|Thu, 05 Jul: We're in Whittier Alaska. We're in Whittier and it's not raining. No, not raining—pouring! Yes, we know we're in Whittier when it's pouring as this is our third visit to Whittier and it's rained every time we've been here...
We had a rainy Fourth of July, but the rain didn't dampen the spirits of those who wanted to detonate pyrotechnics. At midnite on the third the municipal fireworks display started (they had to wait for it to get mostly dark) followed by the amateurs who kept popping off firecrackers and such until well after one in the morning. Someday we'll understand the "need" these people have to blow up their money...
The Fourth was rainy and mostly quiet. An annual Seward event is the Mountain Marathon in which hearty souls run up and then down the mountain! We watched from inside our coach with the heat running as it never made it above the mid fifties all day.
This morning we got Carpe ready and drove the short distance to the municipal dump station. It was busy, but not as bad as we'd anticipated. We managed to get in the queue, dumped our tanks, hooked up Dinkum and rolled wheels by 1015. Oh, did we mention it was raining? It was!
We had an uneventful drive some 80 miles north on the Seward Highway (AK 9 / AK 1). With the exception of some road construction north of Seward Bob kept the wheels turning and the wipers wiping as the rain never did stop.
At milepost 79 we branched onto the Whittier-Portage Glacier Highway for the short run to the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel that connects Whittier with the Alaska Highway System. The Anton Anderson (named for the chief engineer of the 1942 railroad tunnel) is the longest (2½ miles) combined railroad/highway tunnel in North America.
We waited about twenty minutes for the eastbound traffic segment of the rotation and entered the tunnel after all the autos, vans, & pickups. Then the RVs, followed by buses, and finally commercial trucks. This order is to minimize the effects of heavy diesel exhaust in the tunnel. It was very well done and our transit took about six minutes. This time the "light at the end of the tunnel" was, indeed, the end of the tunnel (but there was a locomotive waiting at the Whittier end of the tunnel for its turn...)
We couldn't seem to locate the free boondocking spot mentioned in several of the RV books, so we had to settle for a space at the Creekside Campground. Creekside is a city-run campground with no facilities whatsoever. For the "privilege" of parking on their rutted pothole lot they extract $20/nite. A genuine, unmitigated, A-#1 ripoff!
After getting settled in we went to the port to try a restaurant recommended by Ken & Joan Tarkin. The place was mobbed and there were no places to sit except outside on the patio (did we mention that it was raining really hard? We tried another place that didn't have anything on the menu that fit in our diet or budget. So we also walked out of that place.
We stopped at the Post Office and picked up our mail and then back home for a late lunch. We've now gone through the mail and are working on our computers.
We had originally planned to spend a few days here in Whittier. We wanted to take a boat tour of Prince William Sound, but the weather forecasts call for rain continuing through the weekend. We don't mind a bit of rain, but this is so unrelenting and it is so misty and cloudy that we wouldn't see anything from the boat.
Hence, our current thoughts are for us to head back thru the tunnel in the morning and, possibly, spend a night or two boondocking along the Turnagain Arm. It'll all depend on the weather, so stay tuned.
Miles this leg: 88.7
Total miles since Casa Grande: 4,553.9