Friday, June 21, 2019

Life in Seward

Welcome to my new blog layout.
Now that I'm retired and have some extra time on my hands I'm playing around with
things a bit.   The changes are a work in progress.

I've tried to make it easier to read.
Any comments? - let me hear them.

 1  Click on Pictures to enlarge
2  Click on where are we today (top right sidebar)

It will bring up a map were you can see where we are and you can also select
date ranges to see where we've been.

Now that that is out of the way.

Seward Waterfront Park

The waterfront park is a big long gravel parking lot on the waterfront.
It is about a mile long and has grassy areas and gravel areas.
There are places for tents and RV's and a town park.

There is a walking path along the whole front of the Park that runs about 1.5 miles from
the Ship docks at the north end of the bay, past the RV Parking area, & town park
all the way south to the Marine Center and the downtown area of Seward.

We are parked at the far south end of the area, just a few spots from the south end
where the town park area begins 

Our home in Seward
View below is the south end of the RV area looking north.
We are about 4 up on the left.

Below - taken from the same spot - looking south towards the park,
and further beyond (about 1/2 mile) would be the downtown area.

The Waterfront park has some water & elec sites but most are dry camping.
We, of course, are in the dry camping area.

So.. While settled in I take care of some chores such as cleaning off the solar panels.

1,120watts of panels keeps thing charged.
On those rare days when I have to run the generator to top up the batteries...
(only 1 day in 21) 
I take advantage of the extra power to roast some coffee.

I have about 40 lbs of Green beans, several varieties,  
that I measure into 1 lb baggies as needed

Green Coffee Beans

The finished product!   Dark Roast Costa Rican
Our front window is a tourist attraction.
Many people who walk by each day stop to admire the plants and 
solar animated characters.

People are constantly stopping to take pictures of themselves by the bus.
They don't have vehicles like this overseas so its unusual to them.
There are also only a few party busses here.  Most must be in an RV Park somewhere.
That only adds to the attraction.

Sometimes we feel like the animal in the zoo getting our picture taken.

A photo taker sights us in.

June is the Halibut Fishing Derby.

Halibut & Salmon off of one boat.
Below is looking at the bus from the beach.  
Behind us is Mt Marathon.
Towering about 2,800' over us - on July 4th each year there is a marathon race
from town, up and back down.   Its a grueling race and the winning times are about
40 minutes for the mens race.

You can see the tracks going up the mountain.
One more visible on the right side of the ridge and one on the left.
One is for uphill - the other for downhill.

We'll cover the race in a later post.

Mt Marathon, Seward, Ak.


I have not yet really captured the great shots, but its still been interesting
watching the sea life so I thought I'd share a bit of what we have so far this year.

Each day we walk the waterfront with the dogs.

Land Doodles in Seward
A Bald Eagle has taken up residence in the vicinity and it keeps making an
appearance now and then.

The other day an angry Raven was trying to chase it away.

When the Raven left - the Eagle continued is patrol.

Sea Otters are always all over the bay.
Here a pair was enjoying a clam dinner.

Another pair was playing

This is our 4th time here.
We've never before have seen Stellar Sea Lions up in the bay.
There is a big colony a few miles down on the far side of the bay,
perhaps they are roaming further in search of food.

I have seen a few come up with a large fish in their mouth.

A small group (raft) of about 6 have been around.

Another amazing sight we've never seen this far up the bay...
A mother Humpback Whale and its baby.

Whale spouts just before surfacing

Below - in the distance you can see both mother and baby.

Mother & baby Humpback

If you dont like the view just wait - it will change.
Below is the same view as above.

After all this walking and wildlife viewing....
It's time for a nap.

Gracie dreams of the one that got away

Lucy dreams of dinner

The ships

One of the cool things about Seward is the port.
Seward is a stop on the Alaska Cruise Ship Circuit.
Many ships use Seward at the end of the line.

One route is from Vancouver - up the coast ending at Seward - where they discharge
the 7-day passengers, take on a new load for the opposite trip south to Vancouver.

Some make the 14-day round trip.

Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Sea docked in the fog.
Resurrection bay is a dead end.   
The ships enter from the south, dock at the north end, and then depart to the south.

