Sunday, December 9, 2007

A photo fest

Good morning....or good noon to those who had sunrise at a relatively early hour of the day! We are into 5 hours and 52 minutes of daylight today, and it is dropping by 6 minutes a day until the darkest day, December 21st. Then the daylight starts to increase again. The temps this week have been....well, by most Alaskan standards "unseasonably mild". Now to someone who moved to Alaska to savor the cold and snow, this flat sucks! However, we did have a tasty shot of winter last week, as the temps hovered in the 9-15 degree range with wind chills dropping to -22 below 0. Now let me tell you something about wind chill....if I might. They say that when a 'wind chill' kicks in, it only means that "it feels like" -22. I feel compelled to say that there really isn't much difference between 'feels like' and 'is'! It was just plain cold, man. Maryann and I braved it one morning and went out into the hot tub for a soak. My beard began freezing within a minute or so from the steam of the water, and both of our hair would ice up where it touched the water. It was great fun to...dip the each others hair freeze. Dip the head to melt the it freeze again. Very entertaining! What was even more entertaining was getting out and the trek between the tub and the house! Lets just say, things happen when the human body is wet in that kind of extreme. We have got some snow, not alot, but nonetheless the ground is staying permanently frozen now, and should remain that way until 'break-up' in spring. I hear 'break-up' is an eye opening experience.

Big news here this past week. We finally got DSL!!!!!!!! The eternal 'waiting list' finally drew our number in the lottery, and we are now in high speed heaven. Don't know what to do now that we don't have so much time to do household chores, cook meals and such while waiting for the computer to download! No, now it is strictly business as we have no time for these things anymore! ;) Those little teaser trials with DSL at the hotels on the trip up here last summer lit the way for a faster future, and I can't say I ever want to be a 'Slowski" again. Ever. I sure do miss those 'cookie bars' in those motels on the road!
Yesterday found me with some time on my hands as Maryann was at her watercolor club at the Fine Arts Center. So I spent time hanging in and around Kenai. I had the chance to see some pretty spectacular scenes this day as the weather was nice, and the day beautiful. I grasped the opportunity and decided to share some of Kenai.

This first photo looks out across the tidal flats. Beyond the tidal flats runs into the Kenai Wildlife Refuge and that spans for many miles to the Caribou Hills which you can see snow capped in the backround. The Caribou Hills serves as a very popular place for dog sled teams, snow machines, and some beautiful hiking and sights in the summer. Somewhere the other side of the range would be the town of Seward. Not much happens in Seward as it is small....small. Although it is a beautiful place to visit. Next, we find ourselves at the mouth of the Kenai river, where it flows into the Cook Inlet.

A spectacular thing about the Kenai, as well as several other rivers of the area, is that the water is a very sectacular and vivid teal color. Almost like out of a fairytale or something to that effect. This is because of the small particulate glacial matter that flows down from the higher glaciers. As a result, the water in the inlet sometimes will appear a little muddy, and this is from all of the sediment and silt that flows into it from the glacial rivers. If you look carefully in the lower left corner you can see a couple of people at the top of the snow on the beach.

These two were actually snow sledding on the beach as I was taking this picture, as seen in this next one. Clever! The other day I was out on the highway out north, and there was a woman jogging on the bike path that runs along the highway. She had her dog by the leash jogging behind her....and her dog had a sled by a tether pulling her child behind it..... People here definitely take advantage of recreational activities despite any odds! The actual town of Kenai sits just above the mouth here, and as you could imagine depending on the weather, and how the light is, there are some really beautiful sights from this bluff. It's kind of like a 360 degree serious display of eye candy!!

I found myself next down at beach level and got a great shot of the Caribou Hills. There was a couple off in the distance walking the beach, enjoying the mild beauty of the day. Believe me, it would be hard not to enjoy the beauty or a nice day on this beach. It is spectacular, and a very calming place to put ones' hemispheres back into phase. As you turn to the right of this photo you would be looking down towards the Gulf Of Alaska, and about an hour and a half drive would find yourself in Homer. Remember the 'spit'?! Now this was about 1:00PM and you can see behind the clouds that the sun is already on it's way back down.

The waves were really nice this day and were making that mellow "pounding sound" as they broke on shore. I can't say enough what a beautiful day it was to be on the beach.

In Alaska, no matter where you go you will find old buses. School buses, church buses, bus buses.... Everyone has buses! Alot of them are often used for storage. I mean, you will drive past someones property and see an old bus parked next to the house, trodden in weeds, full of...stuff. You can see it piled up in the windows sometimes to the roof. This is actually a great utilization of space, for storage. In the historical part of downtown Kenai, there is another old bus parked along side the road. This bus however is a special bus. If asked the fabbled question, "are you on or off the bus?", the wise answer for this bus would be '"on it, man!"

This is one of the best digs in the area. The Burger Bus. They turned this ol Bessie into a take out burger joint, and they serve the best burgers in Alaska. Just ask John! I was the first to eat at the Burger Bus, and when I told him they had the best burgers this side of the Yukon, he had to go see for himself. John is a devout Burger Bus boy now. He has his own Burger 'punch card' and is working away the punch outs for his free burger as we speak! Be it a regular burger with fries, a sweet grilled chicken burger....a halibut is killer.

I could not pass up the opportunity for those who can appreciate an efficient piece of equipment. These large plows are actually a common sight in and around Kenai and Soldotna.

As you can tell by the "stoic immensity" (a phrase of your delight, Mike) of this beast, some plow services here don't mess around with snow. Look to the right of the blade....that is 'little' ol me. Kind of an illustrational testimonial of the capacity of this plow. The Binford model of snow removal equipment!

And so as the sun soon would start to set, Maryann and I found a delicious lunch across this parking lot at The Acapulco Mexican restaurant, one of the best for Mexican food in the area and afterwards headed back home. Home. I love the sound of that word. If you would have told me that this would be 'home' a year ago, I would have thought, "wow, that would be nice, huh". No longer do we have to 'think' that, because this is home now. True, we do miss many aspects of what 'home' was, in fact I still find myself in conversation making reference to "back home" at times. But to anyone who wondered, worried, or wished the best, I can honestly say to you that we are home now, and are discovering a subtle comfort and happiness that we only dreamed of before. Come visit, and I promise you, you will quickly see why! John, Maryann and I went out and bought some Christmas lights today at Fred's and John and I came home this afternoon and strung them around the house... in the dark. It looks so nice, and I can honestly say as I stood back tonight admiring them, it definitely solidified in my heart that this is our home now. Take care, and our love to all.

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