September 6, 2015 – Overcast, 59°, Sunrise 7:06 a.m., Sunset 8:50 p.m.
My recent road trip to Homer with my mom was everything a road trip should be. We had no agenda, other than to make it to Homer. We packed up the boys, the puppy, lots of snacks and hoped for the best. Homer is located about 200 miles south of Anchorage, on the Kenai Peninsula. It’s known as “The End of the Road” and the “Halibut Fishing Capital of the World”. It’s a small fishing town/charming tourist trap with the most incredible views; pretty much everyone I’ve ever talked to in Alaska loves Homer!
Normally it’s around a 4.5 hour drive. I knew with the boys we would take our time and make stops to stretch and break up the trip. We ended up taking 7 hours!! But it was great. Our first stop was at a wood carving art gallery just south of Anchorage, along the Seward Highway. They have the most incredible chain saw carvings outside, and the gallery itself is an amazing log cabin lodge. To J’s disappointment there was no actual chain sawing when we stopped, but he still liked the carvings. He hugged a bear that was just his size!
After the art gallery we continued south, splitting off at the Sterling Highway. I love driving in Alaska because directions are so incredibly easy (not to mention the breathtaking views!): south on the Seward Highway, take a right on the Stirling Highway to Homer. There were literally 2 turns from when we got on to the highway, to when we pulled into the hotel parking lot. Just after we crossed over the Kenai River we pulled off for a snack break. I figured it would be 15-20 minutes, but that quickly turned into 45 because the boys were loving running and being by the water so much. The Kenai is the most amazing blue-green color!
Taking our time at the Kenai, I realized we wouldn’t make it to Homer in time for dinner, so we’d have to stop in Soldotna; it’s pretty much the only place between the two. Just north of Soldotna we hit a road trip jackpot! I have been wanting a set of caribou antlers for a while. They’re rustic, but have a beautiful shape, and I have a perfect spot to hang them – if not in Alaska, then when!? We spotted it right on the side of the highway, Alaska Horn & Antler. Just a guy with a huge shed of antlers, and a yard full of different rocks. He was sanding down a woolly mammoth tusk when we pulled up. Off to the side he had some homemade automatic saw that was working on a piece of fossilized something. Lots of loud banging and clunking, at some point something went wrong with it and he came running out to shut if off. It was really just a bunch of 2x4s, a motor and giant saw blade – J was fascinated and terrified at the same time! Mom took the boys to poke through the rocks (and keep them away from the saw!), while I dug in the pile of antlers. Originally I had imagined having a set, but I was able to find a single antler that was not too big, a beautiful shape and the right price! I was so excited!
We stopped in Soldotna for some pizza, then made the final push to Homer. The boys were getting tired (Mocha did great – didn’t hear a peep out of him the whole ride!), but thankfully they fell asleep for most of the last leg. I wasn’t planning on getting to Homer quite so late, but driving into the evening did give us some beautiful views as the sun set!
I had looked up a few things to see and do around the area, but what I wanted most was to hang out on the beach and take in the views. After a surprisingly decent night sleep we headed to Bishops Beach; it was breezy, but thankfully the sun was out making it just warm enough to hang by the water. The boys LOVED it!
We played for a long time, just digging, running and enjoying the sound of the waves. It did start to get chilly after an hour or so, so we headed just up the street to a bakery I had heard good things about, Two Sisters. Yum!! I splurged and got a mocha, the chocolate bread and a raspberry danish. The best part though, might have been the gravel yard in the back. I got to drink my coffee and eat my pastries in total peace!
Our last adventure of the day was checking out The Spit. We had delicious Halibut for lunch, because what else would you have? And then took the Creatures of the Docks tour, looking at sea anemones, starfish, shrimp and other little creatures living on the actual docks and buoys. Mom ended up being our designated “looker” because J got spooked by being close to the edge. I actually switched him into the Ergo, then just carried N. Once in the Ergo J calmed down and enjoyed being around all the big boats.
We packed a lot in to 24 hours. Next time I would definitely plan for 2 nights, but I’m so glad we made it work with the one night we had!