Up at 6AM and
out the door. We had breakfast at the Bamboo Room before arriving
at the dock for our tour. Really great eggs and toast prepared us
for the journey. The boat arrived with the passengers from Skagway
and we joined them on board. The boat was modern and seemed nice
overall. The seats were a bit on the narrow side but we found a
way to get comfortable. The ride to Juneau was filled with beautiful
scenery and even some wildlife. I spent most of the trip on the
back deck taking pictures – this is until we hit some rough water.
Not the kind of rough that had gotten Rita sick on the last cruise
but enough to get me to go back inside. Juneau itself was just a
tourist town. We rode a bus from the boat dock to the downtown area
and were dropped off to see the city of Juneau in the 3 hours we
had before we were picked up. All we could find were souvenir shops.
OK, we also found the Red Dog Saloon. This provided a nice break
from the usual shopping. They had a very entertaining piano player
who really managed to get the crowd going. We eventually got picked
up and taken to out to view a glacier. The place was very crowded
and the backup at the ‘johns’ almost caused us to miss the pickup
bus. The ride back to Haines on the boat seemed to take forever.
We were very ready to be home by the time we got there. We had met
a couple from WI that asked us to say HI to a couple we had met
the day before at the campground. After greeting the cats I took
off to complete the errand. A very nice couple from the Appleton
area. We chatted for over an hour before I returned home to catch
a little TV and prepare for the car ferry trip in the morning.
Today was all
about the ferry. We got up at 6AM and slowly got ready for the ferry.
We needed to be at the ‘staging area’ at 9:15 for the 11:15 departure.
As we got ready we noticed that the other campers seemed to be leaving
early so like lemmings we followed along and got to the dock well
before the 9:15 deadline. We checked in and got measured with no
problems. I was assigned the second position in the motor home lane
while Rita got the third position in the ‘less than 15 feet’ lane.
After the ship arrived and unloaded we were processed onto the ship.
Rita went on first and I followed the other motor home on a little
later. Parking was very tight but the crew guided me in with ease.
We managed to find each other on the observation deck and watch
the remainder of the loading process. The trip to Skagway was very
smooth. The large ship and the quiet water gave a smooth ride. The
unloading process was going smooth until I heard one of the workers
talking to another worker while looking at the camper – “that one
is just like the one we wrecked last week”! I stopped the camper
and inquired. It seemed they had torn the radiator etc out of a
camper like mine recently during the off loading process. He said
they had made some changes and everything would be fine. I proceeded
slowly up the off loading ramp and found out he was right – no damage.
The campground was 12 blocks down the road through the heart of
the city. People everywhere and cars/trucks coming from all directions.
Rita was in the Jeep following me through town and we chatted on
the walkie-talkies. We found the campground and it was full of Jeeps
getting ready for some tour. Check in was easy once I found the
‘office’ inside the laundromat. Our site had water and electric
only and was on the corner of a much traveled path. Not the best
place to be. We got settled and things seemed to be OK until the
train went by. The tour trains were routed right in front of our
camper. Our only hope was that the tours would not run in the early
hours. We left the cats and headed downtown to find some food. It
was only 12 blocks to the water so all of town was within walking
distance. After much walking (remember we are hungry) we found what
seemed to be the only food place in town. It was closed. The port
had 4 cruise ships docked and we deduced that all of the tourists
went back to the ships for food. Across the street we found a place
called the Bonanza Bar. It served food and cold beer. Could you
ask for more? They did not have Bud Lite on tap but they did have
Bud. It was the least expensive of the tap beers at $3.50 for about
a 12oz glass. A pitcher set us back $14. A little more than the
beer at the bars back home but then they don’t have a mountain view.
We had a couple of beers and some food before shopping the stores
from there to the water. We returned to the Bonanza for a couple
more beers before heading back to the camper. Rita cooked up a pizza
in the microwave and I had a beer while we watched a little TV.
No trains at night.
