Journals, Photos and Videos

What a couple of days!

Yesterday, we went to Soldotna to do some grocery shopping as well as open a local bank account (no banks in Cooper Landing). We were heading back to CL when we saw a few vehicles - a reasonable tip-off that there we’re approaching a creature. Sure enough, there was a grizzly grazing (yes grazing) on the side of the road.

We pulled over and Maureen, risking life and limb, hopped out of the car and started shooting pictures. We watched him (or her) for about 10 minutes until he wandered to the creek and into the distance along the creek bank. Go see the supporting movie.

(The back story of getting out of the car and opening the back door to get the camera is that as the door opened the spaghetti that was left over from supper -- and there was almost a full order -- fell out of the car landing on shoes, ground and pasta dangled off the the nerf bar (running board). Ever hear any stories about not leaving food out for bears? This was the epitome of a full course meal for the grizz (and Maureen for desert).

(Oh, BTW, Maureen was behind the car and across the road...never in any danger. Tho’ the fellow parked next to us waved his camera and told M to walk out so he could get a picture of the bear eating her! She did not accommodate his request.)

This was our first legitimate wildlife sighting in Alaska. It was really cool. Angus, who almost never barks, was stirred to barking by the sight of the grizzly, however. Actually, this reaction could be valuable up here.

We expect many grizzly sightings here, especially when the salmon are running. That will be happening in early June. And when we got back to Wildman’s, Heather, our boss told us that our neighbor stopped by to tell us that he had chased a grizzly out of his backyard (about 2 RV’s away from ours).

Today (Wed 5/13/2009) we headed to Homer. On the way we were hoping for a clear view of Redoubt Volcano. The day was perfect - cloudless and reached the mid-60s. We opted to take a less direct route and go next to the coastline. When we got to that road, we found that the road had no or slight view of Cook Inlet due to trees and when we did see it, Redoubt was obscured by haze.

No biggy though as the 120 mile drive from Cooper Landing to Homer is still a joy. We arrived shortly after noon and drove along Homer Spit Rd until we ran out of land. It was an easy choice to go to the Land’s End Restaurant as it sits on the tip of the spit and has a breathtaking view.

Since we were there before the season is really in gear, we were able to get a prime table right by windows looking out across the inlet to the snow-capped mountains.

We watched people surf-casting and pulling in 12-20 inch fish, barges and fishing boats passing farther out and then the mountains. This was not a bad way to enjoy lunch.

After eating, I took Angus and Maureen took the truck and her camera equipment. Homer has a nice population of bald eagles thanks the late eagle lady, Jean Keane. ( We have mentioned her earlier and if you have not had a chance to “Google” her -- do sometime.)

Jeanne was a much beloved resident of Homer and her home was a landmark. Many, many famous photographers came to the spit to photograph Jeanne’s eagles. Here is her home in 2004 and as it is now.

It appears they are moving it....we are hoping to another spot to make a memorial. Her place was not the most organized but in August 2004 you can see the beautiful flowers around her trailer and in her yard. The trailer was not there this year and we wondered if it had been moved already or if her son replaced it with this little house.

The environment is epitomized by the Salty Dawg Saloon. It is one of two bars in Alaska that allows smoking. When you walk in, no matter how adverse to smoking you may be, you can’t begrudge this smoking waiver.

You can sit at the bar or sit at a table and carve your initials, sign a dollar bill and try to find a spot to put it on the wall or ceiling.

Or just sit back and enjoy one of the local Homer brews in a Sobe bottle!

After Angus and I went for our walk we met up Maureen, who managed to take about 600 pictures (really!) of eagles, at the Dawg and had an adult beverages.

While at the Dawg, a couple of women joined us at our table and told Maureen and bit about themselves. They had flown their own plane down from Wasilla just cuz. They own their own airport, lake, helicopter, one is a pilot for on a 737, etc.

We got pictures of it in 2004 but never went inside and we decided we would not let that happen this trip.We had a fun visit as well as pleasant beverages and Salty Dawg Saloon which greatly exceeded our expectations.

We decided to head back. Soon after we exited Homer, we came across our first of 7 moose. Of course we got our fair share of pictures. There is no doubt that we will not be getting excited about the sight of moose in the near future. They are very plentiful and quite bold. Check out the video of the moose running alongside the car!