Sunday, September 19, 2010

Post Trip Wrap-Up

Well it's been a week since we were on vacation and enjoying the wonderful fall weekend in Fairbanks. Today in Milwaukee it is cloudy, drizzly and cool . . . sorta like that first weekend when we arrived in Fairbanks. I've spent the past 24 hours, other than sleeping and breakfast time, working on my photos from the trip. I'm happy that I've been able to post all that I want to on PhotoBucket (there are six slide shows there). My next major post-trip project will be writing my IgoUgo travel reports, reviews and journals.

Some have asked about RVing in Alaska and how we did with gas and mileage. In total, we drove "the beast" 1,431 miles and used 177 gallons of gas. Our total gas bill for the trip in the RV (excluding the rental car for three days) was $628.50 or $3.55/gallon. The high was in Cantwell ($4.259) and low of $3.259 in Talkeetna. Had we only known we could have made it that far, we could have saved about $25! We found gas to be around $3.40 +/- in and around Anchorage (including Palmer and Wasilla) and around $3.70 down on the Kenai Peninsula. We paid $3.529 at the Safeway in Fairbanks but also enjoyed our final tank at $.10 off thanks to our Safeway card and a large initial grocery shopping trip to get us started. As for propane, we went through about 3/4's of a tank or $50 worth.

RVing was actually pretty easy. David found the 29' Winnebago easy to drive. The truck part of the motorhome was a Ford 450, and he said handled well. Most of the internal systems were pretty intuitively set up . . . including the hook-ups, etc. Because we both enjoy some space for sleeping, and we have a tendency to snore, we found sleeping on opposite ends to be in our best interest. Both beds were very comfortable and roomy enough "for one". LOL

We did very basic meal preparation in the RV . . . cereal most mornings, but we did splurge twice with pancakes! Lunch was typically sandwiches and chips . . . and dinner spaghetti (and left overs the next night), hot dogs or hamburgers. We did have plenty of micro-popcorn plus some snacks (trail mix, pistachios, Special K snack bars and Chips Ahoy cookies) available for when the urge hit. Our total grocery bill for the 14 days (of which, 10 nights were in the RV) was just over $200. As for groceries, we found Safeway (with a member card) to be about the same as Fred Meyer in terms of pricing on groceries but more expensive on OTC meds (Nyquil and Dayquil caps).

For the dining out that we did (5 breakfasts and 5 dinners) we spent just under $500. That made our total food cost for the trip (a total of 17 days) $700, which I think is pretty good.

About campsite costs, we did not do any boondocking, although we were open to it on our night in Glennallen but a $20 (with WiFi) place appeared out of nowhere so we stayed there with full hook-ups to boot. The most expensive camps we used were the two fishing camps (Alaskan Anglers and RW's) at about $40/night but the Northern Lights 2:1 coupon made it very affordable. River's Edge RV Resort in Fairbanks was very nice and $35/night with the Good Sam discount.

Speaking of Good Sam, the membership paid for itself with the "free night" rebate for a max of $25 given that the membership was on sale for $19 from their regular price of $29. We also purchased their platinum service plan for $109 which will also be good for use here in the lower 48 on our regular household vehicles for the coming 11 months. We felt it was good insurance to have in case of an emergency or something unexpected like a flat tire or running out of gas.

Camping inside Denali National Park at the Tek Campground was a highlight even though it required very limited use of the generator and no hook-ups. I enjoyed the remoteness, plus being an hour inside of the park to start our day on the two days that we did the shuttle bus. Three nights of camp, park admission fees and our Tek shuttle passes cost $135.

The luxury of using Alaskan Lodges along the way was a very nice break from the camping. As much as we did enjoy the camp experience, having unlimited hot water showers was wonderful. While lodges in Alaska can be pricey, it was a splurge worth experiencing!

This was a trip that was initially being planned for over two years ago. I maintained a three-ring binder with all of our travel plans, reservations and receipts. I used spreadsheets to keep track of the budget and prepaid items, so that we were prepared for the expenses along the way and knew what splurges we could afford should the opportunity present itself.

