Homer’s Best Bets

Have you noticed how some Alaskans like to drive glossy black trucks with tinted windows, jacked up tires and not a hint of chrome. The Betster gets that no-chrome thing. Chrome can be a pain to polish. Big, black truck are part of the tactical trend — you know, silver is the new black. You don’t want a lick of bright as you drive down a backwoods road like a superninja heading toward that secret fishing hole.

Your clothes are black, your boots are black, your truck is black and your fishing rod-and-reel is black. The Betster doesn’t actually know who drives these trucks, because what with the tinted windows, a grizzly bear could be at the wheel for all the B. knows. That must make cops feel all warm and fuzzy when they pull over one of those rigs for going 60 mph in a 45 mph zone — or, as Sarah Palin says, “qualifying, not speeding.”

Holy Albedo! Don’t these guys know about summer? Growing up in Florida, the Betster learned two things: black seats, bad; black cars, bad. Go ahead. Leave your windows up on a 95-degree day and try to sit down. All that dark coloring just absorbs heat. It’s a good way to warm up your car on a chilly winter day, but in the summer? You’re going to get burned, dudes.

Who could have thought we’d actually have to worry about car interiors overheating? Who thought the fireweed would bloom in mid-July? The world is changing, Betseroids. Either that or we’ve lucked out in yet another year of awesome summer.

The weather report calls for cloudy and chilly, though, so we’ll cool off a bit. Rain or shine, we’re ready for fun, like these Best Bets:

BEST FREEBIE BET: Want to learn about volcanoes? Curious about bears and otters? Want to take a guided hike through the Beluga Slough estuary? Enjoy the benefits of your tax dollars with free programs offered through the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center on the Sterling Highway. Programs run daily or weekly. For more, visit the website at www.islandsandocean.org. 

BEST BIG BLOOMS BET: Peonies and other flowers are busting out all over now. If you want some fresh, colorful flowers, visit the Homer Farmers Market from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday or 3-6 p.m. Wednesday on Ocean Drive. Veggies and other Alaska-grown produce also are on sale.

BEST AUTHOR! AUTHOR! BET: How to guard your heart from nasty things people do to you? That’s the idea behind “Offense Get Off My Fence,” author Barbara Martin’s new book for children and adults. Cherise Hyslip illustrated the book, and Marsha Oberlende illustrated a companion book, “Junk or Joy.” Meet the creators from 1-4 p.m. today and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at Bear Trax Gift and Gallery on the Homer Spit.

BEST GET AWAY BET: Awesome music, fine food and a trip across Kachemak Bay — now we’re talkin’ summer. Hear the Dan Mac Band at 3 p.m. Saturday or John “Pypes” Teamer and Brad Shermock at 3 p.m. Sunday at Quiet Place Lodge in Halibut Cove. Tickets are $175 a person, with proceeds supporting the Homer Foundation. Call 235-0541 for more information.

BEST GET LOCAL BET: Join Ed Berg at 1 p.m. Sunday for a lichen and moss nature walk and talk at the Calvin and Coyle Trail on Mariner Drive off East End Road. Sponsored by the Homer Native Plant Society, it’s a good way to check out a great trail.