Homer spit "Bone Yard"...
They got over stocked with floats...
Out for a brisk walk on the beach and we weren't really expecting company but...
This is the "ride"...in Homer, Alaska
We just couldn't wait around for the guys to get the parts for our transmission so we continued our drive down to Homer, Alaska. On the way we stopped by to see this Russian Orthodox Church that dates back to the very early 1900's. Then it was onto Homer, the Homer spit, and finally pulling into the Homer Elks for a little "rest and relaxation" sitting just above Cook Inlet...oh, I almost forgot....The Salty Dog...lots of dollar bills and "panties" left behind after driking too many "Salty Dogs".
The first thing this morning we visited the Portage Glacier Information Center before heading down the Kenai Peninsula to Soldotna. Just before arriving in Soldotna we lost the 5th gear in our transmission...nuts... Fortunately we still were able and can continue to drive with the other 4 gears plus the overdrive for them, it's just a lot better if we have them all. We were able to make contact and visit a "recommended" transmission guy, now we wait for the estimate so hopefully we can continue on towards Haines.
Valdez was a wonderful surprise to us...like ALL the small shops to the largest cities of Alaska we have met the most amazing and friendly people you can find... Not only the people of Valdez but the beauty of the town sitting on the banks of Prince William Sound but at the base and surrounded by the majestic Chugach Mountains. We stayed at the Bayside campground and found it and the owners to be exactly what we needed and what we wanted. The museums were full of history and current deeds, the "old Valdez" before the 1964 earthquake, was heartbreaking to see and hear about as we toured the site 4 miles outside of the current Valdez. Our time to "Remember" on Memorial Day 2015 with the townsfolk of Valdez... We did enjoy Valdez and it was with a tip of our glass we said "goodbye" as we caught the ferry to Whittier, Alaska. Our ferry ride took us just over 5 hours through some beautiful mountain ranges, large and small islands, seals, porpoise, whales, and otters all showing up to greet us as we passed. Upon our arrival at Whittier we had to drive through a 2.2 mile long single lane tunnel that was shared with a train. On the green lite you could drive through while the on-coming waited...once the one direction of cars were all through a train could go, and then the cars/trucks of the other direction were on their way until they would start all over again... About a mile outside of the tunnel we found a very nice US Forest campground we could spend the night at.
We thought we would be leaving Valdez today but after enjoying the Memorial Day services and the free barbecue at the Elks Club we decided to make a change to our plans. First I want to say how impressed we are with the beauty and the hospitality of Valdez. This bay with the mountains sitting so close, is breath taking. Second, we decided to catch the ferry up to Whittier, which is just below Anchorage. From there we are going into the Kenai peninsula for awhile. We also had a great hike along the bay, visited the "OLD TOWN" of Valdez which was TOTALLY destroyed in the 1964 by the 9.2 earthquake. The current Valdez is located 4 miles west and is settled on soil that is not going to turn into a watery mess under a quake like they went through then.
We saw so much Halibut today we had to have it for our dinner.
Our journey for the past 3 weeks has been under sunny 75 plus degree days which has been amazing especially sering as how we packed for cool to COLD weather. Well we left the mining community of Kennecott in the sun this morning and by the time we finished the 60 miles if gravel, we were seeing clouds. Our destination today was Valdez which was 90 miles from our coming to the main road. 50 miles outside if Valdez we started to get our first rain, not much, but rsin non the less. Tonight we are parked in the middle of Valdez in a very nice campground and the rain has stopped. Forecast, going to shine by noon tomorrow..
This is the Kennecott mine in Alaska with the first pictures showing the "town" of McCarthy. We found this area by crossing over the Copper River and following a gravel road for 60 miles. Once on the banks of the Kennicott Glacier River,we had to cross over the foot bridge and walk 3/4 mile to McCarthy. Once there we hired a ride in a van to take us the additional 5 miles to Kennecott.
Spending one night we continued east to Glennallen. Just after leaving the 17 mile roadway that took us to Lake Louise, we were stopped in our tracks by another amazing glacier across the valley. At Glennallen we turned south, found Liberty Falls for a short hike, and then onto Chitina were we would find our gravel road that would take us the 60 miles to our next stop of McCarthy / Kennicott at the base of the Wrangell Mountains and the shores of the Kennicott River (fast and glacial in color and temperature). Driving this narrow gravel road gave us some amazing sights and journeys along the way. Among those was visiting the Copper River area were the native peoples still use their "fishwhells" to harvest the Copper River Salmon. And then there was the single lane railroad bridge built in 1910 that has been converted to handle cars (and truck-campers). The gorge below us was over 300 feet and made for an interesting experience to say the least, and then we passes beside another trestle that took 8 days to complete using one-half million board feet of timber in 1911. Tonight we are parked on the shores of the Kennicott River. Tomorrow morning we will visit the historic Kennicott mines.