Thursday, July 24, 2014

Driving The ALCAN: Ferrying A Car

Hey, folks! I am checking in from a little over halfway into our trip.  I am currently planted in Montana for a day of much needed rest.  I want to recap each part of our trip through pictures, stories, and tips.  Driving the ALCAN isn't something that most people do in their lifetime.  However, it is something very typical of people moving to/from Alaska.  So, here a little bit of our story from Day One

The first day of our trip started off with a 3:30am wakeup call.  Cody and I had to be at the ferry terminal by 5:00am in order to load our car onto the car deck of the boat.  The ferry was an important part of our trip because it is the only way to transport a car in/out of Juneau.  We had decided to ferry ourselves to Haines, AK.  Haines is a small community north of Juneau that is connected to the road system via the Haines Highway.  

Since the trip was only a few hours we parked our car and Specks (pets are required to stay in your car) below deck and headed up to the solarium that each boat provides.  The ferries each have solarium decks with big outdoor lounge chairs and heater vents (even though you are still outside).  The solarium is also an ideal place to pitch a tent for those traveling farther because you can camp just outside the awning and still be near the heaters. 

The sun came out as soon as we got about an hour away from Juneau, which was no surprise.  We then spent the morning sipping coffee and relaxing on the deck of the boat.  Part way through the journey we opted for food, I recommend just using the cafeteria, as the ferry restaurant seemed overpriced and only has mediocre food (in my experience). After some breakfast and relaxation the boat was pulling into port in Haines.  The ferry terminal in Haines is outside of town, thankfully the roads are very well marked leaving the terminal so we were able to get on our way quickly.  

The ferry trip lasts roughly 4hours and costs $150 for two people, one car, and one pet. There are tons of ferry ports in SE Alaska, Canada, and Washington.  I suggest checking out the Alaska Marine Highway website for more information. 

The Alaska Marine Highway ferries are a super fun way to travel and I highly recommend trying it out sometime.  Lower 48er's can jump on the boat in Bellingham, WA and spend a week or two combing the coasts of Alaska.  The prices are cheap and you have the option of purchasing a room.  However, people choosing not purchase a room are welcome to pitch tents, sleep in the movie theatre, or catch some rest in one of the "quiet lounges." Seriously, check out the AMHS sometime! 

To be continued...

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