Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Uraling in Alaska - Day 50: Ferry Ride Day 1

We boarded the Haines-Bellingham Ferry last night starting at 11:15 PM.  Interesting process for the most part, especially watching the tractor-trailer driver deftly maneuver the cargo rigs into the ferry's hold with no issues and quite fast I must say.

First though, a picture of Deb and Gary in front of the Hammer Museum in Haines, as we all waited for the time to head over to the ferry terminal.

Deb and Gary at the Hammer Museum

 Martha says I need to diversify in terms of photo subjects, so here you go.
The harbor in Haines

Flowers near the Hammer Museum

I was in line by 8:00 PM I think, I used the time to drain the remaining gas in the spare gas cans into the main tank and otherwise clean up the packing  setup on the rig.  The ferry folks were having "issues" getting the lights in the parking light to come on, so most of the loading was done in the dark.

A tractor trailer being backed into the car deck of the M/V Columbia

Finally, it was our turn to board and all five of the motorcycles in line got parked on the forward end of the ship, on the port side.

The bikes being secured to the deck

I had to dismount my spare gas cans, even though they were empty, and store them in the ship's paint locker; otherwise no issues and since Valencia is a sidecar rig, I didn't have to tie her down like the two-wheeled motorcycles were.  I found my way upstairs to the Solarium deck and walked into a darkened area with manyl lounge chairs deployed with folks already sleeping in their sleeping bags.

I found an open corner spot next to one of the doors leading back down and set up a spare lounge chair with my own sleeping bag.  I crashed quickly and it was nice and warm through the rest of the early morning while we steamed towards Juneau.

Around 5:45, I was awakened by the ship's P.A. announcing arrival at Juneau....it was of course already quite bright out so after debating it for a bit, decided to get up and go find the head.  That took a bit but finally found it two decks below the solarium.

Breakfast was with Gary, Deb and another rider we met yesterday in Haines, David (KLR650) in the ship's Dining Room.  The food was good though the waitress got my order wrong, oh well.

 The sleeping area I staked out for myself

 The view forward
Back or Aft

As to the scenery one can see while on the ferry cruising the inland passage, it's pretty but so far, not very photogenic to my jaded eyes.  Lots of forested terrain, with very small amounts of snow at the tops of far off mountain peaks.

It doesn't take long to explore the whole ferry, while searching for accessible power outlets to charge one's devices.

There's even a small movie theater where folks have decided to camp out with their sleep gear, pretty sure the gear is supposed to be "stowed" during daylight hours but the policy is not enforced that I can see.

The first car deck call came along as I was relaxing on my lounge chair, reading a book.  This is when passengers can go down into the car decks and access their vehicles, take care of pets, etc.  I ran into one of the ship stewards by Valencia as I was retrieving my laptop and he mentioned there was a blue and white URAL rig on the opposite end of the ship!

Of course, I headed over there and found the rig:

Bruce's Rig

Jeff, one of Bruce's riding buddies was getting gear out of his Harley Davidson and he and I talked.  Jeff then led me over to where Bruce was on the forward observation deck and we spent the rest of the morning and lunch talking about our rigs and getting to know each other a little bit.

Bruce's rig is a 2011 model like mine, he bought it second hand from Jim of Raceway Services.  Kind of sad story actually, the rig had been originally bought by a rider suffering from leukemia, and that rider had been having Raceway Services outfit it special for him to ride as part of a bucket list.  Unfortunately, the poor fellow passed away shortly before the rig was ready for delivery.  The widow didn't want the rig around, had Jim sell it for her and that's how it ended up in Bruce's hands via a craigslist sale.

Bruce lives in Ketchikan, Alaska and with a varied background in education, is now a commercial fisherman specializing in Salmon I believe.  His rig's name is Baby Blue.  Bruce is a former medic with the US Army, and he wanted me to mention here for Martha: He was a 91C Super C.

What are the odds right?  Two URALs on the same Alaskan Ferry, on the same trip?


Unknown said...


It's great that you found another Ural rider on the ferry. Martha's right, only one Valencia photo today

I remember when I took a cruise down the coast to SFO, I went to explore our ship and about an hour later I had already gone up and down all the halls and stairs. It was like I was trapped for the rest of the journey.

try to relax, I know, hard for you to let someone else do the driving

Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

Pretty nice location for napping. I don't know about now but the Columbia used to be the largest and nicest of the AK state ferries. But your description of the scenery sounds like what I remember. It got pretty monotonous after a while but the same could be said of all the snow covered mountains.

Hope you enjoy the trip...

SonjaM said...

Looks like you spent a fairly comfy night on that lounge chair.
It is pretty cool to find another Ural rider on the same boat. I am sure you had a lot to chat about.

BeemerGirl said...

Looks like smooth and enjoyable sailing! Easy days and lots of good people to talk with.

agent713 said...

So...is the hammer museum literally just about hammers? Love the harbour shot. Very pretty.

redlegsrides said...

Yep, it's all about hammers