Having the reservation documents saved us on two occasions, both on reservations made through AARP last October. The first was with Avis rental car our first weekend, where they were going to charge us their current rack rate. The other was our last weekend at the Comfort Inn in Fairbanks. The manager checking us out did not like that I had such a great deal rate and questioned it. I had the e-mails documenting both reservations through AARP's travel center (Expedia) and both had to honor the rates. You hate to have to get to that point with any merchant, but without the paperwork, I doubt I would have been successful in holding either to the rates quoted.

Regarding the "Milepost" . . . considered the bible of road travel in Alaska . . . I have to say, it was immensely helpful in planning and greatly missed when I left a small suitcase at the FAI airport on our arrival and therefore didn't have the book (or any of my other reference materials) for the our entire trip. With that being said, we did get by without it although I did toy with ponying up $25 to buy one in Wasilla but did eventually err on the side of frugality. The biggest "miss" in my opinion by not having it was the drive from Palmer to Glennallen and from there to Fairbanks as these were routes I was not familiar with and the "Milepost" would have been very beneficial, especially on the Richardson Hwy. (I would have liked to have been better prepared for the great vistas and views between Cooper Landing and Delta Junction!)

So in closing, the good news is that we have left enough of Alaska to do on a future trip . . . maybe 2013? The things we missed seeing and/or doing . . . in no particular order: Musk Ox Farm (Palmer), Homer, Valdez, the entire drive between Palmer and Glennallen (thanks to fog and terrible visibility), Wrangell-Elias National Park, Morris Thompson Center (Fairbanks), silver salmon fishing WITH fish to send home, and Independence Mine (Palmer).

Of the things that we did do, the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge is a "must do again" . . . maybe tying that into some fishing (halibut and silvers). I am also looking forward to another flightseeing trip with K2/Rusts this winter . . . and would love to visit my new friend Tom if he gets that aurora lodge up and running near Palmer.

Thank you to the Culbert Family for their warmth and friendship . . . and making this adventure of a lifetime possible for us! It is our hope that your two weeks in Hawaii will be as relaxing and enjoyable as our time in Alaska was in your very fine motorhome.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Photos Posted

I am in the process of posting a significant number of photos over at PhotoBucket. Here is the link: .

Friday, September 17, 2010

As Promised - Catching Up

Well we've been home for a few days and it's been crazy trying to get things done around here plus at work, so there's been no time to wrap up the blog on our weekend in Fairbanks. Our big activities while in town were the El Dorado Gold Mine and Riverboat Discovery.

As already posted, we enjoyed our time at the gold mine and would recommend it to others, if for no other reason but than to learn about the gold rush in this area back around the turn of the century along with what's currently happening in the gold industry here. There are several very successful mining operations in the area so it was an interesting way to spend the afternoon.

Guests are taken on a train ride through the mining operation, including a permafrost tunnel where the process of identifying gold is explained. Stream panning is demonstrated along the way, with the train stopping at the station at the other end where their gold camp is set up complete with a huge pile of dirt ready for flushing through the sluice box. Of course, the four panners found A LOT of flakes and even a decent sized nugget. Yukon Yonda did a nice job of whetting everyone's appetite to find their own gold nugget, but alas, nothing in our group came close to worthy of "nugget" status. (The flakes in the pan in this photo were my $27 worth!)

On Sunday we took in Riverboat Discovery, which is a three and a half hour tour that is largely spent aboard the 900 passenger Discovery III on the Chena River. They have do a very nice job of telling a story as you meander down the river. On our trip, the boat was practically empty (probably around 100 people) and the weather could not have been any better. "Postcard Perfect" our host kept saying. I think he was right.

Along our journey, we learned about getting around in Alaska including bush pilots who fly into remote areas . . . and dog mushing including four time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher's kennel.

Demonstrations on the river and/or shoreline of the Chena made for a nice relaxing experience. (By this time, I was ready for some passive activities, like floating down a lazy river and being lazy watching the world go by.)

The big feature stop on this tour is the Athabascan Village where the Chena and Tanana Rivers converge. Here we learned about their native subsistence lifestyle and how today, they try to retain and preserve their culture while also being part of a 21st century American society. Hunting, fishing and mushing are all part of their heritage on exhibit here. This was an actual stop where everyone got off the boat and received three short (10 minute) presentations. After that, we were free to explore for another 30 minutes or so.

