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Old 08-16-2012, 11:39 PM   #121
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The trip home won't be a rethreading of the outbound leg. We plan to take a series of ferries down the Alaska coast, hopping on and off at various places. it'll be expensive but if you subtract the cost of gas that we'd use otherwise and add the fun factor, I think we'll be able to justify it. We're in Haines, AK, tonight and plans are now to take the 6:something p.m. Ferry to Juneau tomorrow. It gets to Juneau around 11 p.m. We have reservations--a rarity for us, but the late arrival hour made us do it--at the Spruce Meadows RV Park. Court and the owner, Linda, had such a happy chat on the phone (cell service! Yea!) that when she asked whether they have a Good Sam discount, Linda said no but she'd give us the Good Linda discount. We intend to see the Mendenhall glacier, just about 3 miles from the campground.
We'll get off the last ferry at Prince Rupert, BC, and take various highways either to Seattle or elsewhere depending on whether we can get to Seattle by a certain date. If we miss it, we'll wind southeastward through Canada and decide where to reenter the US as the spirit takes us. We'll want to sidestep the forest fires we've heard are burning aplenty in the western states.
The trip yesterday was rough but beautiful and today, on the leg from our campsite about 15 miles south of Destruction Bay, YT, to Haines, the road was better and the sightseeing even better. The Haines Highway is a good route to take.
You will enjoy the Mendenhall Glacier. We saw it while on a tour from our cruise ship stop. Along with a whale watching tour.
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Old 08-17-2012, 12:11 AM   #122
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Some shots from today's drive.


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We planned to stop for lunch at a rest area but changed our minds when we saw the current occupant.

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Kluane Lake. Big, blue, beautiful. We camped along the shore of it last night at Cottonwood RV Park. We'd really recommend it, especially if the territorial park a few miles north is closed as it was when we got to it. Cottonwood RV Park is at the water's edge and they're nice folks. They often have bears walking through on the way to feeding grounds but we didn't see them.

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Ho hum. More fabulous mountains and valleys.

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You do tend to run out of superlatives here. How do you folks who live in or near mountains keep from getting blasť about them?

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A fish wheel just north of Haines. Those we'd seen before were sitting onshore or in museums. This one was working and was also pictured in our oldest guidebook, from 10 years back.
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Old 08-17-2012, 04:21 PM   #123
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Oh, ho-hum more beautiful scenery!

Returning part way via a ferry? Now that's one round about way to come home. The ferry view will give you a different experience & perspective. Will you sleep in the aframe while aboard? Or "hopping on and off" is for camping as well as touring?

Info for others on the pictured fish wheel:
Fish wheel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 08-17-2012, 04:54 PM   #124
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Thanks Deb - I was about to google that! Lee & Court's adventure has been so fun to follow! Hope to read more from others!

Lee - I live in a picturesque area...the pines, mountains, lakes and rivers surround us - I never tire of the view! My DH enjoys heading to the Spokane and Columbia river daily to go fishing...our big trip is to hit Idaho and Montana to go gemming and visit the dinosaur trail...but its been so hot, I think it'll be better next month...gotta hit a few more dog shows in between! haha - no exciting camping adventure there...haha
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Old 08-17-2012, 08:58 PM   #125
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During travel on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry you are not allowed on the car deck. Even to get something out of you vehicle.
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Old 08-17-2012, 10:04 PM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brianak
During travel on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry you are not allowed on the car deck. Even to get something out of your vehicle.
Yeah, they've sure made that part clear. We'll pack a bit of food and water and some hardware (binocs, camera, etc.) and carry it on with us while we sit in one of the lounges. The first leg to Juneau tomorrow is 4.5 hours, evening into night, so we may just nap when it gets dark. The longest leg--coming up Tuesday--is overnight 10 hours from Juneau to Wrangell, and we've reserved a cabin for that one. We'll fill up a backpack with stuff for then. The most tiring leg is Ketchikan to Prince Rupert, 'cause we have to be at the ferry terminal at 3:15 A.M. for a 5:15 departure. In between each leg we'll drive off the ferry and stay in the destination town. Courty has a visit booked to the Anan Bear Observatory while we're in Wrangell, for example. Once we get off at P.R., it's back to driving.
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Old 08-18-2012, 10:41 PM   #127
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Saturday night entertainment

