Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-10-2009, 10:59 AM   #1
moosetags's Avatar

2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,382
Images: 5
Alaska State Ferry

We would like to take Lucy to Alaska sometime in the next couple of years. We have been contemplating this adventure for some time, now. We have done a lot of research, reading, and talking to other campers.

We are thinking that we would like to drive up to Alaska in the late summer, stay for about six weeks. We then would like to ferry back on the Alaska State Ferry System, seeing several locations on the way back south.

We know that the Ferry is pretty expensive, but have decided that we are going to spend what it takes to have the Airstream adventure of a lifetime.

We would appreciate input on our plan.


SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
moosetags is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2009, 11:47 AM   #2
Rivet Master
Steve & Susan's Avatar
2005 28' International CCD
Willoughby , Ohio
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 543
Man, that is the trip of a lifetime - Susan and I want to take the same trip, but it won't be for at least 5 years. Our 201-K's need replenishing and we can't take that kind of time off work.

We've been there three times via cruise ship, but dream of an AS trip there for a much longer timeframe.

Our input to your plan is go for it and know that there are many out here who will be with you in spirit!

Steve & Susan
WBCCI# 03876
AIR# 6511
2005 28' CCD, 2011 Sierra 5.3L, Equal-I-Zer
Empty Nesters - spending our money on OURSELVES for a change!
Steve & Susan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2009, 11:47 AM   #3
Rivet Master
Jim Foster's Avatar
1965 17' Caravel
1983 27' Excella
Walnut Grove/Laguna Woods , California
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,599
Send a message via Yahoo to Jim Foster

Lynn and I did just what you are planning a number of years ago. That was before we had our Airstream. We did it in our Dune Buggy.

We drove up the Cassier Hwy before it was paved, with stops at Stewart, BC and Hyder AK on the way. We camped the whole way. That was way too much fun in a buggy.

For our return trip we put the car on the ferry in Skagway. They didn't allow passengers to visit the car deck except when in the numerous ports. We got a cabin the first night, but after that we blew up our air bed and slept on the deck under the overhang in the rear. Slept much better there as the cabin was noisy. It creaked and they would announce when they stopped over the PAsystem which included a speaker in the cabin.

They stopped for several hours in the larger cities and had a shuttle bus when the port was out of town.

While in Alaskan waters there was a State Parks Ranger who gave seminars.

We went all the way to Seattle, then drove on home.

Would do it again.
Jim Foster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2009, 11:59 AM   #4
Rivet Master
wxbuoy's Avatar

1991 35' Airstream 350
Carriere , Mississippi
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,198
Send a message via Skype™ to wxbuoy
Brian sounds like fun! We are thinking the same thing. I have done allot of work and travel in Alaska, and would love for my wife to see it. Of course the only way she is going to go to Alaska is in the summer in our mobile hotel suite!

Good luck and keep us posted on what you find out. We may just see you up there!

Dave and Felicia
wxbuoy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
Rivet Master

1986 31' Sovereign
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,366
Blog Entries: 13
A few caveats:

As noted, access to your rig is restricted to times in port so if you have Fido to feed and walk, it can be exciting as the next stop may be at 0330...

Tide rules, there are places the boats can't go unless the tide is right, so the schedules are pretty much tight, be there ready to travel an hour ahead of time.

With access to your rig restricted and open flame a no-no, the reefer will be off. For how long depends obviously on the stage length so if you have a reefer full of food, an ice chest will be a handy thing. You will be buying food on board and that is not a terrible thing as the boat food is edible and not horribly expensive.

Some of the ramps can be steep (depending on tide) but the AMH crews are really good at loading -- just suck in the mirrors, do exactly what they say, and then breathe....

n2916s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2009, 07:41 AM   #6
moosetags's Avatar

2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,382
Images: 5
We were wondering if it is possible to book a passage with the Airstream where we could get off and camp for several days at a time at different locations along the way, and then board another southbound ferry and continue the trip.
SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2005 Suburban 2500 Quadrasteer (Olivia) & 2011 Silverado 3500 (Fred) with Outfitter Truck Camper (Ethel)
moosetags is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2009, 07:51 AM   #7
Rivet Master
silverleeper's Avatar
1967 22' Safari
1960 Caravel
Edmonds , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,499
Images: 8
I don't see why you can't it is a ferry. It would take some planning though. Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) :: Official Site :: Alaska DOT&PF. Give them a call. 1-800-642-0066. Your trip sounds like a great time.

1973 F-250 4X4 390
1965 Chevy Suburban 454
AIR 6030
WBCCI 4258

silverleeper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2009, 09:52 AM   #8
Rivet Master
Gene's Avatar
2008 25' Safari FB SE
Grand Junction , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 10,814
Brian, We took the ferry in 2006 with our 4Runner. It was a great trip and we spent several days each in Juneau, Petersburg and Ketchican. But I'm not sure I'd want to take a trailer on board.

