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Remember the words used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in his poem “Paul Revere's Ride”?

“One, if by Land, and two, if by Sea", well we definitely chose the latter this time. Let me explain.

There are only two ways that I know of to get an RV from Haines, AK to Skagway, AK.

Option one is by land, but that requires nearly 7-hours of driving the 352-mile route.

At 10MPG that's 35-gallons of gas, currently at $6.07 per gallon, which means it costs roughly $212.45 to drive between the two towns.

Option two is by sea, which only requires you placing your RV on the ferry and enjoying a nice leisurely 15-mile, 1½-hour scenic ride through the narrow channel of the Chilkoot Inlet.

I know what you're thinking!

Yeah, but what about the cost of the ferry?

Well if you book your passage early like we did (back at the end of April) we paid $200 for the 49-foot long combination of ROVER and THE POD.

Tricia's ticket was $32 and my ticket (with the 65+ senior discount) was only $24 for a big Grand Total of $256.00, a bargain if you ask me!

The way I look at it, for the $43.55 difference I don't have to drive nearly 7-hours and we both get to enjoy a lovely Sunday afternoon cruise together.

I understand for a lot of people they can't plan that far in advance and aren't willing to make a firm commitment even if they do. Well for those of you who fall into that category you can always "try" to purchase a last minute ticket.

It will cost you substantially more and you always run the risk that the ferry is fully booked.

I know ours was! Wait until you see the photos below.

Our ship has finally come in! (The MV LeConte at 235 feet long and 57 feet wide)

SUNDAY - What a horrowing experience placing ROVER and THE POD onto the ferry was. Well, not really, but it was kind of tense for a few minutes.

The reason for all the anquish is because you have to "back" your trailer down a long skinny ramp and then make a 90° turn once you're inside the ship. It would have been a much easier challenge if you got to go down the ramp forward, but then you would need to back out anyway to disembark the ship.

It's kind of a damned if you do, and damned if you don't, situation if you ask me!

It appears a lot longer when looking in your side view mirrors. Trust me!

There were three travel trailers scheduled on the ship today.

All of the passenger cars, truck campers and vans are loaded onto the ship first. They get to drive down the ramp in forward and make their turnarounds once inside the ship.

It was finally time to load the "oversized vehicles" and we got to navigate the ramp first and show the others how it's done.

On our first trip backing down the ramp, yes I said first, we did just fine! We got all the way near the bottom of the ramp and were preparing to make the 90° turn, when we were told we would have to drive back up the ramp to let a truck camper off the ship. It seems they loaded one too many campers onto the ship before securing the spaces for the three trailers to fit into.

This photo shows Chris and I waiting for the go ahead for our second trip down the ramp,
now that the pesky truck camper (shown on the right) is off the ship and out of the way.
Thanks for the photo Melinda!

On our second attempt at navigating the ramp we had to make several adjustments by pulling forward twice to straighten out ROVER and THE POD. We eventually made it into the ship and were able squeeze out of the truck before they parked our new friends, Chris and Melinda's Airstream right next to us.

You may have noticed their Airstream was parked right next to us at the last campground and could be seen in the photo on the previous post.

That's Chris putting the finishing touches on parking his rig next to ours.
No vehicle is allowed to be parked past the big numbers on the floor ...

... so the third travel trailer had to disconnect their truck and trailer to be able to fit in front of us.

The ship was a half hour late in arriving in Haines to pick us up and with the loading SNAFU involving us having to back down the ramp twice we arrived in Skagway about 45-minutes behind schedule.

It only takes an hour for the ferry to travel between the two ports, which gave us just enough time to grab a quick lunch below decks and then get out on the top deck to enjoy the scenery.

Looks like we won't be the only tourists walking the streets in Skagway today!

That's pretty tight! Glad we get to move out before they do.

We made it safely to the Pullen Creek RV Park where we have a reservation for 4-nights. It shares a fence line with the ferry dock property, so it was just a few hundred yards from the boat ramp to the entrance gate.

Seeing as how it is late in the season we had a pick of just about any site in the small park.

Campsite #4 was plenty big enough to fit ROVER and THE POD ...

... plus we are once again camped next door to Chris and Melinda who are from Indiana.

