Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Day 15, July 8, 2008-0 miles. Today was a good, but long day. It started at 4:55am when Gary's brother knocked on the door to wake us up for today's adventure. Even though it was before 5am, it was already quite light outside. Guess I'll never get used to the amount of light in these northern latitudes.
We got up, got dressed quickly and was on the road to Anchorage by 5:35am. Stopped by a McDonalds to get a biscuit for those who were hungry (as usual, that group included me). We drove to downtown Anchorage and to the train station to secure boarding passes.
The train station was a bit of a zoo; people everywhere, waiting to get on the train to Seward. After a bit of a wait, we boarded the train about 6:30am. There were 6 of us; Gary and wife, brother and his ex-wife, his mother, and me. Our seats were all together, so we could talk as we rode the rails.
The train got underway at 7:00am sharp, just as trains are supposed to do.
We headed south through Anchorage, through residential neighborhoods (Including one with a landing strip and planes in back yards) and business districts down to the Turnagain Arm. The train tracks parallel the Seward Highway, sometimes nearer the water and sometimes nearer the mountains. A pretty ride, especially nice since all you have to do is look and watch.
We saw a lot of pretty things; icebergs, glaciers, ponds, mountains, snow, and some wildlife, including some Dall Sheep that I missed with the camera. Oh well—not quick enough.
The train arrived in Seward and we disembarked to a bus to take us the 3 blocks to the cruise line office. We got to the office and got our boarding passes and waited to board the boat. I say boat, but it's a big ship, holding several hundred people.
We got underway on time and went out into Resurrection Bay. The cruise included a buffet, and we had prime rib, salmon, rice pilaf, salad, and dessert. We pretty well stuffed our bellies on good food.
The cruise followed the shores of Resurrection Bay, out to the mouth of the sea, and back down the other side back to the dock. It lasted about 5 hours.
Along the way, we saw lots of wildlife, including: bald eagles, puffins, sea lions, otters, porpoises, sea birds, and whales. Yes, whales! I had wanted to see one since we didn't get to see one with my sister, so seeing 2 or 3 was a huge bonus. Neat to see them blowing at the surface!
The weather cooperated very well. We were afraid we'd be cold, so we all wore warm clothes. The skies were gray all day, and it sprinkled several times, but when it sprinkled, we were all inside, so it made no difference. And the temperatures, while in the 50s all day, were not bad at all.
When we docked, we had to rush back to the bus to get back to the train. Get boarding passes validated and get back on the train for Anchorage. The 4.5 hour ride back was pretty uneventful; we were tired and napped a bit riding back.
Got back to the train station at 10:30pm, tired puppies all of us. Then the ride back to the house south of Anchorage.
A great day! Good company, good sights, good time for all.
Tomorrow—bike maintenance. Change oil and filter and help Gary's brother get his bike ready to ride.