Alaska RV Camping Travelog – Day 23
Richardson Highway to Valdez
Up early and our plan is to head towards Valdez, not sure if we‘ll make it the whole way today or not. It is mostly cloudy with a few breaks for sun. The road from Palmer to Glennallen is rather rough, narrow, and very winding. We meet several RV’s that are crowding the center line or over it as if they’re afraid of going off the edge.
We stop for breakfast along the Glenn Highway with a fabulous view of the Mantanuska glacier! There are several views of the glacier from this road, and what an amazing piece of ice! It’s 27 miles long and 4 miles wide! Of course, that’s just a splinter of it’s former self from 18,000 years ago –it used to stretch almost all the way to Palmer and was about 70 miles longer than it is now.
This is another beautiful section of country, and the road does improve dramatically as we approach Glennallen. Sheep Mountain is a very uniquely colored geological formation, but we don’t see any sheep on it!
The Chugauch Mountains are to the south which contain several of Alaska’s highest peaks, so there are a lot of lovely mountain views all along this road. Keep that Milepost Magazine handy and see if you can spot Mount Sanford with an elevation of 16,237 feet!
We arrive in Glenallen and pick up a few groceries. It’s also lunchtime and we see a place called the Caribou Cafe. Mom has a French dip sandwich, Brian has the best hot beef sandwich he’s EVER had, and I order the Beef and Cheddar. Let me tell you–it’s a long way from Arby’s!!!!!
We turn south on the Richardson Highway and head for Valdez. The forest is quite thick but we are afforded several views of the Alaska pipeline running from the North Slope down to Valdez. The road is in pretty good shape and the mountain views, snow, and pass make you feel like you are high in the in Colorado Rockies except the pass is only about 3,000 feet. And the mountains on either side are just 5 to 6 thousand feet, but the glaciers all along the road make it seem much higher.
We drop down into Valdez in the rain, the town and harbor are veiled in clouds so it‘s not at all the impressive view we were hoping for. We do go to the Visitor Center hoping for some good RV camping information like we got in Seward, but they’re not too helpful that way. The do suggest a couple RV parks in town which we’ve already driven past that don’t look at all interesting to us.
The Milepost book claims the Forest Service has a real time camera set up to view spawning Salmon from mid-June through September. We stopped there but the show doesn’t start until July–darn!
We backtrack to a cross street called Dayville Rd and make a right turn towards the water hoping to find somewhere to park for the night. The terminus is here for the Alaska pipeline and there are lots and lots of tanks! Just before the beach camping area we find a much better place to stay for free! This place isn’t posted no overnight camping and there are nice benches and a couple tables along the shore. There are also trash barrels and we’re hoping we can stay the night here without being asked to move.
The glaciers are all out of sight due to the low clouds, but we do get to walk along the beach and enjoy several sea otters as the tide comes back in!
Dinner is beefburger and we head for bed around 10.
Total miles on Gozer 77583 – Miles today 280
Road Notes: Narrow road from Palmer almost all the way to Glenallen. Almost no shoulder and we’re thankful to have avoided being forced off the road by other RV’s crowding the center line. The road south from Glenallen is good but with a few rough spots and frost heaves.
Tomorrow – Do you know the way to Chicken?
Yesterday – Full Campground!