Inspiration's Journey Home Page

Malia's Journal Updates

Alaska - Part 3

June 10 -
June 15, 2003

Journal Updates


Columbia, SC
Blue Ridge Parkway
Computer Crash!

2005 - 2006
Happy New Year
Hawk's Message
I'm Published!
Sharing Spring
Ways of Writing
Edmonds, WA
Degenerate Neck
Desert Depression
Post Quartzsite
Grandma Malia

2003 - 2004
Alaska Planning
Alaska 1
Alaska 2
Alaska 3
Alaska 4
Alaska 5
Alaska 6
Alaska 7
BC & Alberta
To Lower 48
2004 Recap
Giving Thanks

2001 - 2002
Inspiration's Off!
To Charleston
N. Carolina
To Orlando
Florida Tour
Back in Austin
Albuq. to WA


On the Way (Canada)

Alaska at Last!

Tok to Valdez

  Mineral Creek
  Lu-Lu Belle Cruise

Russian River

  Misc. Pics

Whittier Road

Portage Glacier

Backyard Bear!

  Kenai Cruise

  Flightsee Denali

Denali Nat'l Park

Kluane Lake

Cassiar Hwy. Bear
  Highway Scenes

  Waterfall Road

Jasper Nat'l Park
  Maligne Lake

Icefields Parkway
  Athabasca Falls
  Athabasca Glacier
  Overnight at Glacier
  Lake Louis Road
  Lake Louise

Banff, Alberta

Johnston Canyon

Misc. Pics

Fireweed Pics

Skagway (side trip)
  White Pass RR
  Return Trip

Alaska Journaling

My Article About
This Alaska Trip

These are misc. journal entries written while in Alaska (besides the ones included with the picture pages)

June 10, 2003 - My first roadside overnighter

After spending 2 nights in the city of Kenai, I was ready to be in "outside" Alaska rather than "intown" Alaska. I enjoyed going out to the end of the Kenai Spur into Captain Cook State Park and going down to Agate Beach there. That was truly a rock lovers paradise there - lots of really neat prettily colored stones sparkling in the water. I picked the ones that wanted to come home with me and planted my lucky bamboo shoot with them in a glass of water. A lady at a shop I visited with gave it to me, but we'll see if I get to take it across the border. Don said when he was crossing back into America from Canada, the inspector asked what his plant was. When he said it was lucky bamboo, the inspector picked it up and said it wasn't lucky anymore and threw it away! I thought that a bit rude, especially considering he hadn't bought it in Canada, but last year when we were in Charleston.

That reminds me of another of Chuck's amusing accounts of his border crossing:

"There seems to be something about a Texas license plate that arouses Canadian curiosity about the number of guns you must be carrying. We had a couple of the border Nazis tearing our motorhome apart for over an hour in a vain attempt to locate our arsenal."

I was sorry to hear they have already left the area I am on the way to, so it looks like I won't be seeing them again this trip.

It was just partly cloudy on the one day it took to sightsee Kenai, but it's been raining ever since. There was nothing else I wanted to see there, and I just couldn't see spending another $18 for a night in that dismal parking lot that calls itself Kenai RV Park. So I took off at noon planning to just drive about 35 miles down the road and meet Woody and Genie at the state park at Clam Gulch. By the time I got there, though, it was raining so hard that I couldn't really see which side road went to the park or its condition, and I just didn't feel comfortable going off the main road with the possibility of getting stuck in mud, etc.

So I pulled off on a nice wide scenic pulloff just off the main road and will spend the night right here. I called Woody & Genie and they said they'd done this several times and feel I will have no problem. This is when roadside overnighters make the most sense to me. Also when I am more thankful for my totally self contained rolling home. The weather is totally dreary - you can't see anything around you anyway, so why pay for a parking spot? Even at a state park, the fee is $10 a night with no hookups, which is worth it when you can see the beauty that surrounds you, but not when you're stuck inside blinded to the view anyway.

I confess to feeling a tiny sense of insecurity as opposed to being in a campground, but also know that in reality I am safer now than I was coming down the Alcan so early in the season. At least my cell phone gets a signal here so I could call for help if necessary. I don't know what I will do if it is still so dreary tomorrow, but I will decide that then.

