Day 40 – Prince Rupert, BC to Prince George, BC

Day 40 – Prince Rupert, BC to Prince George, BC     09/29/10     Mileage: 466  

This morning I was out the door and on the road by 8:45 after a shower and granola bar for breakfast. Today was more about making miles than smelling the roses, so I took few pictures despite the good scenery.  

Along the way to Prince George...

 

More roadside scenery...

 

I did monkey around with my HERO sport camera a bit though.  

View from my HERO cam mounted on my handlebar...

 

Another HERO cam shot...

 

...and another...

 

...last one...

 

The fall foliage along the way was spectacular…almost as good as Vermont. But what this has that Vermont doesn’t is high soaring peaks like the Rocky Mountains to cap off the vivid fall colors. What made it even better was the overcast skies that eventually gave way to bright sunshine. One other comment about this area of the Pacific Northwest, southeast Alaska and Alaska in general…is the sheer vastness of the wilderness. What is seen from the thin ribbon of asphalt that connects these remote towns can hardly be half of 1% of what is there. The amount of track-less wilderness up here is hard to wrap your mind around.  I found a campsite just south of Price George as there is no rain in the forecast.  

I had this campground all to myself!

 

Sunset on another great day...

 

Tomorrow I’ll be heading for Whistler, BC…and another check off for the life list.

Day 39 – Ferry from Sitka to Price Rupert, BC

Day 39 – Ferry from Sitka to Price Rupert, BC      09/28/10     Mileage: Ferry ride  

Sleeping out on the covered outside weather deck was great and not to cold at all. I got up around 7 and made some oatmeal for breakfast and then went up to the forward observation lounge to take in the view.  

View from the observation deck of the Matanuska

 

Another from the observation deck...

 

Getting close to Ketchikan...

 

We saw this floatplane come in for a landing right next to the ferry...cool!

 

Nice landing!

 

Phil and Kelly soon joined me and it was long after that we made port in Ketchikan around 10:45. The ferry didn’t depart until 1:15, so that gave me a chance to get off the boat and have a look around.  

Downtown Ketchikan

 

The wharf in Ketchikan

 

Phil, Kelly and I settled on a place called the Arctic Bar which turned out to be the oldest bar in Ketchikan. Paula, the owner, was great and even suggested we get behind the bar for a picture in front of here “happy bear” beer tap.  

The Arctic Bar in Ketchikan...

 

Behind the bar at the Arctic Bar in Ketchikan

 

The bear’s on this beer tap were happy not because of the beer, but because they were humping…which seems to be a bit of a theme up here!  

The "happy bears" tap...

 

 Phil and Kelly were staying in town until tomorrow, so after a few beers and some great halibut fish and chips…I bid farewell to them. It was great having some friends to travel with the last week…I’ll miss them on the road.  

Looking back at Ketchikan...on the way to Prince Rupert...

 

Back on board the Matanuska I worked on my laptop for a bit and settled in for the final leg to Prince Rupert, BC around 7 hours away.

Day 38 – Sitka, AK – Ferry to Prince Rupert, BC

Day 38 – Sitka, AK – Ferry to Prince Rupert, BC     09/27/10     Mileage: Ferry ride 

The rain was still coming down, so I was in no rush to leave. The room came with a continental breakfast that was really a nice spread for a budget hotel. After stuffing myself with the free eats, I took a shower, packed up the bike and headed for the ferry terminal. The ferry was the Matanuska…the same boat I took from Haines to Juneau. 

The KLR strapped in for ferry ride #3

 

Goodbye Sitka...

 

Kelly and Phil were also on this boat…so I got to hook up with them again! They had got on in Juneau the night before, and were getting off in Ketchikan for a few days before continuing on to Prince Rupert. I am now booked straight through to Prince Rupert, but at least we’ll have today and tomorrow morning to hang out on the ferry. Once on board, we grabbed a bite to eat for lunch and then I retired to the solarium…which is a covered open air deck on the back of the boat. 

The solarium on the Matanuska...

 

The solarium has lounge chairs and even ceiling heaters…so it’s quite comfy even in the cool damp air. Kelly, Phil and a few others had slept out there the night before, so I decided to “camp” out there as well by putting my sleeping pad and bag on a lounge chair…very comfy! After dinner we watched two movies, then called it a night.

Day 37 – Juneau, AK – Sitka, AK

Day 37 – Juneau, AK – Sitka, AK     09/26/10     Mileage: Local mileage and a ferry ride! 

Morning came too soon as I had to be at the ferry terminal by 6:30am for an 8:00am departure to Sitka on the M/V Fairweather. Boarding and tying down the bike went smoothly and soon we were off. 

Bike is strapped down for the ferry ride...

 

The M/V Fairweather

 

The Fairweather is a catamaran type fast ferry and is more than twice as fast as the larger but slower Matanuska that I took from Haines to Juneau. The trip to Sitka was only took 4.5 hours but took us through some amazing scenery…including the Peril Straits and Deadmans Reach. 

The Fairweather is fast...36 knots!

 

...and this is why it's fast...jet drive!

 

Great scenery on the way to Sitka

 

The shore was so close at times you can almost jump off and not get your feet wet!

 

The Peril Straits....now that is a tight channel!

 

Once we arrived I was off to explore Sitka on the bike….and that didn’t take long for sure! The ferry terminal is about 7 miles north of town and the road goes maybe another 10 south and east of town….so it’s fair to say I hit the end of the road in just over 15 minutes. 

Lake near the end of the road...

 

Downtown Sitka

 

Nice house perched on a rock in the middle of the harbor.

 

I spent a while longer exploring the downtown and then parked in front of the only restaurant open besides McDonald’s! It was a Mexican/pizza place….but they did have a tasty enchilada. It began to rain soon after lunch and the forecast was for rain straight through until tomorrow. I had wanted to camp, but given the current and forecast weather, I got a room at the luxurious Super 8. The room was actually quite nice and squeaky clean. I made a tuna sandwich for dinner, listened to the rain pound on the roof and watched a bit of boob tube…a rare “treat”. After my fill of movie reruns…I was off to sleep.