June 20, Ankorage
10:30pm and the sun still shines low on the horizon over Cook Inlet, the view from our hotel window near the airport. Tonight we're in Ankorage and have half of tomorrow to sightsee some in town before our departure for Dillingham. So far we've managed a Starbucks, a mall with a shoe store (needed a water resistant walking shoe for the many rainy days), and a Walmart (that pesky, hard-to-find a 50 or 30 to 20 amps adapter). Not much to Ankorage but lots of fast moving 3-lane roads past low rise, poorly planned, malls filled with low end retail shops or bars, gas stations, hair salons, and all manner of small businesses. A working class housing neighborhood with modest bungalows near our hotel where I walked (9:45pm -- like late afternoon, high summer, upper mid-west) is pleasant - grassy lawns, filled with mature large blooming lilacs, bright colored annuals, mature birch trees - very pleasant area to walk.
Tomorrow is the summer solstice. I find the continuing daylight somewhat unnerving - I stay up too late at night even when I'm tired. I wake up at night, any time - 3am, 5am - and it's still light, a continual gray light through the night as far as I can tell. Weird, but on a sunny day such as this one in Ankorage, very seductive to continue enjoying the beautiful light.
nick has commented on some of our activites in Seward, a small town, with town fathers interested in controlling all forms of commercial development, according to the RV owner's comments. Consequently, I found it quite a charming little town,not spoiled by uncontrolled growth. It is surrounded by commanding natural beauty and two national parks. We saw some of its beauty for the first time this morning - few clouds covering the surrounding snow and glacier-covered mountains. Seward is a big tourist town with much to offer. We sampled a day on the bay viewing much wildlife and many birds on our cruise to Northwestern glacier (where Nick took the photo of the harbor seal in the calving glacier filled inlet). And we had another visiting Seward's Marine Life museum and walking the town. The downturn in the national economy has made it hard for some small merchants to stay in business judging by the number of empty store fronts on main street. Many local residents make it clear that summer is the time of the year that they make money. The RV owner told me she worked 7 days a week all summer. I asked when does she take a break, she said "winter". Everything is very quiet then. Most workers in town are government workers in some form. The others work like crazy all summer and pick up odd jobs in the winter when available. Otherwise there is commercial fishing and service businesses for the local community.
Time for bed. 11:30pm and the sun is still above the horizon. Nick just covered his eyes with his eye mask. I should do likewise. Mary