On the Road Adventures

Monday, August 17, 2009

August 17 - Haines to Skagway

This was a most interesting day. We “drove” from Haines to Skagway. There is a road we could have taken to make the trip – 400 miles of it. Or, the way we did it, on the Alaska Marine Highway by ferry, for a 16 mile, 1 hour trip. This was the view from Haines harbor off the back of the ferry.

The storm hadn’t lost any of its ferocity when we got up this morning. We watched as a Holland America cruise ship tried to dock. It had diverted from Juneau because of high winds, and when it got to Haines it found the winds had come with it, so it was hanging out in the bay, or as the pilot said on the marine radio, they were “standing off smartly.” So we were kind of wondering about the ferry. But those Alaskan ferrymen are tough and they ain’t skeert of any high winds. The ferry was tied up snug when we got to the loading station.

The agents told us which lane to park in to load. I was driving Little Green Toad and was put in lane 2 with the other passenger cars. Gerry and Cleo were in lane 9. They loaded the cars first, so I drove into the bowels of the ferry as directed and it was enough of a squeeze that I couldn’t see how Cleo was going to fit at all. I went up to the very top deck of the ship and stood watching as they loaded the rest of the cars, then the smaller campers and motorhomes.

And then there was just Cleo and one other large MH. The agent waved Gerry up and then I saw him maneuver to back it in! A long, long back-up over a very narrow bridge into the ferry. So the pictures are not Cleo coming out, they are of her going in!

The trip up the Lynn Canal was very nice. I don’t know why they call it a canal, when it’s obviously an arm of the inlet, but that’s its name. There were sheer cliffs on either side, and waterfalls so spectacular that if they were accessible, there would be tours to see them, but we had them all to ourselves.

An hour later, we were docking in Skagway.

Cleo was the first one off, or as Gerry said, no one was getting off that ferry until he got off the ferry. He was at the RV park in town and in place by the time I got off the boat.

We walked through Skagway. We had been here five years ago, and it seems like the jewelry stores have proliferated amazingly. I wonder how many people on the cruise ships actually go in and buy stuff. I don’t think I saw a customer in any of them, but in talking to a local lady who ran a snack shop, three of the expected five ships had not docked because of the winds, so she said it was very quiet. She was actually getting ready to go home when we made her last sale of the day. A tasty cherry Danish for Gerry and a home made piece of blueberry pie for me. Once the ships get ready to leave, the town is completely dead. So much for seeing Skagway after the crowds. It’s locked up tight after the cruise ships leave. Besides, it’s cold and windy and rainy so we’re all snug in Cleo, watching the clouds go by and the rain on the window.

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