Making Ready to Board Ship
Trip Start Jun 18, 2010
61Trip End Ongoing
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Preparations are made for departure
on the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry.
Well today will be the day we step off of Alaskan soil to board the ferry for our four day ride back to the lower Forty-Eight. Alaska has been surprising, interesting, and educational; for me, it has been a place of reflection and introspection. Even though we called this our "Alaska Vacation", it has included many other stops and points of interest on the way up and we will plan it so that it is the same on the way home. Right now our job today is to get the RV prepared to go on board and the inside food and clothes arranged so that we can access what we need while on the ferry
Our plan is to take enough clothes onboard to last to the first port call then return to swap dirty clothes for clean as we make port along the way. Several days ago after we had learned we would be able to get a cabin, so we purchased a medium sized cooler to keep food in the room and stocked up on some of the portable Healthy Choice and Dinty Moore type microwave meals for lunch or supper. We're not sure what all to expect for purchased onboard meals, but anticipate everything will be expensive. So, part of todays preparations will include organizing meal storage and making sure we have access to these just like the clothes. Now this my not sound like much, but when the RV is loaded on the ferry, I imagine it will be tight quarters and there will be no such thing as sliding out the bedroom to get access to drawers or opening certain exterior storage doors.
We know that the propane has to be shut off and they will seal that compartment to ensure no tampering along the way; with the propane off, the refrigerator will be shut down so we have to empty the refrigerator and freezer. We’ve been working on that for several days eating up all the fresh vegetables and frozen meats; alas, this means the last of the Glacier Park campground cinnamon rolls (I’m secretly plotting a return path through there to acquire more, but don’t tell Karen). We have some left over meatballs and noodles from the other day that we will freeze tonight and then take this meal onboard to reheat.
One last order of business today will be to look for someplace that sells dry ice to help with preserving foods in the cooler and then return the rental car
After lunch, Karen heads to the car rental and I drive the RV to the Haines Public Library to work on the blog. Time quickly passes and before we realize it, we are past our self-imposed deadline to report to the ferry terminal. Funny how you get a time like that stuck in your head and you nearly panic when it passes. We had planned to leave the library at 4:30 PM to stop and purchase ice and be at the terminal at 5:00. Well it is nearly 5 o’clock and we are just leaving the library; we hurry and scurry and practically reinvent the words “stress headache” in order to get out to the ferry. It doesn’t leave until 8:15 PM so why we put ourselves through all this I don’t know.
Anyway, Karen checks in while I wait in the RV; there are lane assignments for certain vehicles going to certain destinations and it all is a choreographed chaos fire drill to me; that’s why I wait in the RV. Karen returns with our boarding passes and lane assignment so we relocate and get in line. After all this worry and fuss, we now only have three more hours to wait sitting in this queue
I never thought I would ever be able to use the phrase “My Ship Came In” but here it comes right on time; it docks and disgorges its paying passengers and starts loading the Haines passengers immediately. After all the comments from the Alaska Marine Highway people about the propane, one inspector comes by and asks if it is shut off; that is all, he doesn’t inspect it or tag it or anything. Just as my lane is getting ready to board, a different inspector comes along and seals the compartment and as he is leaving he asks over his shoulder “Did the other inspector shut off the propane?” I told him that the other guy asked if it was off but did not check it. This caused second inspector to stop and come back to clarify what I said. He was most irritated that he had to take his seal off; actually open the compartment and verify that the propane was shut off then reseal the thing. Actually, I was glad he had to do that because I don’t want someone getting past this regulation and have an open flame burning below decks for four days.
This is where Karen and I took on separate assignments; I wanted pictures of our RV as it went down the loading ramp so she got that assignment. While waiting, I got the bright idea of using her camera to video the loading process as seen from the driver’s seat. I dug out her camera and proceeded to capture our loading sequence; I held her camera out the window as I drove on. These ferry car deck personnel really know their stuff and I was pleased with the care they took adjusting the loading ramp as I drove my motorhome onboard, but talk about tight, if our rig would have had another coat of paint on the outside, it would not have fit.
We’re on and I grab the “Oklahoma suitcases” (plastic bags) with our clothes and food and head upstairs to where? Our plan was that Karen was going to call my cell once she got onboard and got the Purser to give her our room assignment. I’ve received no call so either we don’t know yet or there is no service once inside the ship. We finally find each other among the other throngs of people and deposit ourselves in our cabin.
Before we know it, the ferry is pulling away from the dock and we are homeward bound with someone else doing the driving. It was time to learn the ways of life aboard ship since we will be living in this environment for the next four days.