Day 29 – Heading home

tunnelWe always say, home is where the cat is, so our destination is Dallas, sometime after midnight.  It is several hours drive from Kenai to Anchorage, so we left early to see some more sights.  We have had a busy week, one evening was a fish fry to fix some of the Halibut we caught on Saturday.  I foundered on it, it was so good.  Another evening we got together four teams for darts at a local club, we were beat handily by all, but it was ok, Rich hasn’t played in years and I am more of a handicap than an asset.  We spent some time on the beach in Homer while Rich tried to teach me how to skip rocks.  I did alright, but I had to throw about 50 of them before I got one to skip more than two times.  Our last night, we did a King Crab boil, that is nothing like we would find in the Lower 48.  I’m sure you’ve been to crab feeds before, you spend all night breaking shells for tiny pieces of crab and thinking either I should have eaten before I came, or thank God, I stopped for that hamburger or I would be starving by now.  The flavor is good, but the effort is crazy.  This crab feed wasn’t like that at all.  A simple cut with the scissors left you with large, delicious pieces of crab.  Enough to sink your teeth in to and really chew.  So good, even Sofa King good!

Up early to see our grandson off to pre-school, we hugged on the baby a little more than took off, our goal was Anchorage by nightfall, but until then, we still had roads on the peninsula we hadn’t yet driven.  We took a side road around a lake, then we took the road to Whittier.  That was a treat.

Whittier is a very isolated community, it is on a bay that doesn’t freeze solid, so many boats are kept there.  The community itself lives in a large condo unit. One large condo unit.  It is the second one built, the first was condemned not long after the Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964.  Everyone seems to live there, there are a few scattered cabins, but the whole of the community is in one place.  The police station is in the condo and the school is across the street, there are no other houses in town, it is a bit surreal.

To get to Whittier, there is a tunnel, several miles long, it is one-way and is shared with the train.  If you want to go to Whittier, be there on the hour; if you want to leave, be there on the half-hour.  If you miss it, you will have to wait.  It’s pretty unique and the tunnel is relatively new, in the scheme of things.

Just outside the tunnel is a Visitor Center run by the National Forest Service, we never would have thought to stop except I had to pee.  And I am so glad we did, it was one of the best built, in both architecture and exhibits that we have seen in a while.  Take the time to stop, the views are beautiful and the history is cool.

Discovering the tunnel and the community beyond is one of my favorite things about traveling, it is a unique encounter in both space and time, a treat to remind you that the way most live is not the only way, we have choices….what is yours?

 

Day 35 – Grandkids

kidsWe are so fortunate that we have the family that we do. We drove out of Anchorage today down to the city of Kenai to be greeted by two of the sweetest little faces.  We have a total of three grandchildren, two in Alaska and one in Idaho.  I wouldn’t trade a single one.  I am fortunate enough to have been married in to their lives, the two in Alaska, when I married Rich; I got Jacob when Kayla got married.  I am so lucky.

Payten is just over a year old; she is crawling and kind of walking; her favorite toy is her purple turtle.  She is super sweet, her facial expressions are the best.  Whenever Grandpa asks her for a kiss, she wrinkles up her nose and says “nooooo”, but she says it so dang cute, with a little New Jersey twang.  Grandpa just laughs. It took her a minute to warm up to us, but now she crawls all over us.

Austin is 3 ½; we have known him well since he was born.  Austin came to live with us when he was about six weeks old.  For the first few months he moved back and forth between our son’s house and ours.  When he was six months old, he moved in to our house with his mom for the next nine months.  We got to know him well.  As we sat at dinner that first night, he looked over and said “I love you Grandma.”  I love that kid, he is so dang sweet.

I think the most generous thing anyone can do is open up their home to you.  We’ve been staying with Rich and Brittany for the week, interrupting their routine, throwing off the kids’ schedule, we’ve got our own room, but anytime you have family in your house, I know it’s not easy.  Of course, this gives us great access to the grandkids, and that is why we are here, to get to know them, to make sure they know us.

I love our family, those that I’m currently with and all the others.  But for this week, I’m going to love on those babies and enjoy every one of those hugs and kisses I can coax out of them this week.