This morning the folks at breakfast were much friendlier than the guy fromyesterday. We chatted with several folks, a couple from Iowa, an orientalcouple from New Jersey and a military couple with their daughter that were headingfrom Fairbanks to Virginia. We packed up our stuff and left theB&B. We’ve been here three days and we really needed therest. We’re both ready to go home, even though we don’t have a home to goto. It’s been raining the entire time we’ve been in Alaska, with theexception of a few hours here and there. The rain is really getting usdown.
We took a short walk around Valdez and along the docks. It’s a prettytown, even in the rain. We think it’s pretty chilly, we’re in jackets andraingear. The locals, however, are in shorts, t-shirts and sandals,many riding bikes. We’ve noticed that there are more espresso shops andice cream shops here than anywhere we’ve been. Some places we’d pass werenot really even towns, just a gas station and espresso/ ice cream shop. Wewere surprised at the number of ice cream shops in a place known for being socold. One local told us that Alaskans eat more ice cream thananywhere else in the country (I did some research,it’s really California, but then, they’ve got more people to eat ice cream too). In a placethat the sun never sets in the summer and never really rises in the winter, Iguess you’d need an espresso jump start every now and then. Hopefully, theweather will clear and we’ll see the tops of the mountainssoon. We did a load of laundry and headed out of Valdez.
We went up the Richardson Highway, back to Glennallen. In Glennallen weturned west towards Palmer along the Glenn Highway. We are heading out to see our friends Kim andBarak who live in Talkeetna, just south of Denali National Park. We won’tget that far today.
We wanted to get onto a dirt road the Milepost mentioned called HatcherPass. The first few miles are paved, but the rest is dirt and gravel,steep and narrow. Sounds like fun. There’s supposed to be somepretty cool old gold mining ruins up there, too. It’s still raining (and has beenfor days) and when we got into the area of public land for Hatcher Pass, we sawa flare in the road. This is never a good sign. We saw a large truckdumping a load of rocks into the bend in the river. As we slowly drove by,we could see the river was splashing over it’s banks and threatening to wash outthe road! We had planned to just go up this road a bit and camp and headout in the morning. However, camping up a road that’s about to be washedout and closed didn’t sound like a good idea. We headed back up the roadwe had just come down and found a free campground. There was a sign there,it might have said the campground was closed, but the sign had been shot up so much wecouldn’t read it. We saw another vehicle there and it was after 10pm, sowe camped there anyway. It’s still raining.