Category Archives: 2017 SUMMER BLOG

2017 – Our Drive North to Alaska

Be sure to read all the latest in the 2017 SUMMER BLOG

From Our Drive North to Alaska to  2017 SUMMER BLOG – Bob’s Birthday, and a Wrap to the Season


Our Drive North to Alaska


We decided this year to bring the 5th Wheel back up from Kansas to the Park.  The harsh summer sunshine in Kansas was not doing the camper any good (we had to replace the rubber roof) and we weren’t using it much.  So we decided to use it as a rental in the Park.

We left Lawrence on April 12th headed north to Seattle with a stop in Scottsbluff, Neb. at Debbie and Paul’s.  Then after a couple of minor break downs (2004 GMC truck!), we made it to Christine and Mark’s in Kirkland, WA. On the 18th, we crossed over into Canada and started up the Frasier River Valley to meet the ALCAN highway just north of Fort St. John, BC (British Columbia).  I still think it is the prettiest and quickest way from Seattle to the ALCAN.  The weather was cool and sometimes rainy, but no snow and such a beautiful drive.

By the 20th we arrived in Fort Nelson, BC and stayed at our normal campground north of town.


The next morning we woke up to 5 inches of wet snow. 


 

The roads were clear and the forecast was good although we had to climb over the crest of the northern Rockies that day.  It turned out that the sun came out, the snow melted and we had a beautiful trip over the mountains.

It is always a joy to see all the wildlife on our trip north.  We soon came upon a herd of Mountain Sheep grazing along the Highway.  We slowed down and crept up along the side of the two out in the highway.  They were so busy licking the salt off the road (used to melt the snow), they didn’t even move out of the way. So we stopped and took their picture.

North from there before you get to Watson Lake, Yukon, we began to see Buffalo grazing along the side of the road.  At first there was quite a bit of snow on the sides of the road; however, as we drove further to the west the snow had melted and soon the sun came out. That night we stayed in Watson Lake, Yukon.

The Alcan Highway from Watson Lake runs west along the southern border of the Yukon toward Whitehorse.  We saw a black bear at the edge of the woods, but it went back in the woods before we could get a photo.  It is a pretty drive especially along Teslin Lake and the Tlingit village of Teslin.  There is an interesting Museum in the town about the Tlingit Heritage.

That evening we stayed in the town of Haynes Junction where the Alcan heads north along the St. Elias Mountains seen off in the distance.  This range of mountains extends along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska all the way from Glacier Bay to the border of Alaska and the Wrangle Mountains.  Mt. Logan at it’s northern end is only 619 feet lower than Denali, the tallest in North America.

The next day, April 23rd we travel north past Kluane Lake and cross the border into Alaska, just above Beaver Creek, Yukon.  The roads between Beaver Creek and Tok were really bad with lots of broken surfaces and frost heaves.  We stayed the night in Tok, AK, then onto Anchorage the next day.  With a stop at Costco to buy our supplies for the summer, we drove on down to Kasilof RV Park the next day.


It was 4224 miles in 13 days with partial day stops in Scottsbluff, Kirkland and Anchorage.


 

2017 SUMMER BLOG – “Summer” Begins in Alaska

The old Moose Sign was more than 10 years old and it was beat up and worn out.  We decided that it was time to move the old guy into the shop, where we glued him back together and repainted him.  Then we placed him on the front porch of the Lodge under the roof where the weather wasn’t so hard on him.  He had served us well and we wanted to preserve him.


Besides there was going to be a big change in the Kasilof RV Park this summer.


We had decided to change from an overnight RV park to an Extended-Stay Campground where you could relax for a week, a month or the whole summer. That way we would have a chance to get to know you and you would have time to meet the other campers in the Park.  We have found it was impossible to get to know people when then only stay one night, plus all the coming and going of campers was about to wear us out.

So we made the change and by golly it worked out great!  We only had 43 separate campers this summer instead of the 183 in 2016.  We got to know everybody, had lots of fun and actually got to eat our evening meal regularly without having to check a new camper into the park.  We had several campers that came to spend a week and enjoyed themselves so much that they stayed the entire summer with us.


