Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Road Trip–Anchorage-Seward-Anchorage

… and points in between.

We made a number of side trips driving to and from Seward. I kept looking for a moose or a bear… but this was as close as I could get (taken at Indian Valley Meats, Indian, Alaska). Indian Valley Meats is a family-owned custom processor of fish and exotic meats, including reindeer, venison, buffalo and all of Alaska's wild game animals. The company is nestled in the scenic town of Indian, Alaska where the mighty Chugach mountains meet Cook Inlet just south of Anchorage. They keep live reindeer and other exotic animal and birds at our facilities to bring Alaska's Nature into our daily lives.   I bought a can of Reindeer meat as a gag gift for a friend.

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Seward we took a side trip… and spotted icebergs in the water… and we all got excited like a bunch of kids at Christmas time.

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Caught Cheryl taking another smoke break. Right is Keith, Troy and Cheryl.  Behind the guys heads is another glacier on the other side of the water. Well, you would think none of us had ever seen a Glacier or an Iceberg.  Wait, maybe we hadn’t?

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Cheryl and I getting our photos in front of the icebergs.

IMGA0946 Keith walking down for a closer inspection.

Another stop we just headed off into some bushes and did a photo-shoot.  See more on Alaska Flora and Fauna.

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Another side trip took us to Whittier, AK though a train tunnel, yes believe it or not, we drove right on the tracks… vehicles and trains have to take turns, each way.  One lane/track.  During World War II the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad terminus near the glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska. The port remained an active army facility until 1960.

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We drove through the tunnel… At 13,300 ft. (4,100 m), it is the second longest highway tunnel and longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America.  Known by locals as the Whittier tunnel or the Portage tunnel, the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel is a tunnel through Maynard Mountain. It links the Seward Highway south of Anchorage with Whittier and is the only land access to the town.

IMGA0929 It’s like a ferry terminal… with lanes and someone directing which lane to get in… we got in the wrong lane and got chased about to the right spot. IMGA0933 

Missed a good photo op… a china man looking out a kitchen window at us… so we drove around again to try and get the shot… but only got this carving instead. 

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A Norwegian ship in Whittier port.

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Nice harbor, nicer Coast Guard station. More interesting history of the area - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Anderson_Memorial_Tunnel#Anton_Anderson_Memorial_Tunnel

Another funny thing while waiting to go back through the tunnel:

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A jolly fisherman, who came to the car to show us what he had caught, and we think it was shrimp, but it didn’t sound like shrimp.  He walked away and a little later I noticed the name of his boat… Blue Balls.  How funny is that?

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And we wondered what a large blue conveyor belt thing in Seward was and I found this “For over a century, Seward has been a vital component to Alaska's transportation infrastructure. This blue and silver structure is a coal conveyer belt and loading facility. Look northward and you may see stock piles of coal on land. Seward gets coal shipped here from Usibelli Coal Mines in Healy, Alaska, a town just south of Fairbanks.  From here it is loaded on large ships all of which are bound for South Korea. The coal is some of the purest in the world, in that is it does not release much sulfur when it burns. However, it does not have a very high btu rating and thus does not heat as well as other coals.”

Seward’s web site has more information. The Alaska Railroad has budgeted approximately $49 million for capital improvements in 2012. Several of the capital improvements are planned for Seward, including more fencing and security cameras at its West Dock, (where the Dale R. Lindsey Seward Inter-modal building is located), at its East Dock, and numerous improvements at the ARCC Railroad’s 28-year old coal loading facility, run by Aurora Energy Services.

From Off the Beaten Path.  There is a site I will study more when I return to Alaska, more off the beaten path kind of tours, no more formal $500 tours for me in the future.

I have complaints about the kayaking tour I was on and I intend to voice them to the company, not that anyone will pay attention to me.  I will, therefore, not plug them on this post and if I have mentioned them in other posts or on Facebook, I will be removing those references.

On to Turnagain Arm…a place I wish I could have stayed longer.

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I think my favorite stop was at the Turnagain Arm interpretive area… because I learned about the Bore Tide. A tidal bore (or simply bore in context, or also aegir, eagre, or eygre) is a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave (or waves) of water that travels up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current. This is inland from the Cook Inlet.

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Here is a You-Tube video of it… View.  After visiting this area we drove on down the road, made another stop, and when we got in the truck and began driving again, I looked back and could see the tide coming in.  We were pretty far away by then and didn’t get to see it up close.  I WILL next time.

There was also this delightful Beluga whale sidewalk exhibit, which I just loved.

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I would have loved to have shown this exhibit to my little grandkids. So little time and money, this trip.  Next trip will be different, and my van will be with me.

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Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
Visit me on https://www.facebook.com/swankie.wheels. In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles in Spring 2017. In training now for the hike.

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