Saturday, June 01, 2013

Uraling from Alaska - Day 52: Last Ferry Day and back in the Lower 48

Thursday was our last day on the ferry, not much got done, spent it relaxing in the solarium and finishing my second book that I'd bought for the voyage.

Some parting thoughts about my time on  the M/V Columbia:  Clean, well run, and a very professional and curteous crew!  I believe, that next time I go to Alaska, I will be riding the ferry up to Whittier and then ride back to the lower 48 via the Alcan Highways.

We ended up eating mostly in the snack bar, better selections (the dining room was a bit pricey for dinner but very good for breakfast).  Note: Killer cheese steak sandwich made in the snack bar/cafeteria.

 The last evening aboard the M/V Columbia

As a final bonus, the motorcycling gods provided us a brief glimpse of a majestic pod of Orcas, aka Killer Whales, sometime before we passed through the Seymour Narrows.  It was magnificent.

Friday morning dawned bright and sunny for us as we approached Bellingham, Washington.  At 8:00 PST we were allowed back into the car decks and hurriedly got our vehicles ready for departure.  There was no issue retrieving my gas cans from the paint locker, though I wonder how the owners of the fuel cans that weren't tagged identified their own cans.

 Bellingham's Ferry Terminal

As the ferry had backed into the dock, it was a short ride for us down the ramp and into the parking lot of the ferry terminal where we assembled.  A short ride later into Fairhaven, where we thought we'd have breakfast to wait out the morning rush hour, and it turned instead into departure time for our little ad-hoc group formed by the ferry ride.

Gary and Deb set off first, followed shortly by yours truly and then David.  All four of us heading southwards to continue our individual journeys.

I made it to Everett, Washington about an hour later.  Traffic was re-routed around the collapsed bridge on I-5 in Skagit, causing an annoying delay but no big deal.

I am staying with college friends, will probably hit the road tomorrow.  Friday afternoon I spent swapping new tires onto Valencia.  I managed to do two of the three wheels, but was so tired by the end of the second one that I just took the pusher wheel to a local shop and paid them to swap and balance it.


BeemerGirl said...

The clouds in the valley are gorgeous. The Orcas were simply beautiful. Wow. What a great experience.

RichardM said...

So there will be a next time, eh? Many travelers get tired and take the ferry usually on the return home, whether that is back to Alaska or the lower-48. I'm glad we had the opportunity to visit and I think you've convinced at least a few people on the utility and practicality of a Ural sidecar rig.

I thought that you'd be an expert at changing tires by now at only 3k miles per pusher… Are you now headed south or east?

redlegsrides said...


It was pretty cool

redlegsrides said...


An expert I am not but its getting a bit easier each time. I've switched to using wd40 vice soapy water as the lubricant to use when spooning tires off and on. Sure there should be a nex time....but maybe sanity might prevail. You guys live in a beautiful state, the lack of roads though.....thanks again for your overwhelmingly generous hospitality!

Anonymous said...

As you near the end of your journey I am surely going to miss your posts, the incredible pictures (I'd lived in AK for three years in the 80s) that brought back so many fond memories.

Thanks for taking me along


redlegsrides said...

Dave, thanks for the kind words, glad you liked the stuff.

Canajun said...

Such luck to see the Orcas. Amazing!

Bob and Sharon said...

We really enjoyed visiting with you. And thank you for inspiring me, and the help at getting my own blog started a little bit better.
I'm getting in to count down mode with only 12 days left before I follow your path down to Prince of Wales Island.

We had 7 days of sunny hot for us 70* after you left

Are you going down the coast Hwy 1 ?

Keep in touch

VStar Lady said...

Welcome back ... thanks for the spectacular orca footage and for sharing your trip of a lifetime with us. (Have you warmed up yet?)

BMW HACKER said...

Burned the midnite oil to read your entire RR last night. GREAT photos and narratives.
Thanks so much for sharing and taking the time to update.

redlegsrides said...

Yep, the gods were smiling upon us...

redlegsrides said...

Bob and Sharon

Looking forward to your trip reports from Prince of Wales Island! Thank you both as well for your great hospitality!

redlegsrides said...

VStar Lady

It actually had been quite warm the last week before the trip, the ferry itself had sunny weather mostly.

redlegsrides said...


Thanks, I am sure my blog postings at times are used as sleep aids, so thanks for the kind words.