I'm only about 56 miles from Homer, but am in no hurry to get there. There are several state parks with campgrounds between here and there that I will probably at least check out before heading down. I've heard this particular drive - coming into Homer where you crest a hill and see the city before you - is absolutely spectacular so I hope to have clearer skies to enjoy that view.

June 11, 2003

Well, it's noon and the color of the day is still monochromatic gray and it's still raining, so I think I'm just staying put. I slept well last night and I still believe there's no point in paying for a campground when I have everything I need here for free. I watch caravans of RVs pass by and a lady I spoke to about a campground in Homer said everyone is pretty upset about the weather. I remember reading that the peninsula is known for frequent rainfall in the summer, so at least I'm not surprised. If the rain doesn't let up tomorrow, I'll go on into Homer anyway and just explore the town as much as possible until the skies clear and I can enjoy the outdoors again.

It's nice that I have so much time to explore here so that I don't feel pressured to press on and sightsee despite the weather. I don't mind spending a couple of days just vegging out and getting caught up with journaling, etc. I'm also glad I have my web page to work on - it's especially nice to relive the places I've enjoyed so much along the way. Since I'm caught up on my Alaska pages, I'm working on Washington now and it's interesting to read what I wrote when Mt. Rainier was the biggest thing I'd ever seen. He is still a god among mountains to me, but after seeing the Alaska ranges, I admit he looks a bit tame and subdued now.

June 12, 2003 - Lifting and kissing clouds

Well, the clouds literally lifted this morning - straight up like a set of blinds opening up the view. When I looked outside it was a cosmic sight to see a long, low, dark line of clouds slowly lifting and revealing the majestic views they had been hiding. I knew I must be in a scenic spot since the turnout had a camera icon on the sign to it, but it really was breathtaking to see clearly what had been behind the cloudcover for the past 2 days. The snow covered mountains across the bay looked like lustrous ethereal creatures lying on the horizon as the line of clouds formed a ceiling above them and the water reflected the brightness of the line of sunshine it streaked across the bay.

I quickly got dressed and was on the road in record time - one of the nice advantages to not having hookups is not having to unhook.

I had been told to stop at the scenic pullout right before Homer, and boy, was I ever glad I did. It offered a panoramic view of Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet which surrounds the tip of peninsula that the Homer Spit juts from. It showcases the volcanoes St. Augustine, Mt. Iliamna and Mt. Redoubt that look like wizards in white robes reigning over the magic kingdom.

At this altitude the cloud line formed offshoots of soft mist blowing across the scenery. The local garden club had planted beautiful little areas of indigenous wildflowers that were still wet with dew. I sat on one of the benches and watched the show for a while when a most miraculous thing happened. I could see the light mist approaching and all of a sudden I was enveloped by it - I was kissed by a cloud! It felt like it passed right through me as it gently sprayed me and moved on. I felt blessed by it and remembered the only other time in my life that happened - and I thought that was surely a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Over 11 years ago, when I sat on the slopes of Haleakala one morning for a sunrise visit, that same thing happened. I've forgotten a lot of things in my life, but I never forgot the sweetness of a cloud kiss and I'm eternally grateful I got to experience it twice in one lifetime.

By the time I got to Homer, it was mostly sunny and I easily found the city campground Woody and Genie had pioneered and told me about. It sits right at the beginning of the Homer Spit (a rather ignoble name for such a glorious view). I am parked directly facing the water with fantastic views of islands and mountains in the distance. For $8.57 a night if you pay in advance for a week's stay, I'm again so thankful I can drycamp with no hookups. I know I'll be happy to stay here for a week, but will have a chance to check out some of the nearby state parks to see if I want to stay there at some point, also.

I drove the car out to the very end of the spit and saw where the Alaska ferry comes in for transportation to seaside towns with no road access. On Tuesday I'm going to take a short trip to Seldovia, a quaint little town about an hour away by water. I'm taking the bike since I've heard they have great trails you can explore during the 5 hours allowed there.

I then took a slow drive along one of the scenic roads, East End Road. The views are stupendous and even though I'm getting a little used to the massive mountains, the shapes that are made by the glaciers and snow formations are always unique and interesting to see. I'm getting a little more used to seeing eagles soaring close by - at least I don't yell and point them out to the locals anymore. Even though I've seen signs everywhere warning of them, I still have seen no bears!
Yeah, right!!!

