Monday, October 12, 2009

After a good feed of crab legs in Anchorage at Phyllis's Cafe & Salmon Bake, we headed south out of town - meeting an incredible line of boaters and sportsmen headed back into the city after the weekend. Maybe the August 1st weekend is a holiday in the U.S.?
After a fairly long drive south and west on Highway 1, we turned off onto the Skilak Lake Road.

We soon found a fairly deserted lake front campsite with a hiking trail to explore before dark.
There were some wolves howling across the lake at night to add to the wilderness experience.
Another beautiful, calm, quiet misty morning. But it was to be a busy day. First order of business was to find a car wash near Soldotna to wash off some of the accumulated grime from some of the road construction and gravel highway sections.
Then it was a propane fill on our way into Kenai, and a tank dump nearby. Then it was a badly needed oil change for the big GMC, even though it goes a long time between changes. Then we found a sauna and showers at the nearby rec center in Kenai.

Because of the early Russian influence throughout this area there are many Russian churches in this area. We visited this Russian Orthodox church that is one of the earliest buildings in this region.
There was a good coffee shop next door, so I got a caffeine fix as well.
We drove out of town on Kalifornsky road - which I assumed was named after California, but I was wrong. Sort of. Turns out it was named after the village founder, a Dena'ina Indian named Qadanalchen. But Qadanalchen had worked in California till 1821, and on returning to Alaska at that time, he took the name of Kalifornsky, the Russian equivalent of 'Californian'. So I guess I was right, after all. Sort of! Don't believe me, check it out in Wikipedia!

Then we stopped at a fish plant down the coast and bought some excellent salmon and halibut steaks.
We stopped at another historic Russian church on the coast at Ninichik (below).
On the way down to Homer, we passed through Anchor Point, which is as far west as you can drive anywhere in the US highway system at 59.777468, -151.770220

At Homer, we drove out onto the famous 'spit', which is packed with seasonal tourist and fishing outfitter businesses. Apparently we were told that about the only open business here in the winter is the Lands End Resort at the very end of the spit.
We almost stopped at the Salty Dawg saloon, but it was fairly full, and we were surprised to find smoking apparently allowed inside. You don't see that much any more.
Most fishing seemed to be done with charter companies, but there were a few fishing from shore.

The Seafarer's Memorial.
And the Salty Dawg one more time.
Fresh fish - right off the boats.
Some Halibut.
I was glad to see yet another travelling cat - and a very large one. This photo does not do justice to his size. Harley was 20 lbs at his biggest, but I'd wager 30+ for this guy. His 'rolling home appeared to be from New York!
The 'Spit Sisters' cafe and B&B.
Lots of boats out here!
It was feeding time, so we checked out a waterfront place (they're ALL waterfront on the spit) for shrimp and scallops. The view out the window.

And the food!
Time was short, so next we headed back north to around Cooper's landing to spend the night near Quartz creek.

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