Went up to Whittier to collect my boat from Cordova. Put the truck on the ferry on Thursday night and friend Roy got it off. No room on Friday, when I went up, due to the Haines Beer Fest. I got off the ferry in Haines about 9 am and took off for Anchorage. Saw ground squirrels in Canada near the border, then saw several single pairs of swans in small pot hole lakes along the way. Saw a few moose in Canada, and several as I got into the Mat-Su borough on the other side. Then a few caribou near Nelchina. Every RV and ATV owner in Anchorage was heading the other way from me on Friday to the Summit Lake area as it was Memorial Day weekend and the Kenai was full of smoke from the wildfire there. Arrived in Anchorage about 1 am on Saturday and slept in the back of my truck so as not to wake my inlaws. Lots of mosquitoes in Anchorage, and lots of pollen just like here.
I did some chores around their house and went to lunch with them and a friend (Homeless Bill). That evening, I had dinner with a Peace Corps friend and her family – in all of Anchorage, a city of 300,000+, they bought a house right across from my inlaws house where Sara grew up. That will be nice having someone to keep an eye on my inlaws.
On Sunday, I headed to Whittier about 7 am to meet the 11 am ferry. Had breakfast at the inn there overlooking the bay as I nursed a slight hangover. The ferry arrived and I got to see my new boat. Very nice. As nice as I’d hoped. I tied some lines from the boat to the to the trailer to more secure the boat to the trailer, then drove up to wait for the tunnel to open from our side. I checked the trailer wheel hub and neither was hot. Then we drove through the tunnel and I check them again and again, they were okay, so I took off for Anchorage. The spare I’d brought with me was only a 12″ tire and this trailer was 14″ wheels so first stop was West Marine for a spare tire. I spent about an hour there buying a new trailer light and getting the trailer lights to work, along with the spare tire. Then, I was on my way about 3 pm.
On the north side of Anchorage as I was leaving the city, a kindly motorist came up alongside me on the highway and pointed to my trailer and indicated I had trouble. I looked in my mirror and sure enough, I’d blown a wheel bearing. Luckily, I’d watched a you tube on changing a bearing before I left, and had bought a whole hub assembly. Only took about 30 minutes as I had all the proper tools for the job. I traveled on to Eagle River and luckily found another spare hub kit at NAPA before they closed.
I headed for Glenallen, where again I was mostly going against some of the weekend travelers heading home. Most were still at their campsites so not much traffic. Once I got to Glenallen, the traffic really thinned out from what wasn’t very much, and I would guess I passed less than 50 vehicles the rest of the 600 miles or so to Haines. When it got pretty dark – about 1 am – I pulled into Snag Harbor campsite to sleep until the sun came back up as it was getting hard to see the bad parts of the road. The highway from the Canadian border to Destruction Bay is the worst of it, and that’s where I was. I got up a few hours later and continued on to Destruction Bay, where I needed more coffee but the cafe was not yet open, so I slept another hour or so until they opened, got my coffee and was off again. Saw alot of bunnies on the way home after not seeing any on the way north, along with a couple pairs of grizzly bears along Kluane Lake, and porcupines here and there. Made it to Haines about 11 am, and since the ferry wasn’t leaving till 9 pm and wouldn’t get to Juneau till almost 2 am, I flew home after catching up with Roy and Brenda in Haines.
1600 mile round trip over a long weekend was lots of great scenery but not anything I want to do again soon. Glad the weather was so nice. My old 1986 F250 4 x 4 with 6.9 diesel ran great – didn’t burn a drop of oil and ran cool. I even got 17 mpg during the middle of the trip there in the relatively flatter road. Hopefully the boat runs as good as it looks on the trailer. Roy is sending it down tonight on the ferry. Good to have friends everywhere.