Before I get started talking about Fourth of July there are several little items I have been meaning to share, but they haven’t really fit in well with any particular post. I felt they are important enough that I wanted to mention them though, so please bear with me as the beginning is going to be a little all over the place.
First off Lee has been redoing all of the signage here and it looks pretty terrific. He has never done signs like this before but with a router and some stencils he ordered I think he did an amazing job.
Oh and I mentioned awhile back that we went to Costco before Memorial Day Weekend and they were totally out of meat. We had a guest here who was a supervisor at Costco and he explained that many of the small local businesses stock up using the Anchorage Costco on the Thursday before holiday weekends and they couldn’t possibly keep up with the demand. For example during Fourth of July weekend they sell a full pallet of charcoal briquettes an hour. The Anchorage Costco is number two in volume in the country, second only behind the one in Hawaii. Nice guy and I felt better after talking to him. The information also helped us delay our next trip to Costco until July 8th, rather than going in the end of June as we originally planned.
Speaking of food Lee has been doing almost all the cooking and doing a wonderful job. He’s even trying some of the new recipes I have collected and his plate presentation has even gotten a little fancy. I really appreciate the meals he is making and will be sharing some of the recipes at the end of this post.
Staying with the food thing we tried salmon a second time when this nice young man Bob who works on plumbing issues at the campground brought us a piece fresh from the river that he had gotten from a fish wheel. It was a beautiful piece of fish, so I asked him how he cooked it and decided to give it a try. We cooked it for 10 minutes at 400 degrees in the oven coated only in salt and lemon juice. It really was a delicious piece of fish, but salmon just looks totally unappetizing to me. Still it was the best salmon I have ever had and I am glad I got to try it again.
Oh and speaking of fishing (I am excited about how all these things are seguing together), Chris and Miranda from Copper Central are a young couple who I have mentioned before had started a fish cleaning, supplies, and tours business. I have been sending a lot of our guests there and they always call and let me know how grateful they are. Super cute couple and very committed to customer service so I am happy to send folks their way. I stopped in and got a picture of Chris…Miranda was out getting supplies…and truly if you are looking for info on fishing in the Copper River Valley, these guys are a great resource. If you are coming into the area give them a call at 907-822-4315. They are happy to answer any questions.
Ok I am totally out of seques but the next one is important. Remember how much I complained about The Milepost Book on our way through Canada, well Kelly from Milepost stopped into the campground. As I suspected she was traveling in a conversion van, but when I mentioned I had concerns she listened to me very carefully and promised to pass it along to the managers. I talked pretty passionately about how they needed more detailed information on the steep grades because larger and larger fifth wheels were becoming more common. I also said it’s obvious you want a good product since you have gone to so much trouble in other areas, but this area is important and needs more work. Like I said she listened and promised to pass it up the food chain and in any event I felt better having told someone from the company. After meeting her I am even more convinced that the companies intentions are good I think they have just missed the mark in this one area.
Ok onto a couple more serious items. I’ve talked a little bit about how my sister fostered and was trying to adopt a little boy. We attended the adoption party before we came to Alaska. Well the adoption was finally approved right after we got here and we can finally post pictures of Abram’s face on the internet. So for those of you who wondered what that cutie pie actually looks like…here you go. I took this pic and am super proud of it!
As someone new enters our lives we also are saying goodbye to someone else. Four years ago our friend Mike died from esophageal cancer. This death at the age of 45 had a huge impact on us and started us on the path to changing our lives and becoming full timers. Lee was given some of his ashes after his cremation and we have carried them with us in our rig on our journey. I’ve talked to him, put little pieces of our travels (rocks, shells, feathers) on the gold box that held him and generally felt like in some way he was coming with us. A few months ago our two youngest daughters started planning a trip to Europe this summer and since they were starting in Scotland Lee and I started talking about sending his ashes with them. Mike was of Scottish descent and his long time dream was to visit the ancestral homes of Clan Lamont. He never got to make that wish come true, but we thought we could make it happen now, so Lee and Mike’s widow worked for weeks to get all the paperwork together that would be needed for the girls to take his ashes.
