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Old 01-13-2011, 01:13 PM   #3841
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The road descends

at the same time the coastal mountains rise.



Which gives the impression that the earth is physically rising towards the sky on either side of the road, looming over you as you ride.



And then there are the glaciers;







It's kinda hard to keep your eyes on the road.
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Old 01-13-2011, 01:17 PM   #3842
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More around the bend



Yeah! more dirt!!!






(Sorry about the shmutz on the video lens)

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Old 01-13-2011, 01:25 PM   #3843
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Another glacier



I mean, they look big in the distance, then you get up closer to them, and they're even bigger than you thought!



topics in this episode: why I choose to video glaciers, and a broken water main.



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Old 01-13-2011, 01:35 PM   #3844
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The jeez louise glacier





(HDR)



why it's called the jeez louise glacier:





('nother HDR)



it's real name:



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Old 01-13-2011, 01:48 PM   #3845
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I knew we were

getting close to a pass, 'cause we started seeing these snow-plow guides:





It was also getting chilly.



There always seem to be little lakes up near the top, this was no exception:



Sure enough:

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Old 01-13-2011, 01:54 PM   #3846
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Just through the gap,



the the scenery got even better, so we pulled off to snap a few.

(HDR)




Tsunami about to engulf me... lucky it's frozen.

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Old 01-14-2011, 07:33 AM   #3847
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From Thomson pass

there's a single switchback, and then a long downhill coast to the coast.



it really is up there with the great classic motorcycle rides. If you're in the neighborhood, don't miss it. (not that there's any other way to get from Tonsina to Valdez)







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Old 01-14-2011, 07:40 AM   #3848
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Infrastructure:

If ever there was an example of America's failing infrastructure, it's got to be Alaska's failing plumbing system. Ruptured water mains everywhere.











They really should do something about all those leaks, eh?
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:23 AM   #3849
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Rolling into Valdez

Smell-o-vision: seaside salty scent





First thing we did was check in to the ferry:



"Heightened risk of attack" equals 1? Will it ever be anything less?

We drove around town a couple times scoping out the hotel options, and settled on the closest one to the ferry terminal, The Keystone... from the frommer's review:

"
This basic budget hotel, made of modular units, was built by Exxon to serve as its offices for the oil-spill cleanup operation but wasn't completed until late summer 1989, so the company occupied it for only about a month. It stood vacant for 5 years before a new owner remodeled it into a hotel, with small rooms that mostly have two twin beds or one double bed, though some have two doubles."

Other reviews are less enthusiastic. Much less. Personally, I loved the industrial modular retro-futuristic sci-fi Barton Fink vibe.



Once we got our room, we discovered the yellowjackets under our blackjackets.



It was about 6:30pm, so we set out to take a walk around town, shoot some photos, and find some fresh seafood for dinner.
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:05 AM   #3850
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Pre-dinner photo-walk











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Old 01-14-2011, 09:09 AM   #3851
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We found

what seemed to be the most popular joint on the waterfront for seafood...



It was OK, everything was smothered in melted butter, how bad can that be?

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Old 01-14-2011, 09:17 AM   #3852
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Valdez certainly is surrounded by beauty. I'd love to go back there.
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Old 01-14-2011, 09:19 AM   #3853
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Sunset in slo-mo

After dinner, more photos;



the sun was still setting...



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Old 01-14-2011, 09:24 AM   #3854
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The catch

The fishermen were cleaning up,













and so were the gulls:



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Old 01-14-2011, 09:27 AM   #3855
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Then,

the light got REALLY good.



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