Back on the Discovery III, we were treated with a sample of Capt. Jim's Smoke Salmon. While pretty good as a cracker spread, at $10/four ounce can (or three cans for $27) we felt that was a bit too rich for our blood. When we returned to the main dock, guests were encouraged to stop back in the gift shop to take advantage of their end of season specials or perhaps an ice cream cone. For us, dinner was on the agenda!

We sought out a Mexican restaurant and after wandering around Fairbanks for a while. Eventually we stumbled upon Gallo's next door to the Sam's Club on Illinois Ave. The food was very good. We were surprised, however, that you cannot purchase a pitcher of margaritas in Alaska. Go figure.

When we got back to our hotel room, we spent a quiet night watching a little TV before going to bed. I think I was fast asleep by 9:00pm, with David not far behind me. Unfortunately, there were no northern lights to see. Timing is everything with the aurora and in our case, we were leaving a couple of days too early for the early fall display that was spectacular by all local accounts (and photographs). Thanks to my friends Susan and Lara for sharing their images from Tuesday and Wednesday night via Facebook.

We were up early and on the road to the airport by 6:30am. The lines at the airport were horrendous . . . nearly 45 minutes to check our bags and another 20 at the TSA. We knew there was no way we'd make our scheduled 8:00am departure time. I think it was nearly 8:30am when we finally took off for Minneapolis.

Our travel home was really uneventful. David's brother Chris picked us up, and Miss Heidi was in the van too. She was happy to see us, as we were her.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Night - WHEW!

Well the Great Alaskan Adventure comes to an end with our flight home tomorrow morning. As poorly as the weather was we when arrived here just over two weeks ago, it was that perfect this weekend.

As I already posted, our salmon bake dinner night out on Friday was fantastic . . . a great night for an outdoor picnic style supper. Yesterday and today was more of the same!

Saturday we enjoyed a visit to the University of Alaska/Fairbanks' Museum of the North. While I had been here before, I thoroughly enjoyed this trip because we also took in two of their three movies. The one on life in Fairbanks in the winter was reaffirmation for David that he would not want to live here. I on the other hand, enjoyed watching the 2008 film that included the ONAC . . . "HEY I was there!" The other movie was on the aurora borealis, a subject I never bore of.

After the museum, we headed north to the El Dorado Gold Mine. Sure it is a bit touristy, but what the heck . . . WE ARE TOURISTS! We enjoyed it and was able to pace ourselves to avoid that "stuck in the gift shop" gripe that some have after their panning experience. I panned for $27 worth of gold flakes, while David had $14 (give or take).

Saturday was our last night of RV suppers followed by some TV via our laptop :)

Sunday morning was a bit rushed as we had a lot of chores to do in order to get the motorhome to her owners and be ready to join our Riverboat Discovery at 1:30pm. Washing the linens before a breakfast meet up with my friend Susan and her hubby . . . and then going back to the RV park to take care of the final dumping of waste waters . . . and then off to the car wash and lastly a propane tank fill-up. While we ran late and the propane station had technical issues, everything went pretty much A-OK.

We met the RV owners at the appointed location, had our final good byes and then dashed off for our afternoon tour. The Riverboat Discovery was also very informational and entertaining, adding a lot to our Fairbanks experience.

I wish I had photos available to post tonight, but alas, my camera accessories are packed away out in the car trunk. I will post some photos with a more detailed overview of the El Dorado Gold Mine & Riverboat Discovery tours as well as our brunch this morning at Pike's Landing Restaurant when we get home . . . probably Tuesday night.

Tonight we are hoping for an aurora viewing opportunity, although it doesn't sound too promising based on the most recent info at With a 5:30am wake-up call, our final travel day will come quickly so I'm going to wrap up things here tonight and hit the sack.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Arrived Fairbanks

We arrived here yesterday afternoon around 4:30pm and got checked into our RV resort right along the Chena River. The drive up from Glennallen was uneventful and very pretty.

The mountains had a lot of snow on the tops, while the lower elevations were vibrant with fall colors. We stopped along the way several times to take photos, including where the AK pipeline was near the roadway.

We did stop just north of Delta Junction for lunch at a pullover overlooking the Tanana River. Once in Fairbanks, we gassed up the beast for the last time, ironically at the place where we picked her up . . . Safeway.

