We drove south to the seaside village of Homer last Friday, which is about 120 miles southwest of Anchorage. By road, the actual distance is 220 miles. Mountains are pesky things, you see; always getting in the way of roads and low-flying aircraft, too.
With Alaskan summers being so short, road construction must either happen all at once or be stretched over multiple summers. On this particular trip, there are construction zones from Indian (not far from where the highway south first runs along the Turnagain Arm, above) to Anchor Point, just north of Homer. The longest zone is 25 miles long. There are delays, tie-ups, and pilot vehicles involved. It's not pretty, but pretty tame when compared to big-city traffic.
|Lots and lots of sitting still, like this.|
Still, the delays added an hour to a drive that's already long enough. :)
|The first view of Kachemak Bay|
Didn't I mention the volcanoes?
Augustine and Mt. Iliamna are easily visible from Homer, and Mt. Redoubt is just a bit farther north. The last two are also much more easily seen from the highway as you head toward Homer.
|Mt. Iliamna (left) and Mt. Redoubt (right)|
For those who are interested, Augustine last erupted in 2006. Iliamna hasn't erupted since 1876, but Mt. Redoubt was naughty most recently in 2009. That one dumped a lot of ash on the entire Kenai Peninsula, and well up into the Mat-Su Borough north of Anchorage. Anchorage itself received only about 1/8" of ash from that week-long event. Homer got a lot more.
|the Homer spit - a miles-long pile of rock and sand left behind by glacial activity, jutting out into Kachemak Bay|
But I digress. I do that a lot. :)
We stayed at a little inn on the coast, a mile or so west of the Spit. The land on which it sits is some 30 feet above the beach.
What beach, you ask? This one:
It's a beach at low tide only, of course. Joggers, folks walking their dogs, and even a few people on horse-back traveled by while all that sand and rock was exposed.
But Reverend Paul, you ask, what's it look like at high tide?
We ate at a number of different places, and really enjoyed the food at a few of them ... heh. Places like
|The Duncan House Diner - fantastic breakfasts with home-made biscuits and gravy. Yum.|
|Inside the Duncan House Diner. The owner bears a reasonable resemblance to Sam Elliot. :)|
|Captain Pattie's, on the Spit. Wonderful seafood, all fresh-caught in Homer - of course. :)|
|All Hopped-Up Espresso, for great muffins and coffee.|
|Fat Olive's, which comes highly recommend. It doesn't look like much from the outside ...|
|but the pizza was really, really good.|
So we drove the East End Road all the way to the head of Kachemak Bay - great scenery, with views of mountains, glaciers, and the Bay.
We visited several art galleries, looking for a picture that my wife has seen here and there. No one had it, but at least we got the name of the photographer.
But we got sunrises like this:
and plenty of mountains across the Bay.
It wasn't as relaxing a get-away as we'd hoped, but then not every long weekend will be a home run. We're glad we went, just the same.
It was good to sleep in our own bed last night. :)