Saturday, May 11, 2013

Uraling in Alaska - Day 32: Homer to Seward to Wasilla

May 10, 2013

Long day in the saddle today.  The day had started with the plan being to camp at Seward, AK then return to Anchorage on Saturday....there were to be changes.

Woke around 7:30 AM, the air was crisply cold with the temperatures in the low 30s.  I rode into town to get a gallon jug of water at the Safeway and then proceeded to cook myself some breakfast and brew some coffee to warm up.

Breakfast at the beach

 This morning's breakfast view

 Homer Spit Camp Site

One last look back at Homer

Then it was time to pack up the rig, and by 10:30 I was departing Homer and heading towards Seward to check out the mountains around that town.  There's a big birding festival in Homer this weekend, time for me to leave and avoid the crowds of bird lovers.

The day was partly cloudy with a weak sun shining through the clouds but very hazy.

 View of snow clad peaks to the west of the Sterling Highway, aka Alaska Hwy 1, 
from the Stariski State Park

 Still along Sterling Highway, looking to the west

 Valencia kept going in search of Russian Orthodox Churches 
along the Sterling Highway, the above church is in Ninilchik

The above Russian Orthodox Church was in the City of Kenai

I made it to Seward, Alaska around 4:30 PM or so.  After checking in with my loving wife, I shot pictures of the beautiful mountains that border Resurrection Bay on which shores Seward is built.

Resurrection Bay from southernmost point reachable via road in Seward, AK

 Found the Mile Zero marker for the historic Iditarod Run

 The above cruise ship would be the cause of my choosing not to overnight
in Seward.

At first, I'd not seen much in the way of crowds, which was surprising given the presence of the above cruise ship.  Soon though, large white buses started to appear, disgorging dozens, no hundreds, of the tourists which had come by ship!  I could see more buses arriving, I figured they were bringing the ship-borne tourists back from local attractions.

Faced with the crowds, the really strong wind in the bay....I decided to forgo camping and headed back towards Wasilla.  Anchorage was only 125 miles away from Seward so I figured add one more hour for Wasilla and I'd be back at Bob and Sharon's place, no sweat.  It would actually take closer to 4.5 hours.

Traffic was heavier on the Sterling and Seward Highways on the way to Anchorage.  Strong headwinds as well as cagers going really fast caused me delays.  Stopping often to gawk at the gorgeous scenery presented by nature along the Seward Highway didn't help things either.

At one gas stop, I was UDF'ed by a former Coloradan who lives in Seward.  He sympathized with my decision to flee the cruise ship crowds.  However, it turns out the buses are used to take the tourists to/from Seward to places such as Denali, Talkeetna and such.  The town of Seward itself doesn't get much money from the tourists, so the crowds I'd feared were probably not going to be bad.  Still, he also mentioned that during the summer, he also flees the city for less crowded parts!

 North of the junction of Sterling and Seward Highways

 Near Girwood, I think

 Last views of the mountains visible from the Seward Highway

Once I reached the outskirts of Anchorage around 8:30PM it was just boring slab riding through the city, and the intervening spaces between it and Wasilla.  It was getting dusky by the time I got to Wasilla, I checked in once again with Martha then got dinner at Subways.

Both Sharon and Bob were up and waiting for me when I got to their home at around 10:00PM.  They welcomed me back and we chatted briefly before everyone went off to bed.


Steve Williams said...

It's almost too much to take in -- the relentless beauty and majesty of the place, the real hard work of riding, camping and living on the road -- it has to be forging you into a different man...

Reading along with your adventure is intense. I can only imagine what it must be like to actually be there.

Best wishes.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

RichardM said...

You can't really beat the view from your campsite in Homer. Seward is equally nice and, like the person from Colorado mentioned, it is one of the passenger starting/ending points for cruises. So the few thousand people start and leave from there on each cruise ship. But similarly, the passengers just get shuttled around in busses from the ship directly to other company owned hotels and attractions or in this case, possibly the Anchorage airport.

There is a road out of town to the south which wraps around the bay to a residential area and there is a nice, quiet campground on the beach out there.

redlegsrides said...

Steve, thanks for your comments, I've not camped much yet, must do it more and yet have been fortunate to be welcomed readily into people's homes. The forging process is ongoing, the end result remains unknown.

redlegsrides said...


I found the ship mobs and buses a bit frantic though the folks seemed friendly enough. I felt like one of the attractions as they'd sometimes spot me, all turn their cameras as I rode by, and snap pictures as if I was Alaskan wildlife!

UDF is one thing, down there it was a bit much.

RichardM said...

I guess at that point, all you can do is smile and wave...

Sash Johnson said...

Your photos simply take my breath away. . .

My hubs Highway has shown me photos from his Alaska trip and I can't help but wonder if such sights change a person for a lifetime. So enormous, so beautiful, so serene. The crowd of people must have been a sore contrast to such serenity.

Thank you for all of the photos. Beautiful doesn't begin to describe them.

Sweet Rides,

Gary France said...

Dom, I have been away riding myself, so I playing catch-up. What a great breakfast view – it doesn’t get much better than that. I had no idea there were many Russian Orthodox Churches where you are – do you have any idea why they are there? Did Russians sail or travel across the frozen Baring Straight and settle? Your pictures show few people, so it was a shock to hear about the crowds coming off the cruise ship. That is funny, go to Alaska and have to avoid the crowds!

redlegsrides said...

Tina Walker, thanks for the visit and comments.

Gary F. Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for the pics you've been posting of the riding you're doing....beautiful scenery there as well! As to your question, the Russians used to own the land that would become Alaska, hence the Russian influence primarily in the western/southwestern portions of the state. The USA bought it, via the actions of Secretary of State Seward, from Russia for a few million dollars. The wags of the day called it "Seward's Folly", I am sure Seward got in the last laugh though seeing what this state has become!!