On July 11 through the 14th, I toured the downtown area of Ketchikan, Alaska. The first few dark images show what things looked like just before midnight when I arrived on the Matanuska Ferry from Haines, Alaska to Ketchikan, Alaska. Got a couple of different daytime pictures of the Ketchikan Welcome Sign. I took a couple different walking tours of the city. Some folks paid to take a trolley or bus or van shuttle to see the sights on guided tours. The Federal building to the right in the image taken from a road above the town is painted Salmon color. The second four floor building to the left in this picture is the Super 8 Motel where I stayed the last night of my week stay in Ketchikan. I have to tell you, like most other cities, some of the residents pile up trash of all sorts in their yards around their homes. I chose not to take photos of those scenes. I am always looking for the beauty in the world, including the beautiful people who take pride in their environment. That’s why you see images of colorfully painted homes with lovely flowers and signs like the one that just says SMILE. Because of the steep hills that remind me of the streets of San Francisco, California, some folks have to climb long stairways to reach their front doors. Ketchikan is a busy place with many visitors. Some shops like the one with the bear T-shirts posted signs saying they were short-staffed and unable to open for the day. I went back on another day to buy that bear with sunglasses t-shirt. Of course, I took the image of the Rainforest Cannabis store to show you the availability of marijuana in Alaska. But, look closely. I also was going for a reflection image of myself in the window. The Garcia’s Gallery picture reminds me of San Antonio, Texas. Can’t wait to get home to have some great tacos. I through in the totem pole information sign to educate you about the totem poles. Creek Street is a fun place to visit alongside the creek. Don’t forget to look up high in the trees behind the shops. You may see a bald eagle like I did. Take a walk around the yacht harbor for some interesting views of the smaller and medium-sized boats. And, of course, the extra-large cruise liners pull in and out of port for photo opportunities. I was told that the Ketchikan tunnel road and bypass is only one of two like it in the world. I was informed that the other is in Japan. I had to get the image of the Asylum Bar because I really like Jack Nicholson’s face in the window. You never know what you might find standing in a doorway. How about those jellyfish floating along the water’s edge? The final image of someone’s beautiful home and yard with the “Smile” sign is priceless! Don’t you agree?
I’m pretty certain I captured images of all the totem poles in Ketchikan, If I missed some, please let me know. The buildings you see here are called “Clan Houses.” There are more totem poles in Ketchikan than anywhere else in the world. An image of one of the totem poles near the Creek Street area in downtown Ketchikan is featured on page 25 in the United States passport book! If you need to know which one, you must do some research.
The first two images represent the location where I captured most of my bald eagle pictures. Next two images were captured in flight. I spotted two bald eagles in a tree a far distance from me and decided to get out my biggest lens and focus on those two. These images are quite the study of bald eagle behavior. In the last image I captured, I was just focusing on the float plane landing. Notice the bald eagle flying just above the plane in the opposite direction.
The Matanuska Ferry that holds 36 vehicles (autos and trailers and motorhomes) had mechanical difficulties and that caused a 12-hour delay in scheduling. I was originally scheduled to depart Haines, Alaska around 10:30 AM. I believe we actually left the docking area at 11:05 PM. I did not arrive in Ketchikan until 11-something. Got to a campsite after midnight. Here are a few images from the first part of my ferry ride. Rain in Haines and more rain to come in Ketchikan (rainforest island).
Driving into Haines, Benjamin Bear said he wanted me to take a picture of him at the Honeymoon Hotel. I’m not exactly sure why. You see, Benjamin Bear is not married. He doesn’t even have a girlfriend. Lol. I believe it is in November that thousands of bald eagles line the trees at the Chilkat River in Haines to do some fishing while hundreds of photographers try to capture great images of this special event.
Here is the glass encased bull moose outside the Alaska Gifts store just across the street from the Tok Visitor’s Center.
I captured a panorama image of the Wrangell Mountains near Glennallen, Alaska. I camped at The Hub of Alaska Tesoro station around midnight due to tire problems. The Mountain you see from the highway in Glennallen, if I remember right, is named Drum Mountain and is the smallest of the peaks in the area.
