On the Road Adventures

Thursday, July 16, 2009

July 15 - Soldotna

Today we drove to Soldotna. It qualifies as a Big City since it has a Fred Meyers, and we took advantage of their RV-friendly policy by camping in their parking lot. We stopped by the Visitor Center and walked out on the boardwalk that goes along the edge of the Kenai River to watch the salmon fishermen try their luck. Along one bit of the river there were a dozen people standing just a few feet apart, fishing for silver salmon. Since protocol forbids allowing your line to cross into your neighbor’s space, the procedure was: cast the line straight out, let it float a few feet, snatch it up again and cast back out. Since the lures were heavy, they were essentially flogging the water like an old housewife beating the dirt out of a rug. Sir Izaak Walton would be appalled.

When we got tired of watching all those people beat the water, we drove just a short way out of town to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. There were some short trails so we walked down to the lake behind the center and saw a family of loons, mama, papa and two babies, out in the lake. A little grouse walked out of the underbrush right in front of us, and you could almost hear her gasp of surprise when she realized we were there. She gave us a sidelong look and strolled back into the brush, as if to say, “I wasn’t startled at all.” I was so charmed with her I almost didn’t get the camera up in time to grab a quick shot.

For all Soldotna’s places to enjoy wildlife, the star attraction of the town has to be The Moose is Loose Bakery. We’d read elsewhere that it was spectacular, but we weren’t really prepared for what we saw when we walked in there. As we stood in stupefied bafflement at the array of goodies, I was listening to the comments of the other customers as they walked in:
“Ohmagawd, will you look at that!” seemed to be the most common, with a few orgasmic groans thrown in for good measure. One lady announced in hushed tones that her life-time membership in Weight Watchers just went out the window. And then there was the ultimate compliment, a Homer Simpson-esque gargle followed by “do-o-o-oughnuts.” This is just one of the cases, and if your eye says the items look normal size, well, those doughnuts are 10" across. My favorite was the Boston crème, loaded with cream and chocolate. Or was it the “roadkill” cinnamon bun, a flattened cinnamon roll that was baked crispy? Or maybe the cinnamon apple bread, dripping with frosting? Certainly the giant doughnut, the size of a large salad plate that Gerry and I split for breakfast this morning, is a contender. So many goodies to choose from. I look forward to going back through Soldotna to try and resolve this conundrum.

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