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Old 03-21-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
Scoutman OP
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Alaska Marine Highway and Bikes

The tail end of our AK run this summer will include some time on the ferry out of Haines. Having never done any boat travel with the bike, I am curious how it works. Do they load the motorcycles first so they are first off? Can you get your bike off at any port along the way, or are you stuck on the boat the whole time? For instance, if you buy passage all the way to Bellingham, can you get your bike off at Prince Rupert if you change your mind and decide to ride the rest of the way south? Any firsthand experience would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:25 PM   #2
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When we took the ferry from Bellingham to Haines they loaded the bikes last. I've heard others say they went on first. We were the first off at Haines. The stops we made were in the 2-3 hour time-frame. Not enough time to get the bike off; I doubt they will let you do so in any case. Except for the stop in Juneau the ferry stops close enough to the towns to allow you a quick walk around. These are small places and some stops may be in the wee hours of the night, so you may not have much to see. We enjoyed the trip, but were we to do it again I would limit the trip to sailing from Haines to just Prince Rupert. I would not risk on being able to change your mind about your point of disembarkation without having a talk with the ferry folks. My guess is you can get off wherever you like, but getting a refund is a different story.

There is a good thread about the Marine Highway on this sub-forum. I can't find the address, but will look for it: someone will provide it I'm sure.

EDIT: Here it is: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=306558

You'll love the ride and will get a glimpse of a part of Alaska that is beautiful and difficult to see in any other way.
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KHuddy screwed with this post 03-21-2012 at 08:35 PM
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:12 PM   #3
friar mike
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from what I have experience the Alaska ferry system is not that bike friendly or cheep no discounts at all. Unlike England when I lived there the ferry system is bike friendly and half price fairs same for toll bridges and parking. Iam not saying the people aren't friendly just the cost and the way things are done.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:03 PM   #4
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Yup, they charged us the same for a bike as a car and then put several bikes in a space that was unusable for a car..... Still it was worth doing once.
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Old 03-22-2012, 07:56 AM   #5
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I am definitely going to put in a call to the ferry folks to get the skinny, but this info helps alot. Thanks a bunch for the link!!! I searched in the AK sub forumn, but didn't think to search elsewhere. I assume that bikes are charged the 10' and under rate, which is quite expensive. That being said, the difference in the cost of sailing to Bellingham vs Prince Rupert is only a couple hundred dollars. The boat to B-ham leaves on Monday night vs a Thursday afternoon departure to P.R, so if they will let us off someplace along the way, it would be worth a couple of hundred to get 3 more days in AK.
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Old 03-22-2012, 09:50 AM   #6
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Yes they do charge the car rate for bikes. It cost me $815.00 for me and my bike to go from Haines to Bellingham in 2010, that's not including a room. I put my sleeping bag on a deck chair in the solarium. It's not cheap but I thought it was a neat experience, the solarium is heated and has glass all around you and is open to the back of the boat. You get to see a lot of wildlife, and scenery, plus you'll meet a lot of interesting people. I had a couple of cold wet days of riding to get to the ferry and really enjoyed relaxing under the heaters and enjoying the sights. Bringing your own tie-downs would be good idea, they have some, but there in pretty rough shape, they really jam bikes into a tight space close to each other, but they all seemed to ride well. Your only allowed access to your vehicle at certain times so it's good to bring up all the gear your going to need early on. As was mentioned earlier the port stops were short, usually just enough time to get off and look around town for awhile, and some are at night, I don't think the let you take off your vehicle and bring it back on. Overall I enjoyed it, it was a nice way to wrap the Alaska experience.
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Old 03-22-2012, 10:51 AM   #7
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After talking with the ferry lady this morning, I found out the See AK special will run again this summer. Basically, If you sail out of Haines southbound, or Prince Rupert northbound, you are allowed 3 stops along the way for $160 bucks!

https://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/specials_summer.shtml

She advised that it is better to utilize this package, which gives you lots of different options, rather than booking for the trip all the way to Bellingham and trying to con your bike off the boat along the way. She also recommended that your tie downs be at least 12 feet in length and that three straps are better than two. Very nice people!
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Old 03-22-2012, 05:59 PM   #8
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I guess things have changed on the Alaska Marine Highway....Bike are cheaper than cars

Here are the cost for my reservation between Haines and Bellingham in June

Me...over 65 $325
Bike (under 10 feet) $462
2 berth room $393


They say you have to bring your own tied downs...may be true for alaska, but on other ferry's across the St Larwrence, to PEI and both ferry to NFL they had plenty of ropes you could borrow.

