2005/07/03

Summer memories

If you are a fan CBS Sunday Morning, you know that it always ends each broadcast with a segment showing nature at it’s finest somewhere in the United States. This morning’s segment featured the bald eagles of Homer Alaska. Been there, done that, and actually have the t-shirt to prove it, though it is an old t-shirt. We haven’t been to Homer since the summer of ’97. Someday I’ll scan in the (pre-digital) bald eagle pictures and post them. That segment brought back many great memories.

For those who have no idea where Homer is located, it is on the tip of the Kenai Peninsula. That would put it about two hundred and thirty miles southwest of Anchorage at the very end of the Sterling Highway. Particularly interesting is the fact that Homer was not always at the tip of the Kenai Peninsula. Prior to the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964, the town at the tip of the Kenai was Seldovia. After the quake, Seldovia had become the town across the bay from Homer, the new town on the tip of the Kenai. Earthquake. Tip of the Peninsula. Get it? The quake split the peninsula. Now do you get it? Take a look at the map.

Anyway, back to the trip.

Alaska Run 3 began at 6 A.M. on the morning of Monday, June 2. We packed the truck, picked up breakfast at Mickey D’s and ate at Mom’s house. After leaving Mom’s we stopped by Chickasaw/DeSoto Park to perform morning meditations and to smudge the truck. (Standard pre-trip requirements, like checking the oil.) By nine-thirty we were headed west; Memphis to just east of Oklahoma City; Oklahoma City (with a side trip to Abilene and Salina, Kansas) to Denver; Denver to Sheridan, WY; Sheridan to Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada; Lethbridge to Edmonton; Edmonton to Pink Mountain, British Columbia; Pink Mountain to Watson Lake, British Columbia; and, Watson Lake to Anchorage. It had taken almost nine days. That last leg was particularly long. We did not make camp at the end of the ninth day; we just kept driving. We were so close. Besides, we had sunlight until midnight. We figured that we might as well make the most of it. We did pull over for a couple of hours sleep, but we were back on the road by 3 A.M. and made Anchorage by 7 A.M. of June 12, my birthday.

From here thing could only get better. Most of the summer was spent visiting with our daughter and her new family in Anchorage. Because Anchorage is just fifteen minutes from the wilderness, we spent quite a bit of time exploring and taking smaller camping trips. One of the smaller camping trips was to Homer. It is an interesting little town. We had been there on previous trips up in ’93 and ’95, so Homer was not new to us. This time it was like coming home. In ‘97, it had a permanent population of about five thousand, which grew to about one hundred thousand during the summer halibut season.

I could go into more detail about that summer, but I won’t. Let’s just say that the trip wasn’t long enough and we didn’t see and experience enough. Alaska Run 3 ended much too soon. We had to be home by August 11. That is when the new school season would begin for Shelby County Schools. We rolled back into Memphis late on Friday August 8. We cut it close that summer. It was certainly worth it.

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