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Discussion Starter #1
My wife I are planning a summer trip to Alaska in 07. We are thinking about taking the bike to Bellingham Washington and then getting on the ferry with the bike and heading for the city of Whittier at Prince William Sound. We are planning on spending 2 weeks or so around Denali National Park and then take side trips from there. My question concerns the Ferry trip from Washington. Has anyone done this and if so how did everything work out? I have traveled the Alcan Highway to just south of Dawson Creek and really don’t want to go that way again.

Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated

TIA
Ride Safe
Dick
 

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I brought the ferry out of Alaska. Beautiful scenery! Mind you, it's not an ocean liner with all the ships activities. It's a ferry.

If you really want to ride the ferry, RESERVE EARLY! The sleeping cabins book quite fast and sleeping on deck or various chairs around the boat are not that comfortable.

I don't know what kind of facilities they have for securing a motorcycle.

Enjoy your trip!
 

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We rode the Ferry from Haines near Skagway to Bellingham in June. I recommend an outside cabin, two of us actually booked a four bed cabin, it was less then a couple hundred dollars more then a two bed cabin and the extra room was nice.

You will have to get off the ferry from Bellingham in either Skagway or Haines and board another, I don't believe there are any through ferry's. The road out of Haines is very nice all the way to Haines Junction. From Haines Junction to Tok and then down to Glennallen there was lots of road heave repair. The road from Glennallen to Valdez was very enjoyable.

After three days on the ferry though and I was ready to get off. It is cheaper then a cruise but there is no "entertainment" at all. We got off at every docking possible to see the sights. We bought wine and beer, as long as you have a cabin you can bring them on board.

We rode the ferry out of Whitter to Valdez. It was the fast ferry! There are two, one will take about 3 hours to make the trip and the other about 8 hours. Take the fast one, it is very enjoyable.

A couple things about riding the Ferry. Each captain has their own set of rules. On the first ferry in a driving rain storm we had to unpack our bags to get to cans of propane fuel for our camp stoves. If you have anything like this, keep it on top of your bags and easily accessible. The second Ferry boarding crew didn't even ask about flammable cargo.

The first ferry crew helped quite a bit to get us set up and tied down on the bikes. They will probably want you on some corner of the tie down area. If you ask, sometimes they will give you a chain across the tie down buttons to hook tie straps too. I recommend you take a few of your own tie down straps, the thin ones. The ones they have are the really thick tie downs for autos and trucks, you may have difficulty getting these to go through the right spots on the wing.

The second ferry crew really crammed us up into a corner, I used a drain pipe on the ferry to tie off the front and had to connect to a Harley that was then connected to a tie down button. I believe it was really tenuous at best and when I whined a little the fellow guiding in the vehicles said "we ain't never lost a bike yet!"

The food on the Ferry is a little expensive but really not too bad. Very basic don't expect the finest cusine. Usually the galley opened around 6a and closed about midnight but they really only served food about two or three hours for each meal.

Well, without writing a book if there is any specific questions, just let me know.
 

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My wife and I toured Alaska this summer, 6 weeks in all. :D We rode the Alaskan Highway up and took the ferry back from Whittier to Prince Rupert. We got a cabin and the total cost was about $1750. The ferry ride was a last minute idea, mainly because we didn't want to ride the highway at Destruction Bay again, bent a rear rim on one pothole. The dust was the extreme and the holes were big.

As for the ferry there was a movie theater, bar and the restaurant. After hitting the rest of Alaska first we thought the prices on the food and beer were great. About half price from what we were used to. The movie theater was free but there were only 3 movies that played the entire time aboard. I am the restless type and got bored about the second day. The bar opened at 5 and was the high point of the day. The Inside Passage is beautiful and the ferry is a great way to see it all.

When we go back we will go the same route again. Ride up and float back to Prince Rupert

Dave
 

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I can see a business opportunity here. Entertainment on board a ferry boat. Surely the passengers would be boar stiff and attend a variety show provided by Hooter's girls.

Seriously, I've been interested in a trip to Alaska also. We've flown up and rented motorhomes, but I'd like to take the bike up. I'm not sure my spouse would like to ride up that distance. The information is quite helpful for futire planning.
 

