We stow all belongings for the road, hitch up our trailer, and pull out. Headed home.
|Ready to depart.|
We had 1000 miles to get to Prince Rupert for our Friday, Feb 27th reservation on the Alaska Ferry, Taku. The weather cooperated with us most of the way. I'm glad that we allotted some extra time to get there though. The roads were mostly clean and dry, hardly any ice or snow, but some of them weren't in the best shape. Even paved roads get ruts in them, and pulling the loaded trailer in some areas took all of Bill's concentration. Since it is only the end of February, there aren't any RV parks, or campgrounds, or in some communities, no motels, or restaurants, or fuel stations open. It got to be a challenge finding a place to stop for the night. There are usually paved, or gravel pullouts, but sometimes these weren't plowed yet either. The ones that were plowed have no camping signs, but we did stay anyway. Figured that we had an excuse since nothing else was open, and we are a self contained unit, so no worries about leaving any trace. Some pullouts had outhouses, and garbage containers, but most didn't. Thanks to the essential Milepost guide, we could read ahead and know how many pullouts were coming up. Anyone who plans on driving to Alaska or in Alaska, and aren't familiar with the area, should have one of these handy guides.
We averaged 250-350 miles a day, which may not seem like much, but when you account for the fully loaded (almost to the limit) trailer, and the twisty-turny, uphill-downhill mountain summits, the less than ideal road surfaces, AND the loaded semi trucks, who apparently don't have to observe any speed limits, we were worn out at the end of the day. (And by we....I mean Bill, as he does all of the driving, I was just hanging on, and checking the Milepost for what's next.)
|This gravel pullout is plowed, and had a beautiful view.|
|Cold, but beautiful, I'm grateful for the camper furnace.|
We reach Prince Rupert early afternoon on Thursday. YAY, we made it in time, with plenty to spare. The road ends at the ferry dock, and is 5 lanes wide. Lanes 1-4 have lines drawn on them for vehicles to line up in preparation for loading onto the ferry. Line 5 leads to the BC Ferry system.
|Map from the Milepost|
Five in the morning came very quickly, as we brewed our morning coffee, and pulled out our wheel chocks to get in line for US Customs at the entrance to loading onto the ferry. We cleared, and got our wagontrain into line for our position in the ferry.
|Parked and ready for travel onboard the Alaska Ferry Taku.|
|The sun isn't quite up as we cast off our lines and motor out.|
We arrive Ketchikan in the early afternoon, and find out that we have a six hour lay over that we didn't know about.
|Arriving Ketchikan, next to us, the ship Columbia is in dry dock for repairs.|
Departing Ketchikan, we arrive Wrangell at 12:45am, and drive off of the ferry in the dark. Next to the harbor where Denali Rose floats in her slip, is the parking area for vehicles and trailers, and the ramp to load small boats into the water. There is a sign that says "No overnight camping" (as usual), but we reason that it is 1:00am, we pay for a slip in the harbor, and we aren't going to "camp" for a long period of time. In the morning, a local police truck scopes us out, but we think he sees the Ferry Sticker in the window, and figures out that we aren't trying to homestead there.