After Homer we moved to Seward for a few days. Seward is a clean, pretty fishing port on Resurrection Bay. Much of the City of Seward is new. It was heavily damaged by a combination of seismic activity, the land sinking 10 feet, post-quake tsunamis and earthquake-caused fires from the 1964 earthquake. We camped right on the bay with a 180 degree view of the bay. Out in front of us were the old pilings for a cannery that was completely destroyed during the earthquake.
Once we turned for home, several of us settled into the cabin where we were out of the cold wind. Next thing I know, Jim’s tickling my nose because I’ve fallen asleep against the bulkhead. He says I wasn’t snoring, but my mouth was hanging open. Jim thought it was funny so he took pictures of me, naturally I have deleted them. Thank God I’ll never see those people again!
We visited the Mitch Seavey (Iditarod Champion) Racing Kennel in Seward and took a 2 ½ mile dog sled ride. Our 8 person wheeled sled was pulled by 16 Alaskan Huskies. Jim said it felt like we were going slow and the musher said it was because he was riding the brake. To show us he took his foot off for a second and we ZOOMED down the trail! The musher said that in the 59 degree “heat” the dogs would exhaust themselves in minutes so he made them go 10 mph.
To get to Whittier you have to drive through the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. The tunnel connects the town of Whittier with the rest of the Kenai Peninsula. The tunnel is the longest combined vehicle-railroad tunnel in North America. 2 ½ miles long, the tunnel has “safe houses” every 1600 feet. Frankly, I found the need for 9 safe houses to be somewhat disconcerting! Only wide enough for one way traffic (10’ wide vehicle limitations,) cars have to drive on top of railroad tracks. Cars travel through the tunnel at the top and bottom of the hour, trains use it in between. While I am sure the tunnel is an engineering marvel, I didn’t like it one bit. The tunnel goes under the Chugach Mountain range. When we entered the tunnel it was sunny and warm, when we came out the other side it was really cold and very foggy. Apparently the mountains trap all the crummy maritime weather right there in Whittier.
We are back in Anchorage for a few days. We needed to pick up our mail and we wanted to see the Arctic Thunder Air Show put on at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Unfortunately, two days before our arrival, a Boeing C-17 air cargo plane crashed at Elmendorf while practicing for the air show. 4 men (active-duty and Air National Guard) were killed in the crash which is still under investigation.
Arctic thunder was the best air show I have ever seen. While there were a couple of privately owned aerobatic planes participating, 99% of the show was military planes. And there were military planes of every kind parked on the tarmac that you could walk through. I loved the Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS. The crew was on board to explain all the equipment to us, it was really interesting. We had a demonstration by a Harrier II Plus Jump Jet. These babies will make you deaf when they rotate their exhaust nozzles down for a vertical takeoff or landing. Talk about full military power!
There were also amazing demonstrations by the Blue Angels and the Canadian Air Force Snowbirds. Check out the photo of the Blue Angels passing each other. We got to see the Blue Angles C-130 transport named Fat Albert strut it’s stuff. It demonstrated a short field landing, bringing the C-130 to a stop in only 1600 feet! At the end of the air show there was a really nice but sad ceremony for the men killed in the C-17 crash which included the missing man formation flown by the F-22's.