Alaska Marine Highway is bike friendly
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Thread: Alaska Marine Highway is bike friendly

  1. #1
    Senior Member boznarras's Avatar
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    Alaska Marine Highway is bike friendly

    I just got back from a recent trip from my town to another in Southeast Alaska.
    We are an island chain, served by the Alaska Marine Highway, aka the Alaska Ferry. The road systems here are pretty much limited to one island at a time, until you get as far north as Haines or Skagway. Using the ferry lets me go from one town to another and have my bike when I get there. This is also open to touring bikers or adventurers, which is why I am posting this.

    The driver of a vehicle gets a discount on their fare, mine was 50% on the last trip.
    On the ferry, the bike stays on the car deck. You bring your own tie down straps, there are attachment points aplenty to secure to. The car deck is closed to passengers once the ship is underway, so the bike is secure. The crew helps spot you off in corners to be out of the way of larger vehicles.
    Once your bike is secure, you take your bags and go up the stairs or elevator to the other decks. Staterooms with shower and toilet are available, or many camp out on the floor of the observation deck or solarium deck. It is best to reserve ahead if you want a stateroom. There are public restrooms and showers if you dont get a stateroom. There are coin operated storage lockers to secure your stuff.
    There is a cafeteria serving three meals a day, plus sandwiches etc.
    Towns along the route vary in the time of layover. Many are long enough to take a walk, many people traveling with dogs take advantage of this.
    You can stop for a few days in any town, and then catch another ferry to go on. With a bike it is very flexible for space availability. If you are prepared to camp, it can be even more of an adventure on the backcountry road systems of each island.

    The view as you cruise in the ferry is the inside passage of the Alexander Archipelago. Whales, eagles, porpoise, fish, fishing boats, yachts.and large tracts of forested wilderness.
    Just want to advise of this option as a nice bike adventure, anywhere from Bellingham, WA to Haines, AK. Google the Alaska Marine Highway for more details. It can be a round trip, or one leg with a more interior route through British Columbia on the other leg. Think about it, maybe see this special place...
    littletommy, Peterb, GTG and 12 others like this.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator littletommy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boznarras View Post
    I just got back from a recent trip from my town to another in Southeast Alaska.
    We are an island chain, served by the Alaska Marine Highway, aka the Alaska Ferry. The road systems here are pretty much limited to one island at a time, until you get as far north as Haines or Skagway. Using the ferry lets me go from one town to another and have my bike when I get there. This is also open to touring bikers or adventurers, which is why I am posting this.

    The driver of a vehicle gets a discount on their fare, mine was 50% on the last trip.
    On the ferry, the bike stays on the car deck. You bring your own tie down straps, there are attachment points aplenty to secure to. The car deck is closed to passengers once the ship is underway, so the bike is secure. The crew helps spot you off in corners to be out of the way of larger vehicles.
    Once your bike is secure, you take your bags and go up the stairs or elevator to the other decks. Staterooms with shower and toilet are available, or many camp out on the floor of the observation deck or solarium deck. It is best to reserve ahead if you want a stateroom. There are public restrooms and showers if you dont get a stateroom. There are coin operated storage lockers to secure your stuff.
    There is a cafeteria serving three meals a day, plus sandwiches etc.
    Towns along the route vary in the time of layover. Many are long enough to take a walk, many people traveling with dogs take advantage of this.
    You can stop for a few days in any town, and then catch another ferry to go on. With a bike it is very flexible for space availability. If you are prepared to camp, it can be even more of an adventure on the backcountry road systems of each island.

    The view as you cruise in the ferry is the inside passage of the Alexander Archipelago. Whales, eagles, porpoise, fish, fishing boats, yachts.and large tracts of forested wilderness.
    Just want to advise of this option as a nice bike adventure, anywhere from Bellingham, WA to Haines, AK. Google the Alaska Marine Highway for more details. It can be a round trip, or one leg with a more interior route through British Columbia on the other leg. Think about it, maybe see this special place...
    Sweet bro, thanks for sharing this!! +1
    jtomelliott49 likes this.
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    Senior Member troll's Avatar
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    True dat... just got back from 12 days in Southeast Alaska. About half in Juneau and then Petersburg. Returned via Sitka.

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    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    I am planning a bike trip to Alaska in August and just might incorporate this into my plans.

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    Senior Member wolfy's Avatar
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    My brother and I did that trip from Haines after driving up the highway in '71 in a converted '67 VW bus. In those days you could go standby at a lesser cost, but you might get bumped off in a place like Petersburg for 2-3 days with nothing to do......we didn't care. We were gone for 7 weeks and spent $471 TOTAL for food, gas, camping and the ferry ride. I don't think you can do that anymore.

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    Senior Member plumbstraight's Avatar
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    As Twilight brought up the idea of a ride to AK in 17, a ride to Haines in this fashion might be a bit more advisable. By doing a trip on the inside passage then hitting the road for a few days then a week or two to do the ride from Tok to Fairbanks to Anchorage and back might be fun. Would be able to see both the sea and land animals along with some glacier sights.

    I do have a piece of land just out of Palmer to camp on. There are places that Tinywheels200 has shared with us with his rides that are close by. A ride in AK is epic and no way can you take it all in in one summer. Still incorporating the ferry system along with some nice easy riding would be a better way to go.

    The wife came up for a week when I was working and I took her to Hatcher Pass. It is just out of Palmer and there is some great riding in that area. The pass has a gold mine camp that they are restoring. They had taken tailings from the mine and used them for an area for visitors to check the area out from. She spotted a small glimmering speck in the sand and asked me it it was the real thing. Yes, I told her, it was about a millionth of a gram of gold. She looked like a barnyard chicken scratching around looking for more lol.

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    Senior Member ejfranz's Avatar
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    Peterb, you may want to give yourself a bit more time. The end of August can start to get cold up north. We spent 52 days travelling through the north in our truck and camper and were rushed.

    The bike and Ferry sounds intriguing.

    Thanks boznarras
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Peterb's Avatar
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    Peterb, you may want to give yourself a bit more time. The end of August can start to get cold up north. We spent 52 days travelling through the north in our truck and camper and were rushed.

    I will be leaving August 6 for 4 weeks and ya I would have liked to leave earlier but I works says no. The other night it went down to 0 Celcius here so I tried out my new tent and sleeping bag in the back yard and was ok. Just installed heated grips and getting gear so I can survive any weather. 2 new sets of tires, chain and sprockets etc. Becoming an expensive trip and I haven't left yet lol

  10. #9
    Senior Member Rhodetrip's Avatar
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    boznarras, its like you're reading my mind. I've been looking at a route leaving Salt Lake City about July 7th, up the IBDR and entering BC at Creston. Then up to Skagway, returning via the Marine Highway. Still speculative at this point. Is it easy to get on the ferry without reservations for 2 bikes and 2 riders? How about a cabin...are they available?
    TWilight and jtomelliott49 like this.

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    Senior Member wolfy's Avatar
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    Another nice thing about doing an 'inside passage' trip on the Alaska Marine Highway System is that you are wasting less time and seeing a lot more very scenic country. You can waste quite a bit of time traveling in some pretty boring country up there.....lots of flat area covered in willow scrub that you can't see over or through and filled with LOTS of mosquitos!
    TWilight, Fred, troll and 2 others like this.

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