Jim and I
waiting to board the Alaska Marine Highway ship.
13 Friday June 18
the final packing process I left the Milepost book in El Paso with all my notes
about where fuel was available, possible
motels on our route, etc. I bought another copy in Bellingham before boarding
the Ferry ship Columbia about 2:00 PM.
Weíre on the Alaska Marine Highway ship Columbia, underway to points north.
Boy, was I excited about getting on and pitching the tent. Luckily I got
upstairs early enough to secure a spot under an overhang, so the chances of
getting wet are minimal. After putting our gear inside the tent, itís crowded
(didnít put the rain cover on and that forms the vestibules.) Maybe we need to
use the vestibules for storage. We had a bowl of chili for dinner in the Snack
Bar and then took a nap. Lots of teenagers onboard and sometimes they are very
the first roll of film - 24 photos - this afternoon as the ship left the berth
at the ferry terminal.
the rain cover on the tent after all - just for insurance (& the extra
storage). Overnight onboard ship
city on the stern of the ship.
14 Saturday June 19 - Onboard the ferry ship A.M.H. Columbia
Hours - My first night aboard has
been less than ideal so far. With many noisy teenagers, thunking and clunking
noises, people talking next to our tent, and the noise and vibration of the
ships engines thru the deck plates, my sleep has been fitful and short
intervals. Jim is in the tent right now and heís snoring peacefully. Ah well.
I realized, just before getting up to go to the toilet, that I can let this get
to me, or I can roll with it and enjoy the journey. So, here I am, writing about
it in hopes of defusing any negativity that might be building in my mind.
met 3 young German riders on new 600cc Twin Suzuki dirt bikes that are street
legal and I have talked to them quite a bit. Helps to break up the monotony.
They are from Stuttgart - all nice guys. One speaks English quite well and I
talked to him awhile before we rode our bikes onto the ship.
traveler is ďMoeĒ Brooks from Houston. Heís riding a 600 cc Honda RX
vertical twin dirt bike w/kick start and metal luggage made in Europe. He said
he bought the luggage thru a Seattle company, then he designed the square steel
tubing rack they mount on. The rack looks very strong.
there is a Vulcan 1100, a Harley Dyna Wide Glide, a Honda Gold Wing, and another
bike onboard. The Harley sure sounds good! I may have to buy one just for that
(approx. 9:00 AM) - Finally
got some sleep before breakfast, then ate a multi--grain cereal and half of a
cinnamon roll at the Snack Bar. Went down to the main car deck when Jim checked
on his dog, and I double-checked the tie-downs on the RT. No problems - itís a
very smooth ride.
people onboard are interesting. One woman that Jim met is named Vera Freitag and
she lives on Mercer Island, WA with her husband. She is a dog lover and took to
Jimís little dog right away. She invited us to visit her at their home. She
gave Jim her address and phone number.
now the ship is cruising thru Queen Charlotte Sound and weíre feeling a gentle
roll and swell from the open ocean. I like it but itís a contrast to the very
smooth sailing weíve been experiencing.
donít understand why I feel so empty of expression right now. I seem to be
reporting events or facts, but not embellishing nor narrating. I want to expand
about what is happening. but Iím not doing it.
- 4:30 PM - Just awoke from a short nap. Put on the long underwear as itís
overcast and drizzly rain now. The tent has a distinct odor that I canít
identify - of course I credit Jim with that. Heís storing food for his dog
(fresh table scraps) etc., and I suspect thatís the source of the smell.
Later, I discovered that he had the dogís sleeping bag inside the tent and it
reeked! As soon as I put it outside the tent, the bad odor went away. The Walrus
ARC/3 tent has a mesh screen at each end and both ends are open now. The tents
that were not protected by overhang are soaked from rain and all the sleepers
using unprotected sleeping bags are soaked also. They have all moved inside and
itís much quieter now.
talked more with the young men from Germany. They have a good sense of humor,
especially Armin, the one who speaks English well. I invited them to El Paso for
a BBQ dinner, but they wonít be coming near there. They end their trip in Los
lunch in the Snack Bar I shared a table with a woman named ďCherryĒ from
Utah. She is a widow who returned to school at age 50 and became an LVN nurse (a
lifelong ambition of hers) and is now going to Taylor, Alaska, a small fishing
village south of Valdez. She is on a religious mission for one year. Nice person
and she is fulfilling an urge to go somewhere and help others.
