24 July – Day 2
Valdez, Alaska to Beaver Creek, Yukon (Canada)
Valdez was a great stop. Perfect weather for camping, no bears and only a few mozzies. Like everywhere, we met some interesting people at the campsite… like Phil, a recently retired 70-yr old American on an epic ride across and around Canada and the US – including considering an ‘iron butt’ challenge which involves riding to all four corners of the US in 50 hours. His blog is here: http://ptarman1.com/.
Valdez is an Alaskan town on the edge of the Prince William Sound. The Exxon Valdez tanker, which ran aground in 1989, was named after this town – it’s a major oil port; the Alaskan oil pipeline ends here. Even today, 20+ years after the spill, some species are yet to fully recover… and on the worst-affected areas of the coastline, you only need to use a regular shovel to dig down 15 or so cm to reach crude oil. It’s all pretty sad, really.
From Valdez we headed north up to Tok, the last “major” Alaskan town before the border. We had planned on stopping in Tok for the rest of the day, camping there overnight, but the weather was lovely, it was only 3pm and Tok was two horses short of a two horse town.. So we decided to keep going, push across the Canadian border and aim for Beaver Creek in Yukon, Canada.
Along the way, fellow travellers had been telling us that the weather changes at the Canadian border – and it always rains. And they were right! About ten minutes north of the border it started to sprinkle. And sprinkle. And sprinkle. And then rain. Really rain. Beaver Creek was just over the border, so we checked in to one of those slasher motels you see in the movies… you know, two storeys, long narrow building, angle car parking out the front, bright flickering fluorescent lights along the walkway, the incessant buzz of one of those blue light mosquito buzzers, empty ‘restaurant’ off the reception area etc etc. Still, it was dry, quiet, comfortable and had hot water – which is pretty much all that was required!