Just a couple of photos from Seldovia. A shot of the ocean taken from our campground, a fisherperson's successful day, some quaint flower pots, and the small boat harbor. Can you see why Seldovia's motto is just another day in paradise?
RED MOUNTAIN, SELDOVIA, ALASKA: We spent a wonderful afternoon on Red Mountain on Sunday. After a half hour drive up a winding narrow dirt road, we came to a green meadow surrounded by a red rock mountain on one side and a snow filled bowl and green smaller hills on the other sides. We hiked up the red rock mountain until we came to an area where the loose rocks would have been dangerous to attempt to cross, especially with young boys who don't think before placing their feet. There were tiny pink and white flowers, Alpine plants that I don't know the name of, and beautiful green mosses tucked in among the rocks. The air was fresh and faintly sweet smelling, and the quiet was almost deafening, broken only occasionally by a shout from one of the boys as they discovered yet another wonder in this land filled with wonders. As we returned to our parked truck the rain started, and we ended up lighting our fire and having our picnic of sandwiches and chips in a steady drizzle. But no one minded one bit. It was an awesome day......just another day in paradise.
SELDOVIA, ALASKA: On Monday evening, the last night the girlfriend's parents were here, we had a potluck at our campground. The above photos are part of the menu. We had clams which we dug on Sunday on our clamming trip. We had oysters purchased from the fish man on Friday. We had halibut and rock fish caught by girlfriend's father earlier that day, and we had salmon caught by our very own Dude! What a wonderful spread. All that was needed in addition was a green salad and a taco salad, and a wonderful blueberry pie provided by girlfriend's boss.
All the seafood was from the waters around Seldovia, and all was cooked to perfection by our son on his little grill. Of course the men all had to prove their manhood by eating clams and oysters raw, and even The Dude joined in those activities! I stuck to the fish portion of the menu due to my shellfish allergy. Halibut has to be on the top of the list of God's most perfect foods!
Think of us as you grill your hot dogs and burgers on the fourth of July and then decide who is spending just another day in paradise!
Seldovia, Alaska: I just wrote a long interesting description of the last week, and the connection shut down and everything was lost. I tried to the recover post and everything, but it's totally gone. So, I'll just recap now because I'm getting picked up shortly and will probably not be back online for awhile.
Greetings from beyond the end of the road. Homer, Alaska is described as the end of the road, so because we are across the bay from Homer, we are beyond the end of the road. Seldovia is a small former Russian fishing village of about 300 friendly folks and at least that many dogs. As we are being introduced to people, we also meet their dogs, and we are trying to not only remember the human's names, but also the dog's names, and who belongs to who! We met Harry, Tisha, Sully, Moxie, Panda and quite a few other hairy individuals on Monday night, but haven't quite matched them all up with their human owners yet.
We've had an evening meal at the local cafe, a meal at our son's place, a meal at our RV, and a meal at the B&B where our son's girlfriend's parents are staying as they also visit the kids in their northern paradise. We have been out to the kids' property and have helped clear brush and burn it. And we have gotten jobs! Yup, we are the new campground hosts at the Wilderness RV Park in Seldovia. No electricity and no running water, but a view of spruce trees, often decorated with an eagle or two sitting on the tip top of the branches, the ocean, and the mountains off in the distance, including Augustine and a couple of other volcanos.
The grandsons, the kid formerly known as The Redhead, and The Dude, have been in young boy heaven. What can be better than a beach of billions of rocks to throw into the ocean, miles of trails to follow through the trees, and hundreds of salmon to be caught from the bridge in town. Every piece of clothing they have along is wet and dirty, and there are no laundry facilities in town! If the sun stays out this afternoon, grandma will have to attempt to wash some things by hand and hang them out to dry. It's been cool and rainly so far, so nothing that has gotten wet has dried.
We are having a wonderful time and hope you will all forgive us for our minimal contact. We have to go "out the road" to a hilltop in order to find cell connection, and I am only online because son's galfriend invited me to her work place for a little while. We will try to connect more often, and will share pictures and stories as we get the chance! Until then, I'll close with Seldovia's motto, JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE!
This was my view at lunch time yesterday. What was yours? Are you jealous Steve and Lois? The trip is going well so far. We are very happy with our choice of RV's, and the truck is prefect, so no complaints almost two weeks into retirement! We should make Tok, Alaska tomorrow for a salmon and halibut cookout. Now are you jealous?
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada: Wow! It cost me $40 to do a weeks worth of laundry at Dawson Creek, the beginning of the Alaska Highway. Washers were $4, 5, and 7 each, and the dryers were 25 cents for 5 minutes which in all actuality was 3 minutes. The laundromat was very warm and by the time I had finished I felt like I'd had a 2 hour sauna.
As I folded the boys' clothes I counted 8 pairs of boxers and 14 pairs of socks. When I asked them why there was such a difference, the 11 year old Dude said: "you don't have to change your underware as often as you change your socks!"
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada: In the past week we have traveled from North Dakota, through southern Manitoba and Saskatchewan, land that is rich with grain farms. However, at this time of the year you see little evidence of that. The fields show little green spouts instead of the amber waves of grain we sing of in America the Beautiful. After many miles of fields of the tiny newly emerged crops, the 13 year old Redhead (oops, he is the 13 year old formerly known as Redhead ~ he wants a new name!) exclaimed "grandma, it's really blank out there!"
Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada: It all started that day with DH's early morning walk when he decided to go to the nearby shooping center to use the bank's ATM to get some cash. He followed the prompts, got his money, closed the transaction and found the ATM had eaten his debit card. He could see it in the slot, but the machine wouldn't spit it out. He tried his knife and the card slipped further into the mouth of the monster. The bank wasn't open yet so he came back to the campground and had breakfast and then we all went to the shopping center to get groceries and his card. The bank was the first stop and the teller bravely entered the bowels of the ATM and retrieved his card. No damage done.
Now to the grocery store. With help from the two grandsons I should be able to get in and out in short order. DH took off one direction and the boys grabbed a cart and insisted on pushing it. I picked up some asparagus and fresh green beans and turned to deposit them in the cart, but no cart. The boys had disappeared and left me stranded. I found them picking out the most expensive bottle of ranch dressing......over five dollars! I found the same kind, different brand for three dollars. And so it went. Cereal, five dollars. A variety box of pop tarts, eight dollars. This was a very expensive store! But the friendly clerk offered me a free savings card so on my next trip there I could save lots of money. I don't think so!
Now a quick stop at Wal-Mart for ice cube trays and we could be on our way. Up one aisle and down another....no ice cube trays. I finally asked a clerk and she informed me that everyone uses these plastic sticks that you freeze and drop into your can of soda to cool it. Oh, I can see four little pencil sized frozen sticks keeping a cooler of a twelve pack of pop and a twelve pack of water really nice and cold!
Finally we were on the road, speeding towards the west, when we see a sign informiing us of a low underpass ahead. Low Clearence - 12'4". We are over 13 feet! Okay, we saw it in time, so we'll just back up and take the gravel road around the little town and catch the highway a mile up. Good plan, except the gravel road had a railroad track crossing it and the arms were down, the lights flashing, and the alarms clanging. And no train in sight. Just a repair car sitting up the way, apparently on coffee break because it never moved. So, route number three was to take the narrow road across the other side of the highway and get around that way. So, again, no damage was done and we were finally on our way.
But the whole day continued on that way. We had crazy drivers cutting in front of us, a couple of teen aged boys weaving in and out of traffic and tailgating the cars in front of them, and a case of road rage beginning to develop on the driver's side of our truck. At every stop we made we seemed to encounter rude and unfriendly people. Thank goodness that hasn't continued on to the next couple of days, and we are enjoying making our way to Dawson Creek and the beginning of the Alaska Highway.
Urban Stampede Coffee Shop: I finally have some time alone so am able to write a few lines. It is Tuesday and we are in Grand Forks North Dakota on the fourth day of our great adventure to Alaska. We left home on Saturday afternoon with tears flowing down my face after saying good-bye for the next couple of months to my mom and my daughter and family. Both of the grandsons we have along with us were excited and happy and chattering a mile a minute for the whole two hours we drove to visit our son and his family. The truck worked great, and pulled the heavy laden RV with no effort, and we arrived at our destination on time and were treated to a wonderful dinner at a nice place along the river. The two grandsons we have with us had a great time playing with their cousins, also 11 and 13, and the basketballs were bouncing in the driveway and sailing through the air and finding their target oftener than I would have expected. The two 13 year olds are on their school teams, and have become quite skilled players.
On Sunday DH and our son took off for a whole day of golf, and our daughter-in-law and I took the 4 boys to a local lake for some swimming. Dinner that evening was cooked on the grill by our son and was a real feast, pork loin and asparagus. NUMMY! We spent a nice evening sitting on the deck and visiting and playing with their new puppy.
Yesterday we took off on our trip across Minnesota and arrived in Grand Forks in time to spend the evening visiting with another son, his wife, and our 3 year old grandson who was meeting his two cousins for the first time. We don't get to see this son and his family very often, so it was a lot of fun catching up and looking at family photos. We hope to see them again tonight.
This morning we had a crisis. DH couldn't get his satellite TV dish to work! Oh no! Now what will he do? The boys and I left to find computer access and he continued to work on the TV. When we got home we found he had called a repairman to come and help figure things out. It's a good thing this state park is located right in town, or I'm afraid he would have paid a pretty huge price getting a repairman out to fix it! When I left for this coffee shop to get online, they had the thing working and I'm guessing are sitting down for the afternoon to surf channels and discover what they can or can't figure out.
It's going to be interesting to be living with a teen and a pre-teen for the summer after we have raised our seven kids and have now had an empty nest for quite a few years. It will also be a learning experience for the boys, adapting to grandma and grandpa's parenting instead of mom and dad's. The eleven year old is a very gentle caring young guy, and I'm afraid it would be pretty easy to hurt his feelings and cause him to cry. The thirteen year old is a bit more mouthy and can cop an attitude pretty easy. After all, he is thirteen! So life will be different for all 4 of us this summer. But I do know that we are all looking forward to the next 3 months and that we will all do our best to get along and enjoy this special time we have together. I know I can't wait to get on the road tomorrow, head north and cross the border into Canada. It will then seem like we are really off and running.