Getting ready to start out trip out of Haines Alaska.
Saturday, the ride between Haines Junction and Haines Alaska is a beautiful trip, in fact it has a rating as a scenic byway. It starts in the relatively flat lowlands of the Yukon Territory and climbs a sizable mountain pass in a distance of 150 miles. And ends up in the coastal town of Haines Alaska.
Every year about this time they stage a bicycle race over the 150 mi. This year we ended up driving right in the middle of the race. As our trip started out the weather was beautiful sun shining temperature in the low 60’s. After about 50 mi. the skies started to darken and the temperature dropped to the low 40’s. And then the rain and wind came. Sure glad we both have heated jacket liners. We developed a real strong head wind, and weren’t doing to well with forward speed. But it wasn’t half as bad as what the bicyclists were going through.
The group consisted of close to 1,000 riders, a small handful of solo riders, that did the complete 150 miles, the rest were 4,6,or 8 person teams that broke the ride into sections
It rained all the way in to Haines. When we got there we tried to get a room but everything in the town was filled up. Tried a RV park to put our tent up but they didn’t want any tents in the campground. Finally we were told to go to Fort Seward and that we could set up a tent there.
Fort Seward is a historical area of Haines and typically do not allow camping but because of the bike race they were allowing it to happen for one night. There were racers and support people camped in this area, I couldn’t even guess at the amount of folks there. We set up our tent with a nice rain canopy which kept us dry all night. We fell sound asleep even though people were partying because it was June 21 which is Solstice, the longest day of the year.
Sunday, the next day we were able to get into a room and that gave us a chance to dry out and warm up a bit. Bostjan my friend from Whitehorse drove down with his girl friend Aki to visit with us for a little bit.
On Monday,we were supposed to leave Haines at 8:45 PM Monday evening but the ferry we were scheduled to go on had some engine trouble, they replaced the engine and had a check-out that made them 4 hrs late in getting to Haines so we didn’t leave until 2:00 AM Tuesday morning but know we’re moving forward.
|Joe and Tom, folks we met along the way. Both are from Illinois, Joliet|
|We're next to go on|
Finally Getting on the Boat
Finally, at 11:30 PM Monday night, time has come to get on board the MV Columbia. Luckily for us they let the bikes board first. Now we have been lined up ready to board since 8:00 PM there is nothing for anyone to do in town, everyone has eaten at the different restaurants, bought all the trinkets and just wanted to get on the ferry. Everyone went through their stuff and decided what they wanted to have with them for the next three day. Since we had taken the ferry a couple time before, a lot of folks sought our experience at picking and choosing what to take and what not. (I thought we had everything set , but as usually happens with us some totally unforeseen happens) When I pulled up to get in lines to board, I stopped the bike, dismounted, took off my glasses and put them down. Took off my helmet and started talking to everyone in line. As we were getting closer to boarding. I asked Sharon if she saw my glasses. She said no, that was the last thing I ever wanted to hear Everyone tried to help to find them but to no avail. I’m sure they will show up later.
Sharon and myself take our sleeping bags, sleeping pads, electronics, toiletries and thats about it. But you have to be able to move you stuff from the car deck up up seven flights of stairs. Then you have to move around the ship and find a place to set up your urban camp. They have cabins on board. but they are real small, confining and fairly expensive to our taste.
The ferry has a snack-bar, dining room, lounge, real nice and clean facilities. The ferries in Alaska are really used more like a bus route for the local people from the different town use it to visit relatives up and down the inland passage
Tuesday on the water was relatively uneventful rained all day. But we did have a chance to take advantage of a 2 hour layover in Sitka Alaska. By taking a short tour in to the town $10.00 a person for the bus ride. We both found it enjoyable and were really impressed by it’s history.
We were down around the Pioneer Home walking and taking pictures. We were walking up a lush garden path, and Sharon called out to me to stop so she could take a picture of my jacket that has a Killer Whale symbol on the back. Suddenly I hear from the left and in back of me,
“are you Killer Whale” ? The question comes from a elder that is sitting out in the rain enjoying life. He tells me he is a Heida, a prisoner in a foreign land and Thunderbird. We talk a little bit and we are ready to go and when Sharon reaches out to shake his hand he pulls his hand away in fear and “tells her to STOP that she will curse him if she touches him”
He hasn’t touched a woman in six years and doesn’t need to get married again. I shake his hand and wish him well and head back to catch the bus for the boat.
Wednesday on the water
Rained again the better part of the day. We had three stops scheduled today, Petersburg, Wrangle, and Ketchikan. We got into Ketchikan at 7:00 PM. They had asked all the people driving motorcycles to go to their vehicles and check their tie down straps. Because after Ketchikan we were going to be heading out into the open ocean and the weather could produce a little chop. Since we had boarded the ferry it has been trying to make up for the lost time it had because of a bad engine, they put new engine into the ship and that is what caused us to be 6hrs late leaving Haines
Thursday June 26 on the Water
This is our last day on the ferry we’re scheduled to be pulling into Bellingham Washington in the morning at 8:30 Washing time. So they were able to make up all the lost time with the engine chance out.
The sun was out shinning all day, we were able to take free showers and wash some dirty clothes. So we’re clean and well rested,spent the majority of the day swapping stories with fellow travelers
Tomorrow we’ll be meeting up with Kathy and Bruce. They are driving up from Long Beach California and run along with us on our trip.