Once settled into camp, we showered and got ready to go out for dinner & a show at Pioneer Park. Friday was their last night of the season so we we treated to an added bonus at the Alaska Salmon Bake . . . crab legs! Dinner was an outstanding value at $31pp for the all you could eat that featured halibut, salmon, cod, prime rib and all the fixings (salads, baked beans, rolls) plus desserts.

After dinner we made our way over into Gold Rush Town and the Palace Theatre for their PG-13 "Golden Heart Revue. The song 'n dance show told in vaudevillian style the history of Fairbanks and how it came that a city was built in the middle of nowhere. It was fun and very entertaining. Some of the comedy was slapstick, but that added to the experience. Especially hysterical was a take-off on the classic Abbott & Costello "Who's on First" skit, revolving around a sled dog team.

Once back "home" I was beat and hit the sack early knowing I had an 8:00a shuttle appointment to go over to the airport to pick up our rental car for the weekend.

Photos from Kenai Fjords Tour

On Wednesday we did the 6hr National Park tour (see prior blog post). Here are a few of the photos taken during our time with them. As with my prior post with photos, the WiFi here at camp is pretty iffy so posting is a bit of a challenge, but I did want to get some photos up for folks to see.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Photos From SSCL Bear Viewing

If my poor internet connect will allow it, I'm going to post some photos from earlier this week. Most will be self explanatory, so please accept my apologies for not spending a lot of time writing captions, etc.

Fairbanks Here We Come!

Well the great adventure is nearing its end. Yesterday we left Seward after a nice visit to the Alaska Sealife Center, a very good educational experience. We got on the road heading for Fairbanks via the Glenn Hwy at 1:30pm . . . and stopped in Glennallen for the night at just about 8:00pm.

The weather from just outside (east) of Palmer to just about our stopping point was a mix of clouds, fog and rain. I was pretty disappointed given the beauty of the snow-capped mountains was lost in the clouds/fog. The colors out on the high tundra was pretty, however, making for a nice backdrop along the way.

We didn't see much in the way of wildlife other than a single porcupine and a cow moose and two large calves.

Boardwalk Estate RV Camp was home for the night. At $20 (honor system) for full hook-ups and WiFi (slow w/ poor signal) it was a perfect resting point.

Today we'll finish our drive into Fairbanks, staying at the River's Edge RV Resort. Tonight we will take in the closing night of the Alaskan Salmon Bake and the Palace Theater show. The rest of the weekend includes Riverboat Discovery, El Dorado Gold Mine, UA/F's Museum of the North and perhaps a ride up to Fox to see the AK Pipeline.

Sunday will also bring our time with the beast to an end. We will get her bathed (my goodness did she get dirty!) and freshened up with clean linens. We fly home to Milwaukee on Monday morning.

Look for a blog post or two over the weekend. My next post should be wildlife photos from earlier in the week.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday - Kenai Fjords National Park

We did the six hour tour with Kenai Fjords Tours and had a great time. Leaving the small boat harbor in Seward at 11:30am, we got out during wonderful weather. It was "warm" (around 55f) and skies had broken clouds, nice for photography out on the water.

During the trip, we saw quite a bit of wildlife, including a black bear on the beach, eagles, stellar sea lions, harbor seals, dall's porpoise, puffins and sea otters. When we arrived at the face of the Aialik Glacier, it almost immediately calved. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong side of the boat to witness or photograph it. We sure did hear it though.

About 15 minutes later, there was another large calving that occurred to the far right end of the mile-wide glacier. I was fortunate to capture six or seven shots in succession as ice dumped into the water.

I wish I had more time to post more here, including photos . . . but that will have to wait. We have a long drive from Seward to get up to Fairbanks by 5:00pm tomorrow (Friday) so we need to pack up and hit the road.

Until the next time (from Fairbanks) thanks for checking on our big adventure blog!

Catching Up - Lake Clark National Park

It's been crazy busy the past three days, starting with Labor Day Monday. I'll try to catch up by writing a little about our trip to the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge (SSCL) over in Lake Clark NP . . . and follow this post up with one on our Kenai Fjords Nat'l Park boat tour yesterday.

Our flight from Soldotna to SSCL was with Natron Air, owned and piloted by Tim Pope. The flight was outstanding and uneventful. The views as we flew across Cook Inlet beautiful.

