June 8, 2009 - Talkeetna to Whittier

We wake up outside Talkeetna, just south of Denali, to views as gorgeous as the night before.
They say 30% of visitors actually see Mt. McKinley, but we were very lucky!

'The Great One' is in plane view.

We take a parting look at our secocnd lodge as we get ready to drive south.

After Wasilla and Anchorage, we get to the first of two tunnels that separate Whittier from the rest of Alaska.

We break for a minute to take in the views of the rest stop.

Like no other rest stop I'm used to.

This is portage lake, with its namesake glacier.

Jill and Bill take in the view.

Wildflowers abound in Alaska!

It's windy, which means it's cold.

Clouds blanket the nearby peaks.

The ice breaks up on Portage Lake, trumpeting spring in southern Alaska.

Portage Glacier.

We stop at the mouth of the next tunnel before we're finally allowed in -

at a steady interval.

It is a long, one lane, switching train tunnel.
Every 30 minutes, a train goes through in a different direction.
Also every 30 minutes, the tunnel is open to automotive traffic.
The result is something like this:
At :15, a train goes through, heading west.
At :30, cars go through, heading west.
At :45, a train goes through, heading east.
At :00, cars go through, heading east.
Plus, there are unscheduled trains, which screw it all up...

On the other side, we get to our boat, anchored in a fingerlet of Prince William Sound.

Carey and Bill head off to join us on a drive around town.

The Jones fam.

It is a cool setting...

Outside of what passes for a convenience store, Bill holds up his catch.

Glacial runoff.

Two local dogs play in the barely-above-freezing water.

Our route the last two days took us through some pretty remote areas.
Starting way up in Fairbanks, on the Nenana River, we headed south through towns of varying sizes (some just a moose crossing and a pull-out, some actually had streetlights).
The last little bit through the entrance to Kenai and over to Prince william Sound was some of the best scenery - bald eagles soaring in front of sheer cliffs...
The long arm to the west-southwest was yesterday's drive into Denali.
Gosh, I wanna go back!