This means that every ship must execute a 180 degree about face.
Either before - or after - they dock

Some make the turn upon arrival - then back into the dock.
Some pull straight into the dock - then back out, and turn around to depart.

In either case - the ships make that 180 degree spin right in front of our RV.
It makes for a fun show.

Below there are 2 ships at the dock.
One facing each way.

The ships all arrive in the early am.
Around 0300-0430 is the norm.

The Depart somewhere between 1800-2000

Radiance of the Sea arrived this morning at 0445
She pulled straight in - so will be rotating tonight. 

Radiance of the Sea arriving in Seward
Regent Seven Seas Mariner turns 180° upon departure
on June 19, 2019

Turn complete - heading out to sea
The Holland America Ships seem to like to back in first.
Here the MS Noordam is making its 180 directly in front of the RV
at 0445.  (yes I was up to watch it)

The MS Westerdam departs.
Like the other Holland America ships - she pirouetted in the morning so
upon departure she sails straight out and down the bay.

Passing right in front of our window. 
A perfect viewing stand in all weather!

The variety of ships is fun to observe

Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Jewell
Every ship that arrives or leaves the Port of Seward is required to have a Harbor Pilot on Board.
The pilot is an experienced captain who is intimately famaliar with the harbor, the bay,
and its currents.

They take command of the ship about 4 miles or so south of here near where the bay forks.

In the morning, the Tugboat "Junior" runs out to meet the incoming ship.
The Harbor pilot climbs aboard the ship, and takes command all the way to the dock.

Tugboat Junior heading out to the rendezvous point
In the evening, Junior first maneuvers to the pilings where a mate scrambles up a ladder
onto the pilings to release the outer lines securing the ship.

While the ship slowly leaves the dock with the Harbor Pilot in command,  Junior is
rushing back out to the rendezvous point.

The ship might - or might not - need to make it's 180° turn.
In either event - once at the head of the bay, Junior and the departing
ship will rendezvous and the Pilot will climb down from the ship onto Junior,
and Junior will make the long run back to the port.

Tugboat Junior returns to Seward with the Pilot on board
Just about every day this routine plays out in the morning and the evening.
And we have a front row seat.

Just a little taste of what life is like from where we sit.

Greetings from Seward!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Back in Seward

When I left you last, I mentioned that we did not know if we would make some
side trips on the way - or make a bee-line to Seward.

Well the verdict is in....
Greetings from Seward!

Its been a few days with lots of road miles so a bunch of the photos has
the drivers eye view....  bug splatters and all.

We left Muncho Lake on Weds May 29 with no destination planned.
Turned out we drove the 450 miles to Whitehorse where we spent the weekend.
The plan was to be on full hookups so that we could do laundry.

Alaska Highway view North of Muncho Lake

The herd of Bison that is normally near Liard Hot Springs was out
near the road.

Bison near Liard Hot Springs
We made a quick stop in Watson Lake, Yukon to check out the sign forest.
We put up a sign in 2014 so we wanted to check on it. 

Sign Forest
Our sign is holding up well.
Perhaps we need to put up another and check off each additional trip as we pass thru.

West of Watson Lake we cross the divide between Pacific and Arctic Watersheds

Crossing a bay on Teslin Lake, we cross the Nisutlin Bay Bridge.
At 1,917 feet in length, it is the longest bridge on the Alaska Highway.

Nisutlin Bay Bridge

We spent 4 nights in Whitehorse.
When Kate tried to do the laundry - the Washing Machine would not turn on.
I had to pull it out of the tight cabinet it is built into, get it onto the bathroom floor,
put on my Maytag Repairman hat, and try to figure out what is wrong.

If I need parts, perhaps I can have them delivered in Seward.
The good thing is I'll have plenty of time since we'll be dry camping for months in
Seward, so there will be no using the machine in the bus anyway.

When I got the machine pulled out and took the covers off I was able to trace out the power
and found a wire had come loose off of the surge suppressor.   When that was plugged in,
I tested the machine and Voila...  problem solved.

A couple of hours after I stared, the machine was tucked back into its cabinet,
and Kate had it humming.
Our $$'s for 4 days of full-hookups would not go to waste.