Landing on the beach at Lake Clark NP was pretty remarkable in its own right. A perfect landing and then greeted by our guide Jenny from the lodge. There was a momma bear and her two first year cubs sleeping on a mound of sand across the small waterway, with a number of photogs clicking away. How exciting, our first bear sighting as we landed.

We were taken to the lodge by their wilderness limo (ATV pulling two people mover carts). David and I were in the main lodge, on the ground level. It was the perfect location for us. SSCL has an annex lodge plus several cabins. Meals were served upstairs in the main lodge, which also had a very nice sitting around warmed by a wood stove. Up on the kitchen level, there was a wonderful deck overlooking the meadow and Cook Inlet. From time to time, bears could be seen wandering in this area or even right through the lodge property.

We had some outstanding photo encounters with the bears. This late in the season, there were seven or eight bears still hanging around the beach area and the mouth of the Silver Salmon Creek and its tributaries. The momma we saw on the beach when we arrived, was the only one with cubs. The other bears in the area were all females, many the offspring of this one sow.

Viewing bears in this area is largely tied to the tides as the bears come and go from the coast to fish. Because there are salmon in the waters in early September, they were not very interested in clams that are also available to them, particularly at a low negative tide (as we had on Tuesday morning).

The weather on Monday was glorious, with plenty of great lighting for photography. We went out twice once before lunch for about two hours and then again later in the afternoon as the high tide subsided, for probably close to three and a half hours. While the tide was still a bit high for the bears to get into the creek to fish, they could be seen coming down to check things out. Once the tide was down, however, fishing was on.

A group did try fishing the creek, but eventually gave up and went out to the mouth of the creek out at the big beach area. They didn't seem to be really that good at fishing, as we saw one female catch and eat two. The sow with the two cubs caught one right off the bat and gave it to them to eat. The fought over it, making very loud growling noises at the other. Eventually fighting over the fish caused it to break in half, with each sibling going to its own little place to dine on the salmon half.

At one point, a cub wanted to check out the other's fish which created another loud ruckus. They did not want to share or have their fish taken away. Even the arrival of a seagull or two created more food defending behaviors. It was very cool to observe at a very close range (less than 10 yards for most of the time).

The momma bear did catch a fish or two for herself, but that was about it while we were out there. As the evening fell, the lighting for photographs dwindled and it was getting to be suppertime up at the lodge. We went in around 7:00pm.

The next morning the weather was horrendous . . . foggy, rainy and cold. The plan was to go out viewing at 10:30am conditions permitting. Since we had a 1:00pm scheduled departure time, we wanted to make the most of our time left, but also recognized that with the poor visibility, there was a good chance we weren't going anywhere anytime soon.

Because David still had a lingering head cold, I decided to take a pass on getting out in the weather with the other die hards, hoping the weather might break before noon. Thankfully, the skies did clear around 11:15a and we were geared up and out by 11:30.

Our last viewing time with the bears had wonderful light, as the sun started to break through the clouds. It was amazing given how terrible the skies were just a few hours earlier.

When we got out to the beach, the mom was nursing the cubs. With feeding done, she was exhausted and rolled over for another nap. The cubs, however, were very punky and ready to play. Anything on the beach became a discovery for them . . . rocks, sticks, logs, clam shells. They both seemed to enjoy chewing on this one old piece of driftwood, and later one came back to use it as a good scratcher. S/he must have rubbed for a good minute or two and could seen giving off what looked to be a toothy grin of pleasure.

Tim Pope arrived shortly after 1:00pm and our time with David & Joanne Coray and the great folks at SSCL was sadly over. The experience was one we will never forget. Cliche' as it may be, this is an experience not to be missed.

There is so much more that I can (and need) to write, but for now, this will have to do. I wanted to post photos with this blog entry but the internet connection here in Seward is terribly slow, so photos will have to wait . . . sorry :(


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wolf Videos - Denali NP

Real quickly before movie time here at camp, thought we'd post the two short video clips of the wolves in Denali NP:

Sunday PM:

Tuesday AM:

Von & David

Sunday in Soldotna

Turns out that we do have internet access here at RW's Camping & Fishing camp in Soldotna. We just finished eating lunch after being out in the rain fishing for six hours. Unfortunately our boat was pretty much skunked, two silver salmons for the four fishing. Not a very good showing at all, especially since we (The Bennetts) were shut out completely.

