Friday, July 16, 2010

Posting to Blog

July 15, No Internet Connection, Rain-Weary, and Wondering What to do Next


This posting is being prepared offline, despite the availability of a storng wifi signal nearby. Unfortunately the computer is showing signs of advanced age and it is so far refusing to link with a communications device.


The scenery is most likely magnificent in Valdez, but the persistent fog has kept the ceiling to about 100 feet since we arrived late this morning.


We wandered out into the boat harbor and were able to buy some fresh and delicious sockeye salmon at the retail outlet of Peter Pan Fisheries, one of the processing plants here. Cooked up on the sauté pan, and served with boiled potato and chard, it was sensational. Almost as good as the tequila we sipped during the meal. This is a nice RV park and we got our showers in and laundry done in very little time.


We talked about what to do next. We both are tired of constant bad weather, and our curiosity about what is around the next corner has diminished after more than a month of travel. We have a reservation at a nice lodge deep in Denali National Park but that stay only begins in a week. We may see if we can advance the dates of that segment. Were it not for that commitment, Mary and I agree that we would probably turn the nose of the truck south and head for the lower forty-eight.


Here are a couple of Alaskan vignettes for the reader:


We walked into Kenny Lake RV Park's diner last night after returning from Kennicott/McCarthy. We had low expectations but we felt pretty good after the long day, and it was nice to sit in something other than a bouncing shuttle bus. We began to talk about whether it would be fun to drive up some bad roads and visit Chicken and Eagle, both on the way to the Taylor Highway and the Yukon. Eagle is where John McPhee spent most of a year writing "Coming into America", his highly personal and good book about Alaskans. One of the local fellows, sitting with his wife while waiting for their dinner, said "You aren't going there soon." He pointed out that a heavy rain the previous day had washed out sixty miles of road that we had planned driving over. Another couple let us look at their Anchorage newspaper, and the story was there. Apparently many cars and trucks are stranded along the broken road, and one vehicle was found submerged.


Our dinner arrived, and we feasted on the best burgers we have tasted in a long time, and even better curried rice soup. I noticed that the cook was also doing all of the waiting on tables, and wondered if she could finish, since there was quite a crowd. But her daughter showed up soon and things moved pretty well.


This morning I returned to the diner for coffee and chatted with Kim Morse, the woman who cooked dinner for us. She has very recently purchased the diner, and is renaming it "The Willow Woman Diner". She in fact is pretty willowy, that is, flexible and strong. Kim looks like life has been hard, but she still has beauty in her eyes, and her attitude is terrific. She has some visions on how to change the menu, but she said that they have to use up what was in the cooler and on order first. She loves the local produce that is available in the short summer months. Her soup is a borrowed recipe from a Thai pull-through diner about one hundred miles up the road. I congratulated her on the good dinner and said that things were pretty busy when we left. "Oh, you should have stuck around. We had some real excitement around 10:30. Apparently the horse belonging to another local up the road went prancing down the highway in front of the RV Park. That set the cell phones buzzing and soon someone road the horse bareback for a few miles to return it to the owner. Anyone who happens on Kenny Lakes should go to this diner for a fun experience and good food.


The driver of our shuttle yesterday was pretty sure she didn't want to go to a wedding that she was committed to later this week. "He is such a nice man, and none of us can imagine why he is marrying his fiancé. He is forty and she is sixty. My husband said if she was hot, that would be one thing, but that isn't the case. She did hard drugs for thirty years, and some of us think she is still doing them. She is terrible to his kids. We are thinking of giving them a rafting trip on the Copper River and shoving her off." My guess is that this could be a very short lived marriage.

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