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!

18 thoughts on “Day in Whittier!

  1. Hi Bill and Kelly, another great read! Thank you. It’s 4:30 am in Newark, Delaware. Sitting in our sun room, facing southeast, I-95 sounds really busy. It’s ‘vacationers sharing the road with the usual ‘truckers’ – keeping America supplied with everything from food, car haulers delivering new and used vehicles to various dealerships; emergency vehicles wailing sirens occasionally our First Responers serving and protecting us 24/7; occasionally a big rig 18 wheeler gives a deafening sound of their air horn, another 4-wheeler cutting the big rig off probably. After traveling in our 5-wheeler a few years, we have a whole new appreciation for what our truckers do 24/7…..As you can well relate by now.
    It’s finally warm here, hot to those who lived here all their lives. I’m grateful for this weather of 90degrees. I hate winters here. I am grateful for no snow, ice, howling winds and freezing temperatures. Even AK provides a little warmth for a short period of time. Our friends in Wasilla, AK are enjoying their annual rondevoo now. They just called yesterday b/c they were ‘in-town’ getting gas, picking up groceries and meds. One of the few spots with a clear phone reception – perhaps you are adjusting to this experience too, while in AK.
    I see Bill in short sleeves, and you Kelly, in layers with long sleeves, in your selfie. The scenes you share are breath-taking. The beauty is enhanced by the clear blue skies meeting the gorgeous greenery and ‘primitive’ views.
    Morris is in the busiest season of the ‘100 days of summer’, wreaking havoc on commercial HVAC systems, summer, – thunder storms causing roof leaks, flooding parking lots at the properties. Phone calls, texts, email non-stop 24/7. God Willing, he only has 3.5 more months of this. He plans to retire October, then we can enjoy our life together. I can retire from administrative duties. Can’t tell you how many meals we have interrupted with calls, servce request for everything imaginable. Even during he night too, from a roof leak- while heavy rains are coming down at 3:00 am, not much any roofer can solve in pouring buckets of rain – duh!, but create a work-order, dispatch to a contractor as important but not emergency status. Get back to sleep, then the next call is an hour later when a vehicle has driven through a 7-11 store property ( there are those who mistake the accelerator for the brake, and then those too inebriated to be behind the wheel) now it’s an emergency, needing electrician, general contractor, glass company, and a Plummer to cut off the ruptured water line flooding the propert’s interior. After creating work orders, dispatching the urgency to several other households who share the same 24/7 interruptions for another family that we encounter…can I say ‘it’s gotten very old’?
    My healing of the two cancer surgeries, still having iron infusions at the cancer Ctr, and taking chemo again now is another interruption in our lives (the insomnia – one of several side effects of the many side effects)thus my being up to enjoy your part of your adventures. We both enjoy every blog you. share and dream of living the dream similar to yours.
    Praying we get to stay in Myrtle Beach from October this year until April of 2017 that we have reserved. Where will your journey have you during this time-frame? We so look forward to seeing you during your next trip to our tri-state area.
    Love, hugs and prayers for each of you.

    1. I can relate to not having a clear phone signal and/or half working wifi. It’s so annoying but part of the “living like a local” in AK! Part of what we signed up for!
      Bill does not tend to get cold or chilled as easily as I do – hence his short sleeves and my layers – the breeze always has me with longer sleeves!
      Whittier was amazing, as many places we have been are! We will be heading back at the end of July with friends who are coming to the area.
      I know you and Morris will enjoy your winter in SC, where you will be able to stay away from the worst of winter!
      Sending prayers for your continued recovery!

  2. Great pictures Kelly. We went through that tunnel on the train on our way to our cruise last summer. Love ready about everything you are doing and the places you are seeing. We loved Alaska but have only seen little parts of it, can’t wait for our time to explore. Enjoy the rest of your week.
    Chris from Maryland

  3. Hello from Frisco, Colorado! Love your pictures! I think the glaciers would be my favorite thing in Alaska, hearing the popping and such. Well that and hiking. And fishing! That tunnel would freak me out a bit. I hope there is no way you can get in there the same time as the train!

    1. Hey Debbie! I’m sure you will love the glaciers – they are pretty cool! And the fishing! First time I’ve wished Bill fished! I won’t – I’m a big baby – don’t like killing things – but I sure do LOVE to eat it! And no – the schedule for the cars/trains is pretty strict – only one way or a train at a time!

  4. I just enjoy reading your blog. We are considering going to Alaska in the future, so the information is very helpful. We are in Mansfield, Missouri for another 2 weeks.


  5. Hello from Ninilchik! Thanks for the post on Whittier, we are heading there after Seward. We too went to Hope, not too much to see there. We you next week!

    1. I didn’t even take a pic in Hope – probably should have but just didn’t – oh well! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

  6. Ah – so it IS ‘Prettier in Whittier’! We’re right behind you and plan on a couple days there and take the ferry to Valdez. Thanks for the timely post :).

    1. Whittier is amazing! So glad we are going back with our other friends at the end of the month – just hope we have another nice day! You are very welcome – hope you found it helpful!

    1. Custer seems to have plenty to keep you busy! Glad you are enjoying it! I’ve said it before – it’s hard to take a bad pic up here!

  7. Loved, loved the Whittier pictures. Can’t wait to explore it with you and the fact that you heard popping noises from the ice cracking was amazing! I’ll have to hold my breath through the tunnel though!!

    1. Just was reviewing some stuff – realized I never answered you – we are very excited to go back and see Whittier again with you guys! We are going to see the glacier close up!

  8. This sounds so amazing! We will visit one day with the kids. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. I wish I had brought my kids here, although we did bring them lots of other great places – they will have to plan their own trip to AK! Thanks for reading!

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