Hi Court and Lee...Greg and I just spent an entire evening reading all the blog posts for a while in one shot. It was really fun to read that way and we enjoyed getting to be a vicarious part of this marvelous adventure. Cheryl & Greg
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:08 PM   #128
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The Alaska Maritime Highway System is a state-owned ferry system, providing water travel and freight-hauling services to the public. We took the ferry "Malaspina" from Haines to Juneau last evening and it was a great experience. We'd do it again in a heartbeat. Come to think of it, we will be doing it again, as we have three more ferry trips ticketed on our way to Prince Rupert, BC.
Getting the truck/trailer set on the ferry was easy. We showed up at the ferry terminal in Haines the required 2-hours early. Courty took our itinerary number to the ticket window while I waited in the truck. They assigned us a lane to wait in, I assume based on the length of our unit (ours measures 36' 3", which we had to round up to 37'). The only other vehicle in that lane was also a pickup and trailer combo.
A National Guard convoy was waiting for the same ferry and I wondered briefly if we'd be bumped to make room for it due to our classification as a "long" vehicle. But we were ushered aboard right after the convoy and ended up parked behind the lead vehicle. It was easy to maneuver inside the ship, even with the trailer attached. After staying in the truck until we'd been moved up to goose the vehicle ahead, we grabbed our stuff and went to find a good place to sit. We took seats in the forward lounge, which offered a view of more than 200 degrees centered on the bow. The scenery was the by-now-usual stupendous.
There's a cafeteria aboard. People seemed to enjoy their meals. We had brought our own meal and took advantage of an empty table in the cafeteria. No one seemed to mind. We also noted that no one seemed to mind if you violated any of the posted rules (no sleeping here, no saving seats, no luggage here, etc.). You'd think the result would be chaos but in fact the voyage down part of the Inside Passage went super smoothly.
It had just turned completely dark as we entered Auke Bay, the harbor for the ferry system. As you would expect, views of the harbor lights were as delightful as were those of the mountains and islands along the way.
We were the second vehicle off the ferry, and the 3.8 miles from the terminal to Spruce Meadows Campground went by with a zing. Before we knew it we were parked and set up, and were in bed by or before 11:30.
Today we went to see Mendenhall Glacier. The visitors center and the grounds surrounding it are delightful, a must-see if you come here. We'll probably go back tomorrow and walk some of the trails there. We took lots of pictures of the glacier and Lake Mendenhall, which didn't exist until after about 1930, when the glacier retreated enough that its meltwater filled the depression at its foot to form the lake. Pieces of calved-off glacier are floating around, making for good photo ops.
Tomorrow we'll move to the NFS campground there, Lake Mendenhall Campground. We drove through the camping area on our way back from the glacier and realized that if we had it to do over we'd have gone directly there from the ferry. It's a beautiful campground with graveled, treed sites, many of which are on the lake, and it's only about 2 miles farther than where we're staying now. If we'd only known! Dry camping will cost us $5 a night because of my Golden Age Pass, or as I like to call it, the Old Fart's Discount. They have showers as well as actual bathrooms. For RVers there's a section of the park that includes hookups for from $21 to $28 a night depending on how many services you need. The only thing missing is Wi-fi, but hey! Can't have everything.

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Beautiful downtown Haines

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The route out

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The Mal easing up to the dock

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I'm a sucker for lighthouses

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Volcano? Probably.
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:12 PM   #129
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for being a ship that's getting along in years (Google "M/V Malaspina"), The Mal is a pretty tight ship

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The Forward Lounge.

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Your heart hurts just looking.

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Mendenhall Glacier

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Lake Mendenhall
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Old 08-20-2012, 11:46 AM   #130
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For more on Mendenhall Glacier, including some live cams, go to www.mendenhallglacier.net.
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