Day 1a: En Route, Bellingham to Ketchikan

Bikes below deck

Sunday, August 6, 2017

This morning, I realized, yesterday’s post was titled incorrectly. It felt like Day 1 because Bill and I were finally arriving at the Ferry. We have actually been on the road for 6 days.

In reality, this trip has been in the making for over 7 years. It was a trip I had always planned on taking with my dad. Getting to the Ferry with his ashes in my saddle bag, and Bill carrying his late wife Pam in his, is an emotional day for both of us. As we ride up onto the Ferry ramp, it hits me that the next land our bikes will touch, will be Alaskan soil.

I cannot speak for Bill, but, for me, it is a proverbial giant weight of anticipation lifting. All the “planning” and thinking about the ride. All the web sites and books are now behind me. From this moment forward, it all will just happen. I am subdued but excited, and instantly exhausted.

We roll on to the far back of the ship and strap down the bikes. We are getting off at the very last stop. Many people feel the need to comment on this. Many of them locals, asking, "why the hell would you go all the way to Homer?” Usually, followed by, "why aren’t you getting off in Whittier? It’s only a 4 hour ride to Homer?”

What many of them fail to recognize is the Ferry is scheduled to arrive in Whittier at 2:30AM. Not exactly, when I wanted to be loading out and looking for lodging; even if it is still daylight. Our plan, has us arriving in Hoomer, the next day at a civil 2:30 PM! The trip is after all being called Homer to Homer. Yes, we could have rode in, but there is always a risk of trouble with the tunnel outside of Whittier. For me, there is something satisfying about starting the ride into Homer first. Then making our way through Alaska, the Canadian Rockies and onto home.

Dining Report

Steak and Oysters

Steak and Oysters

Tonight, dinner on the Ferry is shockingly good and reasonably priced for a captive audience. I was prepared for burgers and mystery chicken, under heat lamps. Instead, we are presented with, made to order, grilled steak and oysters along side homemade Cherry and Apple pie. Served up by an enthusiastic and very friendly staff. We are allowed to apply our own ready-whip, and I am proud to say, I show some unusual resolve, by not adding a few squirts directly into my own pie hole!

The meal is finished off with Alaskan Brewery beers and 75 cent coffee (if you count the “free refill,” which I do). The "cocktail-lounges," on all the ferries have been closed, but you can still get a beer or an airplane mini-bottle of wine along with your meal. Many feel it takes away from the conversations with locals, but so far, I have participated in and see several lively conversations, still taking place. I suspect the memories and details, of these conversations, are more coherent under these new rules.

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