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Today was supposed to be just a normal, uneventful, travel day. It didn't take long for that to all change.

We were on the Edgerton Highway headed out of Chitina for about 5 minutes when we saw road signs warning of moose in the area. We see these all the time and their is never any moose around. Well just like the boy who cried wolf, this time they were!

A moose surprised us when we came around a turn in the road by darting out of the woods on the right hand side of the road and then disappearing into the woods on the left hand side of the road. It all happened so fast Tricia never even got the camera out of her lap. All this took place less than 50 feet in front of ROVER's bumper as I was traveling 45MPH in a 65MPH zone.

Shaken just a little bit we continued on and wouldn't you know it, we came around the next curve and found another moose just troting down the middle of the road, this time about 50 yards in front of us. I slowed down to match his speed and followed him about a half of a mile before he stopped, turned his head and looked right at us before darting into the woods.

Calling this road a highway is a little bit misleading. When I here the word highway, I think of a wide median strip with 10 yards of clearing on both shoulders, just to avoid situations like this. Edgerton Highway is a short 33 mile long spur road that only leads to the small town of Chitina and as you can see in the photo below none of the things I described of what makes a road a highway is present here.

This time Tricia was ready with her camera.

With the moose sightings behind us we continued on down the road to Valdez.

I'm going to make a quick disclaimer here that we think the following photos are pretty good, but in doesn't even compare to what we experienced today while traveling. This is by far the best scenery we've seen in our short visit to Alaska.

It started at the sign announcing we were still 40 miles outside of Valdez.

The massive Worthington Glacier grew larger as we drove closer over the next 5 miles.

Up close you can see the "blue ice" at the leading edge (a.k.a. terminus) of the glacier.

Next the road elevation increased and before we knew it we were surrounded by ice and snow.
This area is called Thompson Pass and it's a mere 2,678 feet above sea level.

Right after Thompsons Pass the elevation decreases dramatically for the next ten miles.
Then around a corner in the Keystone Canyon is the impressive Bridal Veil Falls.

I'll include this because waterfall photos aren't nearly as spectacular as waterfall videos.

Not to be outdone, just around the next bend is the 328-foot tall Horsetail Falls.

Once again, here's the video!

This is the small boat harbor located next to our campground in Valdez.

This is the view directly behind our Campsite #8 during high tide.

We feel we could live right here, at least 3 months of the year anyway.

FRIDAY - Today we'll be experiencing our second Alaskan sightseeing adventure.

Last night we went online and decided to book an 8-hour glacier and wildlife cruise for today. We have to check in at the office between 8:00-8:30AM for the 9:00AM departure. We may have been among the last to sign up for the cruise last night, but we were the first to board the ship this morning. As such, we had first choice of where we wanted to sit and/or stand during the cruise.

Our cruise today will take us 60-miles west along the shoreline of Prince William Sound to the terminus of the Meares Glacier. Our route will take us very close to the location of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Today nothing remains on the surface from the oil spill, but dig down a foot or two anywhere along the shoreline around here and you'll still find evidence of the oil underneath.


The adventure begins at the Stan Stephens dock in Valdez, AK.
Right away we were treated to several waterfalls along the shoreline.
Next we spotted an American Bald Eagle high up in a tree.
He was being harassed by a blackbird and finally just gave up and left his perch.
A little while later there were more waterfalls...
...and yet another bald eagle even higher up in a tree.
This is the entrance to the 18-mile long channel where the Columbia Glacier is located.
These icebergs have floated 18-miles since they calved off the glacier.
They take on all different shapes, sizes and color.
The deeper the blue color the more dense the ice is.
More bald eagles, this time perched on the floating icebergs.
Then we had a real treat! A mother humpback whale and her calf just cruising the waters ahead of us.
Then they took a deep dive and we saw the mother's fluke before she began a 12-minute dive.
The otters were fun to watch, but difficult to photograph because they were so far away.
This is our first look at Meares Glacier, the star of today's show.
It's 1/4 mile wide face dwarfed our 82-foot long cruise ship.
As soon as we arrive there was a small calving, but not to dramatic.
There are several caves in the face of the glacier.
On the return trip we saw a rocky beach full of sealions.
Just lazing in the sun and watching the crazy tourists go by.
This guy floating on glacier ice is a Harbor Seal. He was the only one to not dive in the water as soon as the cameras came out.

After nearly a half hour of watching the glacier wall, scanning back and forth, and nothing much really happening, I jokingly told Tricia I knew exactly how to make the glacier calve.

I showed her right where to point the camera and start filming as I predicted when and where it would calve. Within a few seconds of me turning my back it happened.

It works on the same principal as when you're expecting a phone call and are tired of waiting, just get up and go to the bathroom and forget your phone in the living room, it'll ring everytime.

Or watch a hockey match on TV and get up to go to the fridge to get another cold drink, they'll score the only goal of the match while you're away from the view of the TV. At least you'll be able to see it on instant replay!

There are no instant replays when watching and waiting for a glacier to calve. I'm so glad we caught this on video to watch over and over again and be able to share it with you!

When we got back to the campground we found Winston and VerJean had finished their side trip to Haines and have rejoined us for a few days. They also met another RV couple, Sharon and Rod, and invited them to join the group.

Turns out we had already had a brief encounter with Rod 15-days ago at Liard Hot Springs in British Columbia. While we were walking to go soak in the hot spring we passed his campsite and he was outside, so I commented to him that he selected an excellent site for his solar panels to catch the sun and that ours were pretty much in the shade all the time.

That was it, just a quick comment, 15-days ago, and now we're spending another two days together. I'll say it again, it's a small world we live in now.

SATURDAY - Today the four of us, Winston, VerJean, Tricia and I, went museum hopping. There are three of them in town and they all have something different as their primary focus. Rod and Sharon went hiking somewhere because that's what they enjoy doing and we'll all meetup later and go out to dinner together.

First up for us is the Valdez Museum on Hazelet Avenue. The focus of this museum is on the town of Valdez before the March 27, 1964 earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the town. There are lots of old items and reports of the earthquake to see here. There is also a 20x30 foot 1:20 scale model of the town under glass, just as it looked the day before the disaster.

In case you didn't know the entire town of Valdez was moved several miles after the earthquake of 1964. Over a period of three years it was rebuilt on safer ground since there is a real possibility of another earthquake event in this area.

The second museum is on Egan Avenue, only a few blocks away, and it's focus is on the new town of Valdez, history and art. You'll also find displays on historical Alaskan aviation events, the building of the Alaska Pipeline and information on the Exxon Valdez oil spill of 1989 and their new procedures in place to lessen the chance it will ever occur again..

The third museum is Maxine and Jesse Whitney Museum which is located a little further away from downtown. This private venture displays the largest collection of Native Alaskan art and artifacts.

Today was a lot of walking and information overload but we did find time to all get together for dinner and drinks at a restaurant called The Fat Mermaid, chosen by Sharon and Rod. It was a good choice and I was able to try something new from the menu, Grilled Rock Fish. It's a pretty ugly orange fish, but it sure tastes good!




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