Thursday, July 01, 2010

Soldotna, Alaska

Today was an early, early day for us.  We had made reservations to take the 5th wheel, truck and us on the ferry to Whittier.  We were told when we made our reservation to be there one hour early for the 8:00 departure.  Well, we got a phone call yesterday advising us to be there at 6:30 instead.  They had several RV’s to load, I guess, and ours was the biggest.  All the others were Class C’s except for a tour bus.  For those who don’t know, a Class C is a smaller motorhome built on a van chassis.  They are characterized by a cab-over profile, the "cab-over" containing a bed or an "entertainment" section.  A lot of people come to Alaska and rent these.


Nobody was in line when we got there


It was a pretty small ferry and you better hope your brakes work.  That’s water behind that guy down there.



It was a little dicey loading ours onto the ferry.  They had loaded the tour bus first into lane one and wanted us behind it.  Well, in order to get to lane one we had to pull all the way into lane four, swing around, back up, pull forward, back up and pull forward one more time.  Sheesh, it would have been a lot easier for us if we could have gone on first or even parked in one of the inside lanes.  This wasn’t that  big of a ferry.  We were so tight against the wall that we had to bring the mirrors completely in flat on both sides.  When we left to go upstairs to the lounge the only vehicles onboard were the bus and us.  It was PACKED tight when we came back.


The ride to Whittier took just under 6 hours and we arrived on schedule at 1:45 pm.  We still had a two hour drive to Soldotna where we’re staying for two weeks.  The reason we decided to take the ferry was to see some things that we would have never seen if we had driven.  Also, if we had driven all the way around it would have taken us two days because there is no way we would have driven eight hours in one day.  LOL

Leaving Valdez and yes, it’s another cold, rainy day.


They had a nice cafeteria on the boat with quite an extensive menu.  They had burgers, sandwiches, soup, fish & chips and even lasagna was on the lunch special.

There was also a Naturalist on board from the National Parks Service.  That was a really nice touch because he pointed out things like sea lions, dall’s porpoises, whales and those kinds of things.  He also knew the names of all the glaciers.  We came upon Columbia glacier but first went through an amazing ice field.  He told us that because there was such a high tide last night that all this ice was so close to us.  Normally it’s not this close.  It was kind of eerie going through all the ice bergs.  Absolutely beautiful, though.





The blue ones just amaze me! The more icy and clear an iceberg, the bluer it appears.


The Columbia glacier where all this ice came from


Soon we arrived in Whittier.  We then had to go through the 2 1/2 mile one way tunnel (which is shared with a train).  This is the only road going out of Whittier.  Pretty dang interesting.  When you get in the tunnel and you see a white strobe light you must immediately stop your vehicle and look for a safe house.  YIKES!!  Thank goodness we went through without any incidences.

It was A LOT easier getting off than getting on


The little town of Whittier


The tunnel begins in the middle of that “building”



We drove on the railroad tracks


Here’s one of the signs for the Safe Houses


There really was “a light at the end of the tunnel”


The line of cars waiting their turn to go  through the tunnel


From there we continued on our two hour drive to Soldotna.  As I said, we are here for two weeks and plan on doing some more fishing.  We’re going for sockeye and king salmon this time.  We caught up to Ed & Mary Jo too so I’m sure we can find some kind of trouble to get into.

Another glacier we saw along the way




This getting up early has got to stop.  I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow.


Leno said...

Wow, cool pics.. That blue on the ice is amazing.
Have a great time and hope you catch lots of fish.

Karen and Al said...

Good job getting the trailer on the ferry. That was some tunnel you went through. Please explain what circumstances would make you have to to a safe house? Are you to leave your vehicle right on the tracks?

Sandra said...

Just beautiful! Too bad it wasn't sunny. Did you think of the Titanic when you were among all those icebergs?

Happytrails said...

You all are just courageous folks getting your fifth wheel on that ferry. That tunnel looked scary too. However, the view and the glaciers are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing all of this with us. It is just amazing.

Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

Bob and Molly said...

What a terrific experience!! Enjoy, and safe travels!

Jim and Dee said...

Thanks so much for the great pictures. I'm not sure if I would have done the ferry, but sure was neat! The ice is a very beautiful blue. I read about the tunnel, amazing. Have a great time in Soldotna.