alaska marine highway staging area

Day 3: The Waiting Place

alaska marine highway prince rupert terminal Start: Prince Rupert
Finish: Somewhere on the high seas
Miles traveled today: .8
Miles total: 968
Whales: 2

Today was all about hurry-up and wait… Since we arrived in Prince Rupert last night we only had to travel a few blocks to the edge of town in order to catch the ferry. The Alaska Marine Highway ferry system runs boats up and down the coast all year round. They have this down to a fine art… and the process goes: Have everyone arrive four hours early, check them in so you can move everyone from one line to the next waiting place. After an appropriate amount of time open the gates to give everyone a false sense of hope. After another 30 minutes have a customs officer show up, SLOWLY move everyone, one-at-a-time through customs and through the gates into one of eight different lines depending on their final destination. Finally four hours after you start the process (that is eight when you add int the get her early time) and just prior to everyone in line forming a rabid, lynch crazed mob, load them on board the ferry.

We did run into one small snag. Apparently Dad shares his name with a known home land security risk. That little coincident allowed us to enjoy a short side trip to the “your going to receive a full body-cavity strip search waiting place”. Luckily when the photos came back and Dad was cleared allowing us to continue through the lines.

While we spent the day in the “Waiting Place” the rig continues to be a great conversation starter and usually puts us at the front of the line. If you’re going to be in a line, at least be in the front of the line.

Customs line prince rupert ferry terminalThe rainbow at the end of our Waiting Place was the people we met. When everyone is trapped in line there is a lot of time to chat. We met a father and daughter driving from Seattle to Anchorage. She is a nurse moving up to a new life in Alaska. A couple on their Harley told us how they were heading back to White Horse. He was coming off a five week road trip with his brother through the California, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Washington. His wife joined him in Vancouver for the last leg back home. And than there was Joe and Margarita. He spent 15 years in Alaska before marring Margarita and moving to California. After a couple of summer trips to Alaska , Joe convinced Margarita to take on the Juneau winter. With his wife, two trucks, one u-haul trailer and three dogs, Joe is going home.

Once on the boat we settled into our cabin. Spacious does does not begin to describe the cabin… Thimble sized more accurately describes the room. Bunk beds, one chair, three coat hangers and a shower room. I call it a shower room because when you turn on the shower on you have just enough room to turn around and water goes all over the toilet and sink.

I thought about rocking off for the bottom bunk but Dad made it pretty clear that the lower bunk was all his. We’re spending most of the time out in the other parts of the boat. They have a dining room, a TV Lounge where they play movies, a forward lounge for whale watching and a bar. Tonight will be the only real sleep we get in the room. Tomorrow at Midnight we disembark in Haines, Alaska. We are not sure if we will drive straight away or locate a room for a few hours sleep. We’ll just see how we feel and let you know.

Loretta: keep an eye out, we’ll get a group shot, Dad, me and Hula Betty… I’m not sure we can have a last great road trip shirt that will fit Hula Betty though.

Chad: not a chance in H$@!

Ken & Flo thanks for the note. Maybe I can listen to the book when we get back.

Maura: OOOOoooopps at least I did not loose the ferry pass and parking permit… they are right here with us… nice and secure. We would mail them back but I’m not up for spending $45 on FedEx overnight double rush priority first class delivery to save $10… IOU a new ferry pass.

Mary: did this give you your Dad fix.

3 thoughts on “Day 3: The Waiting Place”

  1. Paul, the mimute Jim sees your comments on the guy riding the Harley he will be so jealous!!
    Not to mention the elk and whale sightings….. Awesome!

  2. Whew, I just caught up! Great job on the daily trip log. I am totally digging the wildlife count and your interaction with fellow travellers. Everyone has a story to tell, but yours is hard to beat. Have fun!

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