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Alaska Trip Report - Part 2   March of 2013.

 Click Here to read Part One





When I woke up the next morning, Mrs Bart was looking out the hotel window.
She says, "Check out this otter playing in the water."

Of course, I didn't get a decent shot it him but he was hueueueueuge for an otter.
He was at least four feet long - I think of an otter being two-feet long.

Hold on, Mrs Bart had better otter evidence on her phone.

I also need to lodge a complaint about the idiots who run Chase's Southwest VISA card.
That's the card that's given us frequent flyer miles for so many uears.  I may be fed up.

I know Chase is a racist, Republican predator lender whose top people belong behind bars,
but as long as they're gicing away free trips I hate to part ways with them. 

Here's what happened: About two weeks before we left for Alaska, these morons called.
These are the same blockheads who often call and say, "We're concerned. Somebody used
your credit card to buy gas at a station a half-mile from your house."

To which I'd reply, "Yeah, Einstein, that was me."

So this time, they said, "Your card was compromised, we have to cancel your current card
but don't worry, we'll overnight a brand new card to you tomorrow at no charge."

I told them I didn't want a new card.
When you have an IQ of 64, it takes a month to memorize the new credit card number.
Worse, every bill we have goes thru that card so I'd have to call 12-15 merchants and
listen to their minutes-long phone menu thast ends up hanging up on you - I hate them.

But they assured me there was no other way to handle this since the card was comprised.
I had no choice but to agree. 

A few days later, I get some paperwork from them.

They located the criminals who "stole" my credit card - it was American Airlines.
The morons at Chase couldn't imagine I might put a $260 American Airlines charge on
my credit card so they cancelled my card and sent me the paperwork to deny the charge.

So allllllllllllll those phone calls, which continue to this day, were for nothing.
I'm a busy man I got shit to do besdies waiting on the phone for a half-hour for
each recurring charge merchant in my life - so what should I do to punish them?
Currently, I take their flying miles and they doi my business acounting for free :)

Back to the story:

OK, the second day we needed to get from Seward to Homer.

It's 170 milies, be we didn't know what kind of miles they'd be.
It's Alaska and it could've snowed last night - was the road open?

We got some gas at the Chinook Tesoro station in the center of Homer,
thanks to Marcia P in Fairhaven, MA and Debbie M in Wilwaukee.  Then we headed out:

I knw it looks colder than hell, but it was on 30 degrees or so.
I'm so old, I remember when it used to get get that cold in Oklahoma

Heading North, I love seeing BIG mountains in the distance.

Our flight to and from Anchorage was 100% full.
Coming back, for instance, it was a 6-hour flight to Chicago.
What does the airline do if someone dies (say heart attack) during hour two?

The dead guy just sits there, buckled in, next to the two unlucky people next to him?
Do they move him to a window seat - since he can't get up to let the others out on the long flight?
Do they put a tarp over the guy so the attendant doesn't forget and wake him up for a drink?

Back to the story...

So here we are cruisng along, and enjoying the scenery.
We stopped at a Tesoro gas station (that's really all they have outside of Anchorage)
and it's funny because I've had El Tesoro Anejo Extra and it's mui excitemento!

We loaded up with bottled water, chips and emergency chocolate - have you heard of that?
They say when you're in the mountains you should always eat a little extra chocolate to ward off
altitude sickness and, while techinically we were at sea level, we scould SEE mountains so sue us.
Thanks to retired Huck Keith for the life-saving emergency chocolate.

Pretty soon she noticed there was a big body of water betweern us and the snowy peaks.

This was cool because it looked like a giant iceberg!

BTW, I should say some nice things about Astrocat.
As you can see, his pjotos are tons better than mine for several reasons but one og them
would be his willingness to do what it takes to get a certain shot. In almost every case,
the really good sot can only be taken from one spot and if someone is behind you in traffic,
you can't stop.  I imagine on hundreds of occations Astrocat has driven a 1/4 mile past where
you get the great shot, parked and then walked that 1/4 mile in the cold Kachemak Bay wind.
Plus, to get those killer aurora shots, you have to get out in the dark in the middle of the night.
Screw that.

Back to the story...

I didn't get a picture, but along the highway they sell very small cabins.
I'm talking about a cabin that might have 150 square feet and I wondered what that was for?
They were cute little doll houses in a way - do people live in those?
Is that some emergency hot for a trail or something?
It was the size of a tent, maybe room for a small stove and two cots.

Write and tell Bart what those mini-cabins are used for.