Alaska ferries are unlike other car ferries where you enter at one end and leave at the other. Because of narrow waterways, entry is at the side so the ships don't have to stick out in the shipping channel. Sometimes you have to get off and on when they stop at a port where you are not getting off for a few days.

Often you have to back into the lanes. If you don't have to back in, you'll have to back off. There's a small space at the bow where you make the turn into or out of the lanes. This would be like backing into a very narrow CG pad. The lanes are very narrow and the instructions you get from the crew sometimes do not agree—2 guys telling you different things is a challenge as one will always be mad at you. We watched giant MoHos backing the length of the ship and the space between vehicles is only a few feet or less. We also watched two trucks with large boat trailers backing up the steep ramps at Wrangell—one did well, the other looked like a snake as it wiggled up the ramp.

If backing is not your primary expertise, you may want to rethink this. Otherwise the ferries are great. As soon as next year's schedules come out, you need to get them and work hard at making sense of them. After a while it gets clear. In 2006, the summer schedule didn't come out until spring, but I think they are getting them out earlier—check the Alaska state ferry website. I put together a schedule to stop at 4 ports in Alaska and then go to Prince Rupert. With a lot of thought I made sure we would be on the water during the day so we could see things. We only needed a cabin on the Ketchikan-Pr. Rupert leg. The cruise ships travel at night so you can stop and shop and then shop some more. With a vehicle you can see the entire area. You have to be at the dock 1 to 2 hours before they sale—each town has a different time. It takes a long time to load an Alaska ferry.

An alternative is to leave the trailer in Haines or Skagway (where to leave it I don't know and I'd prefer Haines) and take the ferry to some cities with the TV, or fly and rent a car to see the towns. We couldn't figure out how to fit Sitka in our last trip as the ferry doesn't go there as often and it's kind off the beaten path. Flying is another option. Juneau has an historic downtown and the Mendenhall Glacier—it's melting so fast, better see it soon. A boat trip to the S. Sawyer Glacier on Tracy Arm was also enjoyable. We stayed at an unusual boutique hotel/restaurant/bakery called the Silverbow in Juneau. Very small rooms, quite funky, great bagels, limited parking, and right downtown. There are "fast ferries" to either Skagway or Juneau from Haines and you can make a quick trip to see Skagway (ultra touristy) or Juneau, or stay over in Juneau because there's more stuff there. The fast ferry is run by a private company and are really boats, but are fine. Sometimes they have a naturalist aboard telling you what you'll see. Petersburg is a nice fishing village, but we were stuck there for a few extra days because our ferry had a fire and we had to wait for the next one. Ketchikan has lots of totem poles and a museum (closed when we were there because the season had just ended). Because of the ferry fire, we had to cancel Wrangell. On any boat trip, you'll probably see whales, sea lions, maybe seals, bald eagles, bears.

We are going to Alaska (3rd time) next year, planning on 6-8 weeks, you'll need more time as you are farther away, and maybe we'll see you somewhere. Everything is far away in northern Canada and Alaska, bring extra fuel, and lots of money. Our first trip was 11,222 miles from Colorado, 2nd well over 8,000 since we took the ferry and primarily stayed in NW Canada and SE Alaska. Comfy seats in the TV are important for long days driving, day after day.

Gene is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2009, 11:39 AM   #9
Rivet Master
danalee's Avatar
1978 29' Ambassador
Walnut Cove , North Carolina
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 519
Images: 30
We have flown in to Anchorage and rented a car twice. On our last trip we had to detour 17 miles on a gravel road loop. It was terrible. The dust was so thick the only way I could stay on the road was to follow the tailgate lights a head of me. We were going from Anchorage to Homer. That experience did me in as far as thinking about towing our AS. I know it can be done but I would be very careful on where you go. Good Luck-its beautiful and we hope to return again.
The Silver Queen
danalee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2009, 12:24 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member
TSchleff's Avatar
2005 30' Classic
Omaha , Nebraska
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 38
Brian ... This is my first post on this forum. I have been doing a lot of reading since my wife and I purchased our first AS, a 2005 30' Classic Limited. I haven't posted as I felt I really didn't have too much to add to any conversation, until I read your plans on going to Alaska. This past summer I had the great adventure of riding my motorcycle to Alaska and all I can say is DO IT.

The roads are great and I saw many travel trailers and even a few Airstreams. I'm sure you can do it and will have the time of your life. I know I came back from this trip telling my wife we are going to be taking our AS up to Alaska in the next few years.

Yes, you will run into some road construction. But they do a great job of keeping the roads in good condition. The Alaska Highway is the life blood for many business in British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska, so they have to keep it in good shape.

