I’ve traveled around Alaska and I’ve always loved it. From RVing from Seward south to Denali, it has always been full of adventure and amazement. When we first went to Alaska, there were five of us and we were all doing things we always wanted to do. Flounder and salmon fishing. Seeing bears in Denali. And cooking along the road off the beaten path. We also took people and enjoyed the polar bears in the Arctic and visited the indigenous people on the northern slope of Alaska through www.XpeditionArctic.com. All of them have left an indelible impression on our lives and our views on travel.
When my son said he wanted to go fishing in Alaska for a combined 28th birthday for himself and Father’s Day for me, needless to say, I was a little worried. We’ve traveled together before. As a family. In Group. But never alone. Will we get along at all? Can we spend 5 or 6 days alone and what will we talk about at all.
I am proud of the man he has become and continues to try to be. He came on the road and I thought we should do it. “Man’s journey” to the last frontier. And I wanted the fish. So, I booked the trip in March and we left in early June.
We took off from Tampa with a stop in Chicago. The planes were full. People were excited to travel again. And we were excited to go to Alaska to hunt. Our adventure has begun.
We had a smooth flight and landed in Anchorage about an hour earlier than planned. Although it was a 6-hour flight from Chicago, no food was served. We had a cracker. So, we were hungry and tired, because it would be about 1 o’clock in the morning on the east coast. After a quick breakfast we were ready to go.
We went to get the car. I’m glad we booked it so long ago. Now car rentals come first, with some exceeding $ 300 a day and becoming increasingly unaffordable.
The man behind the Avis counter told me that my car would not be ready in an hour (it was already 9pm) and that I could upgrade to pick up the car right away. Since the upgrade was only another $ 60, I decided to do this, but I felt that this was just another way for Avis to withdraw money from customers.
Anyway, we took off and stayed at Airbnb in Anchorage about 5 minutes from the airport and a few more minutes to the highway. It was a nice house, but we had trouble keeping it out of the clock and never getting dark. The blinds didn’t close completely, so the light kept coming in, but Anchorage was always a place to come in and out, and not much more for me. We were looking forward to leaving the city and out into the desert, wildlife and landscape.
The next day we would head to Homer and stay together in our vehicle for about 6 hours. This is the real test. The real journey begins. Am I ready for that, I wondered? As I found out later, he wondered the same thing.
Our way from Anchorage to Homer
What started with some trepidation on both sides of us, the 6-hour journey was filled with laughter, moose guarding and a great time overall. I learned so much about my son. Although he lives about 3 miles from us and we see him often, there were aspects of him that I didn’t know. For example, he kept a diary of his past travels. He went to Alaska, France and Italy. And he brought this diary with him so he could update it. Cathy and I have magazines from all of our travels, and it’s really special to look at them and remember what we did and the things we encountered.
We both loved looking for moose and bears. I as a driver, and he as a navigator and chief observer. Although we did not see bears on the way down or back, we saw 10 moose, including 4 small ones. It was really special and we had a great time exploring the smaller towns from Anchorage to Homer.
For anyone heading to Homer, even though your GPS says 4 hours, it will take closer to 5 or 5 ½. There is only one way and you will want to stop quite often. Also, with a little construction on the road, leave yourself a little extra time. It’s about 100 miles longer than driving to Seward, but the trip is worth it.
There were many small towns with Russian influence. We stopped to look at them together with the beaches and of course to see moose. Our trip took about 6 hours, but passed quickly. We talked, shared and solved almost all the world’s problems and we enjoyed being together. All our trembling was lost.
Homer is a fantastic city. Centered around the fishing industry, the main area is Homer’s Hair. A narrow piece of land that flows into Kachemak Bay. With restaurants, cafés, tourist shops, a campsite and fishing docks, Homer Spit is a great place to explore. After my son and I stayed at our hotel in Homer, we headed to Homer’s Hair to see where we would catch our boat for the next two days of fishing. We were a little surprised by the tent of people camping on a skewer, as it was about 40 degrees at night with a high of 55 and windy. But if you’re prepared, it’s a cheap way to enjoy Alaska and save some money. Alaska can be expensive.
