Saturday, July 20, 2024

JULY 19 - Part 2

 On the way back to Palmer, we took the Old Glenn Hwy, a narrow road full of curves, each one offering a new mountain vista. I love this few miles of the old road. Along with its idyllic beauty and the majesty of its mountains it offers a sample of so many Alaskan dangers: forest fire, rock slides, snow avalanches, raging flooded rivers, hungry bears, angry moose, and long cold winters. 

And then you cross the Knik River bridge and you are on the outskirts of Palmer with its coffee shops, microbreweries, high end restaurants, book shops, and first rate shopping and all the danger seems far away  

Dinner with Jesse at Evangelo’s. More delicious halibut. I wasn’t quick enough to catch it but coming back to the house after dinner, we saw a substantial layer of fresh snow on the mountains behind Palmer. It may still be there next time I’m out. 


 Family Day at JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf Air Base and Fort Richardson) Annual Air Show. We had the Thunderbirds, 

a slew of other planes (all very fast, loud, and maneuverable) including the F22 which may very well be the last piloted fighter plane. In the near future Top Gun will be replaced with a computer nerd operating in climate controlled bunker in Colorado Springs. 

lots of parachutes 

of course, most importantly, a helicopter refueling demo 

featuring our very own Major Jesse Ashmore from the Alaska  Air National Guard as the helicopter pilot. 

The helicopter is not allowed to actually connect the probe to the refilling tube at the air show for safety reasons so that final bit of drama is left to the imagination, but chasing a flexible tube with rotors spinning was enough for me. Especially when I added the idea of doing it at night in nasty weather when rescue operations are most likely to occur. 

All in all it was a great day of flag waving, red, white, and blue smoke, roaring engines, deliciously daring flight behavior - and friendship. 

Friday, July 19, 2024


 Well, it finally happened. Car trouble. An hour of panic. The navigation/entertainment center and the console electricity all went out. Yesterday there was no problem and today there was no navigation, no radio, nothing. 

As of yesterday, we have a plan - something I have avoided up until now. The next few days all have some planned event and we have a hotel reservation in Healy Tuesday night which means we need to leave Palmer first light Tuesday morning. 

We tried the old turn it off and back on routine twice. No change. Off we went to the Ford dealership. For almost an hour I fretted about the darn schedule and whether or not I had bought the trip insurance and how little that would matter since we had to be in Haines by the 30th to catch the ferry.

We pulled into the dealership and I went inside to see where I should go with my VERY IMPORTANT TO ME FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. The salesman I approached didn’t even try to sell me a new car. He just politely gave me directions. I went back to the car and found the problem was gone. Stanley had again turned off the car and restarted it. Everything lit up like a Christmas tree.  

Not quite being willing to accept the good fortune without finding some glitch in it, I still went in to talk to the service guy. He assured me it was one of two things. Either the system was going through a regularly scheduled rebooting or the screen was going bad. Neither issue was a case for panic. He explained that the system usually rebooted in such a way that we would be unaware of the process, but if the symptoms occurred again in the near future it was most likely the screen looking to fail. Easily remedied.

So. . . With panic relieved, we went on to Jesse’s house in Palmer where we will headquarter for the next few days. Whew!

A couple of hours before Jesse came home from work to relax, read and enjoy the drizzle rain.

Off to have dinner with Sean and Erin at their sweet little house in the woods.

The garden is almost picture perfect, dinner was delicious, and as an added bonus, a lady moose walked right through the yard with me standing on the porch with my camera at the ready.

We think Sean picked a wonderful lady to spend the rest of his life with and we wish them a joyful life together. I was delighted to see the peonies Rita Jo gave me were in such good condition as i regifted them to Erin.


