The reason we haven’t mentioned this part of the trip is because it has been so uncertain – can we make it, can we afford it, have we got enough time?
But now, I can tell you we hope to go
It has taken a lot of thought working out the best route for the next part of the trip. Our first idea was to take the ferry from Bellingham in Washington State to Homer in Alaska….. until we found out the cost; $5,500.
Since then, we have vacillated between the options – deciding on a way to get there – then coming across a stumbling block; so we have checked all the alternatives. Yesterday, we thought we had made the final decision; ride to Vancouver, via Washington. Take a ferry over to Victoria on Vancouver Island and ride to the northern tip to Port Hardy where we could catch a ferry to Prince Rupert and then ride on to Hyder, Alaska. Costs (2 adults, one motorcycle): $56 to get to Vancouver Island, around $120 for a night in a motel close to the ferry terminal ready to board the ferry at 0530. The ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert costs $598 each way.
The dotted blue line is the Alaskan Marine Highway
Next idea was to catch a ferry from Bellingham, WA to Ketchikan, AK. That costs $783 (no cabin) and takes from 6pm Friday 6th July to 0700 Sunday, 8th July. The only problem with that idea is that Ketchikan is a very small island and we would be limited to seeing only that island unless we paid even more money to catch a ferry further north.
Also, the ferry takes the inner passage off the coast of BC and, to make it worth the cost, we would definitely want to have clear weather – imagine paying all that money and seeing nothing but mist!
At last, we think we have made the final decision; we are heading to Hyder AK (hope you will take a look) via this route.
It is around 1,100 miles; that should take no longer than five days averaging 220 miles a day – allowing for road disruptions and lots of large animals on some of the roads (elk, moose, bear) and allowing for a lot of photography.
At this time of year, it barely gets dark further north – maybe 3 hours of twilight only – so the days can be longer although the animals are around more in the evening. We need to allow for gas stations being open and motels possibly not being available. The general advice is to book accommodation ahead of time – but we haven’t been able to plan that far ahead and, on a bike, we just don’t know how long each part will take us – roads can be almost impassible from rock falls or damage from winter ice. I just hope we don’t have to sleep under the stars and pray no bears come sniffing around.
We have boosted our warm clothing, with extra thermals, waterproofed our boots and rain gear and spent today checking the bike thoroughly. There’s a really good Army and navy store right next to the motel so we were able to get lots of things we needed there including …. ANIT-FOG treatment for the helmet visors.
It is going to be expensive (Canadian taxes make fuel and motels more costly) and it is all very uncertain with the weather and the road conditions etc, but we will go for it and hope for the best – it will be a very different experience and the photographer in me is praying for some decent shots of mountains, glaciers, wildlife (not too close) and, perhaps even a sighting of the aurora borealis (not likely at this time of year – too little darkness)! One can only hope 🙂
We may return by ferry if the weather looks promising.