Racing Fans

Start your engines! We did one weekend when we were staying in Houston took the small trek into Palmer to watch some NASCAR action. It was another fun night of fitting in with the locals. Of course, I had to buy a shirt. The racetrack is Alaska Raceway Park they also have a drag strip and we decided not to come back the next day to see them race. Intermission brought the kids out to race with their toys.

We saw two fender benders but not any great crashes. Enjoy the video and slideshow.

Have you ever wondered….

what you would do if you lost your phone down a vault toilet. I did not neither did Roy. We did watch the retrieval process. It involved Duct tape. More on that later.

stuff
wow

In the big cities of Alaska and the lower 48 there is a place called Wal-Mart. Trapper Creek Alaska has Wal-Mike’s an emporium of strange things for lack of a better description. Someone told me yesterday to not buy the Pepto Bismol it expired in 1986. Everything there was for sale. I think he would have sold his wife given half a chance. It was warm in the sun, so we didn’t stay long. Just long enough for me to take some photos. On the way out the driveway we spotted an old truck that was now home to some weeds and trees. So, I had to snap a photo or two that I will turn into black and white as that is what old truck pictures should be. It was a mostly clear sky, so we headed up to Denali.

the truck
b/w
stuff everywhere

Of course, you know we never take the direct path to anywhere. The detour involved the Mt McKinley Princess Wilderness lodge. The property was at the top of a winding road with great views. It looked like a planned senior community.

You’ve heard the saying about the weather around Denali wait five minutes and it will change. It sure did socked right in. The clouds were not moving. This all occurred during the 30-minute drive up to the viewpoint along with our side trip. Well, I wasn’t going to waste a trip to explore the Denali south viewpoint. We got my chair out I put on my hat and off I went. It was cloudy and even dark over the mountain, so I snapped a few pictures of the river below and set off on a mission.

There is a gravel trail that goes up to a higher viewpoint (I think).

sorta the summit

I did not make it to the top because higher up the path there was pea gravel that my chair hates. So, I had to settle for the first plateau that had a bench and a large rock. I stayed there for a while just thinking that wasn’t half bad taking the chair up a gravel curvy incline. It has taken all summer but, I can handle almost anything in it. I start my way down and realize that there is a hump in the middle of the path and if you get to the outside edge of the path the wheelchair kept wanting to head for the ditch. I experienced this firsthand as I moved over to let a group pass me. That was not one of my better thoughts. The quick thinking of that group saved me from falling off the cliff. I was able to get angled back to semi solid ground and finish heading down the hill. I have to say going downhill is a little harder than going uphill.

smile
what 70% see

Back at the overlook I was still waiting for Denali to show and that was a no go. I asked someone to take my picture and then decided to head back to the car. This is where the duct tape comes in.

Over my shoulder I hear do you work here, you’re in a white truck. The two people did not but they asked what do you need. The daughter of the guy asking for help did it. She dropped her phone in no man’s land. Of course, we had to stay around and watch.

Truck guy said he had Duct tape and that they could wrap it around something lower that down and grab the phone. So, we watched as they wrapped the tape around a stick and disappeared into the bathroom only to return and get a larger stick prepared the same way. That did not work. Someone then brought a small empty box into the picture. I’m wondering what they were attempting. They decided to tape the box to the bottom of the stick that could reach the phone and scoop it into the box. Success! I will let you know that they did not want to try and use it they just need to get the sims card out of it.

I would have to say just leave it be. I will bet that the girl who dropped it will not bring her phone with her to the bathroom for a very long time.

Another Episode of …..

People you meet. I have been craving WISCONSIN cheese curds for a few months who would have thunk I would have to come to Alaska to get some. You know with me there is always a back story to how I get the things I get. Here it is.

they do exist

Having the chair, I was able to run rampant, at the air show. (I see new wheels in my future.) I’m headed down the flight line and I see a booth selling real Wisconsin Cheese curds. (You can find them on Facebook.) I’m from there so I had to investigate. Danielle was cute and very helpful. I asked were they for real and why here in Alaska. She explained that her SO had moved up to Sterling Alaska and she followed with cheese curds in tow. I guess there was no good cheese in Alaska. That is how it started and now they do local events and serve deep fried cheese curds. I put on my sad face because deep fried cheese curds are not the same. Danielle said that they only bring frozen cheese curds to big events for sale purposes, they do have fresh curds at the Soldotna Wednesday markets. So, I get all sad and say that’s ok. After some more banter about cheese curds. I was able to get a little more than a pound of frozen cheese curds. They have thawed and I am now squeaking to my heart’s content

CHEESE

Today started with Roy and I meeting one of the campers in the park we are staying at (Three Bears, Trapper Creek AK). Roy had helped them when they had checked in with some questions about the area. We got to talking and gave them some ideas on what to do in Fairbanks because that is the next place they will be. The woman kept calling us her ‘Angels of Life’.