Stanley is thankful there has been no more hurricane activity in the gulf and none predicted for the next 10 days  Thankful for seeing the Sean/Erin house in the woods  what a lovely place! Successful trip to Homer  The peonies for Erin came out of the box perfectly.Thankful for our safe travels. Thankful the car issue wasn’t more serious  

DONA Two weeks is a long time and we neglected to do this last week  Thankful for our time with Jesse and Ken Peltier last Thursday night  For the sweet visits with Henry and Marcia, Andy, and Judy. For the visit to Soldotna and Homer and all the beauty we saw. For the excursion around the Copper River Valley to see all the changes 25 years have wrought. For Stanley and his efforts to make this trip so special for me. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2024


 What a busy day!

First, a considerable part of the day making final reservations for our last days in Alaska. Hard to believe it is coming to an end so quickly. Everything is set in stone now from tomorrow until we get off the ferry Aug 2 in Bellingham WA  

Then a trip to the ATT store for a remedial lesson on the new hotspot device. I’m all educated now.

Off to the JBER Visitor Center to pick up our Friday Air Show passes, 

And then a trip to the Alaska Botanical Garden. A big round of applause to the management and all the workers. The garden looks magnificent.

Lots of attention to blue poppies. On the welcome sign, the brochure and in the plantings. 

What a woman! What a friend! RIP Verna! May you forever frolic in a garden of wildflowers!

My favorite part of Alaskan gardens are the tiny flowers that grow in the scree. It’s one of the things I miss most in Louisiana gardens. 

Finally, we went looking for some of our favorite Anchorage spots. 
AK Korral - closed so long ago it isn’t even on the internet 
Aladdin Fine Mediterranean Dining - closed 2018
Blues Central - closed 2014
We settled for bar food at the Matanuska Brewing Co. Best French onion Soup I’ve had outside of France. Stanley reports the Long Track IPA was the best since the last one he had. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2024


You know there are all kinds of clouds and they have fancy scientific names. Aside from those there are more earthy common names. High thin clouds, animal clouds, rain clouds, storm clouds, “get your butt to the storm cellar” clouds and many more. Today we had “stretch out on the sofa and read because it’s going to rain all day” clouds. But reading on the sofa wasn’t in the plan. The plan was to travel from Homer to Anchorage. And so we did. Travel. In the rain. All day. 

What a waste! All those reading clouds spent in a car going by beautiful scenery we couldn’t even see. 

We stopped at a Fred Meyer for seafood salad and crackers, checked in the motel, and now I’m going to read my book.

¡Buenos noches!


Monday, July 15, 2024


 In an effort to get full value for our money, we stayed at Land’s End right up until check out time. Then up the spit, slowly enough that I could take a few pictures to illustrate the true Alaskan spirit of the place. 

On to East End Rd with the glacier peeking around every opening in the trees. I now have a collection of glacier photos to rival National Geographic. I promise to only share the best of the lot. 

We were on the hunt for another old friend. Rita Jo Schultz at Alaska Perfect Peony. For years she owned and operated Fritz Creek Nursery and we sold blue poppies to her for resale in her business. She now deals exclusively with peonies. She grows them and ships them all over the world in bud form. If you have bought peonies lately, they may very well have come from her or one of the other producers in Homer AK. 

She was happy to see us and gave me free rein to take photos from the growing beds to the processing tables to the coolers. Fascinating! I thought I knew a little about the plant business but this is a whole new game. The wholesale business of selling plants rooted in a pot is vastly different than selling blooming cut flowers to temperamental brides. Rita Jo takes it all in stride. 


They weren’t shipping any flowers today but the boxes are ready. 
Thank you Rita Jo for the lovely peony gift. I’m going to pass them on to our new bride, Erin. 

Back on the road, we drove all the way to the end of Kachemak Bay. View of the mountains and their hanging glaciers were spectacular. 

Behind that white fence was a Russian Graveyard. Time to turn around. We had an uneventful trip back to Homer. I’m fixing dinner for us tonight with a little help from the Safeway Deli. Meatloaf and green salad. 

BTW Google maps tells me we were 4,550 miles away from our home in Hammond LA last night at Land’s End. We are about 2 miles closer to home tonight.