Our Alaskan adventure actually began in Junction City, Oregon where we dropped off the RV for storage and a bit of minor maintenance. We drove north in a leisurely fashion along the Oregon and Washington coasts, stopping overnight in Rockaway Beach, Oregon; Long Beach, Washington; and Oceanshores, Washington. Then we arrived at our good friends Nick and Cindy's gorgeous home in "downtown" Gig Harbor, where we had two fun days visiting and sailing the beautiful harbor. Many thanks to their friend Captain Ron who took us out on a Thunderbird wooden sailboat (below), and skillfully and patiently guided us through our efforts at handling the different sailing tasks.
(This week we spent on the cool and watery Oregon and Washington coasts was a perfect acclimation experience for our month in Alaska.)
Sunday morning Nick and Cindy continued their generosity by driving us to the Seattle/Tacoma airport (SeaTac) to catch our plane to Sitka. The flight was easy and uneventful. It was cloudy most of the way until the last minute when we descended into Sitka and got our first glimpses of the mountains and waterways of Southeast Alaska. Sitka is situated on the Pacific edge of the Alaskan panhandle and is one of the popular access points to the Inside Passage from Seattle to Skagway. This area is not accessible by land - only by ship or plane. We were flying into Sitka to start our cruise of the Inside Passage on the Baranof Dream, a small commercial cruise ship of the Alaskan Dream company.
The Alaskan Dream team picked us up at the airport and drove us to our lodging for the night in a small vacation rental room at Frank and Gloria's Place. Frank and Gloria run a lovely place with one bedroom and one studio apartment on separate floors of their home. It's like a bed and breakfast, but without the breakfast.
This beautiful view from Frank and Gloria's was just the first of many we'd be seeing
of the blue sky and water, and lush green mountains over the next ten days.
We were without transportation for the evening, so we walked along the shore road for about a mile to the closest store to pick up some breakfast food for the next morning. It rained lightly on us off and on, but we were dressed for it.
For dinner we took the complimentary shuttle to the Channel Club, a steak house with a wide selection of other options, nice salad bar, and excellent service. It was one of the best restaurant meals we've had for awhile and a great way to start our visit to Alaska.
Later, back at Frank and Gloria's we tried to get to sleep despite the ongoing twilight and our excitement about our next day's departure on our Alaskan Dream cruise!