Posted April 3, 2023 – Narrated by Carmen
Atmosphere is way over our heads.
We can’t tell a cirrocumulus from a stratus, but we know what we like. A good cloud show is a thing to behold.
I was hooked from the moment Mama first laid me down outside on a blanket, face up.
In Alaska, the sky is the Greatest Show on Earth, and clouds are the elephant parade, dominating every scene.
Beauty and The Beast is like a cloud passing through, trailing a silver lining.
We fancied ourselves rainmakers because summer thunder storms continually shadowed our path.
Heading south on Highway 1, we followed the railway tracks along Cook Inlet toward Turnagain Arm and The Kenai Peninsula.
Until recently (1789), the Kahtnuht’ana Dena’ina were the sole culture of The Kenai Peninsula which they call, “The Good Land.”
Weather permitting, we hoped to go kayaking but cool and wet conditions threatened these once-in-a-lifetime plans.
Jim wisely scheduled long stays in each of our August destinations. August, is the rainy month. Using the “broken clock” theory, he projected we would, at least catch a few rays if we remained in each destination for several days.
He was right. Most daylight hours were like this
with rare moments, like this.
And we seized those opportunities with gratitude knowing they would not last, and that shortly we would be cocooning in Beauty again playing Five Crowns and resuming our Mary Tyler Moore Show binge party.
With the dental problem behind me and taking a course of antibiotics, I was fit for travel and able to appreciate the scenery along Highway 1.
The views of the Alyeska mountain range prepared us for adventure.
Road construction delays were no longer a big thing. We’d learned to plan for the worst.
The majestic summer landscape rolled out the fireweed carpet. Things were looking up.
We had a three-day reservation on Homer Spit at Heritage RV Park.
Until summer of 2020, we traveled like wolves with no reservations – thrilled to get a spot, any spot. Now we’re more like sand hill cranes, reserving months ahead to secure a space where we can spread our wings. We traded spontaneity for a new challenge – getting the best spot – which Jim continually slays like a silverback.
With a unobstructed view of Kachemak Bay …
and easy access to the water …
one way …
or another …
our outside time on The Spit flew by.
Fortunately, whatever-the-weather distractions are a Homer speciality.
We love the Homer vibe and fantasized spending an entire summer on The Spit.
On the first perfectly beautiful dry day, we pulled out.
The long daylight hours flexed our schedule so we stopped at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for a hike.
Jim and I share the wheel and that arrangement really paid off in Alaska,
giving both of us equal access to the scenery.
There’s not a moment to rest your eyes.
In Alaska, the drive is the destination.
Sometime in the early evening we settled into a charming seaside town on Resurrection Bay. Jim snagged a serene water’s edge site with plenty of space to relax and shake off the road dust.
And the views! What sorcery is this?
A neighboring eagle, perched in the trees above us, kept a keen eye on … Pico
So our little security specialist went undercover…
which only prompted Eagle to change vantage points. Perching only a few yards away on a post, he seemed to be asking me, “Hey, you gonna eat that?”
Like Homer, it rained every day in Seward.
On drizzly days we cozied up by the fire, to watch the bay traffic …
and strolled to town …
and visited the Alaska Sealife Center …
and marina …
Almost everything is within walking distance.
The Exit Glacier hike is just over the hill. Pico stayed home because we needed poles for this trail and a downpour was predicted.
There’s no easy way to say it.
At this point. I became seriously ill.
I suffered a bad reaction to the antibiotic prescribed as follow-up for the dental surgery. Though I took probiotics and yogurt daily the antibiotic still ravaged my gut. This was the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. I was unable to travel – even to fly – and I doubted my ability to finish this trip.
Whenever a storm comes around, Jim and I scan the dark turbulent atmosphere for God-light.
Rainbows, shafts, and silver linings are not only good omens. I’ve heard these special deliveries from the magnetosphere also bestow healing effects.
Focusing on signs of hope in bad situations can also cause body and soul to flourish under the most trying circumstances.
Abuse of this natural phenomena is widespread. The Pollyanna injunction to “search for the silver lining” is often a cue to hide your symptoms, implying there is a right and wrong way to do pain – that the condition of suffering is annoying to others and equivalent to failure.
In the 1980’s at Saint Jude’s Children’s Hospital, my niece, Beth and other children there taught me the work of suffering is communal. Sharing the good and the bad can be an act of heroism.
It is a radical transformation to choose to focus on the bright side of a dark situation. I’ve seen this force in action, watched the light break through grey concrete-thick misery to gestate hope and clear the air for Joy if not comfort; Love if not health; Peace if not independence; Cheerfulness if not full-mobility; treasured memories over anguish and regret.
But talking wisdom now is cheap. I thought I was going to die.
I darkened the bedroom and fixated on my cremation …”Alaska or California?” Meanwhile, Jim reached out to his wonderful San Diego doctor friends to consult with them about my condition. Almost instantly, the situation brightened.
These magnificent docs prescribed new meds and food therapy which, they said, was the most important protocol. Yes, I needed yoghurt and probiotics, but I also needed beans, apples and broccoli. Additionally, they prescribed red wine, beer and very dark chocolate – my favorite – several times a day. Seriously? Day drinking and dessert before dinner will heal me?! I felt like Woody Allen in Sleeper when he woke up in a hospital bed in the far future being treated with hot fudge and cigarettes.
So, leaving Seward, with a local IPA in one hand and a bar of Godiva in the other, we continued on, practicing the fine art of being human in an uncertain world, looking for the silver lining under the tutelage of the Alaska sky.
Chapters in the “Airstreaming to Alaska” series
- Chapter 1 – San Diego to Malibu
- Chapter 2 – Malibu to Morro Bay
- Chapter 3 – Morro Bay to Santa Cruz
- Chapter 4 – Santa Cruz to San Francisco
- Chapter 5 – San Francisco to Eureka
- Chapter 6 – The Oregon Coast
- Chapter 7 – The Strait of Juan de Fuca
- Chapter 8 – Victoria, British Columbia
- Chapter 9 – Victoria to Mackenzie
- Chapter 10 – The Alaska Highway
- Chapter 11 – Yukon
- Chapter 12 – Top of the World Highway to Chicken, Alaska
- Chapter 13 – Tok to Valdez
- Chapter 14 – Glacier View to Anchorage
- Chapter 15 – Kenai Peninsula
- Chapter 16 – Whittier to Talkeetna
- Chapter 17 – Denali
- Chapter 18 – North Pole to Chena Hot Springs – coming soon!
- Chapter 19 – Tok to Haines – coming soon!
- Chapter 20 – Haines Junction to the Lower 48 – coming soon!
- Chapter 21 – Lesson Learned – coming soon!
If you want to see our exact route, click here.
*photos in this post (unless otherwise noted) were taken and copyrighted by Living In Beauty.