With 656,425 square miles of rugged wilderness, scenic beauty and abundant wildlife, Alaska is huge! Which means traveling in Alaska presents some unique opportunities. Unlike the 'lower 48' states many communities are not accessible by a land based road system so in many areas the primary means of travel is by air or sea. The Alaska Marine Highway makes up a large part of the 'highway system' so special it has been designated a National Scenic Byway and an All American Road, and is the only marine route with this designation. We decided to take advantage of this amazing opportunity and embrace the seas with our bikes tied down to a ferry.
We pack up our camp site at Prince Rupert, and have our bags sorted for the ferry ride. We ride around the corner and hit the que for customs just before the ferry. Once we cleared customs Kev and I are directed to ride up to the front of the ferry line. The ferry wants to have all the bikes enter first for safety reasons. Kev and I are actually the first bikes on. We are coned in, like an aircraft and directed where to park the bikes. The ferry clunks and creaks as bike after bike rides over the rusty wet ramps. As soon as I am parked I jump off my bike, grab our ferry bags that we have prepared, and head up to the solarium to secure a "primo" free sleeping deck spot. Kev is left to secure and tie down the bikes for their 36 hour journey through the inside passage. Damn, that worked like clockwork! Within the hour we have set sail, or I should say navigating our way, via diesel power through the inside passage. Several other family groups have secured areas in the solarium, and now it is like one big cozy campsite! After several hours of motoring the cabin toting passengers eventually wander up to enjoy this magnificent view. We have secured 2 loungers that are now cushioned by our very comfy expeds and down sleeping bags. We have the best view and the freshest air on the vessel!
The trip is amazing! We became friends with many of the other motorcyclists. Most were from Canada including, two brothers, Kevin & Nevill, Dave who's riding a F650GS like mine and Mike & Mira who are riding two-up. We also met Gino & Fiona from Scotland who've ridden from Argentina. Throughout the trip we visited, ate together in the cafeteria, drank in the bar and marveled at the scenery and beauty around us. We really enjoyed our open air accommodations. We both were warm and slept soundly, I wouldn't have done it any other way!
We really lucked out with the weather and had very clear blue skies and calm waters the entire passage. The passage treated us to a variety of wildlife and the spectacular natural beauty of the multitude of islands and coves along the unspoiled United Sates coastline. The whales also seemed to agree and were out in countless pods, it was an absolutely spectacular sight! Quaint seaside towns sporting a rich mixture of native, early russian, and gold rush history. This entire region is wrapped in the Tongass National Forest, the largest National Forest in the United States and the largest contiguous temperate rain forest in the world.
The ferry made 3 stops, Ketchikan, Petersburg, Juneau, before we disembarked in Haines, Alaska.