You can plan a trip as much as you want, but things happen and suddenly you’re traveling down another road. That’s what’s going on with us right now. Plan A is dead and we are no longer headed north to Fairbanks. It’s time to move on to Plan B. We are meandering our way south to better roads and warmer weather in British Columbia, but not before taking a few side trips off the Alaska Highway. We kicked things off with our first Southeast Alaska RV cruise from Skagway to Haines.
Why the change of plans? Because in this lifestyle, you need to learn how to be flexible and follow your gut. And ours says, pick another route. That’s because the last couple of weeks have been exhausting and expensive for us. We’re still enjoying the scenery, but continuing to beat the crap out of our rig on these roads and risk another huge repair is no longer something we’re willing to take a chance on.
The Alaska Highway is much better suited for truck campers, 4×4 vans and shitty RVs. They go places where even “small” RVs like ours cannot. What we decided is that eventually we’ll return in our future dream machine, an overlander 4×4 van. For now, we’ll make the most of this area as we slowly work our way south.
Our Southeast Alaska Cruise by RV
After our tourist time in Skagway, we decided to take the ferry over to Haines, Alaska.
The Alaska Marine Highway is a ferry system that runs the length of the Alaska border. Many RVers put their rig on these ships to lessen their drive time to and from Alaska from BC. But the ride is expensive and pets must stay in the RV for the multi-day journey, so it was never something we wanted to do.
But when I learned that you could get from Skagway to Haines in less than an hour, paying for our Southeast Alaska RV cruise was a no-brainer. This would enable us to do the southern portion of the Klondike Loop, the original route traveled by gold rush pioneers arriving from the Lower 48.
It sounded like such a great way to see an area we certainly would have skipped had we still been following Plan A.
However if the ferry system’s customer service rep had warned us that in order to get your RV onto the boat, you had to back it into the cargo area, I might have chickened out. But since we didn’t know about this requirement until departure time, we had no choice but to suck it up and proceed.
Jim will tell you more about his exceptional piloting skills in an upcoming post. It was one of his more impressive RV maneuvers. And it was just what we needed, another exciting day on the road.
As for the South Klondike Loop, the trip and the ferry cost was totally worth it. We were sad that Wyatt had to spend an hour in our rig in the ship’s cargo area, but he didn’t seem too traumatized by it.
The marine and mountain scenery through the Skagway – Haines route was spectacular despite the overcast skies. We got a teeny taste of what a real Alaska cruise would be like, and may even entertain the thought of taking one when we’re too old to drive.
As the ship made the 15-mile voyage over to Haines, we wore big stupid grins the entire time. “Here’s your Alaska cruise baby, live it up!” Jim said as we ate our brown bag lunch in the comfy passenger area. Seeing Alaska’s beauty on a ship was the easiest thing we’ve done since we got here.