Being a chair user and having MS you just know things. That is what happened today. We stopped at Alaska Birch Syrup and Wild Harvest Products on are way to Talkeetna. The shop is cute with lots of free samples. I’m in the store and I look over and see a woman with a walker, (she has that MS stance). I didn’t want to go up to her and ask how long she has had MS because that is strange. Long story short. We did start talking and I said something like I’m not drunk it’s MS. She goes I have MS very small world. We traded the dates of our diagnosis and how we were getting along. It was something I think I needed today to help me realize I’m not the only one. They leave and I make my purchases and leave. So off to Talkeetna we head. The town has a cat for the mayor, so it has to be cool.

We find a parking spot (which was hard to find), I see that there are ramps into some of the stores. I have been so good this trip about shopping. I fell off the wagon I had to go shopping. So back in the chair, paved bike/people lane and I was good to go. Driving up and down the street who do I see, but my MS buddy. So, we chatted some more and enjoyed each other company. She also has just started using a chair and agrees with me it is bittersweet. You get a little more freedom to go more places, but it is with the need of some motorized device. You lose some freedom to do it yourself.

Today was also a day of just talking to people. (I knew I should have written his name down) At the end of the street there are tents set up flea market style, I see a photography tent. I make an effort to talk to photographers who sell their work, either to get some pointers or let them know I enjoy their work. We sat and talked about why photos sell, what photo sells. Inspiration. I was able to share one of my baby birds phots from Ninilchik. That is when he brought up getting a little burned out because he seems to sell the same photos over and over. So, he had been itching for photo field trip. Although, he said he doesn’t like to shoot in the summer. He just does not like the colors plus he sells his works to tourists. He did say he might have to go down and see for himself. He thanked me for stopping in and talking to him, this made part of my day.

Just on a side note those ramps that looked handicap accessible were not all that accessible. I will give them an E for effort. I do have to say the one store I stopped at that had a ramp but had a lip my chair would not get over to get in the store the owner was very helpful in bringing the things to me.

Every once in a while, you have to take the day and just meet people. Slow down and reflect. See how they touch you and how you touch them.

Thunderbirds Fly High

We were at the Artic Thunder Air Show at JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson) on Sunday July 31st. I am going through the pictures, and I have to share this slideshow of the Thunderbirds. They were the closing act. I did not know that they are an elite flying group rich with history. I will say that my camera work was a little shaky. The action was so fast and everywhere.

From start to finish the whole experience was choreographed down to the landing. We were not close enough to see the precision routine of getting into the plane. I was a tad bummed until they started the performance, and we were front row center.

About the Pictures

I have to preface the coming posts. Yes, we are in Alaska and that means the internet and wi-fi connects are like 1999. With that said, I am not sure when the picture posts will return. I am hoping in Fairbanks.

Look at the bright side it will give me time to edit some more photos

Homer in the sun

I was finally able to get to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center Here is also the Facebook page. I had been here before in 2017 but did not want to walk around the museum or do the boardwalk. So, this is another time that my chair allowed me to enjoy something I could not do before. I was also impressed that we had a sunny day to do this.

I grabbed the camera and got in the chair, went down to the main floor and headed out to the trail to get to the boardwalk and maybe even get a sandhill crane picture. Needless to say, that plan did not work. But more on that later. I can find more than one way to skin a cat. I headed back to the center before I got to stuck. I was able to talk to a park ranger about the trail and the bad gravel. She was interested because they do say that the trail is handicap accessible. I might have created a project for the youth conservation corp. She gave me a work around where I could get on the board walk, which I did do.

grabbing eggs

I first decided to go through the museum that was there. Interesting how depended we are on the sea and the variety of wildlife in the water. There is a room that is dark and has movie screens with a bunch of birds flying around landing on rocks. It gives you a feeling of being out at sea and seeing all of these birds.

