The group departed Kenai at their own leisure and we took our time exploring the highways and sites between Kenai and Seward. We spent the morning filming scenery along the way, and stopped along some of the rivers to watch the locals fly fish for Salmon.
We arrived in Seward early afternoon, and the group was getting settled in at Seward Waterfront Park. A beautiful campsite located along the water of Resurrection Bay, Seward Waterfront Park looks across to the stunning Resurrection Peninsula. The afternoon was a little wet and dreary, so most of the group opted for time inside playing cards and games with one another, or relaxed with a book. We took the opportunity to interview a few of the couples on the Caravan to learn more about their stories and their journey so far through Alaska. We learned some couples had traveled the world, some had RVed for many years, and for some the 2014 Alaska Caravan was their first RV trip. I was inspired when Yong and Younghee showed us their Readers Digest Most Scenic Drives in American book, showing us the places they had visited, and the highways they had journeyed. Yong said it is their dream to drive and experience every scenic highway in the book – We think they’re well on their way!
We rose early the next morning and grabbed a quick bite to eat before meeting up with the group for the day’s adventure. Duane and Lynda had organized a boat tour for the group, to explore Kenai Fjords National Park. We packed into a bus and headed down the the Marina for the first sailing of the day with Kenai Fjords Tours.
The morning brought a mix of cloud and rain, and huge 12ft swells in the Pacific. Given the rough sea conditions, we were given the option to cancel our tickets and get re-embursed for the tour. Most of our group decided to go regardless. Not fairing well with motion sickness I purchased some motion sickness pills for the journey and hoped for the best. We departed Seward at 10 a.m. and headed South down Resurrection Bay. The first portion of the journey was relaxing and enjoyable and we got settled in with hot drinks and snacks.
The captain and his crew were fantastic and provided a wealth of knowledge along the journey. The captain and crew would point out wildlife as we passed, and even slow the boat down to ensure everyone was able to get a great view and take plenty of photos. We saw Eagles, Harbor Seals, Sea Otters, Sea Lions, and shortly into the journey, a pod of Dall’s Porpoise swam, jumped and dove alongside our boat providing a memorable show! We also got to see Humpback Whales, which was an incredible site.
Once we got out of Resurrection bay and into the Gulf of Alaska the swells got up to 10-12 ft. A rocky ride to say the least, some of us were fearful, and were heavily feeling the effects of motion sickness, while others including Bill and John continued playing Cribbage, completely unfazed by the conditions. The Kenai Fjords Tour crew was excellent, attending to everyone’s needs, providing assistance, water, and even the dreaded doggie bags.
After quite the eventful ride we headed into Aialik Bay towards the Aialik Glacier for a much needed break from the rough seas. One of my favourite memories from the day was seeing the glacier calving. The Captain brought us as close to the glacier as possible and even shut off the engine so we could hear and experience the glacier calving in its full effect. We all spent a number of minutes in complete silence taking in the spectacular site, listening to the ice break away and plummeting into the waters below.
On the way back to Seward we stopped at Fox Island for a much welcomed break on land to warm-up in-front of the fire, and enjoy a delicious Wild Alaska Salmon and Prime Rib buffet. If you are planning on visiting Alaska, Seward is certainly worth the visit, as is taking the tour out to view Kenai Fjords National Park – although we hope you have much calmer seas than we did! We hope you enjoy the full video of our time with the Alaska Caravan.
The caravan consisted of about 20 Leisure Travel Vans from all over the US and Canada and was lead by Duane and Lynda Pilson of Rec-Vee, and Bill and Helen Harder on behalf of Leisure Travel Vans. Our LTV marketing team caught up with the caravan for five days, five weeks into their journey in Homer, Alaska, located on the shore of Kachemak Bay, on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula.
We set up camp for three days along the beautiful Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mile long paved peninsula that extends into the Kachemak Bay, looking south across to the grand peaks of Kachemak State Wilderness Park. Home to just over 5000 people, Homer is known as the Halibut fishing capital of the world.
