While I was in Anchorage, my hosts and their friends convinced me I must take the boat from Whittier Alaska to Valdez. I’m obviously aware of the Valdez history and would be interested to see, however riding my motorcycle back the same way I came would be far cheaper than taking this boat. These well traveled people insist that this is one of the prettiest and most amazing boat trips I will ever see, and it would be a shame to miss it.
So I booked, even at the crazy high price.. and made my way (not that far) to Whittier Alaska.. far harder than it sounds! They didn’t warn me about the road TO Whittier!
Not far out of Anchorage where the weather was good, I can see the change I’m about to face. Oh well, I’ve got my best in the world Rukka gear, so suck it up and head in.
The rain was pounding.. but as I moved in closer, the winds around the mountains picked up in a super big way.. I was having the time of my life trying to keep myself up right.. It was hard riding through the strong wind and rain, but if I stopped, I barely had the strength to hold the bike up.
The photo above is taken from this angle because I’m literally holding on to the back of my bike to keep it from going over.
I make it to the tunnel they told me about.. Here I pay a fee, as the tunnel has only one lane, we have to wait until the oncoming traffic is finished. The attendant told me to protect myself and my bike here at the toilet building.. as he will have me wait and put me at the end of the line of cars and trucks.
I ask why? He says the tunnel is really dangerous, particularly for motorbikes. Not only do vehicles use this tunnel, but so does the train. The road inside is wet, and I have to keep my bike in between the two metal tracks. He said if I sway enough to go into the metal part of the track I will certainly go down. Many bikes have, and this is why they put us at the end so not to disrupt the cars and trucks.. Okey dokey then.. what in the H_ _ _ have I got myself into this time!!!????
I made it through the tunnel, and I was so happy to be in there.. complete protection from the wind and rain for several minutes.. It was nowhere near as hard as they made it sound.. and maybe it is to some, but I again think that at this point in my journey, I’ve been through so much worse that this tunnel is fine!!!
So guess what!! I go to check in for this boat I have worked all morning suffering to get here on time and the dag gone thing is cancelled!!! The ferry people said they called me 30 minutes ago.. 30 minutes ago!!??? I was on the road trying to survive, I can’t hear my phone ring and if the you can’t sail in this weather, you would have known that more the 30 minutes ago..? (I was a bit grumpy by now and only thinking this. I didn’t say this out loud.. the people at the ferry terminal where really super nice.. ) It is what it is..
The good news is that I get the money that I didn’t really want to spend on a boat that doesn’t take you very far.. back! 😉
This is Whittier..
Now, knowing what I went through to get here, I dread the thought of riding back through it again to get out. This is some of the strongest wind I have encountered to date. But this is also part of motorcycle life.. deal with it Sherri Jo.
And I did.. ;-)))
Here I am waiting for the tunnel again. This time I didn’t wait at the back of the line. I appreciate the attendants concern, but it’s really not a problem. I would think the trucks and the campers would have more trouble than me, scraping those close walls for sure!
This is ALASKA!!!
I really thought this was interesting.. I don’t remember hearing much about earthquakes in Alaska. And I know it’s hard to read this sign through my camera lens that is covered in rain drops.. But it says “These trees were killed by saltwater when the ground sank 10 feet in the 1964 earthquake.” Gee whiz, 10 feet…
Once I got back to Anchorage the weather was fine again.. It must just be that area, maybe due to the mountains, the sea, the glaciers, the changing season.. It is literally September 15, my cut off date as well as the cut off date for most businesses.
I have my late lunch in Anchorage, but I don’t want to stay the night here, I still have things to accomplish, so I try to make my way back up the road to Tok, where I stayed on my way in.
This is 520 km (318 miles) and it’s already 2 pm.. Ain’t gonna happen, however, I still decide to go that direction and I’ll get to wherever I get to.. I will camp tonight somewhere.
I got to Glenallen, the sort of halfway point and every single campground was closed – already! I’ll camp in the bush if I have to, even with the bears.. I’m used to it now! But I decided I still had enough daylight to shoot for the next town..
I pass this Gakona Lodge on the left, and I know the prices are going to be crazy, so no point in asking, but I could at least use a meal and ask around with the locals where I might be able to stop up the road.
They were also closing this week, but the wonderful owners offered me a very great price for a very modest room, and I couldn’t believe my luck. For two reasons, it is such a charming looking place, good food, and a warm and dry place to sleep. I quite often get amazed when I think it’s going to be a bad night, that the best option shows up for me right in time – unexpected.
Turns out to be quite a historic road house. The sun went down quickly, but before it did, I got to read a bit about where I am.
In particular, there is a resident ghost in room number 5.. I’m in number 4.. darn! I would love to meet a ghost! I met the young guy who is staying in number 5 for a whole week.. they are the construction crew doing road works nearby. He says he was hoping to see the ghost too, but nothing yet.
But the second reason for good luck was this… my BIGGEST AND BEST SURPRISE!! (no, not a ghost).. I read here that my HERO.. the adventurer of all adventurers, the most amazing human being I have ever heard of on this planet.. stayed HERE!! I was beyond happy and excited.. this was really a big deal for me. I don’t get the thrill out of meeting famous people, but if there is anybody I would have loved to meet, is SIR GEORGE HUBERT WILKINS!!! I was hoping all night long that I was staying in the same room as he did… 😉
I know I’ve posted this before, but if you want to read a book that will blow your mind on the sheer amount of accomplishments one human being can achieve in one lifetime, please read Simon Nascht’s “The Last Explorer”.. the best book to this day I have ever read.. Ok, I’ll calm down now, and move on.. 😉
Views from the road..
It’s just so pretty here.. I have to say this is and has been one of my favorite places on the planet. (I know I say that about nearly everywhere.. but it’s true!)
Keep in mind that not only do the camping, hotels, and shops close up for the winter.. so do some of the fuel stations.. Not a nice surprise when a major fuel stop in the middle of nowhere (on the Alaska Highway) is c l o s e d !! I did make it to the next fuel town (Haines Junction) far too far down the track .. on fumes.
Next stop .. Haines Alaska (I thought I’d be there already in this post.. nearly there! 😉