Day 12 – Anchorage, AK to Homer, AK

Miles today: 223

Total Miles: 4,698

Not a long drive mileage-wise but this was one of the more taxing drives from a mental standpoint.  That, and I didn’t sleep worth a crap last night.  This whole sun-up at 4:30am and sundown at 11:30pm is really starting to screw with me.

Anyway, the trip south from Anchorage starts on the Turnagain Arm and the scenery is pretty neat.  There is one spot along the road where the locals have a pipe into the rock and they fill water bottles with the melting ice.  You don’t see that everyday.

Further south you move into glacier country.  At the turn-off to Whittier, you access the Chugach National Forest and the Byron Glacier Trail.  I visited this same spot about 5 years ago but in late July.  Today, the ice pack was still almost solid to the ground.  I tried to take a picture, but you could see “blue” ice not that far up the snow bowl.  There were also sign warning of avalanche danger and there was a snow shelf on one of the peaks that didn’t look to stable.

At the junction of AK3 and AK1, I took AK1 – the Sterling Highway.  This road leads through the Kenai River valley (which is very touristy, but very beatiful) and saw loads of people rafting, boating, and fishing.  The people fishing were so many in number that I’m not sure how exactly they were able to cast a line, especially the those fishing with fly tackle.

As you make yourself further west, you eventually reach Soldotna and the City of Kenai…again extremely touristy.  From Soldotna, you turn south and drive along the bluff of the Cook Inlet until you reach Homer.  I drove to the literal “Lands End” where AK1 dead ends into the ocean.  The number of people (tourists, fisherman, and locals) was amazing to me.  They call it the “spit” but it is basically where all the boats launch.

I apologize for not posting pictures, but like I said, I’m pretty wiped at this point.  I have been driving at least 8 hours a day since June 1 with only an extra rest day in Calgary about 7 days ago.  I plan to rest a little more on the way back.  I’m in Homer for two full days and three nights with a full rest day on Wednesday.

As I have now driven as far west on a “connected” road as you can in North America, I have to think about what I’ve seen over the past 12 days. Sometimes, we need a reminder of the true expanse and greatness of the world we live in – this trip has done that for me, and, I’m only done with the out-leg of my trip.

One last thing, for those wondering, the driving the road to Alaska is an experience in itself.  There are a ton of things to do along the way, but just driving the road is something to take in by itself.  Something I would recommend to anyone who wants an experience outside of driving an hour here or there.