Chris and Melinda are only staying in Skagway for two nights and we soon discovered our sightseeing plans didn't overlap each other. So we made plans to have an early dinner together shortly after getting all setup in the campground.

They selected the Skagway Brewing Company for their dining pleasure and Tricia and I ordered off the appetizer menu since we just ate lunch on the ferry an hour earlier.

Chris enjoyed his Grilled Salmon Dinner so much,
they both ordered it for dinner the following night.

After dinner we all walked about the town, looking in the shops and just being tourists. I also located the Post Office because I have mail waiting to be picked up there in the morning. I don't know why but it still amazes me that I can forward my mail using General Delivery and Priority Mail from Florida to Alaska and pick it up just 4-days later.

From the far edge of the tourist district it's only ¼-mile walk back to the cruise ship docks.

This statue was erected in 1998 to commemorate
the 100-year anniversary of The Klondike Gold Rush.

Looking at it I see the determination and optimism shared by the nearly 100,000 men
who hoped to better their lives with the wealth that finding gold would bring.

This depicts the fate of the 30,000 men who actually made it to the Gold Fields of the Klondike.

MONDAY - Our big sightseeing adventure while here in Skagway is to ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway to the White Pass Summit.

When I made the train reservations back at the end of April I scheduled it for our last day here in Skagway, knowing if the weather forecast was better on a different day I might have the opportunity to move our tour date forward.

That's exactly what we did, since the only good weather day was supposed to be on Monday, the day after we arrived.

It's a 20-mile ride up to the summit from Skagway and then the train does a loop and returns back down the same route. The good thing about the loop is that if you are sitting on the left side of the train, you'll get to see all the sights on the way up to the summit, because the right side of the train is up against a steep mountainside for the most part. By doing a loop at the summit the right side of the train will now get to see all the sights on the return trip to the station.

We choose the left side to see everything on the way up and then relaxed for the return trip, that worked out well for us. Either way you'll get to see everything if you just stay put in the same seat. There are small outdoor viewing platforms at the front and rear of each train car if you don't wish to shoot photos through the window glass.

Tricia braved the cold winds outside to take all of our photos, I stayed put, saving our seats! :-)

Our train arriving at the station.

White Pass Summit Excursion

One of a couple glaciers we saw along the route today.
One of several steel trestle bridges the train crosses over today.
This is the first of two short tunnels we passed through.
Our engine approaching the narrow tunnel entrance.
The rest of the train cars behind us getting their view of the tunnel.
This original wooden bridge was retired in 1979 when a new steel bridge was erected.
Here is where the route passes the border into Canada and is our turn around point.

Our train tour was from 9:00AM until NOON so once we departed the train we hustled over to the Historic Red Onion Saloon where we've heard they have the best pizza in town.

That's me, leaning on the fire hydrant, patiently waiting for our table to become available.

A sneek peek inside the door before our table was ready.

Check out the artwork above the bar as seen from our table.

After we finished both our pizzas we can attest that it was very, very good. Whether it's the best in town or not? We wouldn't know that unless we tried all the other pizza offerings in town.

Even if it's not the best pizza, the atmosphere inside the restaurant is quite unique and entertaining. The Red Onion you see was a brothel back in the days of the Gold Rush, there were A LOT of men passing through this town in 1898.

Today you can spend $10 and get a tour of the upstairs which is given by a very boisterous, and busty woman, dressed in 1898 attire. From the sales pitch she offers to everyone downstairs, if you're sitting there long enough, I'm guessing the tour is probably worth every penny. The tour then spills out into the street and attracts even more customers to the next upstairs portion of the tour that they missed.

But we have plans for the rest of our afternoon, so off we went after paying the check.

There are many other historic buildings in town, but these two drew my attention the most.

The Arctic Brotherhood was formed as a fraternal organization in 1899
by gold-seeking stampeders headed for the Klondike.
The entire front facade is made up of spruce tree branches.
Today their Hall serves as a tourist information office with public restrooms.

The Golden North Hotel was built by the Klondike Trading Company in 1898.
Today it is no longer a hotel, it now houses several retail stores on the ground floor.

After spending a little bit of time walking around town we headed back to the campground and hopped into ROVER to go check out a FREE National Park Service campground located 7-miles outside of Skagway near the ghost town of Dyea.

