Sunday, August 7, 2011

Anchorage to Seward and the Holbert Glacier

After Sarah's sister, Jennifer, left we had appointments to have the trailer and truck serviced. We noticed that one of the tires on the trailer was wearing more rapidly than it should and the truck kept telling us that it was in need of an oil change despite having done so in Prince George, BC. Also, the bearings and brakes on the trailer needed to be checked.

Six Robblees in Anchorage did a great job. I thought that the abnormal wear on one of the tires was due to either misalignment or even a bent axle. Six Robblees mechanic, Greg, was sure that neither was the case. He found that the nut holding the bearing in place was not tightened enough and allowed the wheel to wobble slightly, hence the abnormal wear.  Wingfoot Commercial Tire, just a couple blocks away, ( had the replacement tire and was able to mount and balance it in no time.

At Six Robblees (, Greg replaced all the bearings, rotated the tires and inspected the brakes. They also had after market tire pressure and temperature sensors. These are standard on most automobiles today, but are not common on travel trailers. I bought the kit that included the valve stems, transmitters and receiver that would allow me to monitor each trailer tire's pressure and temperature. We made an appointment with Wingfoot to install them the next day. Unfortunately, the sensors were made for steel wheels and not aluminum so we could not use them. Despite un-mounting the wheels and tires, removing the valve stems then installing new valve stems, Wingfoot did not charge me for attempting to install the sensors. And Six Robblees willingly accepted the return of the sensors.

We left Anchorage about 1 PM bound for Seward. It began to rain about an hour after we left Anchorage. When we stopped for fuel at Portage a number of Highway Patrol Cars and an ambulance passed towards the direction from which we had just driven. Later, we learned that there was a terrible accident and the Seward Highway was closed for nearly seven hours.

Our arrival in Seward was wet and windy. Despite that, the town appeared quite charming, possibly because it has a substantial recreational boating population. Even before we could see the buildings in town, we could see the masts of sailboats in the harbor. This was particularly poignent for Sarah and I due to the loss of our own boat last year.

The most sailboats we have seen in Alaska

Mile 0 of the Iditarod Trail

Cold and Rain

The town maintains a number of RV parks on the water front. We found our spot just about a half mile south of the marina. With water and electricity for $30/night, we thought this to be quite a bargain. We could have 'dry camped' (no electricity or water) for only $15/night, but with the rain and cold it was nice to be able to run the heater to keep warm and dry.

We awoke to a forecast of clouds and showers becoming steady rain. Despite the forecast, we booked a day cruise with Major Marine Cruise ( to see wildlife and tidal glaciers in the Kenai Fjords National Park.  However, as we left the breakwater and ran down Resurrection Bay, the sky cleared and remained that way for the rest of the day. Everyone on board was astounded by our great luck.
The sky cleared and we saw Bear Glacier

The Holbert Glacier 

The other tour boat gives some perspective of how big this glacier is

The glacier is moving at about 1 foot per day, so it is 'calving' constantly

40 knot wind (see the ice in the water

Huge seracs on top

What a difference 24 hours makes

See the pictures of a large chunk of glacier falling on the Seward page of our photos:

Humpback whale

The captain lead us to view sea lions, puffins, whales common murres, and calving glaciers. On board was a U.S. National Park Service naturalist who provided detailed information about the ecology of this area.

We opted in for the optional buffet of salmon and prime rib. For an additional $19  it was quite a bargain.

Tomorrow we will drive into the park to the tongue of Exit Glacier then leave the Kenai and head for Denali.

Stay tuned.

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