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Old 01-09-2012, 07:43 PM
 
10,662 posts, read 9,566,629 times
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Take pics.

I must disagree to a degree. I have met interesting people each time. On the way up I talked with some FBI girls/guys who were hot on getting Ted Stevens. That did not work out so well for them. Another ran into a special forces guy who had been around the world....good stories probably most of them true. My favorite was running into a guy whose wife I later worked with in Anchorage. We all became friends. Granted I put myself out there to meet people but the bar IS the place to be on those ships.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPea2011 View Post
I'll be riding from Bellingham to Whittier (switch boats at Juneau) next week. The winter special is you pay to get your car on and you ride for free. Not too awfully pricey. I paid $1,300 for the trip. No cabin from Bellingham to Juneau, it was going to cost around $350 for the two nights. I got a roommett (private room w/o private bath) from Juneau to Whittier for $65. Figured the ferry is only a couple of hundred $ more than it would have cost to drive (gas, hotels, milage, etc), plus there are no worries of white knuckle driving for days on end if weather turns. Especially good for us southern drivers with little to no ice/snow experience.

Any advice for the drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks? I saw that I need to take the Parks highway. Is it usually well maintained in winter? Any must see stops along the way in January? I picked up the Milepost over the weekend. Guess I'll have 5 long days on the boat to look over the route.
Yes, it's very well maintained, de-icers and snowplows all over.

There's a good viewpoint at around Mile 135 I think, just past Mary Cary's which unfortunately won't be open in an. unless something's changed.
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:18 AM
 
Location: Anchorage
4,057 posts, read 8,249,005 times
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I rode the ferry from Washington to Haines as a small child and then once to Kodiak Island in a youth trip. It was a lot of fun and the food was great. It seemed to my child's mind to take forever waiting to drive on the ferry, but I was only six years old and we were in a RV.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Juneau
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I've taken the Bellingham north route 4 times in the past decade and really enjoyed the trips, summer and winter both. And I've been all around SE AK on the ferry system, the Pelican/ Juneau run was a the best whale watching trip. And I always meet people in the bars that have great stories and are friendly, including the workers. It's a great way to unwind and unplug!
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
2,433 posts, read 3,553,463 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPea2011 View Post

Any advice for the drive from Anchorage to Fairbanks? I saw that I need to take the Parks highway. Is it usually well maintained in winter? Any must see stops along the way in January? I picked up the Milepost over the weekend. Guess I'll have 5 long days on the boat to look over the route.
The road from Anchorage to Fairbanks is well maintained and well traveled, even in winter. But weather can always be a factor.... Be prepared for snow & ice. When a big truck passes, you'll be in a white out for a moment. Slow down ahead of time and don't panic. Have warm clothing in the car & extra food, just in case.
You won't have cell coverage for a portion of the drive.
Fill up in Wasilla and you'll have plenty of fuel to get to Fairbanks. Gas in Cantwell, Healy or Nenana is more expensive.
The Denali view point at mile 135 is closed for the winter. Mile 147 at the Veteran's Memorial is a nice stop.
When I drive it I usually grab a sandwich at the Subway at Sunshine, mile 99 of the Parks highway. If you are not in a hurry, take the Talkeetna Spur Road and go 14 miles into Talkeetna for a meal.
Watch for moose and have a good trip!
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Old 01-10-2012, 12:50 PM
 
Location: Alaska
5,347 posts, read 15,039,821 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayPea2011 View Post
I'll be riding from Bellingham to Whittier (switch boats at Juneau) next week. The winter special is you pay to get your car on and you ride for free. Not too awfully pricey. I paid $1,300 for the trip. No cabin from Bellingham to Juneau, it was going to cost around $350 for the two nights. I got a roommett (private room w/o private bath) from Juneau to Whittier for $65. Figured the ferry is only a couple of hundred $ more than it would have cost to drive (gas, hotels, milage, etc), plus there are no worries of white knuckle driving for days on end if weather turns. Especially good for us southern drivers with little to no ice/snow experience.
Yes, the cost is high, but you might regret not getting a cabin for the first leg. It's always nice to have a private place to get away if it's crowded. Also, you don't have to cart your stuff with you all the time (although there are lockers). On the Bellingham to Ketchikan leg, you can access your car during the pet calls. You also have opportunities at port stops.

I think the roomettes are nice, but they are small. You can keep your stuff there and it converts to two bunks. Bring a sleeping bag and pillow for comfort.

Do bring some snack food with you. Usually you end up eating at most two meals at the cafeteria. Depending on the time you get in, I believe there's a store across from the terminal in Ketchikan and in Juneau, you have time to drive to Safeway and Fred Meyer. Just head into town. Both are on the left of the highway. It be easiest/cheaper to hit Fred Meyer first and then Safeway on the way back. There's a McDonald's and Subway on the right, just before you get to Fred Meyer.

Looks like you'll be in Juneau for lunch. You can get lunch at Macs or Subway. If you want something else, there's chinese, pizza and soup and sandwiches. Suggestions for the valley are Little Hong Kong (lunch special), or Asiana Garden for asian, Valley Bullwinkle's for pizza (they have an all you can eat lunch pizza and salad bar for $9.99), Udder Culture (soup too), or Heritage Coffee for sandwiches and there's always the Deli at Safeway. Cost will range from $6-12 at about all places. These are located in the Mendenhall Mall area (left turn at the first or second light and then right or left at the next light).

You probably have time to drive into town, but there's not much going on. There is the State and City Museums. It might be worth it to drive to the glacier (take a left at the second light and drive on main road to the end).
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Old 01-10-2012, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Kitschk-hin
162 posts, read 257,496 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akck View Post
Depending on the time you get in, I believe there's a store across from the terminal in Ketchikan
Nah, it's just a diner thing called The Landing. If you walk a few blocks north, though, A&P is there. A&P is great most of the time but occasionally they seem to have trouble keeping stuff in stock- when I was in there yesterday there were huge gaps in the shelves. The weather has been fine so I don't think it's a supply chain thing.
Safeway is also within walking distance if you go south from the terminal, in the Plaza mall which also has a McDonalds and a Taco Time, plus a Starbucks in Safeway.

You get quite a bit of time in Ketchikan. When I was in college, before I lived here my mom and I got off and explored on our way home to Juneau one trip. We took a taxi to downtown, had a nice breakfast, and walked back to the ship with plenty of time to spare. However, when I was on the Mal a few months ago the boat was getting into Ketchikan at 5 am so exploring may be out as it's dark here until at least 8 am. I do think A&P opens at 5 though so that should be good.
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