Part 13: Lake Eklutna to Valdez, AK.


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The Trip

We spent 2 days on the side of the road repairing our one-in-a-million failure nearly fried our engine and stranded us. We were oh-so-lucky as the road is very narrow and only had 2 pullouts in 7 miles. Luck alone worked in our favor because not only did we have room to pull off the road, but the pull-out was level enough to allow us to camp with reasonable comfort for 2 days. The locals were very kind to us and brought us ice as well as supplies to repair our failure. The patch worked and once the glue was cured, we hit the road again. Our destination was Valdez, AK.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The hexagonal bolt came loose from its nut inside the oil pan allowing the bolt to come out. In this photo, the area is partially cleaned in anticipation of putting on a patch over the hole.

I got the tools out in anticipation of the repair.

The plan was to patch the hole in the pan with a patch made from the bottom of a soup can. The patch will be attached with JB Weld (a two part epoxy glue). Above, you can see the patch that has been cleaned of the plastic coating.

We pulled the grille to allow access for the repair.

We scuffed the area clean with sand paper and then de-greased it with brake cleaner. Then, we mixed the glue, applied it and attached the patch. I used duct tape to keep the patch from slipping while the glue cured. The cure time was 15 hours, so we cleaned up and relaxed.

I attempted to use the hand pump to put oil into the engine, but it did not really work. In the end, I used the old fashion way (pouring) to get oil back in the block.

Once we got packed, we headed up the grade toward Lake Eklutna. Along the way, we passed this brush cutter. The device was broken and being repaired; the operator had stopped by our rig the previous day to see if we needed anything and he told me about his plight.

We went from Eklutna to Palmer for supplies. Then, we headed toward Glenallen along the Matanuska River. We got the view above from a road-side stop.

The area south of the road had some substantial cliffs.

We spent the night at King Mountain SP along the river. The river was flowing fast and cold.

King Mountain as seen from our camp site.

Next day we continued on toward Glenallen we were offered some interesting views.

Some glaciers were visible from the highway.

The leading edge of one of the glaciers.

The glacier was not all that large.

Weather was brewing over the hills. Mineralization is clearly visible via the color in the rocks.

We turned south at Glenallen and got a view of the Copper River.

There are tall mountains to the east our position. These mountains are 15,000 foot tall.

This mountain is tall enough to make its own weather.

On the way south to Valdez, we spotted this glacial waterfall.

Another glacier visible from the road to Valdez. This glacier is near the top of Thompson Pass.

The leading edge of the glacier.

Over the top of the pass, we got a view of the coastal fog near Valdez.

The down grade into Valdez offered nice views.

This is Bridal Veil falls just outside of Valdez.

Another smaller waterfall on the other side of the road.

The small boat harbor at Valdez, AK.

Our waitress at the Edgewater Grill was from Turkey and was lusting after my 1DsM3 so she offered to take our photo.

Main street in Valdez has great views of the mountains beyond.

Oil storage tanks at the terminus of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline.

A tanker was loading oil delivered from the pipeline. A different tanker would be loading the following morning.

The view from the back door of the camper at our water-side camp site.

To the southeast of our camp was another RV park on the water. The jetty is the entrance to the small boat harbor.

Another part of the pipeline complex.

Valdez is a nice little town (in the summer) and the folks were amiable. But basically, I was happy to be here and not on the side of the road at Lake Eklutna. Late in the day we booked a boat tour to see the local glaciers and whales.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2009, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.