Getting Ready to Open


Mark and Christine decided they wanted to come up to help us open up the Park this year.  They had helped us close the Park several years ago so they wanted to find out how to open it up.  The picture shows them helping me put up our canopy tent where we store some of our tools and vehicles during the summer.  Christine cleaned all the bathrooms and the Lodge for Jan and Mark replaced a lot of our old florescent lights with LED lights and put up a new outside night light for the Lodge bathrooms.  Then he helped install our flags on the Lodge roof.

 

 

As soon as the Park was up and running, Texas John and Kim arrived for the summer.
Our major improvement project for the summer was to be the addition of sewer lines to three more of our campsites.

 


But First We Fish


HALIBUT FISHING  – Bob and Sally took Texas John, Jan and me on a Halibut trip in late May.  The day was beautiful, sunny skies, no wind and a beautiful day on the Inlet. Our first stop looked good with two other commercial guide boats in the same area, but all we could catch were sharks so we left for another of Bob’s spots.  Although we got trapped in the sea week once, the fishing was great and we caught or limit of two apiece although two are already on the cleaning table.  Jan caught the biggest at 60#.

 


SEWER LINE ADDITION


Since we are reducing the number of people in the Park in the future we decided to add three of the back row campsites to the sewer system.  However, campsite #14 was at a lower level than # 15 and #16.  Although the specks for the original sewer system indicated that the sewer level was 8 feet below the surface, we decided to check the sewer connection at campsite #8.

John and I dug around the sewer outlet on campsites #8 and #4 to determine how deep the main line was below the surface at each campsite.  Much to our disappointment, we found that the line was only buried 3 feet below the surface of the ground and the main line was only 12 inches below the surface at campsite #4 where we wanted to connect the third sewer line to campsite #14.  The result was that we had to eliminate putting a sewer line into campsite #14.  We realized that **IT doesn’t run uphill!

 

We rented a backhoe to dig a trench from campsite # 8 to campsites # 15 and #16.  John had experience running a backhoe so he became the digger.  Richard Pierce came over to help and we gave John a lot of suggestions and moral support (headaches) as he dug the ditch.

 

As John was digging, he found a layer of clay that was frozen like permafrost.  It was a layer about 6 to 8 inches thick that was used to keep the upper surface of dirt and gravel from penetrating into the old glacier rock and soil beneath.  He dug it all out below the area where the pipe would be laid so the permafrost would not freeze the water in the pipe early in the spring when the  ground was still cold.

 

We then tamped down dirt in the bottom of the ditch in a gental rise such that the pipe would drain without any low spots and glued all the pipe together.  Then John came back with the backhoe and pushed the dirt back down on the pipe to cover it.  The Tubbs Gravel Company came in a week later and put fresh gravel over all the campsites in the park and leveled them out.  We have to do that every 3 or 4 years because we get sink holes and bad spots in the campsites.

 

2017 SUMMER BLOG – Spring to July 4th

Spring is such a great time in the Park before the main crowd comes for the summer, the Park is quiet and as it begins to bud and bloom.  The animals begin to show for the summer and we occasionally get to see birds that are migrating to the tundra of the north for the summer such as the swan on Johnson Lake across the road.

In the late spring, we normally get to see our momma moose with the scares on her side and she usually brings one or two little ones with her when she visits the Park.  This year we saw her twice shortly after we got here and she didn’t look like she was going to have a baby this spring.  Not long after she was in the park, a yearling heifer moose with an orange collar.  She really looked like her mother with the same coloring and the same bushy, blond fur on the hump of her back.  It’s not the first time that the calves that have been born in the Park or close by have come back to visit us often and sometimes have even had calves of their own in or near the Park.  A few years ago, we had a pair of yearling twins that spent a lot of time in the Park.  They used to tease us by pretending to eat our flowers and vegetables although we never saw them actually eat anything.  And the next year, the female of the pair birth her own calf in the Park right under our living room window.  Later in the spring we did have a momma moose bring her new calf into the park several times, but we never got a picture of the two of them until later that fall.  You will see that photo later in the blog.


Collecting Poop – who knew?


Now my sister, Sally had a good idea about using female moose poop, the small tubes of dried grass, twigs, leaves and other vegetation that female moose eat.  She decided to collect the poop and then soak them in hot wax.  Then when they dried, you could put them in the wood in the fireplace and light them, and then they would light the larger wood for the fire.

