Juneau, The Capitol of Alaska by Barbara Edwards

Juneau, AK
Juneau, AK
Juneau, AK
Juneau, AK


Reached Juneau for our lay-over for the connection to Whittier. I planned a side-trip to Sitka and one to Gustavus, the site of Glacier Bay National Park to use part of the ten day wait. I really anticipate seeing Glaciers.
Juneau is large, spread along the coast from from the Ferry terminal.
There is a huge tidal area that is a wildlife refuge before we reach downtown. I can see the Tram up the side of the mountain. I hate to admit this one is too high for me. I don’t get seasick, but I do get vertigo from heights. Not my thing. The downtown area has cruise shops as well as the usual local businesses selling local items.
I realize that I am not a city person. The small towns have charmed me with their differences, but the cities seem to be strangely similar.

Juneau, AK
Juneau, AK

We find the campground at the Mendenhall State Park. We can see the Mendenhall Glacier and lake. I’m impressed by the beauty of the formation. The breeze off the ice is cool and the lake is cold from the melting snow and ice. I’m shocked at a group of teen-agers in the water. Yikes. I’m bundled in three layers and still chilled.
Probably why I’m not an Alaskan.


Juneau, AK
Juneau, AK

The Marine Highway calls and says to check changes in our schedule. The trip to Gustavus has been rescheduled one day early. Okay. Since we’re like turtles carrying our home with us, it doesn’t matter.
Bill loves to drive and the area is interesting. Juneau is backed by high mountains, fronted by an arm of the sea. Beautiful.
I notice the departure for Sitka is at two am. Not a good time for either of us, so we go back to the terminal.
The people who work for the Alaska Marine Highway are so nice and helpful. He agrees it is a poor time and gets on the computer to check for a better option. Bill and I watch the crew loading the Kennicott, on its way to Whittier,
Now what happened— when they rescheduled our leg to Gustavus, they cancelled the return trip. We can get there but not back to catch our scheduled trip to Whittier. The other trips to Sitka are totally booked. With the Columbia in for repairs, the boats are all rescheduled. With both trips not available, we have ten days to fill in an area famous for hiking, and winter sports. Not my thing either.
I give the agent my evil eye and ask if we can get on the ferry loading now. Bill pokes me in the ribs and says don’t give him a hard time. I shrug. What can it hurt.
The agent calls the loading crew. They agree, “Room for one more. Load now.”
I look at Bill. “So if we stay, we have to pay for ten days camping with not many options for us to tourist around. If we go, we can add on the days to the next leg.”

Juneau, AK
Juneau, AK

So we abandon the two lawn chairs and our water hose at the campsite and get on. He calls the campground to explain.

Aboard the Kennicott
Aboard the Kennicott

Keeno is unhappy. He doesn’t like pooping on the Ferry or being confined to the camper.





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Bellingham Ferry to Ketchikan by Barbara Edwards

IMG_0176Doing something different is risky and taking the Marine Highway is different.



IMG_0214I did research and knew about walking the dog on the car deck, but not having to keep the area clean.

The crew are friendly and helpful.


Of course our vehicle was one of the last loaded. Last on first off in Ketchikan.

This meant all the lounge chairs for sleeping in the IMG_0197solariums were claimed. Oh well.





IMG_0178We found a place in the inside lounge.




Then came the figuring out where to eat and what. We brought some microwave dinners and had them, and then my husband wanted to plan breakfast. I’m figuring out what to wear to sleep. I worked on my edits for a IMG_0183couple hours and they turned off the lights at nine pm Alaska time.

Sleeping in a room with several dozen strangers is weird. Bill settled his bag on the floor and I curled up on a three chair bench. I slept fitfully. Like home, the smallest noise woke me. IMG_0193The shoreline was a black silhouette broken by occasional lights on either boats or the shore. Bill IMG_0190woke me at four am to see the lightening sky. Its cloudy so no spectacular dawn.


Later: The ferry is passing through a narrow channel. Forest runs down to the shore and its brisk.

What’s next? We need to walk the dog and I’m changing my clothes when we can get to the car deck at eight am.

Turned foggy and the foghorn blows every few minutes. A mournful sound. Finally the sun breaks through and it’s nice enough to go on deck in my shirtsleeves. The shore drifts by in a wonderful forest and rock collection. There is too much to see, to enjoy. I inhale the clean air and relax.


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