September 3 – Final Alaska Cities – south


Need to head south soon – 40 degrees this morning and winter is fast approaching. We do have sunshine today – which seems very unusual but we will take it.

Getting on the ferry wasn’t too much of a problem except they had me back in and back down a long aisle – did okay with directions from the workers and was able to avoid hitting any mirrors – they do pack them in tight.

A larger ship than our previous one and it was to be a 12 hour trip with one stop at Petersburg.

Enjoyed the scenery during the daylight hours but night did fall and we were blind in the dark –

in fact they said we missed the best part traveling through a narrow fjord – only 300 feet wide at certain spots.

The dogs did well as they have to stay in the coach until we stop (9 hours) and no accidents inside the coach. They sure let loose once they got to walk outside. We did walk them at Petersburg but did not get to see the town – we only had 45 minutes and town was about 4 miles away – will have to stop here later it’s a small Norwegian town.

Landed in Wrangell at 3:15 AM and had reservations at a nearby campground – struggled finding it as this was the first time I drove the coach at night – forgot to turn on the driving lights.

Did get set up at Alaska Waters RV Park – small park, 5 sites with full hook ups near town.

Monday is Labor Day and don’t see any celebrating going on in this town. Wrangell is a fishing village with lots of boats and a huge harbor. And we have sunshine.

Took off in the car and went out to Shoemaker Bay to see what their campsite looks like – we like to see what we missed out and are glad we didn’t call that campground. There wasn’t a whole lot out there except for fishing boats and a city park with electrical services.

Then we stopped at Chief Shakes Island – in the city harbor – the cabin there is a replica of a tribal house as it was back in the early days of the Native Americans in this area. They had some original totem poles that were being protected and I would assume eventually being restored to all its glory.

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Then we walked downtown, first to Totem Pole Park and they had some old totem poles with benches – nice little quiet area.

Walked downtown – its Labor Day so everything is closed and the people were nowhere to be found. Some nice murals and pirate statues.DSC_0164

Continued on to the harbor and saw all these painted bears – you can take an adventure trip to see the bears at the Anan Observation Deck – only so many permits and it was the end of the year and no possibility of making that trip.

Over to the Visitor’s center and “not open”. We did run into a couple of preteens and they were admiring our dogs and we asked when the Labor Day parade was and they responded they don’t celebrate Labor Day except that it is a day off of work. They did say come back at the 4th of July and you will see a great celebration – everyone comes and it’s a big deal – even with fireworks. We said “we might do that” and they smiled.

Back to the car and we headed out to the Petroglyph State Park. Parked at the end of the road and there was a wooden deck with some large rocks with petroglyphs on them. Walked a little bit on the beach and there was more rocks with carvings on them. The Indians were quite busy making sure their symbols remained a part of history.

Back to home after we visited everything in Wrangell after three hours.

Surprised by a knock at the door, the campground host and he also works for the company that owns this campground brought over a sockeye salmon and the cheeks from a Halibut to thank us for staying here – oh yum, yum!

Tuesday another nice day in fact, I went out to breakfast and all the guys in the coffee shop were saying that it was going to be a hot one – I think the temp hit 75 but the sun does seem hotter here in Alaska.

Today was “fix it” day – still working on my leak and no idea where it is coming from – another day. The opposite slide from my just repaired slide has a cable chain rubbing and I need to figure it out. No definite answer but at least it’s not a major problem.

Can’t work all day so we took the dogs for a hike up Mount Dewey. John Muir – the father of National Parks camped up here one night in 1879 – had a campfire that the city saw and therefore the city has built a beautiful wooden stairway to the top – and the view is tremendous – worth the effort.

Worn out from the excursion back home to do more “fix it” work – lubricated the slides and washed windows and cleaned the tires.

Wednesday we need to be at the ferry at 5:30 AM to prepare to board for Ketchikan – our last city in Alaska to visit.DSC_0044

Got to the ferry terminal by 5:15 and no ferry in site – an hour passes and no ship yet – we eventually got off about 7:15 AM. The ferry ride through the Inner Passage is wonderful – mountains and water all around – only problem this morning was a fog hung over the water through about half the trip (6 hours total).

Met some really nice people this morning and visited with them most of the morning. People from Nebraska, California, and Alaska – quite the stories.

Got to port about 1 PM and had to back the coach out of the car deck – only issue is they didn’t watch too close when backing out and I broke the rock guard hanging bolts and I will have to replace them soon.

