Four Down Two Across: The Sterling Highway Out Of Anchorage

The weather here in Alaska has been gorgeous — sunny and warm. Friday’s high was around 70. Robert and I were told this isn’t normal, especially the clear skies.

We started the morning in Anchorage, where I taped my weekly NPR puzzle at KSKA, for airing nationally on Sunday. It involved a game of Categories based on the name HOMER, the town where we were headed. The player did pretty well, but stumbled badly on “Canadian Cities.” So that part of the puzzle won’t make it on the air!

After the taping we headed south on the Sterling Highway, Alaska Route 1, toward Homer, on the southern tip of the Kenai peninsula. Homer bills itself as the Halibut Capital of the World. The drive takes about four hours, with constant views of snow-capped mountains along the way. Part of the route hugs the coast, where we were told we might see whales. No luck on this day, though.

We had lunch at Suzie’s Cafe in the town of Sterling about halfway to Homer. Robert said it was the best chickenburger he’d ever had.

At 5 pm we arrived at Homer High School to play table tennis with the local club. They play in a high-ceilinged school commons in which a giant whale skeleton hangs overhead. About 8-10 players joined us. Good times.

Afterward a club member took us to the local Two Sisters Bakery (not “Three Sisters” as I mistakenly called it it on our Vine) for a seafood dinner. We had fresh halibut and scallops, caught locally. Delicious.

Regarding yesterday’s puzzle, my answer was ENCOURAGE.

Here’s a new one: Take the name HOMER. Change one letter in it and rearrange the result to spell a new word. Then rearrange those same five letters to spell another word. If you have the right ones, the two words can be placed one after the other to spell a familiar 10-letter compound word. What word is it?

Follow Will and Robert’s Trip across Alaska through next week at “Four Down Two Across.”