Thursday, May 16, 2013

Uraling to Alaska - Day 37: The Glenn/Richardson Highways to Valdez

Back on the road again!

I said my goodbyes (again) to Sharon and Bob, such great hosts in both my times of need and headed out of Wasilla shortly after 9:00 AM.

 Sharon and Bob

The mountains near Wasilla showed themselves nicely to 
Valencia and I as we left town.

I got on Alaska Highway 1 aka the Glenn Highway, heading east towards Glennallen.  The scenery continued to be marvelous to look at and I made slow progress on the way east due to the many picture opportunities.

 My first view of the Chugach range of mountains







 At Glacier View, AK


 Matanuska Glacier





Glennallen came and went, not much to the "town" per se.  The clouds were fully obscuring any view of Mount Blackburn, the second highest volcano in the USA, so that was a bit disappointing.  Hopefully, the weather will be clearer when I make my way back to Glennallen tomorrow on my way to the Denali Highway.

Valencia and I then motored down Alaska Highway 4 and into stiff headwinds that really killed my MPG ratings....The skies got steadily more and more overcast as we headed south towards Valdez.


Nearing Thompson Pass, the looming snow clouds proved just that, clouds.
No snow falling on the pass itself.

 Lots of snow along the road on Thompson Pass even with such 
a low altitude.  Note the right-angled metal posts, I believe they're
used to indicate the shoulders of the road for snow plow operations.

Shortly after crossing Thompson Pass, you are almost at Valdez.  I got to the town at 4:30 PM, about 7 hours of road time counting time done taking pictures.  The skies had really clouded over as you could see in the shots involving Thompson Pass.  

The town of Valdez is still experiencing the remnants of the large amounts of snow they usually get every year.  Apparently, their average snowfall is 300 inches of the white stuff.  I wandered about town a bit, stopped by the Visitor Center and got some lodging info.  Some calls later, I just picked the closest one as they all were running about the same prices for a night's stay.  All the campgrounds, you see, remain closed...no big surprise given the large amounts of snow piled up in the city.

I went to a place called Old Town Burger for dinner, and while munching on my burger, a gentleman in riding leathers and Harley-Davidson logo'ed gear stops at my table.  He asked if Valencia was my motorcycle, upon getting my answer he invites me to a nearby Bike Blessing that was happening in a half hour.

I thanked him and he walked back to the group he was eating with before.  I finished dinner, paid and geared up to attend the Bike Blessing Ceremony, it was going to be my first one!

There were about 15 or so motorcycles there total, most of them were Harley-Davidsons and all their riders turned and looked at me as I motored in and backed into a spot next to them.  Yep, had to back her in to demo that capability of the URAL!  :)

The other riders and I mixed and mingled, doing some light chatting until the Blessing Ceremony got underway.  It was short and sweet and to the point.  I figure, Valencia and I could use the blessing you know?  :)

Bike Blessing Ceremony in Valdez, AK

I didn't hang around for long after the ceremony, most of the riders belonged to the local ABATE club and they were having an ad-hoc meeting.  I went back to the Downtown B&B where I was staying and settled in the for the night.  The proprietors had asked me if I knew the weather guessers were predicting eight inches of snow for Friday.  I will have to make my escape northwards tomorrow in order to not be trapped in Valdez.

I hope the morning's weather tomorrow is nice and clear, there were some magnificent mountains on AK Hwy 4 aka the Richardson Highway but clouds precluded good shots of them.

Valencia did great today, no issues except for the low MPG caused by headwinds, and that's not really her fault is it?

16 comments:

Andy & Laura said...

So happy for you that you're back on the road again! So happy for me that you're sharing so much of the spectacular scenery.

May you continue to enjoy your adventures. You certainly are amassing an amazing collection of stories.

KEN PHENIX said...

BEAUTIFUL, Dom! You're making me want to order some tires. :)

KEN PHENIX said...

BEAUTIFUL, Dom! You know you're making me order tires. :P

RichardM said...

Beautiful photos. I've only been trhrough that highway a handful of times but never in the Spring. June on a bicycle but that is another story…

SonjaM said...

Pictures like paintings. You are rolling again, yay!

GlennandSun said...

Exceptional photos and narrative. Looks cold, but must not be too bad. Glad you are able to continue your journey and appreciate your sharing. GlennandSun

PS....Also thanks for the Carb info and mechanical sharing. All info is educating....

bob skoot said...

Dom::

I loved all your photos but the one with Thompson Pass is the most dramatic with all the colours of your rig & framed with the two metal posts.

Hope you don't get snowed in

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Ken, as to making you buy tires though......

Charlie6 said...

Thanks Laura and Andy, things are about to take a major turn though.....see tonight's posting

Charlie6 said...

Thanks RichardM, the pics from yesterday may have been a last hurrah in terms of mountain shots with Valencia in the foreground though....

Charlie6 said...

The rolling is being paused again unfortunately, see tonight's posting and thanks for your comments.

Charlie6 said...

Thanks for continuing your visits and commentary Glenn, things are a-changing though, he ignition issues in wet weather are back....see to tonight's posting.

Charlie6 said...

Bob,

The forecasted snow has become rain, and more rain.

WheresMurph said...

Great pictures in this post Dom,

Murph-

Charlie6 said...

thanks Murph...

agent713 said...

Wow! Those early photos are incredible!