Well - not much of any plan for today -
to get to Whittier (so that I could drive through the one way, two mile
auto/train tunnel) was the only list task. Before leaving Seward
though, Arthur, a guest at the hostel, suggested I make a stop at the
"Exit" Glacier - so I will. Also at the hostel was Gary and his wife
(I don't recall your name - sorry) from Australia. They saved up
for a trip - a trip around the world. Once they had enough funds
they quit their jobs and purchased world trip airline tickets.
They are about 1/4 into the adventure. WOW. From Alaska
they will ferry to British Columbia? Fly to Calgary and drive
through Banff / Jasper, fly to Chicago (via Dallas) then back into
Canada (Toronto, Montreal), Niagara Falls, New York, then, I think
Mexico, and on, and on, and on...
Heading out of town I grabbed a little fuel and off to the glacier where I met Paul
He is from North Carolina (retired from IBM) and rides an '83
Honda Magna V-45 - the closest bike to mine from all the folks I've met
so far (and perhaps for the whole trip). He is nearing the end of
a month (two month??) Alaska experience. He's been trotting about
the state exploring all sorts of stuff - his first time but not the
last. We swapped cameras for a few pictures of each other -
After we parted I headed back to Seward for a bite to eat and a face
mask cleaning. Back on the road the destination was the Whittier
tunnel. This tunnel (no pictures - it was raining too heavy to
prep the cameras and there was no way to stop in the tunnel to get a
camera out) is about 2 miles long, it is one lane wide, and has
railroad tracks along with the roadway mixed as one. It was
probably made as a train tunnel then converted to combination
train/auto use (no Internet tonight so no researching it). At the
listed 25 mph it took perhaps about 4 minutes to ride through it.
Straight line and flat from end to end. It cost $12.00US
for a ticket (it costs to go to Whittier and is free the other
direction). The GPS, not able to get a signal through the rock,
was not able to create a track log - thus the map shows an "open spot"
in the line of "push pins map track" that reflects where the tunnel is.
At the bottom of the hour traffic is allowed to go to Whittier
and the top of the hour from Whittier. Vehicles line up at each
end in one of six or eight lanes with a stop-go light at the end of
each. I guess when a train needs to pass the traffic is halted
and it gets priority. Each time through today there were about 20
Back in Anchorage I decided to see where the Suzuki dealer is - and to
see if the tire is in. Found it w/o much issue - and the TIRE IS
IN - Thanks to my family for getting it to UPS - and for UPS to come
through as expected (they dropped the ball on the water pump issue and
have offered to refund shipping - it won't cover my hotel expenses but
it's something). I'll go back to Suzuki in the morning for the
tire and oil change - then off to Seattle via Tok, AK and Whitehorse,
YT and down through British Columbia Canada. This should take
about four to six days. Once I'm down in Seattle thoughts of snow
should subside for most of the trip remainder (at least until the tail
end and my trek back to Illinois). All for now - it's 1am.
For perspective, Paul is near the bottom right of the glacier - tan / grey jacket.& blue jeans
Perspective on this picture is odd - are these large chunks of ice or
just ice cube sized things. I believe they are about siz to eight
feet high - perhaps more.