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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Valdez ~ More than the "Exxon Valdez"


100 feet from our campsite!
Valdez is a town with a lot of activity. There seems to be a lot of young people. Some are working the fishing boats. Some work all of the tourist shops and campgrounds. The scenery is remarkable. Nearly surrounded by snowcapped peaks, water falls cascading down between the green vegetation on the lower parts of the mountains. Bald Eagles flying above looking for that morsel of food in the valley below. The water in the bay is nearly hidden from view from the many boats in the marina.

Quarters are tight... but location is perfect!
Our new Webber grill in action!
Valdez is a perfect town to tour with bicycles. We unloaded the bikes and took off with a street map, GPS (of course, we had to get a couple of caches). In the center of town, there was a cache high up  on a ridge. We parked the bikes and started to climb the 141 stairs to the top. A short 300 foot walk on a ridge about 10 feet wide (fenced on both sides) brought to ground zero. Our knowledge of how people hide caches soon paid off. Sign the log and replaced the cache. It started to drizzle. Are we fair weather bike riders? You bet we are! Ride back to the camper and go to plan “C” Plan “A” was scrubbed. That was going on a tour boat to visit Columbian Glacier. Plan “C” would work no matter what the weather was doing. Valdez has three wonderful museums. The first was on “Old Valdez”. Remember the 1964 earthquake that destroyed most of the town by causing a tsunami? It was quite interesting! A lot of history going back to the Gold Rush days in the Klondike. The museum did an excellent job of explaining how the town was first located. It was a simple fact. The spot was the closest to the Thompson Pass route. The only problem with the location was that the water table was very high and the silt kept the water from draining  into the bay. When the tsunami hit the whole area turned to water and sank. 

We spent most of the day in the museum.  Starting at three o’clock the town had a free Community Pink Salmon Fry. As much Salmon, coleslaw, hot dogs, rolls, cookies and drinks as you want. Nice touch to the 4th of July week of festivities.

Saturday night, we went to St Francis of Xavier church for mass. Fr. Frank Reitter was at the door at 6:15pm. He greeted us and we had a good chat before the 7pm mass. He was originally from Massachusetts. In his sermon during the mass, he used a story of a family who lived in the State of Maine. (Felt like we were back home).   

Thompson Pass on our way out from Daldez

That is what we did and saw

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