The first day we had planned to go to a flounder trophy, but the weather did not affect. We were still fishing, but with gusts of wind we managed to get out only about 10 to 15 miles. It was a fishing trip we would never forget. The whole way was 6 to 8 feet of waves and the boat would constantly crash into the water. Because it was so windy and rough, we had to stay in the small cabin. Throughout the day of fishing, the boat rocked back and forth and side by side. We made a few big ones with one person on our boat who harvested 130 pounds of flounder and our biggest one was 65 pounds. I didn’t get it, my son did it, which made it even more exciting. Seeing him real in a big fish about 50 inches long was just as exciting for me as it was for him.
We both caught our limit and headed back to land. But before we could return, my son had to prove his manhood. In Alaska, there is a tradition that when you catch your first flounder, you eat the fisheye. Although not many people actually do this, my son decided to give it a try. Armed with a little Jack Daniels whiskey to wash it, he ate the eye and became a boat legend. It was a strange, rough, wonderful moment, and then we headed back.
The trip back was not much better, but the captain did great. My spine and back felt it, and I was dizzy when I finally got up to get off the boat. Hopefully the next day will be better.
The second day was better. And we caught a great fish. Salmon, flounder, Atlantic fish and flounder were brought. Overall, we managed to get 110 pounds back to Florida and had a great time together. It was difficult because we had fished a lot in shallow water the day before, now we fished at 220 feet of water weighing 4 pounds at the end of our line. The unwinding itself took a little effort, and although the captain and his assistant were great, they didn’t offer any help. After all, it was a trip for experienced fishermen. We have to do this all the time. Although this was not true for us, we did it and felt an achievement when we caught a big fish.
We loved being together. They laughed and joked around and really got to know each other. After all, even though I didn’t think so before we left, my son and I have more in common than I ever thought. He has grown up and is not the same as he was 19 or 20 years old. He has goals. He wants to do so much and has already done so. The world is a small place for him and I think he will enjoy traveling and exploring his whole life.
Back to Anchorage
We had a flight at 20:00, departing from Anchorage the next day. So we woke up in the morning, drank our coffee and were on our way. We took it slowly as we traveled north on the same road we took to the south. There is only 1 time, so you really can’t get lost. We enjoyed the other’s company again and laughed, joked and took care of the moose all the way. We remembered the last time we were together in Alaska, talked about the crew and the other passengers on our two fishing trips, stopped and shopped some, and had a great time together. We made our flights and returned home safely.
Some things you need to know when traveling to Alaska
Prices are usually higher than in the bottom 48. They have a short season and should make the most of it. Car rentals can be scarce. Book in advance. Grocery stores remain open later in the summer, sometimes until midnight. We went shopping at 11:30 pm at Safeway in Homer. Get your King Salmon license along with your online fishing license before you go. It’s easier and will save you time looking for a place to get a fishing license. Always add time to your driving. If your GPS says 4 hours, think it will take 6. Almost everywhere you go, there is amazing nature and wildlife. You will want to stop. Take pictures and enjoy your surroundings. Spend a little more and get a place to stay with a kitchen. This will save you money in the long run to prepare some of your meals yourself. Explore the small towns you usually pass through. Many are historic, with beautiful ocean views and have magnificent lakes throughout Alaska. Enjoy your time there. Make the most of it. This is truly a remarkable place.
Our last word
The last word of my trip with my son: I’m so glad I did. I was so happy to be with him and we really had fun. We are already talking about what to do and where to go for his 30th birthday. I can not wait.
And for all fathers, go somewhere with your son or sons and have some time alone. Get to know each other really. Do the same to mothers with their daughters. It really was one of the best experiences of my life.
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