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Biking to Alaska

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Day 50: Surf City

Posted by Alan on 8th August 2007

The ship’s solarium has a lot of windows and so the morning light shines in bright and early. I sit up and see that the sun isn’t even above the horizon yet. It does look cool with the light illuminating low clouds clinging to the distant shoreline. Since it’s still early I pull my sleeping bag over my eyes and sleep for a couple more hours.

Our ship has a scheduled stop in the little fishing village of Yakutat. We actually have a couple hours to wander around town while the ship unloads a car or two. I go ashore with a couple other people who are sleeping in the solarium. To say that there’s not much to this town is an understatement. We manage to find a small store selling souvenirs though. This town is known for it’s salmon and it’s good surfing, so I buy a “Surf Yakutat” t-shirt. I know, you’re wishing I had picked one up for you too, huh? Maybe on the return trip. :) The odd thing about walking around town is that we’re all feeling a bit wobbly. After sailing on the open ocean, it feels weird to be standing on solid ground instead of the rocking decks of the ship.

IMG_0817.JPGAs we leave Yakutat, we are treated to amazing views of the coastal mountains north of town. I sit on deck for a while, watching the mountains as we sail slowly past. There’s a cold wind blowing though, so eventually I retreat inside to read and take a couple naps throughout the day. I also watch a move in the theatre before sitting in the forward observation lounge again to watch the sea and sky as night falls.

While reviewing my guide book for Alaska today, I realized that the town of Seward is hosting a large salmon fishing contest starting this coming weekend. I had planned to head to Seward right after getting on land, but now I’ll have to think about where to spend the next week or so while waiting for the crowds in Seward to thin out.

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Day 49: To Sea!

Posted by Alan on 7th August 2007

We go out for breakfast again, but today we hit a local’s place, not a touristy cafe. People are smoking at the next table! Thank goodness for Colorado’s smoking ban in restaurants. It’s pretty good food though and I fill up on pancakes. After breakfast I say goodbye to Corinna so she can get to work. I’m floored at how generous she’s been to let me crash at her place while I was in town. She’s a sweet person and she’s been a great host considering I was a total stranger just a couple days ago. I might meet up with her again on my return trip through this area on my way back to the lower 48. She’s an avid kayaker and so she might be able to show me some good kayaking around Juneau or perhaps near Haines.

IMG_0802.JPGI grab a few groceries in town before heading to the ferry terminal. My first trip from Skagway to Juneau is on a large catamaran type ferry. It’s the largest ship I’ve been on, but I know the next ferry I board today will be even a little larger. After a layover at the Juneau ferry terminal I board the ship for Whittier, AK. It’s a pretty big ship with lots of room for cars and people. It has a cafeteria, bar, gift shop and even a small movie theatre. There are cabins you can rent, but you can also simply camp out in one of the solarium decks. So I’ll be sleeping on a deck chair in the solarium along with a handful of other folks.

IMG_0803.JPGIt feels odd to be travelling again, and especially to be doing so without riding my bike. The ship travels at about 16 knots, which is under 19 mph, so it’s not a blinding pace. I enjoy sitting in the forward observation lounge, watching the scenery slowly glide past as I read my travel guide for Alaska. The sunset turns out to be especially nice and I sit for a while watching the sky change in front of the boat until it’s time to retire to my “stateroom” consisting of a plastic deck chair.

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