We wondered what we were going to do for lunch and then we saw an Arby's sign, so what the hell.
Thanks to Candy P for the hot and freshly-sliced lunch!
It was also a much-needed bathroom break
On the road in Alaska in the winter, you stop at every bathroom that shows up.

Moving Eastward passed Sterling and then Soldotna, the "Oklahoma of Alaska" (not a compliment)
we eventually saw a sign that showed a camera and it said "1,000 Feet"
In Alaska, when you see that sign, you prepare to pull over.

Isn't that something?
We lollygagged for a moment, and said a small prayer (cough!)
We have Scenic Turnouts in Oklahoma, too, but they don't look like that.

Damn,  we are certainly getting our money's worth on this trip and we're just 28 hours into it.

Oh, by the way, the Sun is purple in Alaska!

We finally made it to Homer.
Plus, we started getting the idea that we could travel the state without worrying.
We really had no idea what to expect - no moose/bear fights in the middle of the highway or anything.

Homer is surrounded by georgeous not snow-capped, but snow-drenched mountaons.

Then I discovered something. One of my favorite Astrocat photos is this one.

Photo by Astrocat

I never knew where that was and now we were here!
Homer hugs the coast (bottom of the photo) and that land shooting out is called The Homer Spit.
It's five miles of shops and restaurants and bars and ferry access - that kind of thing.

We drove to the end of it - daytime - and saw this:

Some people call Homer "The End of the World" and this is the end of that.

The Seafarer's Memorial makes you wonder how many hundreds or thousands of men lost their lives trying to tame these ice-cold waters.

Wouldn't it be nice to work HERE and look out your window and see THAT?

Here, I just missed filming some dude drop a strapped-boat into the water.
I could write a coffee table book about all the shots I didn't get.

Think of the adventures these boats have had over the years.

Most of the restaurants and bars on the Spit were closed for the winter,
so we headed back towards the mainland to find something to eat.

We ended up at AJ's Oldtown Steakhouse - they had a view, too.

Mrs. Bart had the fresh Hallibut and Chips and a glass of Beringer's White Zinfandel.
I had a burger and a diet Pepsi because I didn't care to meet the local law enforcement officials.
In Alaska, they run TV commercials that PROMISE your first DUI will cost $25,000.

BTW, in the month of March, at least, there is no lettuce in Alaska.
When you order a salad you get a bowl full of leaves - Maple, I think.

But like Kathy Griffin said when she played Tulsa,
"If you put enough Ranch dressing on it you can eat anything," so we did.

Thanks to Mary F in Rockville, MD and Jude in Gig Harbor and Cealie in Astoria and
Capt Gimmie who's origianlly from Homer for the very nice meal at Al's Oldtown Steakhouse.

Mrs. Bart said her Hallibut and Chips was perfect.
She said the fish was super-fresh and it had the perfect amount of crispiness.

So we headed to the Windjammer Suites Hotel and watched TV and rested up for tomorrow.
Thanks to Greg in Medicine Hat, Alberta for helping us out with the hotel expense.

The next day I got up early so I could run my five miles.
No, I woke up and got high. 
I wish I could thank somebody for fixing us up with some Matanuska Valley Thunderfuck
but maybe that'll happen the next time we visit Alaska. 

We drove around the area and checked out the sights.
Of course, we headed back out to the Spit because it's the coolest place in town.

Surely the most famous business on the Spit is the Salty Dawg Saloon

Suddenly, Mrs. Bart spotted our first bald eagle!

Homer is world famous for bald eagles.
There are times when you can get 10-15 of them in one camera frame.

Up close, he was a scruffy little guy.

Here's another shot off the end of the Spit taken with the iPhone zoom lense.

Just then Mrs Bart's keen eye spotted a large, wild white rabbit.

It takes a lot of balls for a rabbit to hang around Bald Eagle, USA!

We liked Homer so much, we decided to spend another night here.
Thanks to Phil D in Cleveland for the hotel hospitality,

We asked the guy behind the counter at the Tesoro gas station where the good pizza was in town.
He suggested Fat Olives, so we checked that out.
We got a pizza to go. Great pizza, it was thin but New York style.
We really enjoyed that pizza, thanks to George B from Monroe, CT and Sharon B in Minnesota.

We were running lown on Spirits and we saw a liquor store next to Fat Olive so we went there.
The biker dude behind the counter didn't ask to see my driver's license.
Doesn't he know about the massacre at Potter's Creek?
Thanks to Slim Whitman for the liquid fun.

That night's hotel's cost were defrayed by Gerry Filqueira.
Thanks for that, Gerry.

 Click Here for the conclusion of the Alaska Trip Report


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