Jun 11th

        With only 167 miles to drive today and looking at the prospect of hitting the rush hour in Anchorage we decided to start out a little later than normal. We had not found a convenient fuel stop near Palmer but again with only 167 miles to drive it didn’t really matter. The road from Palmer to Anchorage is lined with great views of the surrounding mountains. Unfortunately they have not given you any area to pull over a motor home and take pictures. The traffic was lighter than we had expected, maybe because of Reagan’s funeral, and the journey through the city streets of Anchorage was without incident. Continuing south out of town we were again provided with beautiful scenery. This time there were even some pullovers so I got some pictures. The remainder of the trip to Seward was every bit as scenic as anything we had seen so far. Snow capped mountains on all sides. The road to the campground was 6.3 miles outside of Seward and was just a gravel road through a sparsely settled area. The campground itself was basically a flat gravel field with RV hookups scattered about. We were told to take any site we liked and then let them know in the office – a blue motor home. The park provides 10 channels of cable TV but since one of them was HSN you have to wonder about their choice of which ones to provide. We got setup quickly and headed to town to find something to eat. There was a cruise ship docked in the harbor so the town was full of tourists. Add to this the number of people that seemed to have been bussed in and you have more than I like to find in a small town. We eventually found the restaurant we were looking for – Railway Cantina – a small place severing Mexican food. The food was good and their selection of hot sauces ran the full range of mild to way too hot. From here we wandered back into downtown to a place I had seen a LIQUOR sign earlier. On closer look we discovered it had gone out of business some time ago. The Yukon Bar called to us from down the block so we wandered in. Definitely a local’s place as several colorful characters were there during our visit. This included an older gentleman and his dog Gizmo. Gizmo was about the size of your fist and walked around on top of the bar while his owner had a beer. The people were friendly and the beer was cold. On the bartenders recommendation we stopped on the way back to the camper to get beer at Three Bears Gas and Liquor.  I made reservations with the people at the campground for a glacier cruise on Sunday before settling down for some TV and a couple more beers. A bag of microwave popcorn filled the small hole that had been left by the large burrito we had earlier. Tomorrow we plan to visit Exit Glacier, see some salmon spawning and get groceries.
 

Jun 12th

        We decided to have a breakfast/lunch at the camper before heading out. Our first stop was the salmon spawning area. Unfortunately, it was very crowded with a bunch of kids from northern Michigan so we decided we could come back at a better time. Exit Glacier was the next stop. We followed the trail down to the glacier and took several pictures. Lunch was found at Terry’s Fish and Chowder. The food was excellent and reasonable. From here we headed down town to do some souvenir shopping. We visited several stores before taking a break at the Yukon Bar. The grocery store was our final stop before heading back to the camper. Dial up internet took up at least an hour as I struggled with using a credit card to make the call. I then washed the camper, first time this trip, and the Jeep. I did a real quick job on both but they are better than they were. After dumping the black and grey tanks I settled down for the evening. We had a small salad for supper and relaxed watching TV.
 

Jun 13th

        The day was completely occupied by the boat cruise. We headed down to the cruise office about 10:15. We were booked on the Kenai Fjords – Nation Park Cruise from Major Marine Tours. After check in we waited for the 11:15 boarding. The Kenai Star was a nice boat and we were assigned a table on the upper of two decks. The tour came with an ‘all you can eat’ luncheon and the assigned table number was used to sequence people through the buffet line. Rita and I had both taken Dramamine before the trip so we were ready for rough water. After we left port the water became very rough and the boat rolled, pitched and dove in every direction you could imagine and then some. Several people were holding onto barf bags and eventually even Rita succumbed to the rough seas. The scenery was beautiful but the waves continued for most of the trip. We saw sea otters, whales, puffins, seals, dolphins and various other wildlife as well as multiple glaciers. I managed to eat a little of the lunch and that calmed my stomach. With Rita feeling terrible and me worried about her the trip seemed to go on forever. We had booked the all day tour and we were now wishing we had taken the half day one. Eventually we were returned to port. The shuttle bus driver made a quick stop for us at the salmon spawning area and it was far less crowded. After taking a couple of pictures we returned to the camper and Rita hit the couch hoping to feel better. After a bit she decided maybe she would feel better tomorrow.
 

Jun 14th

        We took our time getting ready this morning even though this was a moving day. After having a small breakfast at the camper we finished most of the leave preparations and then went down to a Subway for lunch. Rita hoped the bread would help settle her stomach. By a little after 1:00 we were on the road. The trip to Hope took us back up the same road we brought down to Seward. The road from the Hope Cutoff to Hope was in poor condition but still a paved road. I understand they plan to fix the road in August. Hank’s One Stop had a name change since the Milepost we used to select the campground was published. It is now called Eagle Rising. The campground was smaller than we expected. After walking around to the various sites we selected a back-in site instead of our usual pull-through. All of the sites had only 15 amp service. The camper would really like 50 amp service but we had gotten used to 30 amp service during this trip as that was all that was available in most of the campgrounds. Getting down to 15 amps was going to be a challenge. Our friends (Chrissy and her mother Mary Lou) from Wisconsin were doing their laundry at the campgrounds when we arrived. Chrissy introduced us to her sister Laurie who lives in Hope and was also there doing her laundry. We decided to meet later for supper at the Discovery Cafe. The menu had a large selection of reasonably priced items and the food was very good. After a short stop at the camper for a brief reunion with the cats we headed down to the local bar – the Seaview Bar and Cafe. It is a very rustic place with a nice view of the water. The bartender and other patrons all seemed friendly and the beer was cold. They only had three bottles of Bud Light so Rita moved on to Coors Light and I moved to Alaskan Summer. We chatted with Chrissy and her brother Val until late into the night before returning to the camper.  Chrissy stayed with us for one last beer before she went on her way to the bed and breakfast were she was staying with her mother.
 

Jun 15th

        After having a great breakfast at the Discovery Cafe we traveled with Chrissy and MaryLou to Alyeska Resort in Girdwood. The town seemed to be an Alaskan version of Aspen Colorado. The resort itself was beautiful. We boarded a tram at the resort for a trip about 2000 feet up the side of a mountain. During winter months this resort is a sking haven but even now there were two of their many runs open. A snowboarding school was in process and there were kids on boards and skis all around. After doing a bit of site seeing and souvenir shopping we rode the tram back down mountain and returned to Hope. We had originally planned to go for a Jeep ride with Chrissy and Val later in the evening but Rita was still not up to full strength so we took a pass.  We had plans to go to Whittier the next day and there was a brat cookout scheduled for the day after that. We thought taking a break to get Rita back on track was worthwhile.

Pictures