I have been recording the prices of gasoline in pictures all along my road trip to Alaska. My wife told me that the national average price for gasoline had dropped by 25%. Alaskans tell me they are the last to realize a drop in gas. Just paid $6.96.9 per gallon in Haines, Alaska. I paid $5.85.9 in Glennallen, Alaska and $5.15.9 at Costco in Anchorage, Alaska. I’m certain it will be much less when I return home to Texas.
On July 5, 2022, I drove to McCarthy from Valdez. As I stopped to take another picture of Horsetail Falls in shaded light, a young father walked up to me to explain that his children would not get out of the car for a photo because it was too cold. I noticed that it was 54 degrees in the Keystone Canyon where the waterfalls are that morning. Perfect for me, yet too frigid for young children bundled up with blankets in the back seat of the car. Lol. On my way through the canyon, I stopped to take a close look at the 1906 railroad tunnel and take some pictures. The mosquitoes followed me in the tunnel, of course. I took a picture of the Worthington Glacier from the Richardson Highway. I traveled over a number of old narrow bridges to make my way to McCarthy. I remember seeing swans in a pond on a previous drive up to McCarthy. This trip, I saw no swans, but I did see a beautiful Mallard Duck. Around 14 miles before reaching the parking lot before the pedestrian bridge to catch the free shuttle to McCarthy, I noticed the tire inflation symbol. I checked my tires and found that the driver’s side rear tire seemed to be low. Just after I pulled into the parking lot, the tire was flat. Bad news, good news. Mike lives in a trailer in the parking lot. He sells artwork. He rents bicycles, And, he repairs tires. He charges only $30 to repair a flat tire. He charges $40 to remove and repair the tire. I gave him all of the cash I had in my wallet, $47. This mishap delayed my journey to McCarthy and Kennicott Mining area with a trail leading to the glacier. A vehicle parked beside my Tacoma and Phoenix Pop-Up Camper that had a Four-Wheel Camper. The folks that built my camper told me they sold the Four-Wheel Camper business and started a new one. Finally, I crossed the river via the bridge to catch a shuttle to McCarthy. I ordered a pulled pork sandwich at The Potato restaurant, and it was delicious. I also had a root beer that was labeled Moose Tooth Root Beer. I attempted to take a picture of my reflection in the glass on the door. I took a quick tour around McCarthy to take a few pictures of interest. Look closely and you may notice a sign in a window that declares “Women Kick Ass.” I was going to visit the local museum when I realized I needed to catch another free shuttle to the Kennicott Mining area which was five miles away. After taking some pictures of the old mining buildings, I headed down the trail towards the glacier. I was told it was two miles in and two miles out to catch another shuttle back to McCarthy. I did not have the time nor the energy to go all the way to the glacier and I turned back after one glacier viewing area. The shuttle driver back to McCarthy told me there were no more shuttles back down the hill to the bridge and parking lot after 7 PM. I had to hike another half mile (dowable). Then, I started driving just like the locals told me right down the center of the long gravel road in order to avoid another flat tire. No such luck for me this long day. Before getting back to Glennallen, had had another flat tire. Good news, a young man and his dog from Wasilla were going fishing for salmon stopped to help me put my spare tire on. I had no cell phone or Wifi service to contact AAA emergency service.
On July 4, 2022, I celebrated our country’s independence by traveling on the Lu-Lu Belle out of Valdez to visit the Columbia Glacier. I bought a hotdog and coke during the 10-hour trip. It is advertised as 7 to 7.5 hours minimum. Captain Fred shared all of his knowledge along the journey. Our adventure included much time spent watching whales, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles, and puffins, waterfalls, icebergs, fishermen, and of course, the Columbia Glacier. Thank you very much, Captain Fred. The $170 fee was well worth it. Now, it’s your turn. I have taken the Stan Stephens cruise during all of my previous visits to Valdez. They offer a nice adventure also. However, since I now have experienced the Lu-Lu Belle with Captain Fred, if I do return for another road trip to Alaska, I am certain I would prefer to travel again with Captain Fred.