Weekend in Soldotna

Well before I can tell you about our weekend in Soldotna I have to show you a couple new photos I got of our twins.

We left Friday morning to head to Sterling where we were leaving Dusty for the weekend. We were down there for little Charlie’s 11th birthday.

David and I went to Soldotna to stay with our friend, Stella.  We all went out to a new Thai Restaurant in the Soldotna Mall. Then we went to the store to get some snacks.  Oh but we need popcorn, so off to the Orca Movie Theater for popcorn.  This is what Stella and I do when we get together.  Then we went home to watch a movie, Wild Horses, which was a good choice.

Before we went to the birthday party at Soldotna park we went to Jared’s, my son, to see what he had been doing to the property.  We also met his in-laws who had come up to visit for a couple of weeks.  It was their first trip to Alaska.

 

We then went over to Neese and Randy’s house to visit.  They just live around the corner from Jared.  I had to take Neese her magnets that I had been getting for her while we were on our travels.  I bet she would give the Genius Book of Records a run for their money on who has the most magnets.  She loved the new ones I got her though.

Then it was off to Charlie’s birthday party at Soldotna Park. There was a carnival at one end of the park, so we found the grand kids down there.  I got some good photos of all the grandkids on rides.  Poor Charlie rode the zipper with his Dad and got sick.  He could not even stand to go near the carnival.  Tayvin made it through the zipper but when he got on the swings with his sister it was just too much for him.  He got off the swing and that did him in.

 

Then we all went for a walk along the boardwalk on the Kenai River.

 

After we all said good-bye David and I headed back to Stella’s.  Stella cooked us a nice supper with BBQ steaks, potatoes, stuffed jalapeno, mushrooms and a salad.  It was a great meal.

The next morning we got up and went out for breakfast at King Salmon.  I have been going to King Salmon since I moved to Alaska in 1980.  I usually always get the biscuits and gravy, but they do have a lot of other good food.  I just think of it as a typical Alaska restuarant.  It is casual with real, tasty food.  They do have a breakfast buffett but I have never tried that.  I know a lot of people do. Even the tourist always find it and eat there.

Then we went to visit David’s niece, Diana Honkola.   We had a great visit with her and the kids.  They are both growing so fast.  Grabbed Dusty on our way out of Sterling and headed home.

We did have to stop at the Turnagain Armpit for some good BBQ before we got home.
Calls itself the Southern BBQ on the Alaskan Frontier. Bringing authentic southern BBQ to Alaska is our passion, is our mission. We thrive on being true to traditional southern low n slow smoked meats and classic BBQ sides. We skimp on no part of that age old tradition, we replicate the BBQ masters every step of the way. We honour the ‘Q’ and all that it stands for. We don’t follow trends and we don’t sway from classic BBQ – well sometimes, but only rarely and then not very far. If they don’t do it down south, you likely won’t see it at our PiT.

Saved me having to cook for my boys.

What a wonderful weekend spent with dear friends and a great family!

 

 

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First Camping Trip of the Year

I know we just got home but we couldn’t wait to get the camper on the road.  We planned this trip before we left because we wanted to go to the Girdwood Forest Fair.  Then we are off to try to find somewhere to camp which is very hard in the summer in Alaska.  July is the worst because the Red or Sockeye Salmon are running thick.

The Girdwood Forest Fair is a family fair that has become an annual event in the resort town of Girdwood, Alaska located 36 miles south of Anchorage. This year event times are as follows:
Friday July 6 ~ 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday July 7 ~ 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Parade at 10:00 am
Sunday July 8 ~ 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
The Forest Fair features Alaskan artists, hand-crafted items, exotic foods and entertainers from all over Alaska. Fun for the whole family is kicked off by the Forest Fair Parade on Saturday, July 8th at 10:00 am.
The fairgrounds are located at Mile 2.2 on the Alyeska Highway in the community park area. Limited parking is available at the Alyeska Resort Daylodge with Shuttle service provided. Car pooling is encouraged!
There is no admission fee, only good times! Be sure to purchase a limited edition Girdwood Forest Fair T-Shirt “The Cover Charge that Covers Your Back”!
Camping will be allowed in Forest Fair Campgrounds only for a fee – Camping permit required. Public Camping is prohibited in the town of Girdwood during Forest Fair Weekend. Law enforcement personnel will be patrolling the Girdwood Valley.

