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Migrating On the Alaska Marine Highway

by Your RV Life and Travel Editor, Coleen
(Heading Out on the Ferry from Alaska to Washington)

The Marine Vessel Kennicott Arrives in Whittier, AK

The Marine Vessel Kennicott Arrives in Whittier, AK

It's time to migrate. The Alaska Marine Highway will take us from Whittier, Alaska, to Bellingham, Washington. We've spent summer in Alaska. Now, it is time to head south. We are scheduled to board the ferry this evening, taking the Blazer with us. From Bellingham, we'll drive.

Our home base is near Soldotna, Alaska, on the Kenai Peninsula. We have a cabin, second hand store, and an RV there. The past few days, we've been putting things away and getting ready to leave for the season. Store signs have been taken in and outdoor displays put away. Bob winterized the travel trailer and vehicles, making sure they have anti-freeze. The cabin heat is off and the water system drained. We are packed -- mostly pet supplies, with only carry-ons for Bob and me. We have security systems in place. On our way out, we'll flip the breaker on the electricity and cord off the driveway.

We're right on schedule. But the ferry isn't. Due to rough seas, the MV Kennicott won't be into port on time. They call to let us know. The new schedule has us boarding early tomorrow morning. There's a slight problem with that -- the tunnel doesn't open in time to let us go through in the morning.

If you aren't familiar with the road to Whittier, it requires going through a tunnel. The tunnel is only open during certain
hours. It is a one-lane tunnel. Wheeled traffic shares it with trains. We need to be there at one of the times the tunnel is open, to wheeled traffic, going to Whittier. That means we must be there tonight, even though we don't leave until tomorrow.

We haven't left, yet, and I'm already missing the convenience of the RV. We're leaving the travel trailer in Alaska and picking up the motorhome when we get to South Dakota. So, we'll be spending the night in the Blazer.

Well, no, we won't. We get another call that there's been another delay. This one has us boarding late enough tomorrow that we can make the 120-mile trip to Whittier tomorrow morning. We'll be leaving more than 12 hours later than originally scheduled.

We're taking the ferry because we deem it the best way for us get to the Lower 48 this fall. We don't want to make the 10-day trip driving across Canada. We're taking our old dog and diabetic cat, so flying isn't a practical optional.

Cost wise, taking the ferry is about the same for us as driving or flying business class. We pay passengers fees for Bob and me. We pay fees for each pet, for our vehicle, for our roomette, and for our linen packages. Additionally, we'll pay for any meals we eat at the on-board cafe. The one-way trip will cost us about $4000.

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