Our first day in Homer was a beautiful sunny day, an apparent welcomed break from the wet weather the group had been having for the first portion of their trip. Half of the group decided to take advantage of the clear skies and they headed out on a fishing trip in Kachemak Bay. Calm waters and an abundance of fish provided a successful trip enjoyed by all, with enough Halibut brought back to stock the freezers. While the fishermen were out on the water enjoying the sunshine we headed out with Jerry on a seaplane tour above Homer and Kachemak Bay National Park, taking in the magnificent peaks, glaciers, mountain lakes, and rivers. This was definitely one of the most memorable experiences of our time there.
After an awe inspiring and eventful day, that evening we got together with some of the couples to shoot some lifestyle photos and video along the beach. Incredibly good sports, we filmed them as they strolled the beach, beach combed, and even danced with the mountains as their backdrop!
Early the next day we left Homer and headed to Kenai for one night. We stayed at Beluga Lookout Lodge and RV Park, located along the Kenai River – a large glacial system draining the central Kenai Peninsula. While we were there we were lucky enough to catch the first day of the King Salmon fishing season. The Kenai River is famous for large runs of salmon, particularly King Salmon, and every year the salmon navigate back to the rivers in which they were born to swim upstream and spawn. They swim up in such large numbers that Alaskan residents are allowed to dipnet for them, potentially stocking up enough salmon for their families for the year. According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, when dipnetting, the head of household is permitted 25 salmon each year and 10 additional salmon per additional household member under their dipnetting permit. If you plan on visiting the Kenai area try your hand at dipnetting! Visitors to the area can enjoy professional charted fishing tours up the river and can catch one King Salmon per person.
That evening the rain slowly set in and our group got together to enjoy a communal dinner consisting of a fish fry using the freshly caught Halibut. Bill, using his infamous ‘Bills Dust’ – his top secret tasty spice blend – prepared the halibut while Mark helped out with the cooking. We all enjoyed a potluck of various salads and appetizers, complimenting one of the best Halibut meals I have had. We continued to enjoy the evening getting to know the great group of people on the caravan, sharing many laughs and good times.
Stay tuned for more about the 2014 Alaska Caravan journey, where we head into Seward and take a boat tour to the Kenai Fjords National Park’s Glacier!
My wife Lynda and I made our first trip to Alaska from Canada in 1996 and we fell in love with not only Alaska but also the Yukon. At that time we were inspired to start a Tour Company for RVers which lead to the forming of Rec-Vee Holiday Adventures. We enjoyed taking caravans from Canada up to Alaska until unfortunate health reasons forced us to retired from the business in 2008.
But life has an unexpected way of altering plans. We were contacted by Triple E/Leisure Travel Vans out of Winkler, Manitoba, to see if we would put on a special Caravan in 2014 for the owners of LTV vehicles. Having not been to Alaska and the Yukon since 2008, we decided to make a special trip in 2013 to bring us up to speed with any changes that might have occurred since our last visit. We not only had a fantastic time but we had the opportunity to visit some new RV Parks, some great new attractions, and do something we only had dreamed about, but had never yet experienced: travel the Alaska Marine Highway from Haines Alaska to Prince Rupert, B.C., visiting communities along the way.
Since our presentation in 2013 at the LTV/Triple E rally we were hard at work incorporating not only the campgrounds, attractions and entertainment that we used on the previous caravans but also many new ones we experienced and enjoyed in 2013. The 2014 caravan was our last caravan of this size, and we wanted to make the experience for the participants to be the best it could be.
In preparation for the trip we had the opportunity to pick up a 2014 Free Spirit at the Factory in Winkler for the caravan. It was an exciting time for both of us as we became familiar with the unit on our drive home to Calgary.
More about the 2014 Alaska Caravan journey in the upcoming weeks!