From Plan A to Plan B, Our Southeast Alaska RV Cruise

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. 

Southeast Alaska RV cruise
Not our ship but a pretty neat looking one don’t you think?

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.

Southeast Alaska RV cruise
Gravel roads north of Whitehorse are doing a number on our rig.

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

Southeast Alaska RV cruise
This is why we took the ferry. Our free spot near Haines, Alaska.

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.

Cruise ship at port in Skagway Alaska
Port of Skagway, where we caught the ferry to Haines.

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.

Skagway Alaska Gold Rush Dog Bronze Statue
If the miners could see us now.

It sounded like such a great way to see an area we certainly would have skipped had we still been following Plan A.

Emerald Lake, Yukon Highway 2
Many Alaska Highway RVers miss scenery like Emerald Lake near Carcross.

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.

Southeast Alaska RV cruise
Jim has to do what? Yes, back into the ship, then turn right!

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.

Southeast Alaska RV cruise
Once we got on board, we could relax and enjoy the scenery.

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. 

Southeast Alaska RV cruise
It was 15 of the prettiest sea miles we’ve traveled.

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.

Southeast Alaska RV cruise
Some day maybe we’ll take a real cruise to Alaska.

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.

2 thoughts on “From Plan A to Plan B, Our Southeast Alaska RV Cruise”

  1. Great to hear your are making lemonade with all those lemons the highway has handed you. RV plans should always be made in jello and you have to be willing to stir it up now and then. If you don’t mind sharing details, How long did you have to wait to get a spot on the ferry? One on our many plans for our trip to BC and southeastern Alaska was to put our truck camper on the ferry and take short hops. Of course, as you know, we had to go with plan C, but we’ll get up there once plan C is done.
    Travel Safe and keep laughing

    • I love this: make RV plans in jello. That makes so much sense! I’ll have to remember that, thank you.

      Now regarding the ferry….we read in our Alaskan Camping book that it’s wise to call ahead as much as possible. We took a chance and called from Skagway, just two days ahead of when we wanted to go, and got in. When booking a RV, you have to call the phone number instead of booking online.

      We can’t wait for your Plan C to get wrapped up so you guys can take an epic trip like this. I think your idea to hop around the coast is a good one, it’s not nearly as busy with RVers traveling the Alcan, and there’s lots of free boondocking too.


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