June 29, 2014 – Haines Junction, YT to Haines, AK to Skagway, AK to Whitehorse, YT
We awoke to rain. Well, when we first got up, which was EARLY because we need to be sure to be on time for the ferry in Haines, AK, it was grey skies. Unfortunately, before we left, those grey skies turned to a pretty good downpour. We geared up, loaded up and headed out into the wet, wet, wet. Good thing we have the proper gear for wet. We both inserted our pinlock visors on the helmets and put on waterproof gloves. I stayed dry and warm but it was just a pouring down!
We came up to the Alaska/Canada border and decided we should really take a picture or two of us at a Welcome to Alaska sign :-)
Again, riding in the rain we made our way to Haines, AK. We eventually found the ferry terminal, got our tickets and then went back into town for some food as we have a few hours to burn. After all that getting up early and leaving Haines Junction and the fantastic Parkside Inn and all it’s luxury, we had like three hours to burn. Man, I could have slept in and snuggled deeper into that wonderful king size bed with the great linens. Oh well, could have, should have but didn’t.
So, there we were in Haines, AK looking for a brekkie place on a Sunday morning. We found the Bamboo Lounge and Café. Hahahaha. It was actually really good. Our waiter was a young boy of maybe 12 or 13 (family owned business) and he was good. I mean really good. We gave him a nice tip. Funny, at the table behind us, two gentlemen were placing their order. One was prompt but the other asked what meats were available for his choice of breakfast. He was told bacon or corned beef hash, where upon he audibly pondered his choices to the point of which the young waiter remarked, “It’s just breakfast, it’s not a life decision” which caused everyone to have a good laugh. What a great young man. We learned that he was saving his tip money to buy a Tempurpedic bed! And that he had another job at the local fort, giving tours. Wow, someone is raising him right.
After our meal, we got back on the bikes and headed to the ferry terminal. Oh, I should mention that our time in Haines, AK was rain free. It actually stopped raining for a few hours. We arrived at the ferry terminal and took our place in line. Lane 1, front.
That really didn’t mean a thing! While waiting in the line we met several people and had some nice conversation. Finally, it was times to load. We were almost the last to get on the ferry. I admit, I was a bit nervous. The ramp was metal grate and it was wet. The ferry was a side loader. So we had to ride down a wet metal ramp and then turn left onto a wet metal deck floor and make our way around the ship to our designated parking area. Whew!!! I did fine.
Parked on the ferry.
We got parked and made our way to an upper deck of the ferry where we took a few pictures and the rain started again. Oh well…..
Our ferry trip was one hour and we docked at Skagway, AK. Our exit from the ferry was even more stressful (for me, not for Eric). We had to ride around the inside of the ferry to the exit on wet metal floors and avoid big tie down humps or domes. Fun (not). Then on the actual exit, we had another metal grated ramp that was wet followed by a wooden platform that was wet. The platform looked like railroad ties. When we got off the platform it was a four to 6 inch drop. Yup, no smooth ramp, just drop off and move on. Hahaha. Okay, I dropped off, turned left and had to ride up another dang wet metal grate ramp to the street. Whew!! Made it without incident.
By now, I’m hot and sweating and its raining. We rode into town, found a place to park and got off the bikes for a look around. Since it was Sunday, it was pretty quiet. There was a Regent cruise ship docked at the port but not really much activity. Anyhow, we walked around town and took some pictures of the more interesting buildings. We picked up a few token souvenirs and walked around a bit more. It rained the entire time!
Even in the rain, we had some time for good silliness!
We got back on the bikes and headed out of Skagway. Our route out of town went directly up, up, up a very steep mountainside. I’m sure it was fantastic and beautiful and lovely but I couldn’t see a thing for the rain. And, it got much worse. The further up we went, the denser the clouds became until it was a fog whiteout! YIKES!!! I would have had a tinge of vertigo but I couldn’t see the edges to see how far down it was. I could only watch the double yellow center line and chug along. At some point, I lost Eric, I couldn’t see him in the fog. I put on my flashers because frankly, I had to slow down. I couldn’t see, even with my visor open. The fog was that dense. Ooohhhhh, scary.
I don’t know how many miles we rode like this but it seemed like a long time. But probably wasn’t really. Just that tense, I can’t see kind of ride makes it seem like forever. We finally got to an area that wasn’t quite so thick in the clouds. Oh, the landscape was fantastic. Like something out of Lord of the Rings. If I ever go back to Alaska, I want to do this road again and see it on a nice day. Wowsa, it was glorious! Unfortunately, our photos don't even begin to do it justice. Guess you'll have to Google Highway 2 from Skagway to Whitehorse. I deliberately choose this route for the scenic views and oh, too bad, not today :-(
Again, we had a border crossing from AK to Canada. No issues, but the guard did mention how treacherous the road was in the fog and rain. Yeah, we know!
We made it to Whitehorse, YT our destination for the day. We had a room at the Stratford Motel. Don't let this picture fool you. It wasn't near that nice, but would do for the night :-)
We met several other riders here and had some good parking lot chats. We went to Chinese for dinner and that wasn't so good either, hahahaha. My cocktails were good though