NOTE most do NOT let you get back to you bike after leaving port. On the 20hr plus NFL they did have 30 minute group access at one point.

hope this helps
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Old 03-23-2012, 09:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoutman View Post
I am definitely going to put in a call to the ferry folks to get the skinny, but this info helps alot. Thanks a bunch for the link!!! I searched in the AK sub forumn, but didn't think to search elsewhere. I assume that bikes are charged the 10' and under rate, which is quite expensive. That being said, the difference in the cost of sailing to Bellingham vs Prince Rupert is only a couple hundred dollars. The boat to B-ham leaves on Monday night vs a Thursday afternoon departure to P.R, so if they will let us off someplace along the way, it would be worth a couple of hundred to get 3 more days in AK.
Since you're going up there anyway, why not get a copy of the Milepost. It has a ferry schedule and has a rate chart and you can use both to plan your trip.
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:02 PM   #10
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For real world information call Denny at the skagway ferry terminal .
He is a fellow inmate. 907-983-2941
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:51 PM   #11
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Thanks Kevin for linking to this thread a few of us locals wrote, including an inmate who works on the ferries: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=306558

The above link to the ferry thread has a lot of good info about riding our ferry system. The first post of the thread strongly encourages people to NOT go all the way in or out of Bellingham but rather go in or out of Prince Rupert BC instead. Also recommended is NOT paying for a berth but instead just camping up on the Solarium on fully reclining lounge chairs under radiant heaters in the ceiling.

Mark H.
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Old 03-25-2012, 10:21 PM   #12
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Alaska Ferry

Scoutman-
Over the last 10 years or so I have had the great fortune of taking the Alaska Ferry almost every year. (I LOVE the ferry!) Here are some random shots:


Waiting in line in Haines on my way to Mt. Rushmore last summer.



Tied down on the Columbia.



Tied down on the Columbia on the return trip home.



NorthernBoxer’s new GS and my R1200R tied down on the Columbia summer before last on our way to Redmond for the Rally.



I always carry my own tie downs. Sometimes they load the bikes first, sometimes last. It just depends on the crew. Sometimes they put all the bikes in the bow and sometimes interspersed with the cars and trucks.
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Old 03-26-2012, 01:35 AM   #13
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Rate sheet

Looks like $212 for the bike and $160 for the person from Haines to Prince Rupert or vice versa this summer.

https://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/doc.../SETariffs.pdf

I love the fairy! Would definitely recommend doing it. It's a very nice relaxing change of pace in the middle of a motorcycle adventure.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=311613
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:46 PM   #14
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The ferry from Haines to Prince Rupert is great. I did it in 2009 and again in 2011. Yes, take straps, long straps (tie-downs). If possible get off and spend the night or two in one of the small towns and catch another ferry on the day you want to continue. The Fast Ferries are well worth the money. For example, take the fast ferry from Juneau to Sitka, spend a night or two in Sitka and continue on with another ferry. Sitka is a wonderful small town. The ferry was an added bonus to our trip. We loved it, especially after riding from south central US to Fairbanks and down to Haines. It was a great break with beautiful scenery. Haines and Sitka were our two favorite towns, especially since the large cruise ships do not go there.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:39 PM   #15
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Last time I rode onto the fairy in Valdez the deck hand tossed me a section of what looked like clothesline that was about 12' long. She said "tie up"... and walked off.

Bringing your own tie downs is critical.
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