When we woke up at 5:45am it was pouring down and we debated punting given that David had come down with a head cold. He was a trooper though, and we got up and out to meet our group at the assigned time (6:30). Fishing the Kenai for the silvers was something I was really looking forward to, especially since the daily limit is three per person. Go figure we'd catch none.

That isn't exactly true, come to think about it. We did catch several pink salmon (aka humpies) that were in the river at the end of their life cycle. They were on the downhill side of things, about ready to die so we were told not to keep them as their meat would not be very edible. So if you take them into account, I suppose we did have a good day of "catch n release" fishing . . . four for me and three for David.

While I am posting, I may as well add a couple of photos from our drive to/from Ninilchik. This is Mt. Redoubt, the active volcano that erupted here about a year or so ago. It is located across Cook Inlet in Lake Clark National Park, where we're heading tomorrow for our overnight bear viewing trip at the Silver Salmon Creek Lodge.

On our way out of Ninilchik, we stopped by this old Russian Orthodox church for a photo. The Holy Transfiguration of Our Lord Chapel was built in 1901. Ninilchik was founded by Russian fishermen who came over from Kodiak Island back around 1850.

David continues to be "chef" on this trip although cooking in an RV can be a bit of a challenge. Spaghetti is a simple dinner to make, with plenty for a second meal so that has been on the menu a couple of times thus far. Here he is fixing pancakes yesterday morning. That came with the challenge of not having a spatula, but no worries, we did have a nice flat meat cleaver that served the purpose quite well. LOL

Well here's to hoping that the bear viewing tomorrow goes better than the salmon fishing went today. I also hope that David continues to get better dosing with Nyquil and Jack Daniels!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Yucky Saturday Afternoon

The weather has really been miserable today, cold and damp with intermittent rains. David's also come down with a bit of a cold so we enjoyed a day of vegging at our campsite in Ninilchik. I made the most of the time creating my first IgoUgo journal from this trip, while David worked on the conversion and editing of the bear video from Monday in Denali National Park. Here is the link to it over on YouTube: .

We will be most likely be without internet access for the next couple of days . . . maybe until our check-in at the Seward Windsong Lodge Tuesday night.

Until our next post, enjoy the bears!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Halibut Fishing With AFISHUNT Charters

Today was a fun day of halibut fishing in the Cook Inlet with AFISHUNT Charters out of Ninilchik. John & Sharon have a great operation with their RV park and fishing charter business on Alaska's famed Kenai Peninsula.

Timed with the tide, we were scheduled to depart camp at 9:30am and were out on the water by 10:30. Given their location, they bus guests down to their other office location on the water. We were then boarded up on the fishing boat and launched by tractor.

Our captain Alan and deck hand Zach did a great job to take care of the seven of us. Between coaching us through casting (getting your bait and five pound lead weight to hit bottom at a depth of 170 feet), rebaiting our hook (when the little buggars steal your half fish bait), helping decide what are worthy keepers and then bringing in the two per person limit . . . they were kept very busy. Especially busy since the first line in the water was the first fish on line; a 120 pounder! (photo above) Expectations were set high, but after than fish was in the boat the biggest we saw were in the 20 to 25 pound range with a lot of catch and release between 10 and 17.

David won the prize for most sent back to the ocean at nine. (This photo is of his first keeper.) I only had to throw back one before catching my two including the second largest (third from the right at 25 lbs. When we got back to the shoreline, the crew then filleted and prepared our fish for whatever we wanted done with them. For us, the four fish produced 34 pounds of fillets and fish cheeks.

Perhaps the coolest thing that we saw on our fishing trip was two orcas on the way back into shore. They swam towards the boat, surfacing several times before heading off away from us. I did snap a quick photo, while David was able to catch the action on his video camera (which we'll post when we get home).

All in all, it was a great trip. They prepared our fish to ship home including overnight FedEx'ing. We figured it was a great activity that produced close to a $750 retail value of Alaskan halibut fillets for around $550 including the fishing charter, packaging, flash freezing and the shipping. Not that we went fishing to stock up the freezer, but it's nice to know that the catch pretty much paid for the outing.