Since our ferry departure was moved back four-and-a-half hours, we were able to get a good night’s sleep and awake at 6:30 am, instead of the dreaded 2:00 am. Although 6:30 am is still a bit early for us, it sure beat the alternative! We drove all of five minutes to the ferry terminal at Prince Rupert and pulled the RV into line before our 8:00 am check-in time. We weren’t sure what to expect, so we just stood around for a bit and waited for instruction.
The first order of business was having the RV measured. Ferry rates are based in part on the length of the vehicle, and we had paid for 24 feet. It turns out that we are 23 feet-6 inches. No refund however, as lengths are broken down only by feet! The agent also noted that we had propane on board, as well as a cat.
We were instructed to walk down to the Alaska Marine Highway System terminal to pick up our tickets and check in. That was easy, and we were able to get our tickets for most of the remaining segments of the trip. It was then back to the RV to wait for the signal to drive forward.
Tickets in Hand, Ready to Sail
Another agent verified that we had shut off our propane tank and taped the door shut. Because we knew ahead of time that we would not have propane to run the refrigerator, we had consumed all of our frozen foods and had placed the refrigerated items in a cooler with ice. We thought of trying to run the refrigerator on battery power, but figured we’d try that on a shorter sailing. Even small refrigerators are such battery hogs.
Next it was time for U.S. Customs, which was a relatively painless process. The agent looked at our passports and Kitty’s health certificate and asked us a few questions. Poultry and poultry products are the big no-no right now, but we had none on board, and we were cleared to go.
Next we were assigned to a lane to wait our turn to board the ferry. It was interesting to witness the actual loading process and guess who would be loaded next. Length appeared to be the deciding factor, and vehicles seemed to be picked at random from the various lanes. When we were directed to move forward, it was just for us to get out of the way while other vehicles drove on board. It was finally our turn, and we easily made our way to our spot on the car deck. We had to leave Kitty behind in the RV, as we headed out to explore the ship. Passengers are not permitted to remain in their vehicles while the ship is underway.
|Boarding the Ferry|
|Snug on the Car Deck|
Cars, trucks and truck campers were well-represented on the ferry, and many had either Alaska or British Columbia license plates. There were only a handful of RVs on our sailing. We learned that many of the young people heading to Alaska were on their way to summer jobs. The season is just getting started.
Although it was cloudy when we left Prince Rupert, the sun came out for much of the day, and it was smooth sailing all the way. Once again, we lucked out with a beautiful day.
|Watching the Scenery|
We docked in Ketchikan and watched as the vehicles in front of us make a right turn to exit on the side of the ferry. Since it was already after 4:00 pm, we decided to stop for a few groceries and head directly to the campground.
After we had booked our ferry reservations in January, I went ahead and made campground reservations for all of the cities where we would be stopping. I usually don’t make reservations, especially that far in advance, but there are only a handful of campgrounds available, plus we had a fixed schedule that was not likely to change.
For Ketchikan, I booked us into the Clover Pass Resort, which is located about 14 miles from the downtown area and is the only commercial campground in Ketchikan. In January, we had no idea that we would have solar panels and a lithium battery and figured that hookups would be the way to go.
Another selling point for Clover Pass Resort is that it is located directly on the water. We splurged for a waterfront site, and I’m so glad that we did. Our view is fabulous, and we enjoyed a relaxing evening gazing out at the water. A beautiful sunset was a fitting end to this great day. Welcome to Alaska!
|A Waterfront Site|
|The View Outside Our Window|
|I Am a Happy Camper|