29 - Eagles Rest RV Park, Valdez Alaska

Arrived at Eagles Rest RV Park in Valdez, Alaska on Friday 8/5. Kris was so excited about this ride from Palmer to Valdez especially through Thompson Pass as she said the sights were fantastic. Unfortunately, like a lot of our time in Alaska it rained then entire trip down.

It was our 27th wedding anniversary so decided to stay in and make steaks in the cast iron pan, they were great. Celebrated with a toast and continue drinking wine the rest of the night. 

Well, someone had too much wine the previous night so only 4 went on the boat tour to the Columbia Glacier on Saturday 8/6. OK, fine it was me. After they left, I went to sleep for 4 hours, woke up feeling great and listened/watched the Mets win a doubleheader against the Braves. So the day wasn't a total waste. I also went to a food truck bakery and got cinnamon buns for desert that Kris was talking about the night before.

Mike, Kris, Jim and Anita did go on the cruise and even though it was rainy and cold they had a good time. Because there was too much ice in the water, they could not get close to the eastern spur of the big glacier (Columbia) but were able to see the smaller other spurs. They were able to see whales, otters, sea lions, eagles and tons of birds. Soup and bagels for lunch on the boat. I made artichokes for dinner.

Sunday 8/7th was another rainy day. We did venture out to view 2 waterfalls that we missed on the way into Valdez because of the weather. I talked Kris into going back to the RV to rest for the day because she has a long day of travel on Monday. I am making her Jewish Penicillin (Chicken Soup) for dinner so hopefully she feels a little better for her travels.

After we went back to the RV, Mike took Abby for a walk outside of Valdez. Since we have some long travel days for the next 10 days this will be the last one she gets for a while.

As mentioned, Monday 8/8 Kris will be flying to Anchorage and then an evening flight back to NJ. It was great having her here the last 10 days and loved her perspective of Alaska since she has been here so many times.

We will be starting our trek back to the Lower 48 (I sound like a real Alaskan, don't I. All but one of our stops are overnight except one which will be 2 nights. We arrive in Washington on 8/19 and will start being tourists again. Won't have much to say on the ride home so I am gathering "Interesting Facts" and will post something at each stop.

Interesting facts about Valdez

According to the 2020 US Census, Valdez had a population of 3,985, up from 3,976 in 2010. A former Gold Rush town, it is located at the head of Port Valdez on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. The city has a total area of 277.1 square miles, of which, 222.0 square miles is land, and 55.1 square miles (19.88%) is water.

The port did not flourish until after the road link to Fairbanks was constructed in 1899. With a new road and its ice-free port, Valdez became permanently established as the first overland supply route into the interior of Alaska. The highway was open in summer-only until 1950, when it was operated as a year-round route.

Today, it is one of the most important ports in Alaska, a commercial fishing port as well as a freight terminal. Valdez is also the terminus for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.

From 1975 to 1977, the Trans-Alaska pipeline was built to carry oil from the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in northern Alaska to a terminal in Valdez, the nearest ice-free port. Oil is loaded onto tanker ships for transport. The first tanker to be loaded with pipeline oil was the ARCO Juneau in early August 1977, bound for the Cherry Point Refinery in Washington. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred as the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was leaving the terminal at Valdez full of oil. The spill occurred at Bligh Reef, about 40 km from Valdez. Although the oil did not reach Valdez, it devastated much of the marine life in the surrounding area. The clean-up of the oil caused a short-term boost to the economy of Valdez.

The city of Valdez was badly shaken and damaged in the 1964 Good Friday earthquake. Soil liquefaction of the glacial silt that formed the city's foundation led to a massive underwater landslide, which caused a section of the city's shoreline to break off and sink into the sea. The underwater soil displacement caused a local tsunami 30 feet high that traveled westward, away from the city and down Valdez Bay. The Valdez townsite was abandoned and relocated following the 1964 earthquake and was used as a pipe yard for the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.  Residents continued to live there for an additional three years while a new site was being prepared on more stable ground four miles away. The new construction was supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers. They transported 54 houses and buildings by truck to the new site, to re-establish the new city at its present location. The original town site was dismantled, abandoned and eventually burned down.

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