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Patriot:

Why not ride the bike up and have your wife fly up and meet you? That's kind of my game plan as my wife won't ride for more than 30 minutes...she prefers the climate controlled environment of a Lexus.
 

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Airborne06 said:
Patriot:

Why not ride the bike up and have your wife fly up and meet you? That's kind of my game plan as my wife won't ride for more than 30 minutes...she prefers the climate controlled environment of a Lexus.
That is an option. I've thought about that. I've dreamed about driving the Alcan but a bike ride would be fun. I know the elements can give a person problems but that has got to be part of the adventure. I've read a lot of Alaska trip reports and I don't think I've read any where rain was not part of the trip.

I suspect I will not be able to make the trip until I retire. We have many obligations that keep us close to home (parents in late years). In the mean time, I will dream and prepare.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This all started last summer when we met a elderly couple on a Harley who said they were going to Alaska. ( I am sure someone will have fun with the fact that they were on a Harley) When we started to talk about it they said they were taking a Ferry out of Washington all the way to Whitter at Prince William Sound and then returning to Washington.

Well, they planted the seed. So, my wife and I have been thinking about it since that time. I would imagine that not to many people do it. I was not to impressed with the Alcan last time I was there.


Thanks to everyone for the info. We are still trying to make up our minds

Ride Safe
Dick
 

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BigD said:
This all started last summer when we met a elderly couple on a Harley who said they were going to Alaska. ( I am sure someone will have fun with the fact that they were on a Harley) When we started to talk about it they said they were taking a Ferry out of Washington all the way to Whitter at Prince William Sound and then returning to Washington.

Well, they planted the seed. So, my wife and I have been thinking about it since that time. I would imagine that not to many people do it. I was not to impressed with the Alcan last time I was there.


Thanks to everyone for the info. We are still trying to make up our minds

Ride Safe
Dick
Sorry I forgot to include the calendar for the Alaska Ferry system. Looks like there are only three ferry's that actually go to Bellingham.

https://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/reservations/CalendarFM.amhsf
 

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We did it this year.

We were in Washington for a Rally and when we left, we decided we would take the ferry from Prince Rupert to Haines. Leaving Washington, we went north to Sumas and crossed into Canada there. We went through Kamloops, Golden and Banff. From the Banff area we toured the Icefields Parkway north through Jasper and continued north and then west to Prince Rupert.

The ferry was nice because we had an outside cabin with 3 berths. We only used two but having the extra room was nice. We got off in Haines after 30 + hours and stayed in a B & B there.

We rode to Beaver Creek, North Pole and visited with Santa, panned for gold north of Fairbanks, toured Denali on a bus but never got to McKinley until we headed south to Talkeetna. Just north of Talkeetna, we were able to see Mt. McKinley peek through the clouds so we could capture her with our cameras. Great photos.

While in Talkeetna, we looked up K2 Avaition and took a flightseeing tour with a landing on Ruth glacier. This was the best thing about our non-motorcycling part of the Alaska trip. I recommend the K2 Aviation DeHavilland Otter (it seats 9 and you are not cramped for space) (it is the second time we have used K-2 ... first was in 1989)

Touring further south, there are so many things to do in and around Anchorage, Portage, Whittier, Seward, Homer, Soldotna, just to name a few.

I was in the Air Force stationed at Elmendorf AFB from 1958 to 1961 so I was familiar with the State. The only thing about it was it has improved so much since my last visit in 1989, the only things that had not changed was a few street names.

If I were to go again, I would go before August, since it rains so much during that month, it curtailed a lot of our things we wanted to do/see again.

We left Anchorage the middle of this August and it had rained 7 straight days.

Go early June and stay through July if you can.

I agree that Destruction Bay (Lake Kluane area) is a very bad stretch of loose gravel ... I think it was about 6 or 7 miles and I was glad we got through it OK. We had no problems but we wore our rain gear most days in Anchorage.

Have fun and by all means do the K2 Aviaton Flight out of Talkeetna. When I can go back, I will go in June/July and do the K-2 thing again.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Road Runner…..

Thanks for all the great information. The plane trip out of Talleetna sounds just great. I think we will take the same route that you suggested but will take a ferry out of Hanes to Whitter and then return by ferry to Prince Rupert.

