Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Break with James and Carl

The pre-Easter week is highly anticipated around here, not just because this is a holy time, but also because James comes home! This year, James' college roommate, Carl, spent Easter break in Alaska with us. While April is an awkward time to visit Alaska (not much snow, mostly slush, and the  tourist attractions aren't open yet), we were all happy the weather had warmed up nicely and we found interesting things to do...

Day 1 - Saturday
James and Carl left Pennsylvania at the same time, on the same flight, but due to scheduling difficulties with the airlines, they parted ways in Chicago. James arrived in Anchorage eight hours ahead of Carl, so we walked around the mall, ate at Harley's, and did some shopping while we waited for Carl's night flight. 

Day 2 - Sunday
James and Carl got some sleep after their long, late night of travel and then decided to explore the area. James took Carl for a ride to see Mt. Redoubt from Cook Inlet View, walk along the Kenai River, see Old Town Kenai (including the historic Russian Orthodox churches), and then to some of the little shops in Soldotna. Carl saw his first moose!

Day 3 - Monday
What a gorgeous day for me to drive the boys to Homer... We stopped for lunch at Rocky's Cafe in Kasilof and took some photos there of James rescuing poor Carl from being eaten by a giant mosquito: 

And both of them with a slightly-larger-than-life salmon:

On we went to Ninilchik where we visited the Russian Orthodox church overlooking the Inlet and Ninilchik Village. 

Once in Homer, we watched the eagles swooping over the bluff on the outskirts of town:

I think we saw five or six right there at the bluff. This one has the mountains and Homer Spit in the background. Homer Spit has a lot of adorable tourist trap shops, eateries, fishing charters and kayak tour shacks along it.

We walked out onto Homer Spit for a different view of the mountains across Kachemak Bay. Another eagle flew right over us and landed on the roof of The Time Bandit (of Deadliest Catch fame) shop on the Spit. He was so close to us, and seemed to be posing for the camera!

James went across the street to take a picture of the whole building:

And then, just because you sort of have to say you've done it, we took the boys' picture in front of the famous Salty Dawg Saloon, one of the few buildings to survive the Good Friday Earthquake of 1964 and the resultant tsunami:

 On the way out of town, we stopped for chocolates and souvenirs at Alaska Wild Berry. Sooooo yummy.

Day 4 - Tuesday
Early in the day, the boys worked on homework they'd brought with them, and in the afternoon Jim took them to the beach near our house at Captain Cook State Recreation Area.

Day 5 - Wednesday
I took James to town to shop for new jeans while Carl remained diligent to his homework here at home. Then they both helped me do prep for Smiling Otter Studio. They still had homework to do, though, with the boys often downstairs near the wood stove, working hard:

Day 6 - Thursday
The boys headed off on their own again, to finish shopping and to visit some attractions in Sterling, including the chainsaw carver:

They revisited the Russian Orthodox Church to see the interior, and visited the museum in the Kenai Visitors Center:

Day 7 - Friday
More homework for the boys! In the evening, though, Jim taught Carl to pan for gold. Jim's got an indoor setup for panning while he watches tv. Carl panned first while James put some hides on stretching boards for me, and then James took a turn.

Carl points out his first big "picker":

Day 8 - Saturday
James and Carl worked hard on research papers all day.....

Day 9 - Sunday
Resurrection Day! But also the day when we had to say goodbye to the boys and send them back to school. We ate a late lunch (early dinner?) of prime rib, grilled lamb, cheesy bread and apple pie before leaving for the Kenai airport. Rather than spend all day and half the night in the car, Jim decided the best way to get them back to Anchorage for their flight home was to fly them out via commuter plane.

We sure did enjoy having them here and were sad to see them go.  We hope Carl visits again and are looking forward to having James back home at the end of May!