cruise is boring except for the lectures, etc that are held occasionally -
presented by the U.S. Forestry Service. I brought a book, but I have no desire
and I ate in the main dining room tonight - buffet style and pretty good, but
too expensive for everyday. We eat our meals in the Snack Bar with the other
scenery is the same as we go along the Inside Passage, and itís getting
boring, too. The timber grows down to the water and there are many small islands
to navigate around. There are lots of small fishing boats and an occasional large
yacht, but all of the boats must be pretty fast to get into safe waters quickly
if a storm comes up suddenly. The islands and general shoreline do not look very
hospitable for small boats and the wild animals, especially the bears, may be a
problem in some places.
15 Sunday June 20 - Happy Fatherís Day - Onboard AMH Columbia
ashore for breakfast in Ketchikan - walked about a mile - felt very good to
stretch our legs, and Stinger liked being outside, too. It started to rain as
soon as we returned to the terminal and it rained for more than an hour.
rained all thru the night. A few small puddles of water on and under the tarp
weíre using as a ground cloth, but the floor of the Walrus ARC/3 is
waterproof. Thank goodness!
the retired NASA engineer we met, said his tent floor is soaked (didnít have a
ground cloth) and the bottom part of his mattress is also soaked - but only the
edges of the sleeping bag got wet. We are completely dry, thanks to some serious
comparison shopping for a tent. The BMW Riderís website was invaluable as a
source of advice about the camping gear. I would have preferred to have a
British Khyam ďPop-UpĒ tent to save time and confusion, but the ARC/3 is
good for two people, with both a vestibule for storage and an entrance at each
attended a presentation about Eagles in the lounge, presented by the U.S.
Forestry people who are permanently stationed onboard the Columbia. They give
talks on a variety of topics to do with Alaska. I took a shower - felt good!
ate lunch and talked to Ulrich, Armin, and Tibor, the Germans. I returned to the
tent and opened both ends for ventilation.
stopped by and we talked for quite awhile. Nice man. Donít know where Jim
went. He was gone from the tent when I returned from showering. I missed the
ďcar deck callĒ at 12:15 PM. Thatís when people can go to their vehicles
and also visit their animals (all animals must stay on the car deck during the
- 11:45 PM - Loud voices woke me, then it happened again. I was so upset that I
got up and came to the Snack Bar to write and maybe do some reading. Jim slept
thru the voices, etc. When I came out of the tent, two chairs were placed next
to our tent as if two people sat there and held a conversation - without much
regard for the occupants of the tent, nor of other nearby tentís occupants.
16 Monday June 21 - onboard AMH Columbia
ashore in Juneau and took a taxi ride to breakfast downtown (13 miles). We were
back by 9:15 AM. The two taxi rides + food was over $50 - not a good idea,
really, but we got off the ship for a while.
packed up the tent, etc. after we got back onboard, then sat around the Snack
Bar most of the day (until we reached Haines.)
bikes from the ship lined up in Haines, Alaska.
went smoothly. The motorcycle riders stopped for photos at the Welcome To Alaska
sign. The group included Jim and I, the 3 Germans, the Gold Wing, and Moe from
Houston. The Ferry Terminal is a few miles East of town and the short ride felt
we proceeded to the tourist information office in town to get directions to the
Fort Seward Lodge. We checked in at the Lodge and now are settling into the
rooms. Think Iíll take a nap before dinner.
ate dinner at the Fort Seward Lodge Dining Room - fresh Dungeness Crab in the
shell - it was delicious!! mmm mmm good.
is a small town nestled between the trees and the water - a long narrow grouping
of houses and businesses. The downtown area is one block long with one main
intersection. All the necessities are here and cruise ships come often in the
summer. Also there is daily ferry service and water taxi service from Haines to
Skagway. The Alaska Marine Highway Ferry ships stop here 2-3 times a week. There
is no direct road to Skagway - one must go there by water, air, or on the paved
road via Haines Junction, Whitehorse, and Carcross in the Yukon Territory. The
paved road stretches northwest to Haines Junction and that is our route from
here. Overnight at Haines, Alaska
[ Home ] [ Up ] [ Phase 1 ] [ Phase 2 ] [ Phase 3 ] [ Phase 4 ] [ Phase 5 ] [ Phase 6 ] [ Phase 7 ] [ Phase 8 ] [ Phase 9 ]