If you live in Alaska come check it out or if you are planning a visit it happens every year.  The only bad thing is no dogs allowed, so poor Alice, the chicken dog, will have to stay in the her truck with windows down and water.  Yes, I did say her truck.  Alice seems to think that every time the truck goes anywhere it must be going camping.  That means road trip for Alice.  She loves to go camping and is a great road tripper.

Alice did slip trying to get into the camper yesterday while I was getting things ready. I sure hope she is not to scared to jump in today when we go to bed tonight.

This will also be Katharine and Rebecca’s first camping trip.  Heather and Dan said they would be meeting us for the night at the campsite.  Can’t wait to get photos of the girls first campout.

Well I better go make sure the fridge is cold, so I can put in the food.  I need to add a last few things then I think the camper will be ready.

I will be posting pictures and tell you all about our trip when we get back so be sure to check it out.

Ole Flat Hippies Day 5 Iceland

This is our last road trip before we all fly home to Anchorage, Alaska.  Can’t wait to see where we go today.

Looks like we are headed down a long gravel road today.

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We stopped for a photo at the river as we entered Fjallabak Nature Reserve.

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Then we had a nice picnic lunch in Landmannalaugar Highlands.

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Next we went to the hot pool which once again we did not get in because we didn’t bring our swimming suits.  I think we might have got all squishy anyway.

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It was a nice way to end our road trips in Iceland.

Flat Ole Hippies Day 4 in Iceland

Once again we are off on another road trip with our friends.  We can’t wait to see where we go today.

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Our first stop was at a lake.

 

Next we saw a lighthouse.  Could we be going to the beach?

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Yes it was the beach we were going to.

 

Then we started home and came across this amazing pipeline.

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Of course we had to end the day with a couple of beers at the Micro Bar.

 

Then we went to the tapa bar where we just had a drink while our friends ate.  We do have to watch our figure.

Brennivin

Brennivin is an Icelandic schnapps made from fermented potato pulp and flavoured with caraway seeds. The word brennivín literally translates into burning wine, and it certainly has a strong and distinct taste.

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Well we called it a day then.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

Day 4 South Coast of Iceland

We decided to go look at the south coast of Iceland.  Of course, we didn’t get to do the whole thing because of time.  We headed out on this beautiful sunny day, our first, to find a nice sandy beach to walk on.  We didn’t find any sandy beaches but we found volcanic beaches which were still just as amazing.

First stop before we even got into the car I wanted to get photos of these pretty flowers. I had been looking at them and today I took the time to smell the flowers.

Then off we went on our next road trip.  If you haven’t notice we try to take all the back roads.

Our first stop was a nice lake.  I had to take photos of some the hills that surrounded us because lines in the rocks are amazing.

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We went looking for a lighthouse which meant driving down this old dirt road and never found it.  What we did find though was well worth the trip because I had never seen so many sea birds nesting in the cliffs before.  Iceland claim to have more birds nesting in their cliffs than anywhere else.

 

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Off we went to find another lighthouse.  This one we did find and a church, which are all over this country.  Most of them seem to be built pretty much the same and a lot are on people’s farms.  Also, I just could not get over how such tiny flowers can grow in all the lava rocks.

Our next stop was at the end point of the greatest lava flow on earth since the end of the last Ice Age.

Then we found another lighthouse and a road to the beach.

We saw all these white birds in a field, which we think are some kind of goose due to all the honking.  I also finally got a couple photos of the Icelandic horses, which are the size of a pony.

We decided we should probably start heading back.  So we stopped to take a picture of one last river flowing into the ocean and off we went home.

 

We of course found a road we had not been on yet.  We were following along the bottom of Lake Pringvallavatn.

Before we hit the main road we found a dirt road we had not taken.  As we rounded a bend we saw in the distance steam coming up from a valley.  As we got closer we noticed it was a geothermal plant.  It was pumping hot water down to the cities and towns.  The pipeline was quite interesting compared to the one in Alaska that we are used to.  We followed the pipeline most of the way back to town.

