So, to start off, it has been a little longer than I thought since I last posted. Sorry about that. We have stayed in a few places that claimed to have internet but didn’t really, a few that didn’t claim it and a few that were so far away from anything we were happy that they even had electricity. You know how it goes!
Day 15: We traveled from Seward to Valdez via the Marine Highway stop in Whittier. Getting to Whittier is an experience in itself as you drive through a single lane, 3 mile, modified train tunnel to get to it. Of course I was driving when we hit this gem of a driving experience! Seriously, you are driving on the train tracks the entire time you are in the tunnel. I swear that my ass didn’t unclench for at least 5 hours!
We took the ferry from Whittier to Valdez and I have to say that that has been one of my favorite experiences so far. If I were doing this alone, I think that I would somehow ditch the car for a week or so and just take the ferries up and down the coast and visit the costal communities. The ferry was clean and well run and I was able to knit LACE for more or less 6 hours straight. It was awesome to get to see some of Alaska without having to keep an eye on the road.
The good ship Aurora
The other end of the Alaskan pipeline.
We got to Valdez and went out to eat. There, in the restaurant, was the Barrow Whalers football team. Yes. That Barrow. I think that the Whalers are stalking me! Is this a sign that I should move there?
Anyway, that night in Valdez we had what has been really our first really bad hotel experience. The place that we were staying was where a bunch of construction guys were at as well and it was dirty (like easily visible Doritos crumbs under and around the bed) and the walls were so thin that I literally could hear the guy in the next room fart in his sleep. A couple of guys got thrown out for fighting and someone kept trying to get into our room throughout the night. We were originally going to stay 2 nights there but we cut our stay at that particular hotel short. However, we still went on the tour of Prince William Sound the next morning and we were really glad that we did!
A "raft" of sea otters doing what they do best, floating on their backs!
I so want one as a pet now....
My favorite Bald Eagle picture so far. Notice the no fishing sign below it.
A sea lion posing for pictures.
It's hard being this beautiful!
Part of the surreal landscape.
Water is, of course, important in this Northernmost temperate rainforest.
This is a group of juveniles and what are called "unsuccessful males". AKA, these guys weren't good enough to get a date to the prom so to speak...
Otters or Sea Lions on an iceberg.
Icebergs calved by the Columbia Glacier
One of the best views was from right behind the captain of the boat.
The Captain, who was cute in a sort-of young Kevin Costner sort of way. (Think: Dances With Wolves)
Water. Ice. Mountains.
Some of the pieces of ice were out of the water as much as 3 stories!
I did nothing to the colors of these photos. I can only imagine the blue colors on a sunny day!
The dark black and grey stripes are actually pieces of ground up mountain.
"Man...Why do I always get the hard pillow?!?!?"
However, that night we didn’t have a hotel room booked so we decided to try to get as far as we could on down the road. We made it about 100 miles past Glenallen quite late that night. It was a really long drive and the last several hours of it were in the dark with signs warning of moose and caribou all over the place. That night we stayed in a lovely lodge that was as quiet as a tomb as we were the only guests staying there! The next morning we got up and headed back towards Tok (rhymes with joke) where we got gas and girded ourselves for the area of road near the border with Canada. On the way up to Tok, we saw this guy on the side of the road rather nervous about crossing in front of us:
We crossed over into Canada and made it down to Haines Junction which is at the base of some amazingly pretty mountains. This was our view out the windows of our nice (despite the lack of internet signal) hotel.
We then drove a little more down the Alaskan Highway before turning South on 37 in British Columbia. This was a new road for us and it is, admittedly, even a little more exciting that most of the Alaskan Highway. It was only finished in the 1970’s so it doesn’t have nearly as much “development” on it. We stayed the night in a cabin at a great RV park called The Red Goat Lodge that is just South of Iskut. It’s right on a lake and has lamas running around!! The guy that runs the place is super friendly and the setting is just amazing! Definitely check it out if you are headed up (or down) 37.
We left from there and kept on Southward. The big highlight of the day was seeing some authentic totem poles in one of the villages that we went through.
Last night we stayed in a town called Prince George and then pushed on for the US. We passed through some pretty serious rain shadow country caused by the Coast Mountains. It was amazing, one minute we are in more or less a temperate rain forest and the next there is sage brush. It was honestly one of the more disconcerting travel experiences that I have had as the landscape didn’t change, just what was growing in it. Anyway, we made it down to the US Border and now we are in Bellingham, WA. Tomorrow we plan on seeing Seattle and then after that, well, I’m not really sure at this point. I think that we are all getting sort of tired of traveling and staying in hotel rooms and such. I’ll let you know when I find out (assuming that I have internet of course!).
This is a picture of the big-assed mountain that we saw as we were coming into the country and could still see right up to Bellingham. Anyone know the name of it?
And a totally random picture that was just cool…