Facebook Page
ARRC Coastal Classic Train Page 8

Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic Train

By Richard Elgenson, RailNews Network
Page 8

June 27 to 30, 2004

I brought a vacuum packer for my fish which in the past has worked out good.  For Tuesday, not having to wake up to catch a fishing boat allowed me to sleep in, which on this particular day was about 8:00 AM.  I had brought along a frozen chicken to prepare for dinner and lunches but it was not thawed until Tuesday.  After Marilee was finished in the kitchen, I cut up the vegetables, added spices to the chicken and put it all in a turkey sized bag to be cooked later in the day.  My day was lazy until the afternoon when I took on the task of packaging my fish.  I was working alone which makes the labor more difficult trying to maintain cleanliness.  My machine is very efficient and likes to suck any liquid towards the edge of the bag near the seal.  After vacuuming two bags I had to get cling wrap and put each piece of fish in it and start all over.  Eventually my task was complete and I brought the packed fish to J-Dock Fish Company to be flash frozen and stored.  I was also able to speak with the owner of J-Dock, Steve Lease, at length over a cup of coffee.


Just as my Tuesday charter was canceled, J-Dock Fish Company was not very busy this day.  Steve shared some of his good news in life and it was just good to see that J-Dock Fish Company is there year after year.  Since I was so close and it was before 6:00 PM, I walked over to the depot, chatted with Brakeman Duane Frank, then watched the train pull out, still sporting the Aurora business car.

Back at Ballaine House, I took the not quite done chicken out of the oven and shared dinner with 2 other Seward locals, Bob Pierce and his son Chris.  Bob invited me to join them on Wednesday for fishing on the Russian River for sockeye salmon.  I had to decline as they were staying out of town late enough that I would miss the train departure.  After cleaning up the left over chicken dinner, I organized my belongings for the next fishing charter day and for leaving Seward.  Late in the evening, I wanted ice cream, so I walked to the harbor area of town.  Once there, I found the Creamery which was crowded, then took a few pictures of the harbor business district.


The above and below photographs were taken at 10:00 PM and later!  Above left shows the harbor area while above right shows the cruise ship area and the Alaska Railroad coal loading facility which is used to export coal to Korea.  Below left is a view looking southerly.  Notice the cutoff pilings in the water, remnants of a wharf destroyed in the 1964 earthquake.  This location is also the beginning of the RV camping area.  On July fourth weekend, there are RV's parked side by side for a mile and one half straight.  Below right is the harbor area near the launch ramp for boats.  The colorful buildings are part of the harbor business district.


There are a number of fishing charter companies, several tour companies, restaurants and retail stores.  The Kenai Fjords National Visitor Center is a nice building with lots of information and publications.  My favorite piece of literature there is a report with many pictures of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. The library in Seward shows a movie about the earthquake and its aftermath. After 10:00 PM, people were still arriving back to the harbor from evening cruises of Resurrection Bay and surrounding areas.


Below left shows that boating safety is taken seriously in Alaska.  Most ports that I have been to in Alaska have an area with children's life vests for use.  Alaskan law states that children less than 12 years of age must wear a life vest while on the water.  Below right is the front side of the colorful buildings in the harbor area business district.


Below left is a house on Third Street that is always in the spirit of July fourth.  Every time I have been to Seward in early July, this house has some nice patriotic display.  Below right is a railcar last used as an information center in Seward.  According to Marilee, is is vacant and for sale including its leaky roof.  According to John's Alaska Railroad Web Page site, under retired passenger roster page, this car had been a parlor observation car and retired in 1960.


The above page documents an evening walking around Seward on Tuesday June 29, 2004.  The next day was another charter fishing day followed by hustling to catch the northbound Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic train.  On Wednesday morning, I hauled my bags to the harbor and stored them in Eric Clock's car.  On Wednesday June 30, the Seafarer was full, with 6 fisherman, Captain Eric Clock and Corey Hetrick, the deckhand.  The weather promised to be better than the Monday charter and we departed at 7 AM.  I caught the first large halibut, about 50 pounds, and every large fish after that was even bigger!  I had brought lunch and a few beers, so at the appropriate time, I dug into my cooler.  Eric later commented that he had never seen anyone consume so much food.  What he did not know, was that I had been busy before this trip, had no use of my car, was homebound working on my Empire Builder train story for TrainWeb, and eating little.  I had vowed to make up for the lack of food intake on this trip and do all the wrong things right.  I started checking my watch around 1 PM and by 2 PM we were still at anchor and finally pulled up stakes by 2:30 PM and headed back to Seward.  We pulled into the harbor at 5:20 PM, just enough time for Eric and Corey to haul my fish up to the cleaning station, filet it, and deposit it into a cooler.

Page 9 Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic