END OF SUMMER AT KASILOF RV PARK

Last look at Kasilof RV Park

Last look at Kasilof RV Park for 2009

Everything is boarded up.  The lines are all drained, tomorrow we head to Anchorage with a flight out to Denver early Monday morning.  From there we meet with Dave and Shirley who will take us back to Kansas for the winter.  It’s sad to say goodbye, but it’s been a really great summer with lots of friends visiting (we will get to that later), who helped us make a ton of improvements (more of that later too) and the weather has been spectacular!  We had a whole month with no rain (bad news for the forest fires) and temps up in the high 80’s (now that’s hot here!).  But then as usual, the reds came into the river and the rain came back too.  Rain wasn’t bad this year at all and it helped alleviate some of the fires that were up here (fortunately not close to us).

So let’s take a quick look back at what happened this summer and who was here to visit us (not counting RV’ers who we enjoyed having with us too):

Travis finishing the Siding on the Office

Travis finishing the Siding on the Office

Travis Andregg, Karen and Todd’s oldest son came to visit us and work at the Park for a month in May and June.  One of the many, many tasks he helped us accomplish was the new Office space.  He helped me put up the walls, lay the floors and put up the interior sheet rock and ceiling.  Then while I did the electrical and the finish work on the inside, he cut and installed the wood siding to match the rest of the Lodge.

Travis first Sockeye (Red) Salmon

Travis first Sockeye (Red) Salmon

It wasn’t all work and no play though.  Here he is catching his first sockeye salmon at the Russian River with all the other Combat Fisher-persons.  We had a great day there with lots of fish and fisher people.

He also caught his first King salmon and Halibut when we went fishing with our favorite guide and friend, Captain Don Erwin of the Alaska Trophy Charters.  He caught lots of Halibut that day also.

Jacob & Friends going Clamming

Jacob & Friends going Clamming

We took Travis back to Kansas with us for his sister Nicole’s wedding in June and brought back Jacob Post, Debbie and Paul’s youngest son to help with other tasks for a few weeks.  Here he is posing with some of his eagle friends waiting for the tide to go out so he could use that clam shooter over his shoulder to pop out those elusive razor clams.

Making the Conex disappear

Making the Conex disappear

We had purchased a used Conex storage unit for the Park.  Jake and Jan were busy painting it Forest Green to make it blend into the spruce and cottonwood forest behind it.  They must have done a really good job painting it because I haven’t been able to find it lately (actually it’s so full of stuff I’m wondering where I can put our 4-wheeler).

Debbie arranging the Office Store

Debbie arranging the Office Store

Debbie flew up a couple of weeks after Jake came with us and spent a week helping out too.  The new Office had been completed and she took over the task of arranging the gifts and things in the store portion.  She also got to do some fishing with Jake and Kevin, but it was too early for the Reds to be here and the Kings were as elusive as usual.

Jerod & Jordan traveling north

Jerod & Jordan traveling north

At this same time, Jerod, Jordan and Jerod’s friend, Brett were driving north with the Park’s new addition, the ‘Amazing Grace’ which is a nine passenger van to be used to haul around guests at the Park.  They were pulling a boxed in trailer with our 4-wheeler and two inflatible pontoon boats to be used on the Kasilof river and in Johnson Lake plus a bunch of other stuff that everyone thought we needed in Alaska (and we do!).

Moving Sod from the Fire Pit

Moving Sod from the Fire Pit

They arrived a couple of days after Paul and they all quickly went to work helping build the fire pit.  Here Jerod and Paul were hauling out layers of sod to the sides.

Ryan as Mr. Cool

Ryan as Mr. Cool

Ryan, Kevin’s oldest son arrived shortly before Paul and was soon installing windows in the rear of the Lodge for the new bedrooms that added last fall and finished this spring.

Ryan & Paul installing Lodge Windows

Ryan & Paul installing Lodge Windows

Here Ryan is inserting the window while Paul is helping as he can to provide materials and support.  Soon a window was added to each new bedroom without outside access allowing for exit in case of a fire in the Lodge.