On our way back to town the traffic was the worst we had seen.  Everyone must have had our idea and left town for the day or the weekend and were going home.

We decided to leave the car at the apartment and walk downtown to find something to eat.  We came upon a huge screen showing the world cup and people were sitting or standing watching it.  I guess they are really into soccer over here.

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We then headed to the Micro Bar because we had met the manager at one of the breweries we visited.  It was well worth the stop.  They have 14 taps and had about 5 pages of fine print bottle beers.

We also made a new friend there named Tobias from Sweden. Hopefully, he will bring his family to Alaska some time.  He did say it was on his bucket list.IMG_1037

Then off to dinner.  I wanted to eat something truly Icelandic, Tobias recommended a tapa bar right by us.  They had Icelandic food tapas, puffin, whale, lamb, lobster, blue ling, and char.  Some of the food looked so good when it came to the table we started eating before I got a photo.  Sorry about that.  I do think that the food was probably a little more fancy than the normal Icelander would cook it but it was delicious.

After we ate we started our walk home.  I took a photo of this building across the street because I just thought it was cute.  Then along came a mother and her two kids crossing the street.  They walked with us a way.

 

We stopped at a store because I still had not had any dried fish.  I am wondering how it compares to our squaw candy.  I will let you know when I have tried it.

There was this interesting van we kept walking by, so we decided to take some photos of it.

 

Another wonderful day in Iceland has come to an end now.  Wonder what our adventures will bring tomorrow.

 

Day 3 Brewery, Geitland Nature Reserve and Pringvellir

Another rainy day but that won’t stop us.  We are off on another road trip.  First stop is to find the brewery, but first we had to take pictures of this cool car, an Opel.  It has been parked on the road that we park on and thought some of our friends, Fred and Dan, might like to see it.

 

We went through the tunnel once again.  We stopped at this beautiful river by Fossatun. Fossatún is a settlement located on the banks of the river Grímsá in Borgarfjörður along route 50, just 90 km from Reykjavík. The area is known for its beautiful surroundings and there are many marked hiking paths to enjoy the sites.  There is supposed to be a beautiful waterfall a short hike but the bugs were terrible, so we didn’t go. You can’t miss the place because of the huge troll face along side the entrance.

 

As we were standing on the bridge taking photos of the river a tractor came by pulling a trailer full of sheep.  I hope they were moving them to another field but I think they may have been going to the slaughter house.  I think they knew what was going on because of all the baaing.

 

We found the brewery but it didn’t open for another hour so we found a small road that looped around. We decided to take that and found Deildartunguhver Hot Springs.  This was well worth the side trip.

Situated on a beautiful farm, Deildartunguhver is the largest and most powerful hot spring in Europe with a flow rate of 180 litres (50 gallons) of water per second at a piping hot 97°C (200°F). The scalding water bubbles out of an algae covered rocky outcrop creating a steamy source of power.

Most of the water heating homes and businesses in the towns of Borgarnes and Akranes comes from Deildartunguhver. It travels through a 64 kilometre (40 mi) pipeline, the longest of its kind in Iceland. So, if you take a shower anywhere within a 65 km radius of Deildartunguhver, you have already bathed in the hot water from this powerful spring!

They have a hot tub and huge greenhouse.  It cost about $40 to go to the very fancy hot pool.  They sell tomatoes for 300 Krona or $2.84 that were grown in their greenhouse.

 

Now it was time to head back to the brewery.  On the way we crossed this very narrow bridge.  It was really cool to drive across.

 

We made it back to Stedji Brewery which is not hard to find due to the big beer bottle at the entrance.  We went in the tap-room  and there was only one other couple in there.  They were from Kentucky and they had rented a camper to travel around in for 2 weeks.  They were coming to an end of their trip.  Then another couple came in from Dallas, Texas of all places.  They were leaving when we were on July 4th.  They both got good deals with WOW airlines, so it might be worth checking into.

