Thursday, June 18, 2009

Alaska Day 1 - Anchorage & Seward

Our flight left Minneapolis at 9:00am, so we didn't have to be at the airport super early, but we were planning on leaving at 6:30 to catch a cab from my work to the airport at 7am. We had the alarm set for 5:30 and when Patrick hit the snooze, he somehow turned the volume down on the radio, well thankfully I was antsy to get going so I was not really sleeping and realized this.

The flight itself was fine, it wasn't full so Mom and Dad and Patrick and I ended up with an extra seat in our rows. The flight was 5 hours long and seemed to crawl by. We landed in Anchorage around noon. We then took a shuttle to the motor home rental place and got to see our new home for the next week. Our motor home was definitely the fisherman's special... fish smell the in the fridge and all. We ended up getting baking soda for the fridge and either we became immune to the smell or it worked as after a couple days it didn't smell too bad. Our motor home orientation guy was very Alaskan, all into his snow machine racing and his bear fighting friend.

Traveling to Anchorage

Next up was the grocery store, there we loaded up on lunch and snack items. Then we headed south toward Seward, our destination for the night.

We stopped at the Portage Glacier on the way and we were thinking of taking the boat tour, but we just missed the last tour. So, we explored the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center and the Byron Glacier trail. At the boat tour we were told not to go on the trail because of the danger of avalanches and bears. But, when we got to the visitor center, Nathan was not satisfied with that answer so he asked again and they told us the avalanche warning had not been lifted yet because the guy who makes the decision was on vacation and if we were loud and in a group of 7 people we really shouldn't have a problem with bears.

Below are pieces of the glacier near the visitor center.

Glacier

Here we are checking out the visitor center before the movie on glaciers.

Visitor Center

And on the trail... our close encounter with a bear. Not really, you could barely see it.

Byron Glacier Trail

After the glacier experience we were off to Seward, a small harbor town on the east side of Kenai Peninsula. We found a campground with an ideal location for everyone to go exploring on their own. The campground was in the harbor and only a five minute walk to the downtown area. We found out on our boat ride the next day the reason it is a campground is that the city declared the area too unstable to develop after the tsunami of 1964.

Campground

For dinner we decided to find a place in town to eat since we didn't have to drive anywhere. We ate at Lombardo's a little diner right off the main street. Nathan, Nickie, Patrick and I split a pizza. Luke had his first of many varieties of halibut he ate on the trip. Mom and Dad shared fish and chips.



Here are a few pictures of the Seward harbor. Looking back Seward was probably the coolest town that we visited on the trip. They have a Mountain Marathon every 4th of July where you race 1.5 miles up to the top of the mountain and 1.5 miles down the mountain. The tradition of the Mt. Marathon Race, according to folklore, began when two sourdoughs had an argument about whether it was possible to climb and descend the mountain in less than one hour. "Impossible" one said, and to settle the argument and the resulting wager it was decided to hold a race with the loser to furnish drinks for the crowd. It began as an organized race in 1915 and continues to be a part of the Seward Independence Day celebration each year. Bill Spencer set the record in 1981 with a time of 43 minutes and 23 seconds.

Seward Harbor

Kids Don't Float

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