The Cooper’s arrived the day after the Stromgrens left. We drove to Seward to pick them up as they were getting off the enormous cruise boat that brought them up the Inside Passage to Alaska. They had a wonderful trip with lots of great memories. We were intent on improving on that while they were visiting. Dave is Jan’s cousin and Shirley is a friend since grade school. I actually attended grade school with both Shirley and Jan through the 4th grade.
Here we are the first evening enjoying the sunset around our new fire pit.
Shirley wasn’t acclimated to the Alaska cooler weather yet and even though we were sitting around the fire, she was wrapped up in a blanket with only her face visible. It is difficult to transfer from the Kansas heat and humidity to Alaska climate. Shirley had also hurt her knee on the cruise and wasn’t able to get around a lot so it was difficult for her to stir up the heat to keep herself warm.
It didn’t take Dave any time to go fishing. Fortunately, another big school of red salmon had entered the Kenai river the day before and there were plenty of reds to learn how to catch them. Dave caught on quickly snagging two legally in the mouth the first day. Kevin, Jan, Dave and I were fishing every day with the new school in the river so there were plenty of fish being caught by all of us. For the next three days in a row, we all limited out with three each giving us a lot of fish to process for freezing and smoking. Dave also got a lesson in cleaning and filleting salmon.
Of course he had to earn his keep by helping around the park, and work he did. He drove the truck and the 4-wheeler while I tied chains and ropes around the cottonwood saplings that had grown up all over the park. We cleared quite an area between our Park Model and the RV pad next to us.
We loaded our little utility cart with the saplings and took them down to the dump below the back of the lot. Dave had to ride on the cart to keep the saplings from falling off. It worked!
Dave also helped me level off the area in front of the kitchen for the future deck extension. Here he is cutting concrete tubes that will hold the 4×4 support posts for the deck and then we dug holes for them in the area where we were building the deck.
It wasn’t only work while Dave and Shirley were here. Todd came for a visit a few days after they arrived and we had to go on a Halibut trip with our Captain Don of Alaska Trophy Charters. Jan and I filled out the charter and we had a great time and caught a lot of fish. Here Dave is reeling in another one while Todd is looking on and grinning at Dave’s effort.
It was a good day! We caught a lot of fish and although we didn’t catch any whoppers, we did get a lot of good fillets off these beauties. Each of us caught plenty of fish including a lot of small sharks that begin to come in the Inlet to feed on the salmon scraps.
They were anxious to see the local wildlife including moose and bears. Fortunately we didn’t see any bears but we did find evidence of one and Dave got a trophy to remind him of it in the future. This momma moose was standing along the road eating and we stopped to take a picture of her. She was happy to pose for us for quite some time before moving on to other forage. Later we also saw a momma and two young calves along the beach road, but we didn’t get any photos of them.
As with all our first time guests, we had to take them down to Homer to see the mountains and the sights. Unfortunately, the trip down was foggy and we couldn’t see the mountains across the Cook Inlet. We were hoping that the fog would burn off and they would become visible on the trip back. We did stop at the tractor pull at Deep Creek and Dave being an old farm boy was fascinated with the tractors putting in the charter Halibut boats and pulling them back out of the water.
Dave collects photos and carvings of eagles and sure enough there was one sitting on top of the Salty Dawg Saloon just for his visit. It’s obvious from the photo that this is a common roost for the eagles and the gulls noting the white coating on the roof tiles.
Inside the saloon, we had to sample their drinks to make sure that they were up to our standards. It was a cool, foggy day outside and the wind was blowing off the Kachemak Bay which it often does, so we had Cocoa with a shot of Amaretto in it. It sure warmed us up!
Looking at all the dollars with previous visitor’s names on them inspired Dave and Shirley to add their on in the only bare spot that they could find. He did eventually pin the other side of the dollar so you could see the name on it.
The fog never did clear so you could see the mountains across Cook Inlet. However, while we were in sampling the fare at the Salty Dawg, the peaks of the Kenai Mountains across Kachemak Bay south of Homer began to clear enough to see the outline of them and some of the glaciers flowing down between them. The fog still hung tight over the water and it never did clear as we drove back north. We stopped at Bob and Linda Steinke’s cabin beyond Ninilchik and the fog had cleared enough there to view Mt. Redoubt and some of the northern Alaska range.
We had a great time with the Cooper’s as we always seem to do. We took them back to the airport in Anchorage on the 8th of August, nine fun filled days