Saturday after some domestic work cleaning up the rig at Kenai RV Park we went to the Visitor Center where we learned we had already walked most of the sites of the Kenai Old Town. We shopped at the Farmers Market, mostly crafts, very little in the way of food or produce, not surprising given that the growing season is very late here.
We drove out a bit to see Kenai Landing, an attempt to convert an old cannery into a resort and shopping area, and a couple of over looks where we hoped to see some wildlife.
The primary wildlife viewing of the afternoon turned out to be a moose cow and her calf feeding along side the road in an area of commercial structures and not far from a residential area.
We had heard that a performer named Hobo Jim would be performing at Kenai Landing that afternoon at 3 so after lunch and some other wandering we returned and paid our $5 each cover to join a crowd of 8 or 10 participants to hear Hobo Jim. We really enjoyed his performance. He is listed as the Official Balladeer of Alaska and has been writing and performing for many years. He writes for many of the names recording out of Nashville and he records for Nashville label. The small audience was a bit surprising although by the time we left there were maybe 20 or so.
We left because we had stopped by Veronica’s Cafe the evening before and heard that there would be music and food beginning at 6:30. We had very nice food and the music was pleasing and in the modern folk tradition, guitar and voice and interesting lyrics.
We entered as strangers and realized that we were maybe the only people in the three small rooms who were not local and well known to each other. By the time we left we had been included in the local vibe and felt part of the crowd, it was hard not to be since we were crowded in with everyone. As we left at 9 or so we were hugged by Veronica and warmly thanked by the musicians.
Off to Hooligans Bar in Soldotna for more Hobo Jim. This was a whole lot different. It was a noisy, smoky bar and Jim clearly was drinking and playing to a very different audience. He got louder and more raucous and in a couple of numbers managed to offend just about everyone who might choose to take umbrage with his lyrics. We were hysterical. As we walked in he greeted us form the stage commenting that he had seen us earlier. Afterwards he gave us hugs in farewell. At 11 he wrapped up and made way for a rock band. We had had enough smoke and still had a 20 minute drive through territory with moose and bears roaming the roads so we left. Two songs stay with us “Iditarod Trail” the anthem of the race and his best known song (chorus “I did, I did, I did, the Iditarod Trail”), he played it in grade schools across the state for years, and “I am Alaska.” Also we did buy a cd of his with these two and many other songs. He now is available on iTunes.
We moved to the Kenai Elks Lodge the next day and will stay through the 4th for the Kenai parade. There are no fireworks scheduled as the only dark is after midnight. Sunset tonight is 11:35. Our current thought is to drive back to Portage Glacier Road on Tuesday and then take the car to Hope and then dinner at Double Musky in Girdwood. The reviews and recommendations are all excellent and the vegetarian menu they sent when I asked for Carol is just fantastic. Then Anchorage and pick up mail in Palmer again.