Last Monday, July 11, was Day 49 of our Alaska trip and we traveled from Seward to Soldotna – a grand total of about 94 miles. Accommodations for the night were provided by the local Fred Meyer (FM) Store and we were not the only ones to take advantage of their free hospitality. There were probably 30-50 rigs pulled into the RV designated areas along the perimeter of their huge parking lots. FM must upset the commercial campground owners by allowing RVers to spend 3-nights in their lot. They also provide a free dump station and free water. While we were here we toured local campgrounds and most charged $35-$50 a night and added on extra fees during the July salmon run. Those places were cramped and really would appeal to the sport fishing community. We don’t fish so we are strictly tourists. While we don’t often stay in shopping center parking lots like FM or Walmart, when we do, we will support the stores that offer RV parking by stocking up the pantry while we are here. Believe me, we spend more inside the stores than we would have paid in a campground. But, that’s just the way many RVers are.
Visiting the Area
We actually had a reason to stay in Soldotna/Kenai – our former Cool neighbors, Howard and Janet Pelton, lived here for many years and urged us to visit their place and to meet their close friends during “fish camp” season. While we were in Anchorage we contacted Dave and Jayne Bredin and they invited us over but they would not be in Kenai until July 15 when the fish run begins. We used the afternoon to check out the area that we would return to the following week.
Kenai is about 10 miles up the road from Soldotna but the two communities literally run together along a spur road. We found the local Walmart and also drove along back roads to discover structures from when this area was part of Russia. The Russian Orthodox Churches and housing communities are still scattered throughout the area.
The weather was rainy but that did not stop us from eating out. The Bredlins had recommended the St. Elias Brewery, and after a quick check of the GPS, we discovered it was right over the hill from our RV parking lot. (Actually, Star discovered the path while I was walking her, so I convinced the others we could use the same path.)
While the others ordered pizza, I had a loaded Philly steak sandwich on flat bread that was delicious. Frank also liked the beer. We’ll be back.
On Tuesday morning we followed the Sterling Highway to Deep Creek State Recreation Area where we heard the area was popular for eagle watching and watching the boat launching activity. The weather was still windy, cold, and yucky, so we decided not to stay, but we did get to see quite a few eagles in the area. The fun attraction was watching teams of tractor drivers systematically push boats out into the surf and retrieve them in a straight drive-up technique. It was like watching a jet land on an aircraft carrier – come in fast then right onto the awaiting trailer.
On to Homer
Our final destination was the Homer Spit, a land mass that extends from the town of Homer out into Kachemak Bay. As we did in Seward, we chose to stay in one of the city-owned public campgrounds located right on the water. We nosed the RV right to the edge of the rocks and had a perfect view of the ever-changing tide pools as the tides grew in depths up to 28-feet.
More on our visit to Homer in the next blog.
We had one pretty exciting moose sighting while in Kenai. While we were driving right in town, we turned the corner and this huge moose was standing on our side of the road. We thought she was a statue until she moved. We pulled over and then she decided to cross 4-lanes of traffic. Everyone was stopping for her except a young jerk who revved his truck engine and startled her. She was running back and forth across the road next to us. We did not see any calves. She finally made it to the bushes.
When I posted this on my Facebook page, someone said the “jerk” was lucky the moose didn’t charge his truck. I commented back that the guy was lucky that all the people in the stopped cars hadn’t gone after HIM. BTW, there are signs along the highway warning people that there is a high moose population in the area and they have a statistics board showing how many moose have been killed on the local roads. I think the count was around 260 for the year. Sad.
NEXT: Touring the Homer Area