Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Juneau, Alaska, June 30-July 3, 2011

It’s June 30th and our last morning in Sitka. Since we were able to see about everything we wanted in the couple of days before we took it easy this morning. Our ferry to Juneau leaves at 1:30PM. We are taking the M/V Fairweather…the fast ferry. We should get to Juneau at 6 PM. The weather is overcast but it did clear a little by the time we left. It was another beautiful ferry trip. We got to Juneau on time and found our campground easily. It is a little run down with several permanent residents but the ladies who manage it are delightful. So helpful. When I checked in they went over local maps in detail and made several recommendations on what to see and where to eat. We did have sporadic internet and no cable TV. The campground is just down the street from Mendenhall Glacier. You can actually see it from the road driving to the campground. I can mountaintops from our rig. Bob and Pat are camping her too. We spent the evening getting settled in and planning the next day.
In the morning we got started as soon as possible and headed right to the glacier. I could not believe we could see it from the road. It’s right there! The weather was cloudy but not raining. It was perfect to see and photograph the glacier. We even took the trail to Nugget Falls right beside the glacier. We did have to cross some small creeks using stones to step on. All along the lake in front of the glacier were little bits of ice which were parts broken off the glacier. There were lots of “calves” in the water. The falls were loud and beautiful. We loved being able to get so close.
When we got back to the visitor center we went inside and saw the film and looked at the glacier and falls through several telescopes. Bob and Pat were there too! On our way into town we stopped at the Hatchery and took a small tour. Saw some salmon already coming back. They will harvest the eggs and fertilize with male sperm. They will grow the babies and tag each one before they release in a couple of years. Since the weather was nice we went into Juneau and picked up a map of the city from the visitors center. A very nice lady answered lots of questions and gave us lots of advice on what to see and where to eat. Everyone here is so nice! We walked over to the State Office Building and heard an organ concert on the 8th floor. This concert happens every day at lunch time. We left there and walked to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. We went to the State Capitol Building and had a tour. The young man who gave the tour was from Ketchikan. We got to see both house and senate floors. Heard all about how they work and how the districts are handled. One of the public galleries is named for a woman who fought for the equal rights for native Alaskans. Left there and needed lunch. We found the Sourdough Bakery and had sandwiches. Walked back down to town and looked around. Finally made it back to the car and it was starting to rain again. Decided to go back to the rig. Juneau is a very beautiful city…surrounded by tall snow-covered mountains, glaciers and water.
Next day we drove through the city and toured the State Museum. A volunteer gave us a tour and had lots of good information about early Alaska. Once we finished there we headed out Thane Road. We went to the very end and came back stopping at Thane Ore House restaurant for lunch. We had fish and chips…beer battered haddock with French fries. These were the best beer battered fish I’d ever had. We sat at a table right beside a huge fireplace. Nice! Left there and parked back in town at that end of town and walked around the shops. We stopped at the Alaskan Brewery Depot shop and looked around. There is a tour at the brewery and free samples. We decided to stop by there on our way back to the rig. The place was packed with people “sampling” the beers. Jim and I tried a few ourselves. Jim wanted to buy a case of Stout. After he got the goods we had a tour…didn’t really go anywhere but heard a very good talk by one of the employes. The amazing thing was the first run was all done by volunteers. Every year they did it that way until too many people wanted to volunteer…that’s when the owners set it up officially with paid employes. Very good beer. They sold the glasses we got in Ketchikan for “free” at Fat Stan’s. We paid $6.00 for those beers! The glasses sell for $5.95! We got a good deal…glass with a free beer! Left there feeling very satisfied and went by the Fred Meyer. Very nice store! Need to shop here more. Went back to the rig and just dropped off what we bought. Went on a drive out Glacier Highway to the end. Beautiful scenery on the way and took lots of pics. Saw a black bear on the side of the road on the way back to the rig. Read in the paper that a man had been arrested for feeding black bears…he lives near where we saw the bear. We were leaving tomorrow so we went back to plan. It will be the last trip on the ferry. I’ll miss the water once we start traveling on the mainland.
In the morning we got everything ready to leave and took off. We wanted to get propane and fuel before checking in at the ferry. Did that and headed to the terminal. We were able to check in early and park the rig in a staging lane and still go into town in the tow car. We went in and had lunch at Tracy’s King Crab Shack. Heard about it on the internet. It’s a little food trailer on the dock near the cruise ships. The line was long and it was cold and windy. We went ahead and ordered a bucket of pieces…$50! It was worth the wait…2 lbs. of king crab legs. Delicious! That was it for us in Juneau…time to head back to the ferry terminal to wait for boarding. We left the dock at about 4:30 PM headed for Haines.

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