Anyway back to the brewery.  The are located on a farm named Stedji, Anvil, this is where the name came from for the brewery.  We had a flight of 5 beers which were all very nice.  Then one of the owners came out and said you have to try this one.  We brew it with whale testicles which are smoked in sheep dung.  David and I, of course, said bring it on.  We loved it.  He brought out another one which was not smoked, though good we preferred the first one.  Don’t worry we are bringing back a couple of bottles of the first one to share with the Midnight Sun Beer Tasting Society.  I think my 50 pounds of beer is growing.

 

Here are a couple more tractors for Fred and Dan to check out.  Fred maybe you can get Sam to pull the one.  The other one looks like you should race it.

 

 

We decided to take some back roads on the way back to Reydjavik, so we headed to Geitland Nature Reserve.  I am not sure why they call it a nature reserve because it is really barren, but the glacier is there.  We did take a wrong turn but it did look like the main road. I found out where the huge buses go now, to the glacier.  We drove to where they start but couldn’t go any farther.  If you look close at the one photo that just looks like snow go uphill you will see one of the buses stopped.  David went in the shop to check where we were.  He pointed on the map to the road we were on the guy says, “Your not lost, you know exactly where you are.”

I decided to let the Flat Ole Hippies go play in the snow.  I figure it is all rocks so it will be easy going.  Then I stepped off a larger rock on the gravel and my toes went into the mud.  No big deal I will wash them off in the small puddle over there.  Then the whole top of my foot was covered in mud.  I decide that was not a good idea and just kept my foot muddy.

 

Our next stop was Pringvellir, where we walked up to Öxarárfoss waterfall along the fault lines.  The waterfall was stunning.  You could see this wonderful green color in part of it.

I did get my feed washed at the waterfall because I found a place I could get in.  I wanted David to join me for a footy picture but he said no, so we found another place.  Of course, his idea did make for a better photo.

https://guidetoiceland.is/connect-with-locals/jorunnsg/ingvellir-national-park

 

Now it was time to head back home.  We could see it looked like it was trying to break up over Reykjavik.

Next stop was downtown to find some food.  Driving in circles trying to find a place to park we realized it is Saturday night.  We drove past this huge screen outside where people were watching the World Cup.  We actually drove past it several times as we were making our circle.  I guess it wasn’t actually a circle because we kept hitting one ways that were going the wrong way.  We finally found a spot by the harbor.

Not far from where we parked we could see a place that looked more our style than the fancy ones around.  It was call Reykjavik Fish Restaurant.  The fish was great.

 

With our bellies full we headed back to the apartment and to bed thinking about our next adventure.

 

 

 

Flat Ole Hippies in Iceland

Well we started off this morning with our friends.  We were not sure they knew where they were going but they said, “Sure we do.  We are going to the Golden Circle.”  We never saw a golden circle but we did have a good time.  We headed out on our road trip.  We saw beautiful waterfalls, great scenery, wonderful clouds and drove through a tunnel under a fjord.

When we got back to the apartment we found out that we never did get to the Golden Circle, but fun was had by all anyway.

We then decided to go to downtown Reykjavik and have a beer.

 

The bartenders were so pleasant that we left them a tip.  Then we all walked home discussing what we would do tomorrow.

 

Iceland Day 1

We started off this morning heading to the Golden Circle when we hit Route 1 we turned left.  After a while we noticed the water was on the left side not the right side where it should be.  We then found an information board and with our map in hand we figured out that we had turned the wrong way on Route 1.  We had gone too far to turn around so we decided to carry on.  Oh by the way, we were not lost just sightseeing.  We had a wonderful day looking at waterfalls, rivers, fishermen, mountains, sheep, and tons of lupines.  We had never seen so many lupines in Alaska.  We even stopped to watch the sheep get herded across the road. We went to the end of one road and in Arkanes found two light houses. At one point we kept seeing this weird looking building which we decided must have something to do with some type of pipeline. We took a tunnel under a fjord.  It rained off and on all day but we didn’t care.  We were just enjoying the scenery and each other.  We love road trips.  We read somewhere that Iceland is the third windiest country in the world and that the first two no one lives on.  We do believe this now!