|Aliza Kimbell at home in Anchorage, with Rocinante|
|Along the Seward Highway, southeast of Anchorage|
We turned off at the sign reading "Portage Glacier/Whittier."
|Portage Glacier, as seen from the road.|
That tunnel ride on greasy steel grating laid between the train tracks was harrowing. "We send the bikes through last, a minute and a half behind the last car, so that you can keep up enough speed to be stable," said the toll collector, handing me a brief brochure, "Information for Motorcyclists." "We know that bikes can get squirrelly in the tunnel, and we don't want you coming into contact with the rails." "Squirrelly" proved an understatement. It was a lousy four minutes. But, Rocinante stayed upright, and brought us to Whittier.
In Whittier I found a post office at the far end of a pedestrian tunnel
|Aurora approaching Whittier|
|Low clouds hid peaks, but heightened drama.|
|As Alaska must have appeared to Captain Cook.|
|We passed many icebergs. Glaciers contribute these hazards to the sea.|
|Sea lion, and a seal?|
|S.S. Sierra departing, laden, from Valdez|
The ferry ride was dampened by the low clouds and rain, though we did see two whales, a couple of sea lions and an otter resting on a navigational buoy, and a few dolphins swimming on the shoreward side of the ship. The Aurora was a perfectly fine ferry boat, and the ruggedness of the Alaskan shore was evident, with deep forested mountains appearing to rise vertically from the sea for scores of miles, and snow-capped mountains visible through breaks in the clouds. Once in Valdez, I took advantage of my early "motorcyclist's priority" exit from the car deck to ride straight to The Keystone Hotel, the only inexpensive hotel in Valdez, and to book a room for the night.
|Valdez from the sea.|