On Sunday morning June 2nd we headed out of Whitehorse.
Our destination was not set, but we both were leaning towards just continuing on to
Seward.  Oh what would todays drive bring us?

This part of the drive - from Whitehorse past Kluane Lake is one of my favorites.
The mountains and Valleys are spectacular!

Heading into Haines Junction
After passing Burwash Junction at the north end of Kluane Lake, the Alcan conditions
take a nose dive.   This part of the highway is notoriously subject to frost heaves, and this
trip was no different.   We bumped and bounced our way thru the last 150mile of
the Yukon and around 2pm we crossed into Alaska.

Welcome to The Last Frontier

At 3pm we took on fuel at Youngs Chevron in Tok, then turned south
onto the Tok cutoff leaving the Alaska Highway behind.

The Tok Cutoff is notorious for its frost heaves.
The middle third seems to be the worst and a reader of this blog had informed me
that it was bad this year.    She was right.

The first 40 miles or so was a breeze, but rain clouds were forming ahead.

Soon it was raining and the bouncing began.

We started to bounce our way down the road and around 5pm we were stopped at some
major road construction.   The flagger told us that it was going to be at least
20minutes till the pilot car returned.

Kate took advantage in this lull to feed the Doodles.
No one wants angry, hungry doodles in a Party Bus.

The doodles are amazing little travelers.   They just take all the changes that we
throw at them in stride as if its normal... and it is.

They finished dinner just about the time the pilot vehicle arrived and they hit the
couches while we hit the road.

Road Construction on Tok Cutoff
The flag person had warned us that at the end of the piloted portion, the road
was really torn up with potholes.
It was pretty bad, but fortunately it was only for a few miles longer.
Then the road returned to its normal bumpy 30mph self.

I silently wondered what an airborne Doodle with a belly full of food would mean.

About 20 miles north of Glenallen, the road smoothed out and we cautiously put some
foot back into the pedal.

Turning south on the Glen Highway, at about 6:30pm, it was getting
near time to start scouting out a place for the night.

We knew that there is an abundance of nice pullouts on
this stretch of road, and about an hour south of Glenallen
at the 128mm we found a beauty!

We pulled into a nice double ended turnout at about 7:30p and shut down.
Situated at Eureka Summit, about 3,300' we figured it might be a cool night, and
it turned out to be not so bad.   It got down to about 39 degrees.

Eureka Summit on the Glenn Highway
A great view of the mountains, a view of a glacier, and a clear view of the
satellites...  we were home for the night.

A room with a view
This morning dawned cool and foggy.
As we pushed south towards Anchorage and the coast the fog first tuned to intermittent rain.

Glen Highway - Glacier View Stretch
 To the south, the clear blue skies told us the sunshine was waiting!

Thru Anchorage, we round the Turnagain Arm, and cross onto the Kenai Peninsula.

Stopping to top off the fuel tank, by 1230 we were parked in Seward at our old 
stomping grounds.
We are parked in the exact same space that we stayed at last July - Sept.
The only thing missing is Eric & Pat who were here with us for a part of the summer.

Kate & the Doodles.

There is no water, electric or sewer.   There is a town dump station and water
fill a few blocks away so every few weeks we'll need to take care of business but 
other than that we've got all the satellites locked in, plenty of solar power,
so life here is good.

We were greeted upon arrival by a Humpback Whale spouting right in front of our
site.   There are also rafts of seals and sea otters swimming by.
Looks like its going to be a fun summer!

We nose up to the town walking path that runs along the waterfront.
In the photo below we are about the 3 RV down right near the South End of the RV Area.

The walking path along the Seward Waterfront
Looking south along the path, there is a town park, then further
down the Marine Science Aquarium, and town.

The view.

Gracie posed for a photoshoot in the park.

So...  3,944 miles logged on the gps from home and we are here.
My next job is to try and get some good photos of the wildlife for you folks
and get that posted in a future blog.

This 4th of July is the big race up and down the mountain behind us.
It's televised so perhaps you'll get to see it with us.

Tomorrow is June 4th.   The 75th anniversary of D-Day.
Let's all take a moment and think about all those young men, on both sides of
that conflict, that never got a chance to enjoy life like we do.

From the 4 of us in Seward.