Sunday, 30 June 2013

192 Paxson to Valdez

Friday 28th June  Miles Today 207   Total 11,196

We dragged ourselves out of the room, after booking our ferry from Haines to Prince Rupert for next Thursday, and whilst I went to sort out the coffee with our hosts, Ray went out to the bike.  He was gone for ages, which is nothing new, he disappears off and usually comes back with new friends, and today was no exception.

Remember yesterday we were sweating over the lack of fuel at Paxson. Well this morning I was loading the bike up when a couple, Fel and Desiree Madarang, driving a pickup with a mounted camper pulled up beside me and commented about the pump being out of action.
I chipped in with agreement and said that I was sweating over getting the bike the next 70 miles to the next one. Without hesitation the guy, Fel said that he had a couple of gallons for his generator and I was welcome to it. He would not listen to my offer to pay and got the can from the truck and we pored it into Wallace's tank. We were now comfortable to ride the 70 miles to where we believed the next fuel would hopefully be.  It turns out Fel is a German by birth from Munich, one of our favorite places.  We set off safe in the knowledge that we had no pushing to do. 15 miles into the 70 mile ride we found a simple fuel stop with one pump and sat beside it was Fel and Desiree in their pickup. We pulled alongside them and all burst out laughing at once.  All the fretting was in vain but once again the kindness and friendliness of the American people had shone through again. Fel and Desiree, if you read this, thanks a lot. ;)

Fel and Desiree Madarang, nice people. Nuff said.
Eventually we set off again and the air was very smokey from the fires, apparently there are about a 100 wild fires on the go at the moment.  The further south we went, the smoke got less, but the weather got colder and the cloud came over.  There were lots of road works and the journey was quite slow in places.  The scenery got much prettier too. Funny thing was, the temperature was dropping like a stone. We had 33C/92F yesterday and as low as 11C/52F (on the mountain) today. What on earth is going on ???

The clouds closing and the cold starting to creep in with it.

Lunch was from a Thai food van at Glenallen and then we continued towards Valdez.  This is a fishing village and was thrown into the news in March 1989 when an oil tanker crashed and spilled its oil, in the Prince of Sound bay, devastating the wildlife and beaches and the fishing community.  (Exxon Valdez) 
It is the biggest spill in US history, about 11 million gallons of oil, and proved significantly difficult to clean up, due to the location and environmental issues.
Part of the journey meant we climbed to over 2600 feet and found ourselves feeling very cold and in thick fog. We did find the Worthington Glacier and could just make it out.

Pic would have been better with less cloud cover.

We also passed by some lovely waterfalls, all of which had been woken up by a complete deluge that had hit Valdez overnight.

These were everywhere.

We have arrived at Valdez

The mist on the river was eerie

We have got a little cabin in Eagle's Rest RV park.  We saw proper road signs with a mother duck and  babies crossing and another which stated, watch out for young eagles.  Apparently there is a massive amount of eagles in the area.
Having now fixed the ferry date we decided that with the 5 days remaining we would spend one day here, 3 days traveling to the port of Haines and one day there prior to the ferry. It is a place renowned for bears and eagles.

Saturday 29th June 2013 Mileage Today 10 Total 11,206

The weather overnight had been extremely wet so we decided to stay in the cabin another night but unfortunately, this one was already booked so we had to pack up and move 6 cabins down. A pain in the butt, but hey ho.
We decided to go exploring around Valdez and soon found evidence of the eagles. We drove to the historic original site of the village and saw 2 straight away. We also saw a sea otter bobbing in and out of the sea. (it is one of those odd creatures about the size of a collie dog that rests by laying on its back and just floating around). Unfortunately it was not around long enough to photograph.

The seagulls were dive bombing the eagle

The views around the bay were spectacular despite the low cloud.

 We managed to get Wallace all the way down to the shore despite a near dead stop fall over in the sand.

Captured by the boss

After the Shore we went into the newer town of Valdez. It is a serious fishing village where some of the wolds toughest fishermen work out of. The subjects of the TV series 'Worlds Deadliest Catch', a fly on the wall documentary about fishing boats working some of the worlds most difficult waters, bring their catches to this port.

Hard core fishermen

Overview of the fishing port. The area at the bottom of the piccy is a fish processing table. The things in the tray underneath are the biggest fish heads I have ever seen

And of course, the obligatory Bald Eagle overlooking the fishermen.

We then bimbled back to the campsite and set about doing our laundry. Whilst doing the washing we were approached by a lady from the campsite staff who invited us to a 6pm salmon supper supplied gratis by the campsite.

Then whilst doing the drying we popped into a nearby hotel bar for a beer and bumped into a lovely lady who runs a bar in Buenos Airies, Argentina. The lady, namely Tess Branson-Cuadros, invited us to her bar and to show us around to some of the good bits when we get there in February. Woo-hoo. It was turning into a hell of a day.

Anyway, laundry done we then retired to a free salmon dinner. We invited Matt, the guy in the next cabin who had just cycled the the length of Alaska  (nutter !) along with us and after dinner we hit the sack.

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