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Captain's Log: May 25 (Day 2) >

[Comments] (2) Travelog, A Miniseries: May 24 (day 1): Flew John Wayne to Seattle. The trip including flying over Catalina Island, B-town, Yosemite, and other California scenic areas. It was pouring rain upon arrival in Seattle and I thought to myself, well, this is it. I must interject here that the Seattle airport is, without a doubt, a disgrace. Our terminal had only one place to buy food. And the selection was sparse, so we ended up eating turkey wraps. They were overpriced and bland. Anyway, then we flew to Anchorage. I didn't realize that there is such a thing as Alaska time. I always thought they were on Pacific time. So the flight time was an hour longer than anticipated. Which is good, I guess. I got my whole ethics take home test done on the plane ride there.

About 30 minutes prior to landing, the rainy cloud cover disappeared and we got some sweet views of Seward and Anchorage. There was lots of snow to be seen. We landed in Anchorage, and thus the journey began.

Susie and I were uber-prepared for this journey. So of course we were already wearing superflous layers of clothing in anticipation of our arrival. Well. Anchorage has a mind of its own. It was 70+ F in Anchorage with the sun barreling down on us. We boarded a bus for Whittier, a trip of about 100 miles. The bus also had a mind of its own. The air was broken, so it was like 85 F on the bus. Which is truly unfortunate cuz all I could think of was getting off that bus, in spite of the constant scenic eye candy out the bus window.

Getting onto the Seward Highway, we saw a moose. Just chilling on the side of the road. Then on the Seward Highway we saw Moroni, and the rest of the Anchorage temple. Continuing on this highway, we saw mountain goats and doll sheep just hanging out on rather aggressive cliffsides. They've got guts, I tell you. I'm not sure how they get there, or how they leave, but there they were.

The mountains in Alaska just jut right out of the ocean like there's nothing to it, and I think that's what makes them seem so much more impressive to me than the mountains in Utah. The water is a murky green color in the Gulf of Alaska because of all the glacial silt. The bus driver told us that you can't go out on those beaches cuz you'll sink and this machine has to pull you out. That brought back a memory I may have made up, cuz Susie doesn't remember this, but I think I remember being at Kristin & Aaron's home and Aaron was regaling us with a tale of how a woman in Anchorage went out too far to where the machine could not reach her and she slowly sank to her death. At the time I heard this story, I didn't expect to see these sights for myself.

Right outside of Whittier lies the tunnel of doom. It is a one-way passage, so it alternates traffic direction every 30 minutes. Trains also share the roadway and must be accomodated as well. Luckily we only had to wait 5 minutes and into the tunnel we went. The speed limit inside the tunnel is only 25 mph, but it took us a full 10 minutes to go through the tunnel, meaning that the tunnel is about 4-5 miles long. That doesn't seem long, but it is. Everyone was very very quiet while we went through the tunnel, as though we were on sacred ground. I think some people were holding their breath. But we survived the tunnel and the hot bus ride and arrived in Whittier and our boat.

Now, about the clientele. I would never have guessed it, but probably about 50% of the passengers on our boat were from the south. I guess that makes some sense, cuz most of the old people were from Florida. But there were a lot of people from Alabama and Mississippi. The age makeup was about 65% retirees, with about 15% honeymooners (I guess we fit that category, whether we like it or not), and the other 20% young families with kids way too small to be going to Alaska, IMHO. So the crowd was very mellow and laidback, which was nice.


Posted by Kristen at Mon Jun 05 2006 13:23

You are correct about that story Aaron told. I love that drive on Turnagain Arm going towards Seward. It is the prettiest scenery I have ever seen. Did you see Beluga whales in the ocean? Also, a neat thing about that gulf is that there is a side wave that comes through on certain dates. It is a wave that instead of coming toward the beach, it travels the perpendicular to the beach. In Whittier did you get to eat at any restaurants? My mother-in-law’s favorite seafood place is there. She says they have the best fried halibut and rock fish.

Posted by John at Mon Jun 05 2006 13:55

I was actually very confused about Whittier. They called it a town but all I saw were two apartment buildings about 5 levels high or so and assumed the yucky looking one would have been the military one. That's all I really saw there, so we didn't go gallivanting in Whittier at all. Of course, after being on a plane or bus w/o a/c all day, we were happy to lay down on our bed and rest.

Turnagain Arm really is beautiful. Even the silty beaches look rather picturesque.

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