HOMER: a small drinking town, with a serious fishing problem, according to a bumper sticker on a local car.
Ride down to Homer was great, once again a feast for the eyes. Stopped off at a local village fair. They were celebrating the upcoming summer solstice. They were selling Moose’s nuts & bear scat… Turns out that moose’s nuts are roasted nuts covered in sugar & bear scat or phooo, it’s homemade fudge with berries and nuts, now being a fond lover of natural healthy products I stocked up on bear scat.
Got into Homer and searched out the camping grounds. The ones on the spit were really windy, expensive & busy. Went to the town municipal one on the mountain….. absolutely gorgeous, quiet & peaceful. It is a nature camping. Registering is an art in itself. First you pick your spot, then you go to a notice board by the entrance, take an envelope put the correct amount of money in, write out & tear off the receipt which you stick into a clear plastic envelope which you then attach to a post by your chosen spot. The envelope with the correct money, filled in with site number & number of days you push through a slot in a metal box where it is collected by a counsel worker. The one in Seward, on the other hand had a similar system but was digital. You could pay by credit card or cash.
Homer like all Alaskan towns is a sprawling metropolitan, divided into two concentrated areas, the old town & the Spit, rest is a sprawling suburbia.
The Spit, as it’s name suggests, is a long skinny 4.5 mile long sandbar jutting out into the Kachemak Bay. On one side fish processing plants, fish canaries and a ferry terminal, on the other side countless eateries, souvenir shops, bakeries, one private camping ground & two municipal camping sites on the beach. The whole area is a buzz with a special vibe and countless tourists. Also, the wind cuts across the sand bar & during a storm it gets flooded, but still it’s the place to be.
Unfortunately, I don’t have many photo’s of Homer as I was coming down with what was to be a heavy flue. Stayed that evening on the campsite, lit a nice fire from loads of dead wood that I picked whilst wandering through the forest. Made a veggie stew, sat and eat it whilst enjoying the views of the Kenai mountains across the bay and the peace and quiet. Also, kinda hoping that the bears didn’t like the smell of me stew or of me for that matter. The next day also the day that I was leaving began overcast that gradually turned into torrential rain. Not exactly brilliant weather to take photos and not exactly a good day to travel. Half way to Anchorage I was debating heading towards Canada and southwards towards the sun. I also realized that I had fever and needed to hole up somewhere.
Some people say that a journey is from A to B, but a journey can be a whole lot more if one decides to explore what is between A & B. This can be amazing scenery, quaint little towns and villages. But the most amazing thing of all are the people that you meet along the way, chance meetings, a smile, a nod, a conversation, but most
cherished of all are the people that extend the hand of friendship, offering hospitality to a total stranger. Extending total trust by taking you into their homes and asking nothing in return. One of these people was Jim, who I met in the parking place of the local Homer big supermarket, Safeways.
After a brief chat he invited me to
stay in his house in Anchorage. So, I phoned him. He was still in Homer but heading home. He told me to get there & all would be okay. Arrived to his house & ten minutes later ray of sunshine arrived in the form of Evie, who on instructions from Jim let me in, gave me towels & showed me the guestroom & the shower before heading off to look at a house for sale.
That was the best shower that I ever had. Jim arrived later on in the company of Evie & some friends but most important of all a pizza. What followed was a really pleasant evening in the company of strangers who had turned into friends. That night the fever broke but was still feeling the effects so decided to stay another night or two. A smart move as it happens ‘cos that evening Doug showed up, carrying a bottle of whisky and riding a triumph rocket 3 roadster…… a monstrosity of a bike but believe me there was no more a perfect match as Doug on the rocket….. they belonged together. The night passed in laughter, fun & tales.
But more important Doug took my map & gave me some excellent tips on roads that were worth the ride. So once again my plan has changed. Gonna head up to Denali national park and the arctic circle & drop back down to explore the area around the Talkeetna mountains & the Wrangell national park.
But that will be another story.
A day later… Celebrating the Summer Solstice, good friends and good times with Doug, Jim, Ruth, Helen, Chris & Jeff drew bonfire in the backyard… the Alaska way