A couple of years ago, I rode along with Emily when she moved from Virginia to Oregon. That was a 3000 mile drive across North America. In winter.
Well, now she’s moving again. This time from Anchorage, Alaska, back to Oregon. Time for another road trip, indeed.
We were hoping to take the Alaska Marine Highway (otherwise known as the ferry) all the way from Whittier, outside of Anchorage, to Seattle. Some ferries normally run all winter; some only seasonally due to weather. But it seems Alaska is about broke, given the long period we’ve had of low oil prices. With budget shortfalls, they have not been publishing the ferry schedules more than a month in advance, sometimes less, with warnings that some routes may be cancelled. This produced a run on the few boats that were scheduled, so they’ve been selling out a month in advance.
We managed to book passage on the last boat available in September; but couldn’t get the only one that makes the whole trip. So, we’ll drive across the Alaskan tundra, through the Yukon Territory in Canada (I understand some of the “highway” through the tundra is still gravel), through the northern reaches of the Rockies and Coastal Range, to a little town on the coast, back in Alaska, called Haines. A little detour of 750 miles.
From there, we’ll rendezvous with the ferry system again and hop boats another 1000+ miles down the coast through the Inside Passage to Seattle. Should be beautiful the whole way – and decidedly less insane than crossing the continent in winter.
The image above is what the route looks like plotted out on a map – all 2000 miles of it when all said and done.
I understand cell service and internet connections are spotty at best, available mostly while the ships are in port. Assuming I get a connection now and then I’ll post some photos along the way. This time tomorrow night I’ll be in Alaska.