Turns out it’s not that easy and you need multiple pieces of paper to make it happen. If you know my husband though, you know nothing was going to stop it from happening and a couple of weeks ago we had to send the ashes to our youngest Kay. I couldn’t do it, but Lee took care of it and in a lot of ways it felt like we were losing him all over again in a way. It was tough. Then the girls arrived in Scotland and although I haven’t heard the whole story yet, went to heroic efforts to find the right area, and after slogging through Scottish mud spread his ashes. Mike would have loved it.
Alright, thanks for letting me talk about all that, now back to the Fourth of July. This is a big holiday here in Glennallen starting with a VFW breakfast in the morning, a parade, and then games and a salmon bake at the local park put on by the lions club. I was excited about the day’s activities but unfortunately completely overslept, so by the time I got to the breakfast all they had left were sausages and hard biscuits. Still I saw a couple of very nice campground guests there (Merope and Jim) and since Lee had decided not to come I was glad to have someone to watch the parade with.
Luckily we could watch the parade right from where we were at and the sites filled up quick with lots of families. This is an old fashioned parade where they throw candy and the kids were all ready to go with their bags.
I thought the parade was absolutely great and very impressive for a town of only 585 people. It was no Rose Bowl Parade to be sure, but it absolutely reminded me of my childhood and made me smile.
It was really fun and afterwards I went in the opposite direction of the crowd to see if Lee wanted to go to the Salmon Bake. He wasn’t very interested so I decided to go off on my own and try to find a closer view of the elusive fish wheels. People are pretty territorial about them and since almost everyone was at the salmon bake I thought now might be a good time, but after following Bob’s vague directions on where he got the salmon (and hitting at least 20 dead end roads) I decided to go and visit Chris and Miranda. They were working and Chris mentioned that I might be able to see fish wheels from the Lutheran Church parking lot in Silver Springs. So off I went and with Chris’s much better directions at least found the church. Since I am Lutheran I like seeing Lutheran churches anyways and this one was tiny but cool. I especially liked the wooden cross in the field next to it.
I walked down to see the cross and the river and voila, around the corner I could finally get close enough to fish wheels to see them in action. I couldn’t real see if they caught any fish, but it was cool that every house along that river bank had one. Then a big dog wandered up and said hello and I sat for awhile enjoying the river and the peace and quiet.
So I can finally say I got sort of up close to a fish wheel and I learned a lot about the local communities by driving around. It wasn’t the best day I have had here by any means but it was ok and looking forward to some big trips we have coming up in the future. Oh and as promised here are two delicious new recipes that Lee made for me. So So good.
Crawfish or Shrimp Beignets (Lee made the shrimp version so good)
- 1 egg; beaten
- 1 lb chopped crawfish tail meat or shrimp
- 4 green onions; chopped
- 1-1/2 tsp butter; melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup flour
- In a large bowl combine meat, egg, onions, butter, salt, and cayenne
- Stir in flour until blended
- Heat oil to 375 in wok, deep skillet, or fryer
- Drop tablespoons of mixture into oil a few at a time
- Fry until golden brown on both sides
- Drain on paper towels
We used purchased Louisiana dipping sauce, but you can make your own by mixing the following:
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 tsp prepared horseradish
- 1/4 tsp pepper sauce
- 4 boneless chicken thighs
- Sprinkles of garlic powder and seasoning salt
- 1 TBL vegetable oil
- 4-1/2 ounces of sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned; drained)
- 1 cup (4 oz) Mexican shredded cheese blend
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup bacon bits
- If desired flatten chicken to 1/4″ thickness (Lee skipped this step and it still tasted great)
- Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder and seasoning salt
- Brown chicken in oil for 4 minutes over medium heat in large, nonstick skillet
- Top chicken with mushrooms, cheese, green onions, and bacon
- Cover and cook until juices run clear and cheese is melted; about 4 minutes
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