We had two different prospective buyers come look at our trailer. The first, a man, was very interested, but needed to bring his wife back to get her approval. The second, a woman, said she definitely wanted to purchase it and would bring by a check the next day.
Our kids love Indian food, so we asked for a recommendation from my cousins and ended up at Bombay Deluxe. I generally avoid buffets, but I was starving. And at $12, the buffet was cheaper than any entree on the menu. When we asked about a price for the kids, the waitress eyed Rachel and Lucy and told us Rachel would be charged as adult, but Lucy could pay the kids' price ($6 or $7). Haha, she guessed wrong on that one!
Steve and Rachel ordered off of the menu: Chicken Tikka Masala ($19. . . good, but kind of pricey) and Garlic Naan ($5 and worth every penny). I loaded up on green salad, Naan, Basmati Rice, and Saag. Lucy ate four huge plates of Chicken Curry. (I'm not even kidding.) I convinced Adam that something on the buffet was chicken nuggets, so then he ate nine or ten of them. (I wasn't feeding him mystery meat or anything. . . I think they were Potato Pakoras?) And Kaleigh ate Naan.
Once our bellies were full, we were ready for our bicycle ride on the Coastal Trail. Steve unloaded and assembled the bikes and the kid trailer while I sprayed everyone down with mosquito repellent. (Alaska's unofficial state bird is the mosquito; they are huge and plentiful.) Just then, I noticed that some of the Asians getting off the big tour bus were laughing at us and a couple of them were even taking pictures.
I asked Steve what he thought was so funny. He assumed that it was because we have so many kids. (I know there are only four of them, but they are so loud and busy that they create the illusion of a few more.) I wondered if they found all of our bikes and gear attached to the back of our vehicle humorous.
It took me a while to realize they were most certainly amused by this:
We read the signs at Earthquake Park, which is now a wooded forest. During the 1964 earthquake, the entire subdivision that once stood here was swallowed into the Cook Inlet.
Just before Point Woronzof, we stopped on the side of the trail and watched planes from the international airport fly right over our heads.
I wanted to go all of the way to Kincaid Park, but it started to rain, and Lucy was getting a little spooked by the woods. We had lost cell phone reception partway through our ride and didn't realize we were only a mile away from the end of the trail.
This bike ride is probably one of my very favorite memories of our trip to Alaska. We need to go on more family rides! Adam fell asleep in the bike trailer on the way back; those two little kids are getting heavy to pull.
We came back to this:
. . . At least they followed our rule.
Our next stop was the Indian Valley Mine. We fully expected it to be a lame tourist trap, so Steve took just Adam so he could do something special with him alone.
After a long wait in the car, Kaleigh needed to use a restroom, so we all walked up to check in on them. Steve was completely engrossed with his gold panning and clearly mesmerized by the process. He taught Rachel and Lucy how it worked (gold is heavier than sand and nineteen times heavier than water, so with the right swirling motion, it sinks to the bottom of the pan before the dirt settles).
The owner, Arlene, had showed them how to separate the sand, rocks, and dirt from the gold and then put the gold flakes into a small vial of water to take home as a souvenir.
It wasn't easy to pry Steve away, but we felt pretty lucky to have received an invitation for dinner at Maggie's house. This is "Cheesecake Maggie" and Chad in front of their house, which is actually more like a cabin in the middle of the woods. The setting is surreal, especially with the thick layer of moss that blankets their roof.
Maggie had an impressive spread: burgers with Gouda cheese, grilled salmon, green salad, pasta salad, and, to keep up with her nickname, cheesecake brownies. I regretted eating such a large lunch. I enjoyed my introduction to fiddlehead ferns, that Maggie had picked in the nearby woods. . . and grilled with Gouda cheese. We had a great dinner and enjoyed learning about Chad's job with the Forest Service.
Rachel and Lucy were thrilled with roasting marshmallows over the campfire:
Adam was content playing with their dog:
Steve broke out his S'mores skills:
And Mags broke out her fairy-of-the-forest crown-making skills:
There were a few close calls, but we left before any of our kids poked Chad with a burning stick. Such a fun evening; we miss Maggie, and we are big fans of Chad :)
By the time we drove back to Anchorage, our kids were asleep in the car and reeked of campfire smoke. We made a split-second decision to hook up the trailer and drive back towards Maggie's house and through the night to Homer. We hadn't planned to go to Homer until later the next day, but suddenly it seemed easier than transitioning the sleepy, smelly kids to bed in the trailer.