Things have been pretty low key around here. I’m still resting and allowing my torn calf muscle some recuperation time. Living the full-time RV lifestyle can be much like living in a sticks-and-bricks environment, where things sometimes settle into a blasé routine.
I continue to eat like a king though. I grilled wild Alaskan sockeye salmon on Thursday. I started by grilling sliced red onion with a little apple cider vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper in a foil packet to caramelize the onions. Donna served the salmon topped with the onions, fresh parsley, and lemon juice over a bed of arugula. The caramelized red onions were so sweet.
Donna took her bicycle out for interval training yesterday. She has a duathlon race scheduled on Sunday. She’s planning to race as a 2-person team. Angie Hill from the Orangewood Shadows RV Resort will do the running portions of the race while Donna will do the 25-mile bicycle leg. Donna entered last year, but the race was rained out. Wouldn’t you know it, the weather guessers are calling for rain to move into the area on Saturday and continue until Monday!
Donna was stretching outside after her bicycle ride when a guy stopped at our site. He was handing out flyers for the annual Orangewood Shadows St. Patrick’s Day fish fry. Apparently one of the residents of the park comes down from Alaska every year with fresh Alaskan halibut and they have a big fish fry. Tickets are $12 per person. We don’t often go to this type of event, but it will be our last day in the park and it sounds too good to pass up.
When I lived in the Northwest, I made numerous trips to Alaska, mostly for business. I also went fishing there. The fishing trips were mostly to the Chatham Strait in southeast Alaska. We would fly to Sitka. In Sitka, we would transfer to a DeHavilland Beaver float plane. DeHavilland Beavers are legendary bush planes and I always enjoyed flying in one. The plane could take five passengers. The flight would carry us over Baranof Island to the Bay of Pillars on Kuiu Island. This is a remote and absolutely beautiful location.
In the bay, there was a dock with freezer equipment, two 35′ sport fishing boats and the Sea Ranger. The Sea Ranger is an old 115′ navy tug that’s been converted to a floating lodge. The Sea Ranger had electricity, hot and cold water, staterooms, a large salon and restaurant-grade dining. The location on Chatham Strait meant we were minutes away from fantastic fishing. Other charters coming from Sitka would have to leave port at dark-thirty and sail for hours to get to the good fishing grounds.
Kuiu Island is uninhabited. We would often see black bears on the shore. Whales were common in the strait. With no phones and no Internet for four days, we would fish and forget about the rest of the world. Chatham Strait is chock full of salmon – kings, silvers, pinks, sockeyes and also halibut. The abundance of wildlife in the area and the lack of development made it a wonderful experience.
We always packed light for the trip – just a backpack or carry-on bag. The fish we caught were immediately filleted and flash frozen. When we left, the fish were vacuum-packed in plastic and placed in a waxed cardboard container the size of a medium suitcase. Alaska Airlines allowed each passenger to check two 55-lb. suitcases in those days. We would check the containers as baggage and come home with 110 lbs. of salmon and halibut each.
Another time we went fishing on the Kenai River. This is a famous fishing destination. I’d read many stories about the Kenai since I was a kid. Three of us – Greg Schmeer, Ed King and I went. We knew a guy in Anchorage who guided on the Kenai. He took us down to the river in his truck pulling a sport fishing boat.
I was dismayed to find the Kenai wasn’t as pristine as I expected. It was crowded with boats floating down the river like cars on the interstate. Everyone would float along through their favorite areas, then fire up their engines and blast upstream to make another pass.
Our guide had a lot of experience on the Kenai. He knew the river intimately and also knew which lures would work best. He moved us around to different areas that he knew were productive. We pulled in fish after fish while others around us were getting skunked. We caught kings, silvers, sockeyes and pinks.
So much for the fish tales. I’ll continue to rest my injured leg and read. I picked up three more Vince Flynn espionage thrillers that should keep me occupied for a few more days.