I’ve traveled all over Alaska and I’ve always loved it. From RVing from Seward in the south to Denali, he was always filled with adventure and wonder. When we first went to Alaska, there were five of us and we were all doing things we had always wanted to do. Hunting for seafood and salmon. See the bears in Denali. And cooking along the road off the beaten track. We also took people and enjoyed the Arctic Polar Bears and visited indigenous peoples on the northern slope of Alaska through www.XpeditionArctic.com . All of this left an indelible impression on our lives and our views on travel.
When my son said he wanted to go to Alaska to fish joint 28th birthday for myself and for Father’s Day for me, needless to say I was a little worried. We have traveled together before. As a family. In a group. But never alone. Are we going to agree at all? Can we spend 5 or 6 days alone with each other and what will we talk about at all.
I was proud of the man he became and continues to strive to be. He was on his way and I thought we should do it. The “journey of a man” to the last frontier. And I wanted a fish. So I booked a trip in March and we set off in early June.
We flew out of Tampa with a stop in Chicago. The planes were full. People were excited to travel again. And we were excited to go fishing in Alaska. Our adventure has begun.
We had a light flight and landed in Anchorage about an hour earlier than scheduled. 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 around 1:00 on the east coast. After a quick snack we were ready to go.
We went to get the car. I was glad we booked it so long ago. Car rental now has a premium, and some go over $ 300 a day and become increasingly unavailable.
The person behind the Avis counter told me that my car would not be ready for an hour (it was already 9pm) and that I could upgrade my car right away. Since the upgrade was only an extra $ 60, I decided to do it, but I thought it was just another way for Avis to extract money from customers.
Anyway, we took off and stayed at Airbnb in Anchorage about a 5 minute drive from the airport and a few more minutes to the highway. It was a beautiful house, but we had difficulty with the fact that there was no light 24 hours a day and that it never got dark. The blinds didn’t close all the way, so the light kept coming in, but Anchorage was always a place to get in and out of it, not much more for me. We were looking forward to leaving the city and going out into the wilderness, wilderness and landscape.
The next day we would head towards Homer and be trapped in our vehicle for about 6 hours. This is a real test. The real journey begins. Am I ready for that, I wondered? As I later learned, he wondered the same.
Our journey from Anchorage to Homer
What started with a porch on both our parts, the 6-hour journey was filled with laughter, moose guarding and generally a great time. I learned so much about my son. Although he lives about 5 km from us and we see him often, there were some aspects of him that I was not aware of. For example, he kept a diary of his past travels. He went to Alaska, France and Italy. And he took that diary with him so he could update it. Katie and I have diaries from all of our travels and it’s really special to review them and remember what we did and what we encountered.
We both loved looking for moose and bears. Me as a driver, and he as a navigator and chief guard. Although we didn’t see any bears on the way down or back, we did see 10 moose, including 4 small ones. It was really special and we had a great time exploring the smaller towns from Anchorage to Homer.
Anyone heading for Homer, even though your GPS says 4 hours, will need a closer 5 or 5 ½. There is only one road and you will want to stop often. Also, with a few buildings along the way, leave yourself some extra time. It is about 100 miles long from the drive to Seward, but the trip is well worth it.
There were many small towns with Russian influence. We stopped to check them out along with the beaches and of course to see the moose. The journey took us about 6 hours, but it passed quickly. We talked, shared and solved almost all the world’s problems and we enjoyed being together. All our anxiety is lost.
Homer is a fantastic city. Focused on the fishing industry, the main area is Homer Spit. A narrow piece of land that flows into Kachemak Bay. With restaurants, cafes, tourist shops, camps and fishing docks, Homer Spit is a wonderful place to explore. Once my son and I checked into our hotel in Homer, we headed to Homer Spit to see where we would catch our boat for the next two days of fishing. We were a bit surprised by the tent that was camping on a spit, because it was about 40 degrees at night, 55 at most and windy. But if you’re ready, it’s a cheap way to enjoy Alaska and save some money. Alaska can be expensive.
On the first day, we planned a trophy fishing on a sea plate, but time did not work out. We still went fishing, but with a stormy wind we could only get out about 10 to 15 miles. It was a fishing trip we will never forget. There were waves of 6 to 8 feet all the way and the boat would constantly crash into the water. Because it was so windy and rough, we had to stay in a small cabin. All day fishing, the boat rocked back and forth and side by side. We brought some big ones with one person on our boat who caught a 130 lb plaice, and our biggest one was 65 lbs. I didn’t get it, my son 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 grabbed our border and headed back ashore. But before we came back, my son had to prove his manhood. In Alaska, there is a tradition when you catch your first seafood, eat a fish eye. While this doesn’t really make many people, my son decided to give it a try. Armed with a few Jack Daniels whiskeys to wash it, he ate an eye and became a legend on board. It was a weird, rough, wonderful moment and then we headed back.
The way back wasn’t much better, but the captain did a great job. My spine and back still felt and I felt dizzy when I finally got up to get out of the boat. I hope the next day will be better.
The second day was better. And we caught a great fish. Salmon, plaice, cod, stone fish and flounder were brought. We managed to bring a total of 110 pounds of fish back to Florida and we had a great time together. It was difficult, since we had been fishing in shallow water the day before, now at the end of our line we were fishing in 220 foot water with a weight of 4 lb. The winding itself required little effort and although the captain and his colleague were great, they did not provide assistance. After all, this was a trip for experienced fishermen. We have to do that all the time. Although that was not true for us, we did it and felt the achievement when we caught a big fish.
We loved being together. They laughed and joked and really met. In the end, even though I didn’t think so before we left, my son and I have more in common than I ever thought. He grew up and is not the same as when 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 all his life.
Return to Anchorage
We had a flight at 8pm from Anchorage the next day. So we woke up in the morning, drank coffee and set off. We walked slowly as we traveled north the same way we came south. There is only 1 way, so you really can’t get lost. We enjoyed each other’s company again and laughed, joked and watched the moose all the way. We remembered the last time we were in Alaska, talking about the crew and other passengers on our two fishing trips, stopping and buying some and having a good time. We made flights and arrived home safely.
Some things to know when traveling to Alaska
- Prices are generally higher than in the bottom 48. They have a short season and have to make the most of it.
- Car rental can be rare. Book early.
- Grocery stores remain open later in the summer, sometimes until midnight. We went shopping at 11:30 pm on a safe trip to Homer.
- Get a King Salmon license along with an online fishing license before you go. It’s easier and you’ll save time looking for a place to get a fishing license.
- Always add time to your ride. If your GPS says 4 hours, think it will take 6. Almost anywhere you go, the scenery and wilderness is amazing. You will have to stop. Take photos and enjoy your surroundings.
- Spend a little more and find a place to stay with the kitchen. You will save money in the long run if you prepare some of your meals yourself.
- Explore the small towns you usually pass through. Many of them are historic, with beautiful views of the ocean, and there are magnificent lakes throughout Alaska.
- Enjoy there. Make the most of it. It’s a really great place.
Our final word
The final word of my trip with my son: I am so glad I succeeded. I was so happy to be with him and we had a really nice time. We are already talking about what to do and where to go for his 30sth birthday. I can not wait.
And to all fathers, go somewhere with your son or sons and have some time alone. Get to know each other really. And mothers, do the same with your daughters. It really was one of the best experiences of my life.