We have a lot of moose poop in the park in the spring.

We are big fans of Kansas University Basketball and try to watch all the games during the season.  We have seat pads to use around the firepit from some of the universities in the Big 12 and some from other family members from other universities such as Nebraska and Purdue.  We are always eager to get seat pads from other universities to hang on our wall and this summer we added a new one.  John and Kim Brooks, who are regular summer residents of the Park are BIG Texas fans, so this year we gave them a special opportunity to add their seat pad to the Park Wall. She was desperately trying to put it higher that the other Big 12 pads but it wouldn’t stay that high.


4th of July


On the 4th of July we had a special Potluck dinner for the entire Park.  We invited all of the Park residents to come spend the afternoon with us, asked them to bring their own favorite potluck dish and we would furnish hamburgers, brats, hot dogs and all the fixings!

Plus we had our own famous guitarist, banjo player and singer, Bill Jackson from Montrose, CO entertaining the crowd.


WHAT A PARTY IT WAS!


 

2017 SUMMER BLOG – Our Family Starts to Arrive

Although they are not immediate family, Tom Wilson and his great grandson, Braden arrived on the 3rd of July followed by Ryan and Kameron Pyle on the 6th.  Kam and Braden went trout fishing over at Johnson Lake all the time.  For one evening meal, Kam cooked a mess of trout wrapped in foil in the Chiminea, Ryan cooked cheese-noodles and made salad for our evening meal.  Both boys were responsible for keeping wood available on the deck for our evening fires in the Chiminea.

 

 

 


Now how did that little car ever pull that 5th Wheel to Alaska?


Actually there is a large group of campers that have modified their trucks that used to pull 18 wheelers, to pull 5th wheels.  They have left room on the back of the truck to allow them to carry their little Smart Car to use as an extra vehicle.  We met two of the couples this summer and the Church’s stayed with the whole month of July.

 

As much fun as the party was, we still had work to do on the Park.

For the past few years raspberry vines and grass have been taken over part of our front driveway area. So one of our beautification projects this year was to eliminate the vines and grass and clean up the area.  It turned out to be a lot of work.  John cleaned out the big vines while I cut down all the grass and little vines with the WEED EATER FROM HELL. We use the 4-wheeler and trailer to haul all the vine and grass clippings around to the back and dump them over the bank. We had it pretty much cut down by the time Ryan and Kameron arrived the 6th of July.   Ryan helped with the clearing of all the vines and grass and helped cut some of the grass along the grader ditch.

Todd arrived on the 20th and used the 4-wheeler to pull the WEED EATER FROM HELL around to the road to clear the grass along the road ditch.  After about a couple of hours of that work he got almost to the cleaning table. Then the raspberry vines, cottonwood saplings, willow trees and rocks became too much for even the WEED EATER FROM HELL to handle.  I guess it will be a job for next spring to cut all the vines and saplings down before the grass gets high.


Dog Sitter Business


Oh, by the way, we have a new Dog Sitter Business in our Park.  It’s Kim Brook’s new profession and she gets so caught up in her job that she forgets which way she is walking!  Actually several campers this past summer ask where to find dog sitters so they could take fishing trips or tours.  Kim loves dogs and always has baked dog cookies just for them.  This summer she dog sat for several of our campers and they gave her tips, so now she is declaring a new business for the Park, Dog Sitting.  So you need to leave your dogs to take a tour or a fishing trip while you are staying in the Park, Kim is the person to see!

2017 SUMMER BLOG – It is Time to GO FISHIN’

 


It was another weird fishing season!!!!! 


The King salmon made a significant come back to the Cook Inlet and both the Kasilof and the Kenai Rivers had good runs of fish.  It was the first time the King run was good in the last five years.

The Sockeye (reds) season started out with the Alaska Fish & Game (F&G) claiming that it was going to be a huge run of red salmon in the Kenai, so rather than overwhelm the river, they let the commercial fishermen use their purse seines to catch 1.55 million red salmon out of the Cook Inlet.  There were not many fish left to catch after that.  The first time any of us from the Park caught our limit of three red salmon was the end of the last week of July.  By that time most of the out-of-town fishermen had left after complaining about the high cost of fishing licenses, gear and lodging without any fish.  The Sport Fishermen and the Fishing Guides on the Kenai were screaming at Fish & Game.  Then F&G started claiming that there were two hundred thousand Reds waiting at the mouth of the river to enter.  We don’t know where they went, but they never showed up in the river.  We did see some increase in the fish and were able to catch our limits of 3 for several day into August,  But they never raised the limit to 6 as they do normally when the achieve the number of fish in the river to replenish the supply for the future.  They also had not reached a count of a million reds in the river until after the middle of August when the Silvers and Pinks had also come in.