Dyea is located in another inlet just north of Skagway, but higher up in the mountains. During the Goldrush, there were two main land routes used to reach Dawson City in the Yukon. Either your ship landed in Skagway and you went up the White Pass, or you landed in Dyea (Di-ee) and took the Chilkoot Pass, both were treacherous and each have their stories. Due to some ambitious marketing by a local businessman, Skagway survived to be the thriving tourist town it is today, while Dyea was the stereotypical Rush to Bust town. -T

Skagway as seen from the road leading up to Dyea.

We found the NPS campground is best suited for smaller campers and tent camping, but we also were told by the park ranger about another FREE campground nearby.

The town of Dyea operates a $10 a night 22-site campground and the FREE camping is located in an area used by ATV riders. It is on a marshy area down by the water known as Dyea Flats. It would be a great location for solar collection, but I'd worry about the bug factor when the temperatures were higher.

Dyea Flats camping area.

While we were in the area we decided to check out the Slide Cemetery. This cemetery is where dozens of men are buried who perished on April 3rd, 1898 in an avalanche while on the Chilkoot Trail headed for gold fields in the Yukon Territory.

It was eerie to see so many tombstones with the same inscription: Died April 3rd, 1898.

TUESDAY - Today, just after noon, we sadly said goodbye to our new friends Chris and Melinda. They are headed out of Skagway today and with be spending tonight very near where we intend to stop 3-days from now.

They will of course be gone by the time we arrive, so we hope our paths will cross again sometime in the future.

If you're reading this guys, let's make a plan to make that happen. Okay?

Chris and Melinda standing in front of their 2016 Airstream Pendleton Limited Edition.
There were only 100 of these Limited Edition Airstreams manufactured and sold.

As you can see by all the stickers, theirs is very well traveled with over 60,000 miles on it!

WEDNESDAY - Tonight will be our 107th (and final) night sleeping in Alaska (for this year), I promise!

We'll be taking home with us fond memories of many great adventures, meeting new friends and yes, even a few souvenirs.

These are just a few of our recent purchases, I'm sure there's more we've already forgot about!

A couple of wall decorations we've had since visiting Fairbanks and Anchorage back in June.

As just as a quick recap from memory
here are a few of our more memorable excursions in Alaska:

We drove ROVER 60-miles inside of the Arctic Circle to Coldfoot on the summer solstice.

Visited 3 of the 8 National Parks in AK: Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias and Kenai Fjords

Glacier and wildlife watching boat tours out of the port towns of Valdez, Seward and Whittier.

A flightseeing tour in a small 4-seater airplane up to the face of Denali from Talkeetna.

A glacier landing tour in a small 4-seater helicopter in Palmer.

Train excursions from the towns of Skagway, Talkeetna and two from Anchorage.

A successful halibut fishing outing for Tricia while we were in Homer.

Watching grizzly bears eating salmon from the Chilkoot River outside of Haines.

Since May 10th we've crossed the border from the U.S. into Canada, back into the U.S. and then into Canada, back into the U.S. and tomorrow we'll be crossing back into Canada.

...and let's not forget most recently we squeezed ROVER and THE POD onto the ferry for the short 20-mile trip from Haines to Skagway.

I'm sure I'm missing something deserving to be on the list, but my memory's just not what it used to be. I guess that's another good reason for why I keep writing this blog!

THURSDAY MORNING - We squeezed as much fun as we could into our time in Alaska, but now we are faced with the arduous task of returning to the Lower 48 States before winter arrives.

It's been raining at least of little bit every day since the beginning of August. We've had a few days of sunshine, but they were few and far between. If the temperature drops another 10°F during the overnights, I'm afraid we will soon be waking to find snow on the ground.

We can't have that! We've got over 1650-miles to drive, just to get back to the Washington state border. I'd like to believe it doesn't snow there, but I know that isn't true. A lot of the Northern Pacific states begin closing their campgrounds starting October 1st and the Middle Pacific states follow soon after that.

So for that reason 8 of our next 9 stops are for 1-night only! We scheduled a 3-night layover near the middle of that stretch to recover from some long back-to-back-to-back driving days.

We'll continue to post, but they'll be more like updates just to let you know our progress on returning. Wish us well and we'll keep in touch.

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