Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Skagway, Alaska, Part 2

OK, this is the little dock we tied up to, and we got on a bus for a 40 mile ride to Juneau.
After arriving in Juneau, we had lunch with about 13 of our friends at a place called "The Hanger".  Above, after being seated, this was our view out the windows.  At least three cruise ships docked and the little downtown tourist district reflected the extra 8000 folks.  Here is the reason the restaurant  was called the hanger:
There were five of these float planes constantly taking off and landing I assume to take folks on aeriel views of the harbor and the glacier.
Planes in Alaska are a way of routine life.  Seems everyone has either a float plane or a tundra-wheeled or ski legs plane.  It's like a second car to them.
Here we are on the front balcony of the Mendenhall Glacier National Park.  Over our shoulder is the famous glacier that has receded nearly a mile in the last 10 years.  It used to be where we are standing .  Below is the glacier and the adjoining lake.
Above, some of friends at lunch in Juneau.  Below, the waterfall next to the glacier.  Note the enormity of the falls with size of the people in the foreground.
Above, some Sockeye salmon spawning right off the lake and up this little stream.  This spawning ritual was occurring all over Alaska in all the streams and rivers.  Poor fish make love and die.  Sad!
And they are very territorial about their little spawning nest.  Each male run anything else, including ducks & other fish (graylings) away from his lady's nest.
On the way back we stopped by this old Coast Guard lighthouse (currently for sale). helo pad and dock included, and the bald eagles no extra charge.
What a serene setting right in the middle of the bay halfway between Skagway & Juneau.  Almost forgot, harbor seals & Steller sea lions come with property as well...
Just up from the lighthouse was this colony of Steller Lions.  Look at the big bull below.
There were even a few seals just down from the colony.
And of course, there were bald eagles everywhere...Below, Haines, where our captain resides, and we stopped here on the way back to drop a couple passengers.
Above, Haines just before we tied off the boat.  Below, a pic of the captain's seven month old Lab.
And when there wasn't wildlife to take in, there were plenty of other things to look at.
It was such a relaxing boat ride back to Skagway.  Below, Cliff "horning" the train passing us by.  The conductor asked us to show our love to them and to horn them, instead of mooning them.
We did the White Pass Railroad trip up the mountain 23 miles and returned the next day.  Below, waiting for our train to be prepared.  They do two trips up & back every day, on about 5 different trains.  When four ships are in town, they need every car & engine.
Above inside the station and below outside getting ready to cross the tracks over to our train car # 344.
Above in our car, and below boarding it.
Above, my fellow RV'ers whooping it up because they locked me out on the platform between the cars.  Very funny!   Below, a look down at the space and walkway between the cars.
Above a tunnel we passed thru and below a look at our train in a turn, from the platform.
The old bridge trestle.
Above, me & Nancy on the last car's platform & below the view out our coach front window at the harbor of the cruise ships and small craft.
Above, Skagway's Broadway street looking towards the harbor.  Below, the famous Red Onion Saloon.  Note the crowded streets.  10,000 extra folks in the town of 2500.
Here are a few other pics of Skagway's streets.
Above, coach row at Pullen Creek RV Park, at the harbor...and below is a pic of two of the four cruise ships that were in.  There from two to four ships that pull in and out each day.  Wow!  What a business.
Well, I could go on forever with pics from Skagway and the events we experienced over the three days there.  However, I must end here.  Look at the rest of my pics at the link thru the header pic at the top of this blog if you desire.  So, from the Tatogga Lake RV Park, in Iskut, BC, RVing Beach Bums getting ready for a halibut dinner at the lodge here, compliments of the wagon master, Ben.  (Wagon master Nancy has left the caravan this morning at 4AM to attend her son's wedding in Chicago on Sat.  She will rejoin us in Prince George Monday.  She drove 700+ miles today.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Skagway, Alaska, Part 1

After leaving Destruction Bay at Lake Kluane, in the Yukon Territory, it was time to again leave Canada and go back into Alaska, Skagway to be exact. After a brief stop in Whitehorse, and a few more pics and some groceries at the Canadian Superstore, we drove on down the Alaska Highway 1 to Highway 2, turned right and drove on thru Yukon, thru BC briefly, and on in to the US Border.  It happens that the Canadian Customs checkpoint is 21 miles from downtown Skagway, and the US checkpoint is 12 miles.  After a few questions from the Border officer, it was time for a 12 mile, 8% down grade.  Whew!  Used the exhaust brake and 1st/2nd gear almost all the way down.
Along the way at Emerald Lake, BC, I caught Steve W climbing up on his roof to seal up a seam that had started to leak a little.  And we were about to drive thru a lot of rain.  Good choice Steve.  Below, a view of the lake.
Our first full day in Skagway had us on a high speed boat trip to Juneau.  Wow! What a boat.  Our whole tour group, 46 in all, and four other folks were on the boat for the 3 hour ride.
Along the (both going & coming) we saw a humpback whale gorging herself (the boat operator/owner said it was a cow) each time on herring.
Note how close in shore she is, I guess chasing the huge school of herring and trapping them against the shore.
I could post a hundred pics of the whale, but three should suffice my readers here in this blog.  I have the rest of them posted on my google+ photo website, linked by the header photo at the top of this blog.
When we were cruising, I spent a lot of time on the deck aft, while some would rather not brave the 35 knot breeze boat speed.
Here are some of the folks getting their pics of the whale.  Above, far left, is the captain/owner of the boat.  He is very knowledgeable of the area, and resides in Haines.  His daughter, "Lib" was first mate, waiter, server, line handler, and tour guide.  She was beginning her senior year of high school the next day.
Above, Lib securing a line.  Below, Lisa, Nancy & Paul.
Above, jockeying for the best shot of the humpback and below, the cabin and the captain at the wheel.
And we also celebrated a birthday for Joan, Jay's wife.  Sharon is to the left.
Now, the 3 hour ride included some of the most awesome mountain side scenery you'll ever see in your life time.  I can't possibly post all the pics on this boat trip to Juneau and back, but here are a few.  We left at 8 and returned at 8, so it was a long day, with a three hour stop in Juneau.
It was a grey type of day, but the glaciers emit a beautiful shade of blue when no sun is out.
Well, this blog is already too long, so I'll close for now and in the next blog I'll continue with more events and scenes form Juneau & the Mendenhall Glacier National Park, and a walk around Juneau.  So, from Teslin in the Yukon, RVing Beach Bums finishing up breakfast at the Yukon Motel & RV Park, headed for Watson Lake, still in the Yukon.