Friday, July 4, 2008


   The many bald eagles of the Homer area appeared to know what freedom was all about. They perched majestically on the peak of the old theatre or on the light pole nearby. They were oblivious to all the people moving about. As we drove up the steep hill north of town we paused at the nicely manicured turn out, got out and gazed back over the bay and the little piece of land known as Homer Spit. We lingered for awhile. Not easy to leave. Driving on toward Soldotna, we had a lovely view of two gigantic mountains across the Inlet, both snow-covered. We had driven this same scenic highway a few days earlier in the other direction. Dave Stancliff, the Alaska ballad singer from Tok, had reminded us when we entered this Land of the midnight sun a few weeks ago, not to go looking for Alaska, but to rather let Alaska find us. Eureka!!! We have surely been waylaid and willingly captured by a dear Friend and have no desire to try and break loose and run away.

   We continued on the Sterling highway and then up the Seward highway stopping only for fuel at $4.42 a gallon (picked up a couple of apple fritters too, along with some other goodies) and then topped off the tank in Anchorage at $4.39. Drove across the street to Fred Meyers and purchased a few groceries and planned to park there for the night, but a bit later decided to go another fifty miles north to Wasilla. It was slow going in rush hour traffic on the Glenn highway but we soon arrived at Fred's there. Spent the night there with a few other rv'ers. 

    After getting the Blazer oil changed and exploring the new Walmart, we checked into the nearby Homestead campground about noon on Wednesday. A very nice shady and busy spot. Our mail had already arrived.  We have since wandered back over and through Sam Walton's major enterprise several times. It is Sweet Lynda's favorite hangout. More groceries; more of this; more of that, etc. My philosophy is: Whatever it takes to make her happy. . . . . because is she ain't happy. . . . . . . .

    Just east of the campground here is the town of Palmer. I have been aware of this place in Alaska since the late fifties. In 1959, the 59ers, a group of several families from in and around Royal Oak, Michigan, where I was living at the time, sold everything, packed up families and belongings and moved all the way up here to the Matanuska valley to take up homesteading. A local Michigan reporter traveled with them and filed a daily column on the odyssey. I was only in my early twenties, but can still recall thinking how exciting an adventure it must be. The lure of the newest state gently tugged at me even then. 

    So, you ask, "Whatever happened to the 59ers?"  That was certainly my question and I intended to inquire. After all, "Inquiring minds want to know." Sweet Lynda and I trekked on over to the Palmer visitor's center. First we met Helen, a delightful, pint-sized bundle of lightning. An extremely active senior citizen with strong, razor-sharp opinions and a disarming smile and a personality to match. We liked her at once. Seems as though I've known a few others like that in my life.....but I best refrain from listing names here. Anyway, she thought we were talking about President Roosevelt's homestead re-location program of the 30's. Not so. About that time a sharp and very talkative young lady named Dawn typed in  59erstoalaska  on google and sure enough, there it all was, right before our eyes. I wasn't crazy after all. Articles, conversation and photos and lots more available to read about. History, if you will, from 49 years ago. It grabbed my attention RIGHT NOW and I've just begun to get into it.

   40-ish, Shane Lamb, is a local artist in Palmer. At the visitor's center his drawing of "Palmer Pride" drew my interest. I was ready to buy a black & white copy when Dawn told me that his studio was right across the street. Really? We wandered over to find a very engaging artist and a room full of warmth and beauty. After spending a lengthy period of time there, we left with a framed color print of "Palmer Pride." Got a photo of Shane & me holding the picture. ( "Why isn't it on the blog?", you ask.  The answer:  Because I'm new at this computer business and I can't seem to get photos downloaded from the camera or uploaded to the blog. What little I've done has been with help step by step. Maybe later).

   Today is July 4th. The park owners sponsored a picnic earlier. Talked to oldest son Evans...& Teresa and Jasmine in Kazakhstan this morning. It was July 4th evening there. Earlier in the afternoon the judge there said a strong and permanent YES! July 4th is little Sophia's(Sophie) INDEPENDENCE DAY from the orphanage. She now has freedom to experience a new and exciting life in a loving family. Today we gained a new granddaughter. She will be two on July 25th. Is the Lord good or what?

   Talked to our beautiful, grown-up granddaughter, Macy Carol, too. She is tall and terrific and nice. She turned sixteen last month and now has her license. Be careful, sweetheart. We don't ever want anything harmful to happen to you. We are proud of you and love you very much.

   On this Independence day, we again recall, with thanksgiving, all the freedoms we enjoy in this country. We express heartfelt appreciation to veterans of earlier times and to those now engaged in defending this nation. To paraphrase, "If we do not pay attention to and learn from that which has happened in the past, we are doomed to repeat our stupid mistakes all over again."  The problems of our times will not disappear and become non-existent just because we stick our heads in the sand and wish it so. Your particular politics are not important, but how you respond to an enemy who wishes to wipe your way of life and your personal freedom from the face of the earth is crucial. With all my heart, I wish for my little grandkids and great grandkids still in the womb, to be able, by the grace of God, to celebrate Independence Day in their old age. 
On the road again with
Winston and Lynda


MaMa Teresa said...

Well, I suppose I get a little lazy posting to your posts sometimes; Skype has spoiled me rotten! I am SO glad we both have Skype and can talk and video each other so often. It's made this trip and YOUR trip better for us, I can certainly say that!!
As always, I enjoyed reading this blog. I miss you both terribly, and cannot wait for you to be able to give Sophie a kiss!!! Hopefully you'll be able to see her soon on Skype!

J. Pike said...

Hello! So glad to read of your wonderous explorations! We heard the baby's heartbeat for the first time on Thursday! It was AMAZING! Josh had a grin on his face so big, you can just imagine. I am now only 8 weeks along, and expect our little one to arrive Feb. 8th. Miss and love you both!

Michelle W. said...

Winston and Sweet Lynda, just catching up on your blog. The reading keeps getting better and better! The first paragraph of Independence Day knocked my socks off.
Now, I have to find out what happened to the 59ers too. Maybe you'll tell in the next installments, or maybe I'll have to research it for myself.
Thanks for documenting your trip. This really whets my appetite for the north.