The Alaska Marine Highway because the motorcycle won’t float

July 3, 2012

I caught the ferry to Juno last night.  Since I was not going all the way to Bellingham, I was not parked with the rest of the motorcycles.  It took quite a while to load.  The boat had 2 floors of autos.  Tying the bike down was an interesting process.  I ended up tying to a forklift.

Once the bike was secure I worked my way up to the solarium.  It is open and heated from overhead heat lamps.  There were many people up there.  I knew a few from the wilderness first responder party.  Some others were motorcyclist I had met earlier.  And some that I talked with were new people I met.

I met high school basket ball coach from Juno.  The format for play is different up here because of the distance travelled to play another team.  They only play tournaments.  The high schoolers may have to travel 1000 miles to play someone and it may take a week off school to do it.

I got a small nap in before I had to depart the ferry.  I got on at about 8pm and got off about 2 am.  So upon getting off, I went to find a campground  to get some more rest.  I went toward Juno and found one 20 minutes later.  But it closed the gates for entry from 10pm to 6am.  I went back to where I started and headed north on the highway.  About 2 miles later I found a campground.  This is a federal campground and quite nice.  I pitch the tent as the sun is coming up.  Oh yah, the sun actually sets here for about 4 hours.  I see darkness again and must use the motorcycle headlight to see.  I have no trouble going to sleep, since I have been sleeping in the light for the last week or so.  I am awakened to a Raven trying to remove the power outlet on the handle bars of the bike.

I pack everything up and go to try find a hot spot.  I go all the way into Juno downtown area.  There are 4 cruise ships setting at the dock.  People are everywhere shopping in the boutique stores. I find a coffee shop that advertises WIFI, but I can’t find a place to park.  So I give up on using that WIFI.  I head out to the ferry to get my boarding passes and along the way is a McDonalds.  I stop into McDonalds and use their WIFI to load pictures.  Then off to get the boarding pass.

After picking up my boarding pass, I have enough time to run over to the Mendonhall Glacier. It is the most impressive I have seen thus far.  There is also a lot people from the cruise ships there.  Back to the ferry dock.  I meet Steve there.  I didn’t even know he was going this way.  We had traveled together up to Prudhoe Bay and split the cost of a room there.  There are 2 other adventure riders there.  We load onto the ferry named TAKU.  It has been in service since 1963.

I pitch my sleeping bag in one of the outdoor lounge chairs and my gear beside it under the solarium.  The other riders do the same.  We talk about family, jobs and politics to pass the time.  The over head heaters keep us warm and the glass top protects us from the rain that is lightly coming down.  Someone pitched a tent on the deck outside the solarium.  We pretty much have it to ourselves except for one backpacker traveling this way also.

I eat supper tonight with 3 other riders. I have Jalapeno Ravioli Cheddar Cheese Soup, and a fruit bow.  It is very good. While at supper, I saw an Orca (killer whale).  But I am unable to get a picture of it as it keeps disappearing.  I see a lot of trees and mountains, a few cruise ships and some fishing vessels along the way.  Come 10:30pm I turn in for the night.  Sleeping in a lounge chair on the deck under the solarium with a light mist coming down (not hard enough to be a sprinkle).  It is quite comfortable with the infrared heaters taking the chill out of the air. The Alaska Marine Highway is a pleasant way to travel.

Here is a link to some more pictures of this day.

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