[back to InetPix] [north to Alaska][Just the pix]
After staying a night in Fairbanks to retrieve the dog from the kennel, we drove the 400 miles from Fairbanks to Anchorage.
We spent two nights here, but didn't feel like we were rushed through seeing this town.
Anchorage is the largest town in AK aqnd it's fairly sprawling (hence the nickname "Los Anchorage", which I never actually heard used by anyone).
Stayed at the fabulous Super 8 motel because of their liberal pet policy. Perhaps too liberal?
Well it rained the four days we were on the Kenai. We tried both ends of this peninsula, the Homer end to the west and the Seward end on the east.
Despite the rain, we chose to camp all four nights.
One tour book described Homer as the Carmel of Alaska. I can't quite agree with this overly favorable image. More like the Monterey boardwalk.
The town of Homer sits on a spit of land which was wiped out by the tidal wave following a 9.0 quake in 1964. The rebuilt town consists today of mostly fishing charters and gift shops. This was the middle of the Halibut fishing derby and there were some big ones registered (over 300 pounds). Here we see Burgie weighing in.
Led by a weather report promising more sun (not true) on the other side of the peninsula, we headed over to Seward.
The campsite was on the 20-mile Kenai Lake, with a nice view of the surrounding mountains which still had some patches of snow.
Seward is the launching point for boat tours of the Kenai Fjords National Park. The park features tidewater glaciers and marine life similar to Glacier Bay. We chose not to go on any boat tours, given our upcoming plans.
The Exit Glacier is the only part of Kenai Fjords which is reachable by car. Heather and I get up close and personal with the glacier.
For a change of pace from driving (only a minor "shortcut"), we took part of the Alaska Marine Highway. The ferry from Whittier to Valdez.
The boat travels Prince William Sound which also has tidewater glaciers and marine mammals (a recurring theme here).
Oddly the ferry ride begins with a train ride?! The only way to Whittier by land is via a train from the town of Portage (about 10 miles). You just drive up onto the flatbed cars and away you go...
Whittier was also badly damaged by the tidal wave in '64. Oddly, most of the towns 200 residents now live in a single large building.
The city of Valdez is the northernmost ice free port in the US. It is also the terminus of the Alaska Pipeline, which we had seen earlier several hundred miles to the north on the Dalton Highway. This is also 20 miles from where the Exxon Valdez tanker ran aground.
Our hotel is actually made from converted offices built for Exxon officials during the cleanup operation.
The driver from Valdez back up to Whitehorse follows the Richardson Highway, before connecting to a less interesting strip of the Alaska Highway.
From up here we got some great views of mountains and glaciers on all sides. Here's a panorama (part1, part2)