I was able to listen to an Indigenous trapper talk about his family and how they trap foxes although with the decrease in Canadian Geese the foxes are also decreasing. (This was one of those motion activated recordings.)

ship under glass

They have a research vessel the Tiglax. They travel the Aleutians and gather information on sea life and climate. It was interesting to be able to go through the museum and enjoy it. I am enjoying the freedom this trip because of the chair. Now back to the boardwalk.

my kind of gravel

As I tried to get to the boardwalk from the visitors center, I ran into a curve that had too much gravel and did not attempt. So, back to the car and three left turns later we get to a level gravel area that will take me to the boardwalk.

just the grate

My first thought was not more stones. These stones were ok though, I am loving hard packed rocks. I was a tad concerned about get up any lip that might be on the boardwalk. Thank goodness it was only a little lip. I motored my way up as far as I could go, then turned around and saw a few good landscape photos. I even saw a sandhill crane. It was a little breezy, but it felt good to get that close to the wetlands.

I can drive
advice

I think I will begin to follow the advice I found on this sign. It is strange how different things look at ground level. We drove over the wetlands every time we went to Homer, from the viewpoint on the bridge it looked small. At ground level it looks vast.

vastness
another view

I wasn’t able to get to the beach, so we decided to drive down to the beach and explore old town Homer. I want to share this piece of art that we came across.

enter here

This trip has been amazing, and I am enjoying sharing these adventures with you. Sitting in Houston AK this week with the raining weather has helped me to catch up on the adventure.

Way TOO Many People

Dip netting. (I borrowed this video from YouTube). I did not have a drone to capture the massive amount of people. They were close together and it made me wonder how the salmon chose which net to get caught in.

the beach
looking at all the tents

The fact that dip netting is only open to Alaskans is amazing and good. It is called Subsistence Fishing this allows for Alaskans to fill their freezers for the winter. Here is a link to the permits required. We went to the Kasilof River on July 9th to experience the sight of salmon getting entrapped in a net. It was so overcrowded they were even parking under signs that said no parking anytime.

NO Parking
No Parking

It is interesting to learn that a permit is required and that you have to clip off the end tips of the tail this is to distinguish the fish that were gotten during dip netting and the ones caught with rod n reel. (Which has been hard to do this week July 17th too much rain means swollen rivers). Speaking of rain this is why I am catching up on blogs and photos. We extended on the Kenai to maybe get a few more pictures. We’ve gotten rain and a few less pictures. I got sidetracked back to better weather and the drive up the Peninsula.

Is it safe now

We headed into Kenai so I could do some grocery shopping. Headed towards Kenai on the Sterling Highway was where I was treated to seeing two moose. Roy was able to enjoy also but they were on my side of the car. (So, I was closer.) The first one was just hanging around a dirt lane popping in and out of the tree line.

What are you looking at?

The second moose was just chewing and minding her own business along the side of the road. I took some pictures and we headed onward.

a large chariot
the terminal

On we go to get me salad stuff which Roy struck out with Safeway. It was early yet so we decided to find out where the bear viewing boat trip left from so, we knew where we were going and how big the planes were. I was surprised at how rough the roads were getting out to the Alaska West Air, water terminal.

ready

Sitting in the parking lot I got lucky and was able to catch a plane taking off. The taxi way is also the landing zone.

lift off

After a full day of travel, we almost found everything for my salads. Roy still had to pick up lettuce and some onions from Wal-Mart because Safeway didn’t have any. No onions but we were able to get fresh leaf lettuce and some farm fresh eggs. Roy pulled one of his favorite u-turns for a roadside stand that advertised fresh veggies.

The enjoyable thing about driving some of the backroads is you never know what good farm fresh things you’ll find.

When at first you don’t succeed

try again.

This trip has been all about being in the right place at the right time for photo ops. Today was our second to last day on the Kenai. It was gloomy and rainy, so we went out looking for something to photograph. We were hoping to see a local fish ladder in use. No such luck. We then wanted to see if we could see salmon from another bridge. Could not find the road it was on. Striking out on those two adventures we head to a drive-up coffee place and ordered a coffee milkshake made with real frozen expresso.

Off to Deep Creek to see if there are any boats out on the water. There were two and we were just in time to see them dock. This is the beach that you have to get pulled out by tractors. The first boat revved his engines and made the perfect launch into his trailer. The second boat not so lucky. See for yourself. I am so glad Roy told me to video it.

The Line
The Miss
try again
success

We have had such a blast this year on the Kenai. Now we resupply in Anchorage, then, up the Parks Highway. We should be in Fairbanks in time for the start of Northern Lights season.