Valdez-McCarthy ride

I found an excuse to ride to Valdez.  All the years I have lived in Alaska, and I have never been to the jewel of Prince William Sound. 
We left Wasilla on a chilly Friday morning. I had ridden the night before up until about midnight, and realized that putting the liners back in my riding gear would probably be a good idea before this trip. Turns out it was.  
Any trip east goes through Eureka. They tell me it gets warm there but I have yet to see warm.  Leaving Wasilla it was raining, and it rained almost all the way to Eureka, then it turned snow. Once again, thank God for Eureka lodge. We stopped ate breakfast, and warmed up. 
Just the other side of Eureka, the rain and snow stopped, and it started to warm up a little bit each mile. 

 Glennellen was downright tropical at 50. We stopped for Gas and headed south. 
After Eureka, I thin e were all a little worried about Thompson's pass. the weather there is always notorious. As we pushed further south toward the pass , the clouds became broken, and the air kept warming. Climbing into the pass we were in weather that made up for Eureka. 

When adventure riding, especially in Alaska one always must remind themselves that it will probably get better.  It would have been easy to give up in Eureka when it was 35 degrees and snowing. They say if you don't like the weather in Alaska, wait 5 minutes, or ride 5 miles, it will change, and change it did.

Thompson's pass was beautiful though still overcast, the overcast was not spitting on us.  I think it was about 50 degrees, and we rode slow enough to get a good view of the whole thing.

After Thompson's pass the road descends into Keystone Canyon. I stopped counting waterfalls at 20! 

Hear is a picture of Horsetail falls. 

After keystone is a short hop to Valdez. The campsite was on the north end of town down the road by the airport. The campground is tucked between the airport and a long rock ridge/wall that features even more waterfalls.

We pitched camp and did a little exploring. I think we went to a meeting right away when we got there. and then headed off to make dinner. I was anxious to try out my new gear, and to try the Mountain House lasagna I had brought. I must say, it was quite delicious especially with the addition of the hand grated Romano cheese that i brought.  I think I am going to add those kinds of meals to my kit. Easy to pack easy to prepare, and NO dishes!

As night was finally falling, the temperature was dropping hard. We had a great camp fire but that only warms one side. I decided it was time to climb in my new sleeping bag.

I left my liners on, as I had planned to do, I forgot the fleece liner, but I didn't need it.  It was cold enough to drive a couple campers into there cars for the night but I was toasty and comfortable all night.  Thank you Thermarest, and Kelty, and Slumberjack!

up early, I made the best cup of coffee. I think camping make coffee taste better. I carry a French press, and god water and fresh ground coffee, and my new stove makes quick work of boiling 24 oz of water.  A couple people must have smelled the delightful morning aroma and I was joined by other early risers with empty mugs.  I am all to happy to make coffee in the morning as long as I make mine first. I think next time though, I will carry a bigger press. 

After good morning company, and camp clean up, it was time to explore Valdez. I rode down to the docs, and out onto the public pier.  Unfortunately those pictures got uploaded to facebook and are not in this album. However, here is a link to that album

I met a local on the docs and got the lowdown on Valdez. She gave me some hints about roads to ride, and things to see.  She gave great directions to a place I never would have found called "Mineral Creek rd."  I guess this is a road that heads up another canyon to an old Gold mine. I headed up the rad as far as i could.

Ok, so this is Alaska. after a while in Alaska, one expects to see peculiar things. About 5 miles up the road, I encountered an elderly gentleman, in a powered wheel chair with a small dog.  I was fairly impressed with my riding skill having gotten me that far up the road.  And here is this old guy tooling along in 2 wheel drive.  I waived, and he just kept right on going. Dementia, has to be such a blessing. What is even more amazing is that his tracks went at least another 3 miles up the road!. 

This road is spectacular! It winds along what i assume to be mineral creek.Today, it dead ended at an Avalanche. that covered a bridge over a creek that leads from this waterfall.

Here are some more pictures of the Avalanche, and the waterfall. It felt pretty "beary" so I didn't stay long.

There was an ice cave that looked to go under the bridge that was covered by the avalanche.  The water was
flowing under the whole thing. 

After getting stopped short on Mineral Creek Road, i rode the other end of town. I rode around "old Town" and out to what was presumably the old Doc.  As every Alaskan knows, VAldez was destroyed in the '64 quake and rebuild a couple miles away on more stable ground. 

This is a picture of new Valdez taken from old Valdez. 

More old Valdez

A couple miles back out of town is the road that goes out to the Refinery, and the pipeline terminus. It was windy and cold out there, but I stopped at the hatchery and took a few pictures. 

The end of the road.

In this picture you can just see a little of the superstructure of a tanker that was getting ready to doc at the terminal 

This is yet another picture of Valdez from across the bay.

After Valdez

I will post the rest of the ride later today., including some video!  right now, I have to get to work on some other things. Enjoy!