Trip Start May 02, 2012
Trip End Jul 31, 2014

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Where I stayed
Seward beachfront camp

Flag of United States  , Alaska
Saturday, June 23, 2012

We left Anchorage yesterday and are now on the Kenai Peninsula (south of Anchorage).  The guidebook says that when you leave Anchorage for Kenai (Alaska's Playground), "it's time to go Bearfooting". Apparently, bearfooting  is used as a verb that means having a good time on the road.....!    So we must be having a good time!

Anchorage  is not such a great city - bit uninteresting, and has the usual sad, big town things  - like vagrants on the sidewalks. The buildings are non-descript.    We had to stay for 2 nights to get the vehicle serviced and tyres changed, and then left. We also bought a book that we should have bought right at the start - The Milepost.  It tells you mile by mile what to expect on the various highways through Alaska. We have picked up every brochure available in each area, but this book says it all. So much easier than going through the brochures, and half the time forgetting where you read an important bit of travel information...

(Hope that the lady who wrote that punctuation book, "Eats, shoots, and leaves"(or is it "Eats shoots and leaves"?) doesn't look at my blog!! She would have a field day of what NOT to do... I love slashes, dots, exclamation marks and hyphens.... ! And sorry to say that I will continue this way....! )

So we left on the Seward Highway to Seward, going along the Turnagain  Arm.  This is a strip of water on the Cook Inlet, and apparently Cook went in there and had to ...turn again because there was no exit! One of the restaurants along there was called The Turnagain Arm Pit! There is Beluga whale watching along the highway but we didn't see any. We saw the famous Dall sheep on the mountains. The mountains were iron-stained gypsum which is made by a volcano, from sedimentary limestone.  The Dall sheep like to lick this to get their daily calcium intake!  This highway is rated by the National Geographic as one of the best in the world for scenery.  It was beautiful but we have seen so much beauty around that it becomes a bit like seeing more impala in the game parks. The wonderful Chugach Mountain range also line the route, and they are huge and impressive. 

Alaskans say that summer is the first week of June, and we have now had a lot of beautiful sunny weather. Not hot enough to take off my jersey, but just good to feel the sun.  The Solstice parties have all been happening here. It is still just soooo eerie to have light all through the night, with no people or vehicle activity. It's like people have left the planet. I got up this morning to have a shower and thought it was 7:30 and it was 6:30!  No wonder there was no queue! You just can't really tell what the time is by the rising and setting of the sun. 

We stayed in Seward, in Resurrection Bay, last night right alongside the beach, at the city campground. Every site on the sea front had a little rocky fireplace and people built big fires and sat around. We were camped next to a very nice Dutch couple from Rotterdam.  She is a "classical homeopath" and was very interesting. Nobody really cooks outside but they sit, all bundled up in jackets, and chat. Nice! We visited the Marine Life Centre in Seward and loved it.  Felt the sea otter fur, and it was just amazingly soft and velvety. 
Fishing boats went in and out of the little harbour and when we woke this morning there was a really HUGE cruise liner in the harbour.  Seward is the start point of the famous annual Iditerod Dog Sled Race to Nome - about 900 miles away!

Stuart, Andy's brother from San Diego, is going to join us with his family on the 27th so we look forward to that. He is hiring an RV in Anchorage. Think that they will enjoy Seward, so will go back there. 

Left Seward today and have ended up at a little campsite near Soldotna, looking at 2 active volcanos - Redoubt and Iliamna - on the other side of Cook Inlet. 
There is a big Russian influence here as the Russians colonized many parts of Alaska in pursuit of sea otter furs, from about the 1780's. Over the next hundred years both Spain and Britain sent expeditions to Alaska and established settlements in the area. Russia was concerned about British colonization of Alaska and  in 1867 Russia sold Alaska for the amount of $7.2 million to the US.  US Secretary of State, at the time, William Seward, negotiated the deal, and the deal was known as "Seward's Folly" as it was believed that Alaska was worthless.... But, in 1896, gold was discovered in the Yukon, in neighboring Canada, and a number of coastal cities in Alaska were established to service this industry. Then in 1899 gold was discovered in Alaska itself and the development of, and incursions into, the interior of Alaska started. The establishment of massive fishing and canning industries were followed by the discovery of large copper deposits, and then of course oil in the last 50 years.... Some folly! Other Russian sounding names in this area are: Kasilof, Nikiski, Nikolaevsk. 

On the way we were stopped for roadworks.  Interesting how they work here: you follow a pilot car through the roadworks area.  A large proportion of the road working crew are women.  They seem to work the big machinery (rollers especially), do manual labour, and also do the flagging. These women are tough in the North! Chatted to one of the flaggers while waiting, and she works really long hours and is armed with a rifle and bear spray as protection. They stand outside in all conditions with no "hokkie" for protection. She takes her own car to the site and sometimes sleeps in it when the work is far from a town. They are all so friendly and efficient.
The lady who owns the campsite has invited us to join them and all our fellow campers, to "shoot the shit" .... Don't know if we're up to it...!
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cassidy on

Love the Ranting Raven! Thanks....and also wonder what is the point of punctuation if you can't use it for a 'punch'?! Your historical info is appreciated. Could we sic Sarah Palin on to Russia?

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