Just for my own information how is the road from Haines to Haines Junction.? Someone had already said that the road near Destruction Bay was not to good. Does that hold true for the entire way to the border or is it just around Destruction Bay?

How was the road out of Prince George to Prince Rupert. On a previous trip I had gone out of Prince George up to Dawson but I have never been west from there.

Has anyone had any experience with camping in Alaska?

Again, thanks to everyone for there input. I don’t think a person could ever have to much information when traveling by bike in that part of the country.
 

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The road from Prince Rupert to Prince George was fine. As with any road up there you have to watch out for the occasional pothole. The road north out of Haines I don't know about, as we never went that route.

Let me clarify about my previous post about the road around Destruction Bay. Was the road bad - Yes, would I do it again - Definitely. There was allot of bikes on the road and we didn't talk to anyone that didn't enjoy the ride. There was probably about 300 miles of bad road, some worse than others. Most of Alaska and northern Canada is permafrost and therefore any of the roads can and will be bad at some point. You just slow down and watch and enjoy the scenery.

Dave
 

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Big D
That routing sounds good. When we were in Whittier it was raining very hard and we had to wait to get through the tunnel. We had to first wait for the train and other vehicles to come through, then we had to wait for the tunnel to be purged to get out the diesel smoke.

The tunnel is 2-1/2 miles long and is a one way tunnel. The ride through the tunnel caused me more than a little anxiety due to the fact that I knew that I had to keep the bike between the railroad rails. I did, but the thought of hitting a "wet steel rail" with the bike pulling the trailer had me worried all the way through. I would look to an alternate option if there is one available, or wait in the rain like we did. Every time I have been to Whittier, it has rained. That is up to you.

The road from Haines to Haines Junction is not a bad road. The road noth of Haines Junction towards Kluane lake is the worst part. Like Dave Stepp said - The road around destruction bay is the worst. Miles of loose gravel and you do have to be on your toes, I wouldn't really avoid it, you have to be selective in your track area of travel. That area is beautiful.

One of our best scenic portions of the trip was going through the Icefields Parkway through the Canadian Rockies.

The road from Prince George to Prince Rupert was unremarkable ... but paved.

Our plan took us about a year to put together and we had motels reserved every night since we do not camp.

We bought the "Milepost" at a book store and that has all the information anyone would want to have about the Alaska adventure by highway.

Have fun. Our trip was wonderful. 28 days of sunshine before we got into Anchorage and then it was 7 days of rain. It was still enjoyable though.

PM me if you want aditional info.

PS - Don't even think about going to Chicken, it is not worth it!
 

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BigD said:
Road Runner…..Just for my own information how is the road from Haines to Haines Junction.? Someone had already said that the road near Destruction Bay was not to good. Does that hold true for the entire way to the border or is it just around Destruction Bay?
Haines to Haines Junction was one of my favorites in Alaska. Numbers of miles of twisty roads leading out of Haines, up to the pass then the terrain changes significantly, no trees, snow on the side of the road, you feel like you have traveled a million miles to get to this place. Granted, you pay for it, somewhat depending on the amount of heave and road work, on the trip from Haines Junction to Tok, but you have to take the bad with the good.

My top five roads I enjoyed in Alaska:
1) "top of the world" highway, but it is 140 miles of gravel
2) Soldotna to Homer
3) Haines to Haines Junction
4) Anchorage to Whittier
5) Valdez to Glennallen

The Worst
5) Haines Junction to Tok
4) Palmer to Anchorage (it's just a highway)
3) Seward Highway (I know it's nice, but there was so much construction)
2) Wasilla to Fairbanks (not much relief until almost Fairbanks)
1) Tok to Glennallen (some nice scenary, but the roads were awful)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks again for all the help. We have decided to ride to Prince Rupert and take the ferry thru the inland passage to Hanes and then ride north to Fairbanks, Denali, Anchorage, and then take the Alaska Highway back to BC and points south. I think I was just a little to paranoid about the roads, having heard to many horror stories about bike eating potholes and gravel.

Again thanks for all the help

Ride Safe
Dick
 
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