The first train
came by this morning at 7:01, followed by one at 7:14 and a third
at 7:27. I stopped counting them. Since the place that was closed
yesterday is only open from 6AM to 2PM we decided that we would
get there early and have breakfast. In our usual fashion we arrived
promptly at 11:15 to discover that they stop serving breakfast at
10:45. A cheeseburger and some onion rings filled the bill. We still
had a lot of stores to visit so we knocked off another chunk of
them on the way back to the camper. Rita took this opportunity to
update some of campground information and do research on changes
to the itinerary. We had decided to add Hyder AK to the tour. I
checked for messages at the barn and found my way to the internet
hookup to check email. After updating Norton and Windows I downloaded
a ton of SPAM as usual. By the time I got back to the camper it
was time to walk downtown for supper. The Red Onion Saloon had been
picked as the place to go. This former brothel is located on Second
Street. The streets had somewhat cleared out and it seemed that
most of the ‘boat people’ had gone back to their cruise ships. The
Red Onion was busy but we found a spot at the bar and checked out
their menu while having a couple of beers. The offerings were slim
so we settled on an order of Chip & Salsa to be followed by
supper at the Bonanza Bar & Grill. Rita got a shoot glass and
a menu as souvenirs of the Onion and we walked on down the street.
The Bonanza was not busy so our food order arrived very quickly.
The music was good, the beer was cold and the sandwiches were tasty.
We had chatted last night with a girl from La Crosse WI who was
working in the local Harley Davidson store for the summer. She recommended
a place called Moe’s Frontier Saloon just up the street. This is
a definitely a locals bar. They had Bud Lite – bottles and cans
– which made Rita happy. We had been drinking Coors Light and Budweiser
at the Bonanza, neither of which she enjoyed all that much. We sat
and listened to the juke box and the locals for a few more beers
before proceeding on back to the camper. An hour of Jay Leno ended
Our last day
in Skagway. We decided to tryout a pizza place we had seen for lunch
– The Pizza Station. It is just off the main tourist area and has
inside and patio areas. The pizza was excellent but they did not
offer free refills on soda. From there we returned to the stores
on Broadway and finished the last chunk of souvenir shops. Most
of them were jewelry stores which we didn’t even bother to go in.
After returning to the camper we took the Jeep out to check the
route to the only gas station in town. We needed fuel in the camper
the next morning and knowing the route makes it much easier. I went
off the get email while Rita worked on her campground notes. I got
email that required an update to the volleyball stats on JoJo’s
website so I had work to do. After completing the web pages I hurried
over to post the new pages to the website. I needed to be back at
the camper by 5PM local time as the SciFi channel was showing the
2hr premier of Stargate SG-1. We had TV dinners for supper and watched
TV the rest of the night. Tomorrow we head across the border and
on to Watson Lake.
We left the campground without hooking up the Jeep. Rita followed behind while I headed to the station. The fuel pump shut off after $50 had been pumped so I had to put my credit card in three times to get enough fuel to get close to full. The price of diesel was $2.58 a gallon. What a rip! I left the station and drove to a quiet area where I could park while we hooked up the Jeep. Once everything was in place we headed out of town. The road out is uphill for about 12 miles. We climbed over 3000 feet to the crest before starting down again. The Canadian border guards were in a good mode and passed us through with very little delay. It was raining when we left Skagway and continued to rain for over 200 miles. We wound our way through the mountains and the clouds – poor visibility, not fun driving. We eventually got to some gravel sections and then into the road construction. The path was so muddy in one area I thought the construction people might have to pull us out. I could feel the back of the camper sliding around as we slowly got through. Not a feeling I want to repeat. The rain continued even past the construction so most of the mud got washed off by the time we found the campground. They had just opened a new section of their park. We were assigned a large pull through site which took the camper and Jeep without unhooking. Cable TV, water, 30amp service and a very wide site – nice place to stay. They have an RV wash in the campgrounds as well as a restaurant, gift shop and meeting hall. After setting up the camper we walked over for supper. The food was good and the people were friendly. They built the restaurant less than a year ago and are already building an expansion for it. The tour groups that stop on their way to Alaska don’t find the patio section of their current dinning area as useful when it rains so they needed more inside space. By the time we finished supper the rain we had earlier managed to drive out off had caught up to us. We were a bit wet by the time we walked back to the camper but we grabbed our coats and took the Jeep into town. We checked out the grocery store and bought some expensive Bud Lite at the gas station. Just over $23cn for 2 six-packs. After returning to the camper we utilized our purchases and watched some TV. The cable had 8 channels but many of them were showing sports so we resorted to Deep Space 9. Tomorrow will be a rest day.