Day in Whittier!

Hello Readers!  How are all of you doing today?  I’ve been wondering – you all know where I am – but I have no idea where you are – well some of you I do – but most I do not.  How about when you comment you say where you are when you read?!  

We ended our work week on Friday looking forward to celebrating our nations birthday in Seward AK!  Before we headed into Seward though – our weekend started with a day trip to Whittier!

We woke early to a glorious sunny day, and were mostly ready to go when Steven & Linda came to pick us up Saturday morning.   As we were walking out, we decided to put on the Fantastic Fan to help keep the rig cool for Callie (a Fantastic Fan in the rig is like a whole-house attic fan in your house – it draws outside air in), but it wouldn’t come on – would start to open and then reverse.   We’ve had this before but not this bad.  Bill had to climb up on the roof to force it open and after numerous tries he finally succeeded.  Away we went!

Our destination for the day was the small town of Whittier.   I’m not usually very detail oriented when it comes to town statistics – but Whittier is more interesting than most.  It is known as the “town under one roof”, as most of the approximately 214 permanent residents live in a former army barracks building called Begich Towers. The towers house a police station, a grocery store, a church, a laundromat, a health center, etc. They get a lot of snow there, about 20 feet per year and 60 mph winds are the norm in winter.  The school is attached to the towers via a tunnel and the only playground in town is indoors.  

I would have loved to see the inside, but the building is understandably not open to the public

 Another interesting thing is the only way to drive into town is via a tunnel that is one lane – not one lane each way – ONE LANE!  The tunnel is also used for the train – as the tracks are right down the middle of the one lane.  So – you have to plan your trip into and out of Whittier accordingly, as you can only go into town once per hour at the bottom of the hour and out of town at the top of the hour.   The tunnel is 2 1/2 miles long with no where to pull over and let someone pass.  I assume people who live there get used to it, but even in Steven & Linda’s little Toadie Hopper (their nickname for their “toad” (towed car)) it was a bit nerve wracking.  It is big enough for 18-wheelers, and we saw big tour buses go through and even large RV’s, but there is very little room to spare.  

getting ready to head into the tunnel
was kind of creepy but cool at the same time

We parked right away and hit up the Visitor Center, where we picked up a map of town.  Linda spotted a perfect place for us to have our picnic lunch, right on the water.  The boat ramp was very busy with a long line of people wanting to put in.  There was a cruise ship in town and people were walking everywhere!  

lunch time!
great view of the harbor while we ate

After our picnic lunch we drove through town to look around.  Steven wanted to take some pin-hole pics at an old abandoned building, which looked like a perfect place to film an episode of Walking Dead.  We dropped him off and continued on; right up the street we found an awesome place to take some pics, overlooking the water and town.  

can’t you just see Rick and Darryl climbing the walls to get in?

there were lots of boats enjoying the beautiful sunny day
glaciers all around
love the green against the blue sky and white snow

looks very dramatic in black & white

We picked Steven up when he was done taking his pics – and we found a trail that led to a waterfall.  Beautiful!  

love the sound of flowing water

I’m running out of words – do you have one for this pic?

After all that exploring, we all wanted ice cream!  We had noticed people eating ice cream earlier near the docks and it looked yummy – and it was!  

We got in line to head back through the tunnel and noticed right away it was a perfect viewing spot for a glacier.  It is impossible to judge how far away we were from it – but we sure could hear it popping and making all kinds of other noises!  I assume it was b/c it was a very warm sunny day.  We sat and watched and listened for about 15 mins while waiting to head back through the tunnel.  

notice the blue color in the ice

We stopped at the Portage Visitor Center to see what they had there.  They had some displays and a small gift shop and we picked up some brochures.  We also toured a CG that Steven & Linda are considering staying at.  

can you see the darker blue streak? Its the new melt coming down off the glaciers
there’s where we were!
bison skeleton

Linda then realized she needed gas.  Ok – where to get gas?  The town of Hope wasn’t too far and we wanted to see that too – so we headed in that direction.   The town is a bit off the beaten path and barely looks like a town.  There is a CG at the very end of it that is very small and tight sites, but great views of Turnagain Arm.  Have I mentioned yet – NO GAS!  Even though GasBuddy app says there was!  Not nice!  

Next closest place is Girdwood – so off we went.  It was the wrong direction from home, but we weren’t going to make it to Seward, especially after the Hope side trip.  Girdwood was hopping, everyone filling up and getting their last minute items for the 4th.  

Linda & Steven dropped us off before heading back to Seward Waterfront Park, where they had scored a great waterfront site!  Perfect place to celebrate July 4!  You’ll have to turn in next time to hear all about it!