SAME SONG, 2017TH VERSE!

Anyway we had a good season.  We had ten fisherpersons fishing at various times from the second week in July through the third week in August.  As I wrote earlier, Ryan and Kam came on the 6th of July, Cary on the 12th, Cary’s friend Neal on the 17th, Todd on the 20th.

And Kyra on the 22nd as a surprise for Jan.

OLD FISHING HOLE

Jon

Jan

Todd

Kam

Jan & Todd

Jan & Kyra

Todd & Kyra

Kyra, Jan & Todd

PIERCE’S NEW FISHING HOLE

Jan & Kyra

Texas John & Todd

Kyra & Todd

You can always till whether Jan and Kyra were with you as then you got plenty of photos.  Otherwise the rest of us are too busy fishing to take pictures.  Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of Ryan, Cary or Neal fishing (although they all caught fish).

Anyway, altogether we caught 123 reds, three silvers and a bunch of pinks (although it was not a Pink year).  Texas John also caught 4 Kings and released a bunch, a bunch of reds and silvers.  We wound up with a lot of frozen fillets, a lot of canned salmon and a lot of smoked salmon jerky.

Cody arrived on the17th of August.  We got to go fishing and we still caught a few reds.


IT WAS ANOTHER GOOD YEAR FISHING!


We celebrated the end of the fishing season with all the kids at St. Elias Brewery and Pizza Parlor in Soldotna prior to their leaving at the end of July.

2017 SUMMER BLOG – Time to Can the Salmon

So it was the last of August, the red fishing was over and it was time to can the salmon.

Kim cleaned the cans and then she and Jan filled them.  They filled 183 16-ounce cans of red salmon and 48 8-ounce cans of smoked salmon.

We waited for Cody to arrive because it is always good to have strong arm available to help with the can sealer.  We boxed 72 cans in each of our fish boxes to carry home on the airplane and sent prepaid USPS boxes to each of the kids, John and Kim and us.  Our entire family was well supplied with another years Alaska Salmon.

2017 SUMMER BLOG – Bob’s Birthday, and a Wrap to the Season

Happy Birthday Bob!

 

It was Sally’s husband, Bob’s Birthday and we all had a big party for him at the Soldotna Elk’s Club.  His daughter bought him a birthday cake and we had a grand time celebrating his 79th birthday.

 

 

The last week of August was the last Farmer’s Market in Kenai. Jan had put an order in for the wooden Christmas ornaments that she paints every year for all the grand kids. One of the local wood carvers does a great job making ornaments. We have 24 grand children (including wife’s and husband’s) and 5 great-grands, but she only bought 21 cutouts of a moose between two Pine trees. So we need to make up different ones for the rest. It’s not a big problem because the new twins get Rocking Horses ornaments for their first Christmas and when the couples buy their first new house they get a wooden ornament of their first new house. Although we have to cut those out separately and there is sanding, painting, and mailing. Lots of time before Christmas, but we better get busy!!!

 


And look who came to see us before we left for the winter.


We think this is the same momma that came last year with her twins. She had been bringing her calf up to the Park during this past summer knowing that they would be safe in the Park. We got quite a few videos of the two of them stripping off the leaves of the willows in the yard. This quite often what happens, a female that is born in the Park or near the Park will come back year after year knowing it is a safe place to raise their babies.  It’s rare to have a male return because they normally spend most of their summers in the mountains.  Although we did have one male called ‘Spike’ that came back for three years.

It’s Labor Day week end and the only ones left in the Park were John and Kim and Cheryl and Bill, so we decided to have an end of the season Pot Luck.  It was a great way to spend Labor Day and celebrate the end of the summer.

So we closed the front gate, hung up the Closed Winter sign, turned the water off, winterized the Park and said –


GOODBYE TILL NEXT YEAR!