites of interest on this stretch of the road is the small village of Ninilchik.It's an old Russian settlement (dating from the time when Alaska was part of Russia) and has an old Russian Orthodox Church high on the bluff and some interesting old wooden buildings nestlingdown by the side of the river.Driving through some suddenly very dark skies and heavy rain we thought we wouldn't see Homer at its best, but a few miles north of Homer the weather cleared and we had stunning views of Homer Spit stretching into Katchemak Bay towards the snow capped mountains of the Katchemak Bay State Park in the background, and sweeping vistas to the west and the white topped mountains of the Katmai Peninsula. What a beautiful sight!
We found the Ocean View RV Park very easily and were really pleased with our pitch high on the bluff with wonderful views over the bay.We should add, however, that this was the first time we encountered the extremely laid back Alaskan attitude.It took absolutely ages to do the simplest of things - think of a very, very slow tortoise.
This area of Alaska is renowned for its halibut, salmon and seafood.We were really lucky to be virtually next door to Fat Olive's - one of the best eating places in town.We had our first sampling of local Katchemak Bay oysters, grilled local halibut cooked in a very healthy style with lots of veg including asparagus, pak choy, spinach and a tangy mango salsa - delicious!
One of the main attractions in this area is the Katchemak Bay State Park, the isolated peninsula over the bay from Homer. A particular point of interest - apart from the numerous glaciers - is Halibut Cove.This is a small community of private houses - now developed into an artists' community with many galleries - connected by a boardwalk around a lovely inlet.We decided to take a boat trip - on the old boat the Danny J - over the Bay and this allowed us to visit Gull Island, a rock that is home to thousands of Kittiwakes, Puffins, and many other nesting seabirds. Halibut Cove was - as expected - lovely, peaceful and interesting.
Dinner was to be had at Captain Patties on Homer Spit after a couple of locally brewed Homer beers in the infamous Salty Dawg Saloon near to where the Danny J docked. We dined on more oysters, grilled halibut, salmon and other seafood. Lovely!
We'd had a wee bit of trouble with our shower not draining away so we needed to contact Cruise America to see what could be done on a Sunday.In the end it seemed that there was a problem with the indicator lights on our gray water tank (the waste water from our sinks and shower) and that it was actually full.This was odd because we had picked up the RV only 3 days before and hadn't used 40 gallons of water! Clearly the indicator had been broken before and that the Anchorage depot had assumed the gray water tank was empty and hadn't bothered to check and empty it before we picked up the vehicle. Tut, tut! We'll take this up with them!
During one of our phone calls to Cruise America, we had the pleasure of a moose wandering through our campsite.Everyone was running for their cameras and standing well back (they can be dangerous) and despite the phone call we still managed a long distance sighting. The problem with the shower delayed us a little but we headed into town for an excellent coffee and some shopping before driving out and up to the head of Kachemak Bay.As we climbed, views were fantastic with sightings over to glaciers and snow capped mountains. At the end of the surfaced road we came across an interesting sign stating - The End of USA's Maintained Road System. Interestingly, a few miles further back from Homer is the small settlement of Anchor Point which, being further west than Homer is officially, the furthermost westerly point of North America's continuous road system.
Our last evening in Homer had us dining at 'home' on chicken, baked potatoes and salad, preceded by a few beers outdoors in the sunshine.
E & M xx