My trip to Homer! Was so awesome! And I have pictures!
I drove the 220 miles south Friday after work, stopping by my apartment to pick up the dog and her new favorite squeaking squirrel toy. There were no problems on the drive besides tourists in RVs that were slowing down the whole highway OH MY GOD GET OFF THE ROAD.
Once there I chatted with my parents, showed off my new camera, and played with a cheap junk camera my dad got for the "price of a postage stamp," which was much less than the amount of pride he had received for getting a free camera. Which turned out to be so cheap and so junk that only one picture out of fifteen would download.
Saturday morning my mother and I played tourist on the end of The Spit, where we looked at three million pieces of touristy crap with "Alaska!" emblazoned on the side.
The real purpose of my visit.
The Glacier Drive-In.
With the Most Perfect Cheeseburger In The Whole Entire World. And the best chocolate peanut butter shake. Imagine chunks of peanut butter still stuck to the bottom of the cup and grease dripping from the burger's foil wrapper.
It's true love, people.
My brother Rodney called me the day that the Glacier Drive-In opened this summer (a summer business only) to brag that he was eating his first Glacier Burger of the year. I suppose siblings are meant to torture each other, but that was TOTALLY UNFAIR.
Saturday afternoon Lacey and I ran around on Bishop's Beach, where we learned two things:
1// Ocean water is not very yummy even though it's wet and little dogs get thirsty from chasing seagulls. And the water ten feet further down the beach, and even the water ten feet down from that, is still pretty yucky.
2// It's very difficult to take photos with my new camera (which requires both hands and my eye up to the viewfinder) while holding onto a dog leash, the other end of which contains a small dog intent on chasing down every last seagull to yell at them from being on her beach.
I drove up to the cemetery to give my sister some flowers, and ended up weeding her grave site. The visits, like the days, are getting easier. Maybe it was because I focused more on cleaning up around the tombstone and playing with my new camera doodads and less on how much I miss her.
I then went to a very silly play at Pier One Theatre with Rodney, his wife Jen, and two little girls. I learned that dinosaurs invented spaghetti, and just because someone is different from you doesn't mean you get to eat them.
The next morning I managed to talk Rodney and Jen into bringing me out to the area of the Caribou Hills fire. I twisted and twisted his arm, saying, "Wanna take me out?" And he was all, "Okay."
Rodney let me ride his nice four-wheeler equipped with independent suspension, making for a pretty cushy ride, especially compared to the machine he rode: Bucky Buck, the Bouncing Wonder.
Bucky did come with a special feature of getting stuck in places real machines, like the one I rode, would laugh at. Instead, it was Jen and I that did all of the laughing as Rodney winched his way out of this hole and that.
I could smell the soot in the air long before I could see any charred trees. It was a very sobering sight, an entire forest reduced to blackened toothpicks lying on the ground.
We stood on a knoll right in the middle of it and everything we could see in every direction was burned to the ground. The only trees that remained standing were the ones dead for years from the spruce bark beetle: they didn't have enough fuel for the fire to bother with them.
According to Jen's odometer we traveled 36 miles on our four-wheelers that day, and on our way back to the parking lot one of my tires got slightly off the trail and ran up a tree. I jumped off as soon as I could (my new camera was still around my neck (though under my sweatshirt) after all) and stood staring at my wheeler up a tree. I wish Rodney had told me that his wheeler liked climbing trees.
So maybe the spontaneous tree climbing coupled with the 36 miles of swamp and mud holes is why my shoulders and arms still hurt. At least now I can change my shirt without crying.
I think on Monday I uttered the words, "I am sooo sore." at least fifty times. For which my coworker Jeff is incredibly grateful, I'm sure.
I even made it back to Anchorage without incident: later departure time = fewer cars on the road = more passing zones open = faster speeds than my mother would care to know about.
I had a fantastic weekend. There aren't many more summer weekends before my trip to San Francisco, but I plan on making full use of them all.