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Monday, August 5, 20130- Copper Center to Valdez

We woke to 51 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, that we could see where we were parked. We left our overnight spot and continued south on Hwy. 4. We will be returning north past the National Park, and are planning to stop there on the way back. We are going to Valdez to meet up with friends Craig and Terilu Christian. They are leaving Valdez with their caravan on Tuesday morning. 

The road had a lot of frost heaves and pot holes, so we drove slowly. The Adventure Caravan passed us going north, so we did a lot of waving at them! We have been seeing them at many of the parks where we stayed. There are five Adventure Caravans in Alaska at this time and we think this is a different one then we have seen before. They should be on their way to Tok. A disadvantage of traveling with a caravan is that they cannot go to places like Wrangle-St. Elias National park, as there are no campgrounds large enough to accommodate a group  20-25 RV’s.

We passed the glaciers and indescribable scenery. What can I say, spectacular, awesome, awe inspiring, magnificent, etc… It was possibly the most beautiful scenery we have seen so far!

Copper Center to Valdez

Above is Willow Lake with Mt. Wrangell in the background. You can not see the top of the mountain due to the clouds. It is a volcano which is spewing steam out of the top.

Copper Center to Valdez

Copper Center to Valdez

Copper Center to Valdez

Copper Center to Valdez

Above is Worthington Glacier from a distance. Below is Devils Elbow gorge to the south.

Copper Center to Valdez

Copper Center to Valdez

Above is Devils Gorge to the north.  Below more Worthington Glacier.

Copper Center to Valdez

Copper Center to Valdez

Copper Center to Valdez - Copper River Valley

Above is the drive down Thompson Pass, elevation 2678ft. It was a seven mile ride down this very steep hill. Notice the snow stakes. In 1952-1953 they rec’d 974.5  inches of snow in this area! Thank goodness we have the J-brake for driving down steep hills like this. Bob put it on and we cruised down the hill w/o using the regular brakes.

We passed into the scenic Keystone Canyon, named for Pennsylvania, the Keystone state. We had passed small unnamed waterfalls…

Copper Center to Valdez

Now we started seeing named waterfalls. Below is Bridal Veil falls.

Copper Center to Valdez - Bridal Veil Falls

And Horse Hair falls.

Copper Center to Valdez - Horse Hair Falls

We arrived in Valdez.

Copper Center to Valdez 

Our plan is to stay 3-5 nights in the city campground. So we stopped at the Tessoro at Eagles Nest Campground, where they have a free dump and water. We took on water and backtracked to the turn off for Allison Point Access Site ($15/night) no hook-ups. We are waterfront overlooking the city of Valdez. Next to us is the salmon hatchery, so this is a busy salmon fishing spot. Not that we have room for salmon. We are having a problem with our new freezer. It runs perfectly on AC but does not freeze on DC. So we have had to move all the fish we can into both of the other freezers.

We set up camp. The weather is tricky. It is overcast, with low hanging clouds. There were short showers all afternoon. You could not tell when it was going to rain and when it was not!

After lunch we took a short nap. When we woke up we could see Valdez, across the bay, a lot better. I went out to take pictures and spotted sea otters just floating by the front of the motor home. We walked down to the rocks on the water but could not see any better.

View from motor home in Valdez

View from motor home in Valdez

Sea Otter in front of motor home

View from motor home in Valdez

View from motor home in Valdez

View from motor home in Valdez

View from motor home in Valdez

We ate dinner and Bob set up the TV to the one station, Rural Alaska TV. You never know what is going to be on this station! Some times it is news, other times Sesame Street, or  the Today show or Leno Show or David Letterman.  Ya never know! They tend to show a lot of BBC World News.

We cooked and ate dinner. Friends Craig and Terilu were on a Glacier Charter trip so we were waiting for them to get back home. We drove over to visit with them at around 8:30. On the way, we stopped at the fish hatchery to see if there were any bears chomping away. Nothing but other folks looking for the bears.

We arrived at Craig and Terilu’s Alfa Motor Home, they were parked at Bear Paw Campground in downtown Valdez. We sat and talked until 11 PM. We returned home  after saying a fond farewell to our friends, and went to bed.

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