New Walkway to Kitchen

New Walkway to Kitchen

Three of Ryan’s Firemen friends, Jeff, Dave and John came to visit and catch fish (duh!).  While they were here they help build a new walkway to our camp kitchen area (now does that really surprise you that four firemen would want to build a new gravel walkway so they could get to the kitchen?  DUDx2!).  Never-the-less, the new walkway was really nice and we needed it.

New Walkway to Deck from Lodge

New Walkway to Deck from Lodge

It was so great that they added another from the Lodge so they could get there faster. Actually, we had a great time with them and they helped us at lot fixing up the fire pit (go back to the fire pit story for this one).  They also caught a lot of salmon and halibut even more than they could get in their fish boxes so they left some for us.  We have so much fun up here that I don’t know how anyone could stand to not come up and join us!!!!!!


Stromgren Family

Stromgren Family

They no more than left when that crazy family from Topeka came up to visit us, THE STROMGRENS, Jan’s youngest daughter’s family.  Oh what a wild and wicked time we had with them (sorry to the Jesus figure that they had with them).  They brought this small Jesus figure with them from their church with the idea what the rest of the world was like and to keep their sheep in the fold.  We took him with us everywhere and showed him what it was really like to live in the New Frontier with all it’s beautiful scenery, wonderful fishing and delightful weather.  Needless to say that there were a few characters that were encountered that might make Jesus rise to the occasion; however they prevailed and those characters were held at bay and enjoyed!

Sea Life Center

Sea Life Center

It wasn’t all fun and games as was seen in their section in the blog.  Craig and the boys helped with the building of the fire pit and several other tasks around the property while Kyra, Marissa and Miranda did maid duty in the Lodge and helped prepare food for all of us.  We visited Homer and Seward and they went on a great Halibut trip with our favorite Captain Don.  Kevin and I took them salmon fishing and eventually all the guys caught their salmon.  The girls had a little more trouble in that area, but it was largely do to lack of salmon when they were fishing.

YODLING

YODELING

Nephew Kevin and his new best buddy, Brandon (because he helped him catch a red) kept us entertained each evening with glorious singing around the kitchen table.  It was very entertaining from afar since we were as far as we could get away around the camp fire or in the Lodge playing cards.

Salty Dawg Saloon

Salty Dawg Saloon

We just dumped them off at the airport and had to go to Seward the next day to pick up our friends from Hoxie, Dave and Shirley Cooper (Dave is actually Jan’s cousin although she won’t admit it.  That Cooper clan is that way!!)  We had a blast with them too although Shirley was slightly under the weather with her bum knee.  They had come up on a Cruise line and we toured Seward in the rain (familiar scene) then went Halibut fishing and salmon fishing, moose watching and general good times with a foggy trip to Homer.

Evening Camp Fire

Evening Camp Fire

Less we forget our wonderful evenings around the campfire with Shirley bundled up like a mummy and the rest of us lost in the smoke from the wet logs we were trying to burn.  Actually, we enjoyed the evenings around the campfire tremdously especially this time of year when the evenings are cool, but calm and pleasant.  The sun sets around 9pm and it is glorious!


Todd's Red, RED Salmon

Todd's Red, RED Salmon


But that wasn’t all of the visitors.  Along came Todd and insisted on going fishing everywhere!!!

Halibut Fishing

Halibut Fishing

He insisted on going Halibut fishing with Dave and then he had to go fishing at the Russian River for Reds. The worse part of it was that he caught fish wherever he went!  We did have a good time and we caught fish too!!  But that was only part of what he did while he was here.  He helped me lay out and build the deck extension which was a huge job with a stairs down to the driveway below.  It looks great as you will see below.  Come up and enjoy it with us sometime next

SUMMER!

Finished Deck Extension

Finished Deck Extension

Steps from Driveway to Deck

Steps from Driveway to Deck


TODD’S VISIT

Todd & Dave fishing for Halibut

Todd & Dave fishing for Halibut

Todd came up to Alaska to go fishing and we did; however, I got him to help build the extension to the deck while he was here.  As you saw last time, he did a lot of the work in building the deck with me standing by helping some of the time.  His trip didn’t start off that great as he was supposed to arrive on Thursday and we had a Halibut trip planned for Saturday.  His flight from KC to Denver was sent to Pueblo because of thunder storms in Denver.  By the time he actually arrived in Denver, his flight to Anchorage had already left, s0-0-0-0 the next available flight required a flight to Phoenix (?????), then a flight to Seattle where he caught a flight to Anchorage, a day later!!!!!! What happened to the days when we could book a flight and expect to arrive at the destination at least on the same day?  You didn’t sit with your knees under your chin and the plane wasn’t stuffed with people.

Our catch

Our catch

Anyway, we were able to postpone the Halibut trip (it helps to be good friends with the Captain) and we went Halibut fishing the next day.  A beautiful day, cool, no rain, calm seas and lots of fish.  We didn’t catch anything huge, but we did catch lots and had a blast.  Jan and I went with Todd and Dave  with Captain Don and his grandson, Hunter.  We caught a lot of small sharks and enough nice Halibut to send a picture along to you to envy!  Above Dave is reeling one in and Todd is grinning at his exertions.  Next is our total catch for the day.  Lots of good Halibut fillets.

Putting up the Railings

Putting up the Railings

We  were putting on the final touches to the deck extension by screwing in the railing boards.  You saw the entire construction process in last nights blog and here we are finishing off the deck by me holding on while Todd was screwing in the board in the proper place.  At this point we still had to finish off the front steps, but we had completed most of the main deck and walkway.

Final Finish to the Deck

Final Finish to the Deck

Todd decided what the finished deck needed were a couple of sentinels to watch over who came into the kitchen deck.  So he talked us into placing the bear and the eagle at each corner to keep out the rif-raf.  Of course, then we had to put in the totem to keep the two of them company.  It turned out to be a great addition to the RV Park and one that will get a lot of use in the future.

Todd at the Russian River

Todd at the Russian River

Todd wanted to go Red fishing and we tried fishing on the Kenai, but the fish had all passed though.  We heard that they were catching Reds up on the Kenai at the confluence of the Russian River so we took a drive to the Russian River Ferry Landing to see if we could catch some too.  WE DID!  There wasn’t a crowd and the three of us had a blast catching and releasing big Red salmon.  Here you see Todd bringing in a nice Red while the Ferry is in the background taking a load of fishermen back to the campground.

Todd with Large, Mature Red Male

Todd with Large, Mature Red Male

We caught several Reds that hadn’t turned to their mature colors of Red and Green before they spawn then die.   We kept several of them for smoking.  Todd and I both caught several large Red males that had matured and were ready to mate and spawn.  Here Todd is showing off one of the big ones he caught.  It’s colors are beautiful with a bright crimson body, a dark green head, fins and tail.  We modeled the sign on our van, Grace to

Park Symbol

Park Symbol

match this.  I had heard that the flesh of the Reds after they had matured turned mushy and strong flavored.  NOT TRUE!  The flesh had lost some of it’s bright red color, but it was still firm and when we smoked it, we couldn’t tell the difference between it and any other salmon that we caught.

Brown Bear at the Russian

Brown Bear at the Russian

Although it is difficult to see in this photo, a brown bear was visiting the area and enjoying the salmon as well.  Here Jan is fishing while up the river beyond the Ferry is a group of people that were fishing and their boat at the tip of the trees.  Just beyond the rear of the boat is a brown bear that was enjoying the catch of the people that had been in the boat.  It didn’t bother any of them other than to enjoy their fish and then wandered into the woods, later to appear on the other side of them at the edge of the water trying to catch his own salmon.

Todd's Final Job

Todd's Final Job

Which brings us to Todd’s final job while he was here with us this summer.

It seems that while Dave and Shirley were with us earlier, he really wanted to see a Brown Bear.  We never saw one.  However, after he left, Todd and Jan found the droppings of a Brown Bear on the road to the west of us.  So to satisfy Dave, Todd went down to the road and picked up the droppings of the Brown Bear and we sent it to Dave so he would have something to show other than a photo of a Brown Bear.  Wasn’t that nice of Todd ?