After our short stay in Chitina to visit the Kennecott Mill, we headed south to the small coastal town of Valdez. But first, a moose sighting while we were in Chitina!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from the town of Valdez as I have only associated it with the Exxon Valdez oil spill back on March 24, 1989. As we were approaching the town, I was struck by how beautiful the surrounding area is, including our first look at the Worthington Glacier, one of many glaciers in Alaska. This one is visible right from the road.
This little coastal town of 3800 people has been our favorite town so far. It just has a unique positive vibe to it, and if you are planning on visiting Alaska, make sure you spend at least five days here. We could have actually used a few more days. The city receives the most snow in Alaska, an average of 305 inches per year. That’s 25 feet of snow, which is probably why their welcome sign is so tall!
Dan and Al had their first of several Alaska fishing charters scheduled in Valdez, so we headed down to the marina to check out the docks the night before their charter.
Here is the charter boat they went on, at 5:30 am
In Valdez, they have fish cleaning stations, with a ramp to discard the fish heads and skeletons. The remains go down into an area where they decompose and provide nutrients in the water. It also becomes an all you can eat buffet for the birds! It was the first time seeing an immature Bald Eagle. It takes five years for a Bald Eagle to fully develop their distinctive coloring.
The guys took a halibut/rockfish charter, and had a successful day on the water catching their limit of halibut (2) and rockfish (4). They combined their catch and after processing, each ended up with twenty pounds of fillets. Rockfish are pretty tasty, but you don’t get very large fillets out of the fish. There were six people total on the charter, and here is their group photo. The halibut are hanging up, and the rockfish are on the ground.
While the guys were away fishing, Karen and I decided to check out the local museum, which is currently in two separate locations. They are raising funds for a new museum, and based on the model, it looks like it will be a nice addition to the town. Hopefully they can break ground in the near future. The museums cover the history of Valdez, from the 1964 Earthquake, the building of the oil pipeline and the oil spill. I will do a separate post on the museum/history of Valdez.
After Karen and I returned from the museum’s, I dropped off my camera, cell phone, keys and purse inside our motorhome, and took Makena out for a short walk. When I returned, I was unable to open the door to our motorhome. I was locked out!
Somehow, the door managed to lock itself. There are two locks on RV doors, the top one is a deadbolt, and the bottom one is the general lock. The deadbolt lock is usually unique to your specific RV, and the general lock is more generic, with many RV’s sharing the same lock. I looked around and went over to another Newmar motorhome owner who was sitting outside, and told him my situation. He came over with his set of keys, and we were able to determine it was the deadbolt that had locked itself. He said he read on forums that the door automatically locking itself has been a known problem on Newmar motorhomes, and said he always leaves a window unlocked – just in case. (we now do as well!!).
After we were unsuccessful in breaking in to our RV, I walked over by Karen’s and she looked up our Coachnet Roadside Assistance membership and found out it covers the cost of a locksmith if you get locked out of your RV or car! Yay! However, Al had their cell phone on their fishing trip, and their pre-paid phone did not work in Alaska. And my cell phone was locked inside our RV. I walked up to the office of our RV park and explained what happened to the owner, and asked if I could use their telephone to call our roadside assistance. With a wry smile, he reached down and handed me a hammer!
Despite it being a Sunday, about 20 minutes after I called Coachnet, they called me back at the RV office and said a locksmith was on his way. We were fortunate this happened in Valdez, which has one locksmith. It took about 10 minutes of work, but the deadbolt lock finally popped out, and the locksmith said it had broken in half, and was able to lock the door. It took another 10 minutes for him to still get the lock opened back up, as half of the lock remained in the door. The lock still works from the inside, so we are able to lock it at night, and when we travel.
The locksmith told me not to spend a lot of money replacing the lock, as any lock is easy to pick. We will look into fixing this over the winter when we are back in Yuma.
The RV spot we are in is right on the water, and it was fun watching the tide come in and out. In the mornings, the tide was out, and the cloud cover was in.
Late afternoon the clouds lifted, and the tide would come back in.
If you look off into the distance in the photo above, you can see what looks like some “white dash lines in the middle.” These are the tops of the storage containers for the terminus of the pipeline.
More to come on Valdez…
Quote of the day: “Fishing is quite a good metaphor for life. You do your prep, you do your thinking, you put your bait out, and you wait, confident that you’ve done your groundwork. But a lot of life is luck.” – Jeremy Wade