June 13, 2003 - Homer Spit

The beautiful bay that is my front yard is fascinating to watch at different points in the day. Yesterday afternoon I was able to walk out quite far among huge tidepools and found some more pretty rocks that wanted to come home with me to hold up my lucky bamboo. This morning that entire area was covered with water once again and it was a gloriously sunny day.

I took off driving back up the main road to check out other campgrounds and state parks I'd seen on the way in. I like exploring unknown places much better in my little car than in my big motorhome. I pulled off along many scenic spots I had missed on the way in and I truly enjoyed this day. I drove quite a ways past Anchor Point, but like where I'm staying now the best. You just can't beat the combination of water and mountains for a view, in my opinion.

June 14, 2003 - Skyline Drive

Today after sending out email, I took one of the other scenic drives up Skyline Drive. It winds through an upper scale residential area where the homes are pretty far apart and look very expensive. Given the narrow winding road, I'm willing to bet most of those people don't live here during the winter. I've met quite a few people who maintain homes and regularly spend the summers here, but winter "outside" as they call the lower 48 states. As mesmerized as I am by the beauty and majesty here, I still am convinced this is one place I could never live - or at least would never choose to. I've wondered why I feel so strongly about it and I think it's because I believe I would never really feel at ease or as comfortable and secure here as I want my home to be. It's a distinctly masculine energy dominating here and it definitely feels like you'd do battle with the elements in more ways than one. There's a hint of danger or at least the possibility of it around every curve it seems and while a measure of that during vacation is great, I don't think I'd like a steady dose of it.

Anyway, I really enjoyed another day around Homer and every time I go out, I see other things I want to do another day. Today's drive gave a different vantage point of the same mountains and glaciers I'd seen from the lower East End Road and it is interesting how a changing perspective changes everything.

At one pulloff, I was taking a photo when a couple pulled in and we exchanged taking each other's picture with the view. They are RVers from California and from the first time I laid eyes on the man, Gordon, I was almost in a trance. He looked so much like my father that it was almost more than I could do to not just keep staring at him. They say everyone has a twin somewhere and today I surely met my dad's. He looked about the same age as my dad was when he died - he had the same shape face and features, the same pale coloring, the same big ears, and especially the same old-aged clouded but still brilliant blue eyes. To cap it off, his wife even looked a lot like my dad's wife, but thank God she wasn't as obnoxious. (God forgive me for speaking ill of the dead, but it's the honest truth.)

But both he and she were very kind and generous with tips as we talked about places they had been in Denali National Park, where I'll be heading once mom gets here. I just kept looking closely at him and I swear it felt just like I was looking at my dad during the last time I saw him just a few weeks before he died. It was truly a surreal experience, as I just didn't want to blurt out, "I'm sorry to stare, but you look just like my dad right before he croaked." So we just kept talking and I kept trying to look like my heart wasn't in my throat. When we were discussing our mutual traveling lives, I almost passed out when he said, "Young lady, I'm a lot older than you are and I'm here to tell you that you need to follow your dreams while you can and not wait until it's too late." That was almost exactly the words my dad had said to me during our last discussion about my "unconventional" lifestyle. It just hit me with such clarity that somehow my dad used this "chance" meeting with this couple to reinforce his advice to me. Since tomorrow is father's day, I consider that a present to me from my dad. I usually hug people as we depart, but I didn't in this case because I knew if I hugged that man I would just fall apart in a heap of tears, and I've been a little teary and choked up ever since.

June 15, 2003 - Planting seeds

Today I decided to go introduce myself to some of the charter services in town and see if I can barter office or even cleaning services in exchange for one of the bear sighting tours. Those days cost over $500, so I knew this would be my only chance of doing that. I don't know if the seeds I planted in that soil will sprout, but it was worth it anyway because I sure did meet some nice people. At Kenai Fjords Charters, I met Clark, who is from New Orleans and now lives here in Homer. We laughed and talked about the French Quarter and Cajuns. Another man, Richard, is from Florida and is here for the summer helping his friend run a float plane charter service. They were both very entertaining company and Richard said he would talk to his friend for me and if there's an extra seat when they have a charter, he thinks something could be worked out. At another company, I met Sheryl and we got along so well, she is meeting me tomorrow for a trip to a local artist's studio in Anchor Point. I ate my lunch today beside a babbling brook, so all in all, it was a very good day.

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