Touring Alaska

Valdez, Alaska - Part A

July 4 - 7

The Alaskan Adventure - 43 Days - 5,066 Miles

Eagle's Rest RV Park

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The road from Beaver Creek to Valdez had the same unexpected dips, heaves, and gravel sections.

When we passed through Tok, Alaska the smoke was not too bad. But the people walking on along side the road were wearing masks. I had the air on re-circulate to keep the outside air outside. Even with that, Mom started to feel woozie.

When we got to Valdez, all campgrounds were full. So we spent the night in an overflow area "dry camping." Actually, it was not bad. Everyone in the overflow area were running their motor generators, so we did too. It ran for 2 hours while we watched a DVD.


On the road to Valdez.
Due to the fires, most RV'ers are staying in Anchorage and south Alaska.
We are now in a line of 5 motorhomes trying to get near a cell phone tower so we can try and make reservations in Valdez. The green tint of the windshield is on top of the picture.


We just passed over the summit and now it is down hill to Valdez.
The trailer on the right is missing a wheel and tire on it's left side.
They had a flat about 30 miles back and are trying to make Valdez with only three wheels. There are mountains all around and the road has to weave through the canyons.


Valdez is just over the mountains. The road winds downhill from here.

Cutting through the mountains.

Our campsite. We are the ones with the bike rack on back.

Hiking one of the trails around Valdez. Mom was really surprised that these Queen Anne's Lace plants grow this tall.

We came across this carving and was really surprised when we read who carved it. Peter Toth from Hungry by way of Akron. He has made a carving of an indian for each state and some provences. I am adding a newsletter from the Internet about his activity. You may be interested. Since this article was written, he has put carvings in each state.

Who is Peter Toth? His story began in communist-occupied Hungary. Born there in 1947, he was one of 11 children raised in a dirt-floor peasants' home. As a child, Peter witnessed the 1956 uprising that was subsequently put down by the Soviet military. The Toth family was among 200,000 Hungarian citizens who fled their homeland. After two years of living in refugee camps throughout Europe, the Toths settled in Akron, Ohio.

Having experienced Soviet tyranny, Peter developed a kinship with and empathy for Native Americans, whom he saw as victims of a comparable kind of injustice. In 1971, Peter made a decision to honor the North American Indian. With no funding, except occasional assistance for living expenses, Peter began a 20-year mission to sculpt these heroic figures, whom he calls "kings of this land." One reporter described him as a new breed of Johnny Appleseed who wandered across the continent, leaving a trail of statues. It's a fitting description.

According to what I've gathered on the 'net, each statue, ranging in height from 20 to 40 feet, is unique, a composite of the Native Americans who lived in a particular state or region. There is an abstract quality to the figures. The faces are elongated, as if unnaturally stretched, but that's a result of the medium. Peter had to work with trees that did not offer broad diameters. But he often made creative use of branching limbs, turning them into headband feathers.

Honored by a number of local, city and state governments, featured on major television networks, written up in publications, including Better Homes and Gardens Wood magazine, Peter, according to one website, has an art gallery in South Edgewater, Florida where visitors can see him at work.

Peter's Whispering Giants are usually found, like almost-silent sentinels, in parks, on museum grounds, at interstate welcoming centers, and even unexpectedly at an intersection, which is where my wife and I saw our first Giant in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Wood Carving Illustrated's readers have come across the massive sculptures as well and continue to submit photos to WCI's On the Road column. As the pictures accumulated, I decided to save them for "Editor's World."

One reader, Tim Crawford, wrote that Peter traveled from his home in Florida to repair his Indian monument in Akron, Ohio. Water had penetrated the center of the log and rot weakened the sculpture. While in Akron, Peter spoke to Tim's club, Wood-Be Woodcarvers, about his travels and the woods he sculpts. Tim also informed me that Peter has a gallery in Edgewater, Florida.
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