333 MILES OF BEAUTY

Many of you have offered suggestions on the Go RVing Facebook page during our journey from Key West, Florida to Alaska. We want you to know we are genuinely thankful. We’ve seen so many amazing places by following your suggestions and Talkeetna was no exception!IMG_5520

We stayed in Talkeetna Camper Park, a short walk from downtown Talkeetna.

talkeetna-collage-alaskaTalkeetna is a small town off the Parks Highway. It’s a hub for adventures with many sight seeing, river rafting, and zip lining companies based in town. Most climbing expeditions to Mount McKinley (Denali) begin here.

If you prefer adventures of the gentler sort, Talkeetna is also a little enclave of culture with art galleries, an open air market, and restaurants. Personally, I recommend the cinnamon roll bread pudding from Talkeetna Roadhouse.

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After Talkeetna, we headed over to Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage. Most of our time in Anchorage was spent catching up on work, school, and running errands, but we did manage to get out for a little sightseeing.

moose anchorage alaskaAlthough we saw bears in Denali National Park, we still really wanted to see a moose. Who would have thought we would see this guy while driving near Anchorage International Airport!

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We also watched a beautiful sunset at Point Woronzof Park.

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A park ranger told us that August is Alaska’s fall. We still had a lot to see so after a few days in Anchorage, we packed up and hit the Seward Highway to head to the Kenai Peninsula.

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From world-class fishing to horseback riding to glacial excursions, the Kenai Peninsula is often referred to as Alaska’s playground.

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One of your suggestions for the Kenai Peninsula was to go fishing on the Kenai River. We aren’t skilled anglers by any means, but how could we pass on a chance to reel in a salmon from the same river the world record king salmon was caught?

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We didn’t catch any world record-breaking fish, but when you are 11 it doesn’t matter. Thing 2 was so happy to have caught a fish and his dad was happy to grill it for dinner.

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One afternoon the boys and I headed out for an afternoon to explore. The largest king salmon ever caught is on display at Soldotna Visitor Center. Les Anderson caught the salmon in 1985, and it weighed 97 pounds and four ounces. We also stopped at the Moose is Loose Bakery, which may unofficially hold the world’s largest doughnut record!

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Perhaps this is the world’s largest wood salmon bench?

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Not far from Soldotna is the town of Kenai, the largest town on the Kenai Peninsula. Once a Russian settlement, Kenai is home to one of the oldest Russian Orthodox Churches in Alaska.

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Kenai has a very nice visitor center and Thing 1 enjoyed looking at the model of an ocean oil platform.

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The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, home to moose, bear, wolves, and many other animals, makes up nearly two million acres of the peninsula. The visitor center was a short distance from our campground in Soldotna.  The center has films and exhibits, including two moose antlers that were found locked together. Apparently, the moose had been in a battle and gotten stuck.

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There was also a short nature walk to an overlook on Headquarters Lake.

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I believe the most suggested place to visit on the Kenai Peninsula was Homer. After being there, I can’t believe it wasn’t on our original itinerary!

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Homer is located on the southwestern Kenai Peninsula at the end of the Sterling Highway, 200 miles south of Anchorage. The picturesque town sits on the shores of Kachemak Bay surrounded by views of mountains in all directions.

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We camped on the Homer Spit, a 4.3-mile gravel bar extending from the Homer shore. It was a beautiful place to watch sunrises and sunsets.

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We weren’t the only ones finding our AWAY in Homer!

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Dubbed “The Halibut Fishing Capitol of the World,” Homer may be best known for its fishing. Although anyone wanting to catch a halibut should consider taking one of the many charter boats out into the bay. A charter boat was out of our budget, but the boys still had fun fishing from the shore.

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Homer is a wonderful funky mix of maritime culture, artists, and natural beauty. There are several art galleries in the area. There is even a local community theatre, Pier One Theatre, located on the spit just steps from the Fishing Lagoon.

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The Salty Dog Saloon (on right) is one of the most recognizable buildings on the spit.

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A walk along the 3-mile path that runs along the spit provides all sorts of interesting things to see.

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Alaska Islands and the Ocean Visitor Center were certainly worth a stop. It was one of the most educational and elaborate visitor centers we have ever visited. The exhibits allowed us to “visit” the remote islands of the Alaska coastline. We all enjoyed learning about the wildlife that inhabit the ocean and surrounding islands, and how researchers work to preserve and protect their populations.

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The cool weather didn’t stop us from getting ice cream at Frosty Bear.

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Homer was a perfect place to set up camp on the breezy shores of Kachemak Bay, and thank you so much for the recommendation. Now whenever anyone asks us what they should see on the Kenai Peninsula we will say, “Head to Homer!”

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Do you enjoy fishing when you #GoRVing? What’s your biggest catch? Have you gone RVing some place based on someone else’s recommendation?