Campground is about 15 miles from the ferry dock. Got there and parked. Clover Pass RV Park is a fishing resort – emphasis on fishing – people come and stay the summer fishing – sounds like a great idea for the future. Do have full hook up with free Wi-Fi and cable TV – are we glamping or not?DSC_0247

Thursday turned out to be another nice day with sunshine. We took off mid-morning and went into town to explore – remember this is another “port” city and the cruises dock here and let out 1000’s of people to wander about – there were 4 ships in port today.

Ketchikan was the first official city in Alaska, and was incorporated in 1900.

Town was the typical port town, and this one has a lot of totem poles. In fact it has the world’s largest collection of totem poles and they are still being created here.

Visited Creek Street – which used to be a brothel district during the early years from 1903 to 1953. Salmon still run in the street.

Took pictures of the banners hanging along the promenade where the ships dock – they were all stained glass.

We visited the Heritage Center and they had a fish hatchery there too on the Ketchikan Creek.DSC_0188 (2)

Then drove out of town to the Saxon Totem pole park. Ketchikan is a great city and need to stay longer.DSC_0209

Friday we leave Alaska for the final time (this year) and head to Prince Rupert in British Columbia Canada by ferry.

Up at 3 AM, down our coffee, shower and roll the slides in and over to the ferry terminal by 4:45. Able to drive on forward and depart through the opposite door – so much better than backing up.DSC_0151

It was raining when we started but a short time later it cleared and we had sunshine the rest of the trip.

Nothing too spectacular along the way – no whales or other water wildlife – except for the birds and the mountains.

We finally left Alaska and entered Canadian water space – oh how I miss Alaska!

Sat next to a couple from Fort Worth Texas and shared RVing stories and sewing stories as she was a sewer too.

Got to Prince Rupert, British Columbia about 2 (we lost an hour) and had to wait in line to get through customs but no problem. The agent did ask if I had retired and I asked why – he said I looked so different than my passport photo (with a tie and short hair) – we both laughed.  It is a very large port for shipping containers.

Arrived at Rupert RV Park and checked in – nice campground with large sites and 30 A full hook ups and decent Wi-Fi – no cable TV.

Just going to chill the rest of the day.

Saturday woke up to rain all night and morning and about 55 degrees. Did sleep in to 7:30 to catch up on sleep lost morning before.

We did go to the Prince Rupert VC to gather info for Vancouver Island and here. The “bear” adventures are over for the season and we notice that things are shutting down.

We did walk around Cow Bay – an old historic fishing village – had some shops and restaurants.

We saw the courthouse and the Sunken Gardens – quite impressive.

Also stopped by the Mariner’s Memorial – to celebrate the life of those who died at sea.

Later in the afternoon – yes we found a brewery – Wheelhouse Brewing Company – small batch brewing – 4 beers – but the place was packed – about 20 people drinking. Just realized this was our first British Columbia brewery – but I expect many more on Vancouver Island and Vancouver.

Sunday woke up to rain and 55 – NOT surprised! It has rained all day and not just a drizzle – day to curl up with a good book.

Speaking of books I forgot to write that I had read for the first time and finished “Call of the Wild”. I remember we were supposed to read that in high school but I never did. Great book and after some of our tours it helped to understand what was going on in the book. Even recognized some of the cities mentioned in the book.

Not to let the rain get the best of us, we took off to the North Pacific Cannery for a tour – it’s a Canadian National Historic site built in 1889. It is the longest running and standing cannery on the northeast coast. It ran for almost 100 years. Europeans owned it, Japanese maintained it and the Chinese operated it – quite the history. They have put a lot of money into restoration.

The tour was informative and provided good information of the process of Salmon Canning – I used to hate those salmon patties we always had on Fridays during Lent as a kid but now I know where they came from.

It rained and we had umbrellas but our feet got cold and wet – sure wish I had a pair of those XtraTuf rain boots that all Alaskans seem to wear.

We did stop at Dolly’s on the way home and had some of their Chowder and cheese biscuits – yum!

Monday no rain and the sun is peeking out of the clouds. We got caught up with things around the house and then we headed out for a hike downtown. Town is dying lots of store fronts for sale and as typical “closed Monday”. Did catch some great murals.

Then we wanted to drive up to Mount Hays but the road got a little narrow and rough – need that Jeep.

So off to the river trail and it started to rain so back to the coach and get ready to move tomorrow and smoke wings tonight.

Tuesday we are off on the ferry to Vancouver Island.

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