Alaska, the Last Frontier - Summer 2012 travel blog

Skagway harbor from above

train from above

sail away

sail into Haines

board ferry

Haines harbor

totem pole

Statdendam

Movie Clips - Playback Requirements - Problems?

(MP4 - 654 K)

helicopter tour


From Skagway we planned to go to Haines - fifteen miles away by ferry, 280 miles away by car. Which would you choose? It's not such an easy answer when you are 40 feet long and the ferry charges $3.30/foot. But we did the math including the price of diesel and the ferry won hands down. The ferry left at 4pm and took an hour to make the trip so we had most of another day in Skagway. We took what looked like a short hike on the map, but was mostly straight up and looked down on the city from another angle. We could see cruise passengers taking all sorts of tours. The helicopter flight over the mountains looked especially appealing on a clearer day. There are many mountains ahead of us on this trip and we ware bound to have a perfect weather day some time.

Loading a ferry boat is a complex process. The load must be balanced and large vehicles like our motor homes need room to maneuver up and down the plank. Leaving Skagway, the drive down to the ferry was so steep, crew had to put boards under the rear tires to keep us from bottoming out. Commercial trucks went first; passenger cars and motor cycles went last. The ferry was far from full. We had reservations, but easily could have just shown up.

The ride out of Skagway's harbor full of cruise ships and into Haines where there was just one, was spectacular. In Skagway we were in a steep vee surrounded by mountains on all side. In Haines they are nearby offering great views, but the town and campground are on flat land.

Although this luxurious campground where we are parked on thick grass rather than gravel, has cable TV and wifi, Ken was able to get the satellite dish connected for TV. Normally the dish aims itself, but the motor that rotates it on the roof has broken. Ken has to go up top and rotate it manually until I can tell him that we are connected by what I see on the TV screen. HIs phone has also gone berserk. He was able to restore most of its functions via iTunes, but to restore the actual phoning capacity, he has to be on a Verizon network. Perhaps there might be one when we get to Fairbanks. Til then he is incommunicado. The washing machine is also acting up. It washes fine, but it cannot finish the drying phase. The motor home often looks like some kind of ghetto with damp clothing hanging every where. But much more importantly, the motor home itself is working great.

The weather in Haines seems more comfortable. Temperatures are a bit warmer, it's not so windy, and there are more sunny breaks in the clouds. Hope that's a trend.

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