Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Last Day In AK

I had to make a stop before I left Alaska at one of the "Shoe Box Starbucks". They have these little sheds allover and you can grab espressos, lattes, etc. The prices were way better than Starbucks.

Interesting meeting. We flew from Pittsburgh to Salt Lake with these guys. We were bumming around Anchorage and I recognized them. They were from Irwin and Jeanette Pa. They were not even going to be on the return flights with us, but were flying out the same night. Julie wishes I would remember other "more important" things. LOL!

We went to the docks and watched them unload these containers off of ships with cranes and then load them on railroad cars with this machine.

Alaska Wild Berry Place

20' waterfall of 3,500lbs of real melted chocolate. Julie wanted to jump in.

Two moose that had gotten their racks stuck and died.

Taking a ride on a polar bear. Yep I did!

Before we left we got to meet Benny Durrs brother Robert and his wife.

They pastor the Pilgrim Nazarene Church in Anchorage.

Another moose just before we got to the airport.

My buddy Nick

After a super snail slow TSA checkpoint in which I wrote them and compained...

We flew home!!!!!

My Last and Successful Fishing Trip - Knik River

Notice a difference in the top of the mountain from 1 day to the next?

This was taken the day before.

We set back out for a couple of hours Thursday morning before we had to head into Anchorage for a few sightseeing stops and then to the airport to fly home. I was hoping I would catch at least one fish before I left.

Termination snow

A clearer picture of the glacier that we were fishing across from.

My Catch - a small stick.

I actually caught one, but never landed got away before I could say Jack Robinson Crusoe!

Whittier and Prince William Sound

Driving along the Seward Highway towards Portage and Whittier.

Mini Glacier Icebergs in the water

Notice the blue tint to the super compressed ice. Almost all glacier travelers have stared with awe into the brilliant blue depths of an open crevasse. The bright white snow of the surface is a marked contrast to the deep rich blue inside a glacier. But why is ice blue? Snow is white because full spectrum, or white, light is scattered and reflected at the boundary between ice and air. The white color of bubbles at the top of a dark beer work the same way—small pockets of air reflect and scatter visible light. Ice only appears blue when it is sufficiently consolidated that bubbles do not interfere with the passage of light. Without the scattering effect of air bubbles, light can penetrate ice undisturbed. In ice, the absorption of light at the red end of the spectrum is six times greater than at the blue end. Thus the deeper light energy travels, the more photons from the red end of the spectrum it loses along the way. Two meters into the glacier, most of the reds are dead. A lack of reflected red wavelengths produces the color blue in the human eye. Now you know the rest of the story.

Waiting for our turn to enter the tunnel to Whittier. It runs trains, and vehicles both direction in the same narrow tunnel. There is a time schedule to keep and we missed it by 1 minute and had to wait another half hour to get back out.
The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel (often referred to simply as the Whittier Tunnel) is a tunnel through Maynard Mountain in the U.S. state of Alaska. It links the Seward Highway south of Anchorage with the relatively isolated community of Whittier. It is part of the Portage Glacier Highway and at 13,300 feet (4,050 m), is the second longest highway tunnel and longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America. The original tunnel was completed in 1943 and used for railroad traffic. In the mid-1960s, the Alaska Railroad began offering a shuttle service for automobiles, similar to Amtrak's Auto Train, which allowed vehicles to drive on to rail cars to be transported between Whittier and the former town of Portage. As traffic to Whittier increased, the shuttle became insufficient, leading in the 1990s to a project to convert the existing railroad tunnel into a one-lane, combination highway and railroad tunnel. Construction on this project began in September 1998, and the combined tunnel was opened to traffic on June 7, 2000. As eastbound traffic, westbound traffic, and the Alaska Railroad must share the tunnel, there are often waits of 20 minutes or more to enter. As reflected on the Alaska Department of Transportation Tunnel Website, it is now considered "North America's longest railroad-highway tunnel." The tunnel held the title of the longest road tunnel in North America (at nearly 2.5 miles [4 km]) until completion of the 3.5 mile (5.6km) Interstate 93 tunnel as part of the "Big Dig" project in Boston, Massachusetts. It was a 2001 recipient of an Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award from the American Society of Civil Engineers. The tunnel is named after Anton Anderson, an army engineer who in 1941 headed up the construction of the railroad spur from Whittier to Portage

There is not much above than just the rock they carved the longest tunnel in North America through.

The old army barracks when the town was a bustling cold water port during World War II.

The building now stands in ruins. Somebody was busy with their sling shot.

The only housing in Whittier - A 15 story housing high rise building.

The Whittier Zoo. One animal - a reindeer.

The halibut I wish I had caught.

A cruise ship loading up with thousands of people.