Saturday, August 2

Valdez...Is that you Juan?

The morning of August 2 and is sunny and mostly clear!
Joy of joys....SUNSHINE!
We have heard that this is the oldest and wettest summer in decades so we feel quite privileged to see the sun.
The breakfast of Belgian waffles sets our mood as we head out of Tok.
The road is unusually flat, smooth and straight and we bask in the comfort of the warm sunshine.
I can even see my own shadow!
One must enjoy what one can get as ,off in the distance the mountains coax us along, and we know that with mountains comes change.
Change in temperature, change in the view, change in the weather and change in the road surface.
There will be 2 passes to negotiate before landing in Valdez, terminus of the Alaskan oil pipeline.
The route to the first pass takes us passed Mount Drum.
This is a 12,000' high, snow covered peak that really says "No,no...I'm a mountain. The rest are just hills"
Can't wait to see Danali!
The first pass is , again, one of the gentle passages through the mountains and doesn't offer much drama.
That's OK by me!
However, the next pass is somewhat different.
The steady up hill climb leads us ,once again, into a cold, wet and deeply overcast world.
No sweat!
Done it before.
Cakewalk! this time.
Just as we top the pass and I realize that the snow is beside me, not above me, the clouds consume us in a thick blanket of gray.
It's very difficult to see the lines on the road and Kat's headlight is swallowed up by the gloom.
I have no idea what's ahead but the road is now on a fairly sharp downgrade and stopping is probably a bad idea.
Taking it easy but keeping a reasonable pace,I pick my way down through the fog hoping Kat can see my brake lights.
Not so smart now are we?
Finally, as expected, the fog starts to clear as I come into lower altitude and I safely pull off onto the verge.
Kat is nowhere to be seen!
The thought of turning back up into the pass is not comforting she comes now.
All good!
Seems that not only the fog was causing problems but her face shield had fogged up as well compounding the problem.
The rest of the way was a clear if not dry ride through a beautiful canyon with the "Bridal veil Falls" was our reward.
So here we are in Valdez and no Juan in sight.

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