Tag Archives: Valdez AK

Once upon a time on a trip to Alaska, day 30

Valdez, Alaska

Sunday, July 15, 1973

We’d been on our trip for one month as of this day.

A short drive today, the sixty-five miles on into Valdez (Val-DEEZ, although I wanted to pronounce it Val-DES, as I recall).  We drove through both a tunnel drippy enough to require the use of the windshield wipers while traversing it, and over a bridge to get there. Valdez is yet another beautifully-located coastal town, this one on the shores of Prince William Sound, a name which became familiar to the world in the worst possible way, being the location of the Exxon-Valdez spill, one of the worst ecological disasters in history.

An aerial view of Valdez.

The main thing I remember about Valdez, which would later become the southern terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, is the huge piles of metal pipe stacked everywhere, awaiting government approval for the pipeline’s construction later that year.  The pipes were bigger in diameter than I was tall, as I recall, and pyramidal stacks of them were all over the place.

Alaska pipeline pipe.

Our afternoon was spent exploring Valdez, and going to a slide program at the city’s information center.  I don’t remember what the slide show was about, nor do I mention its subject in my diary.  I suspect it was either about the 1964 earthquake, which hit very hard in Valdez as it did everywhere else along the south coast of mainland Alaska, or about the proposed pipeline.  Or it could have been about both, I suppose.

And we did do some more fishing, so I was wrong about our last time fishing on the trip being on the Kenai Peninsula.  I know we didn’t catch anything, though.

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