On our way back we took the ferry from Haines to Prince Rupert. I can share with you that there were many big rigs on the ferry. Some big motorhomes and fifth wheels, and if they can get on and off the ferry, so can we pulling our AS's.

The only "fact" I will share with you about this trip is ... it is a long ways. I never realized that British Columbia is about 3 times the size of Montana. I certainly will go again on a motorcycle and will make the trip with the AS ... but I really don't think I would just hop in the car and drive.

TSchleff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2009, 11:24 PM   #11

2006 30' Classic S/O
Merced , California
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 60
Go for it

Go for it and don't the stories about roads and broken windshields stop you. Most of those stories were true years ago but things are much better now. We spent three months traveling Alaska. On our way back to the lower 48 we stopped in Prince Rupert BC. Left our truck and trailer at a motel where the owner said he would keep an eye on it and where we could leave the refrigerator on as we had stuff in the freezer. Storage yards and the ferry make you disconnect your propane.

Besides the backing issue, another concern when taking an Airstream on the ferry is the steep ramp and the angle where the ramp meets the ship is a problem. Airstreams are low to the ground and we have seen them have problems getting them on board especially when backing on is required.

After figuring out the ferry schedule and using the yellow pages to make motel reservations we got on our bicycles and hit the road. We spent 10 days living out of back packs and loving it. If you use a bicycle you are considered a 'walk on' which means as soon as the ferry docks you can get on or off. You don't have wait for the crew to start the process which sometimes takes a long time. We traveled straight to Juno and then hit all the ferry stops on the way back to Prince Rupert BC.

The ferry docks reasonably close to towns which are small so renting a car is a waste of money and time. The longest bike ride we had was 7 miles from dock to town. Taxies and busses are waiting when the ferry docks as well. We did not have any problems getting a room on the ferry even though we didn't make any advanced reservations. I simply went straight to the purserís station as quickly as possible.

Once the locals realized we were not from a cruse ship and came on the marine highway, as they call it, they became super friendly. While the merchants love cruse ships the locals folks may disagree.
kleimanr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2009, 07:20 AM   #12
4 Rivet Member
deauxrite's Avatar
2007 27' Safari FB SE
Full Timers just passing through , Arizona for a couple of weeks and then on to Utah!
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 325
Brian: We have taken our 27FB Safari to AK for the last two summers and will do it again this spring. Do not worry about the roads unless you are planning on going very early (March or early April). After that the road construction is well underway and the roads are good. Gravel is an issue. My rock guards look well used and have done a good job protecting the skin.

As for the Ferry.. there is limited access to your rig while on board. Some of our friends that took the ferry home last fall have a blog that will give you some very good insight into the trip. The link is here. Start at the bottom of the page and read up. Travel Blog - October 2009

Alaska is a great trip. When you get to Skagway make sure to plan an extra day or two and we will give you the locals tour. We will be there from April to October.

Have fun.
Living life on the Road
deauxrite is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2009, 08:51 AM   #13
2 Rivet Member
TSchleff's Avatar
2005 30' Classic
Omaha , Nebraska
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 38
Originally Posted by kleimanr View Post
Go for it and don't the stories about roads and broken windshields stop you. Most of those stories were true years ago but things are much better now. We spent three months traveling Alaska. On our way back to the lower 48 we stopped in Prince Rupert BC. Left our truck and trailer at a motel where the owner said he would keep an eye on it and where we could leave the refrigerator on as we had stuff in the freezer.
Kleimanr ... I agree 100% and what a great idea about parking the trailer and then just enjoying the ferry. We are hoping to head to Alaska with the AS in 2012.
TSchleff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2009, 09:12 AM   #14
Rivet Master
loudruff's Avatar
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.7 Metre
1989 29' Excella
Lorain County , Ohio
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,229
Images: 5
Send a message via AIM to loudruff Send a message via MSN to loudruff Send a message via Yahoo to loudruff

So, if you were headed there from OH, what month would you start? We have dear friends who live on an island up in AK. They get there by ferry or bush plane. We would love to go and spend time seeing the sights and then park the trailer and ship off to their home in Tenakee Springs. Sounds like a BIG adventure!

Larry and Lou
CP: Water/30 amp/waste dump/WIFI & Room for 2-3 units; PM us if you are headed our direction!
Air #2695
#1420 NOVA 4-006 Charter member

loudruff is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ferry crossings Pops On The Road... 2 08-11-2009 12:14 PM
Ferry Travel kfrere On The Road... 7 07-02-2009 08:33 AM
Ferry question to Ocracoke tslanier On The Road... 7 03-28-2009 07:30 PM
My Bunkhouse on a Ferry! SafariSS 2005 Safari 14 12-12-2007 10:48 PM
Alaska by Ferry jglabrown On The Road... 14 02-12-2007 12:01 AM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:55 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.