Post 3: Alaska State Ferries
Two reasons for taking the ferry part of the way back are; it cuts down on driving and most importantly, it's the only way to see all the panhandle places. A little spendy, escpcially with the trailer, but it was worth it to us.
The first shock was the age of the ferries. 1960's, about what I'd expect in third world countries. It wasn't just the age that got my attention it was the fact that it wasn't ro-ro. The doors were on the sides near the bow. As soon as I saw that I immediately wondered how loading would go. Did we have to go on the ferry and turn around? Did we have to back off?
We were almost the first ones to line up but since we were getting off at the first stop, Juneau, I wasn't surprised when some other rows started loading first. What a gong show. Departure time came and went. Vehicles inched down the ramp often coming to a dead stop for several minutes. Then it got to be only us left in the parking lot
The loading guy said that they'd overbooked
but not to worry, they'd get us on. What we're going to do he said is have you drive straight on and since you're first off we'll open the door on the other side and you can drive straight off.
On I went. Didn't look like enough room for me but they started yelling for me to keep coming. Then, since the trailer wasn't off the ramp yet to turn and go forward some more. I watched as the rear trailer wheel dropped a few inches off the ramp onto the deck just as I couldn't move even another inch forward
Now we had a Chinese finger trap. I couldn't go forward and the overhang of the trailer was still over the ramp and they couldn't raise the ramp.
Well, on came the PA calling drivers to return to the vehicle deck, cars were moved and I finally could move a couple of feet forward and they could lift up the ramp and close the large door.
When we arrived in Juneau there wasn't any "you can just drive straight ahead off the boat". Because I was now at 45* to the trailer and not pointed at the door I couldn't just drive forward. My way was blocked ahead. So they opened the door I'd boarded on, lowered the safety chain and asked me to back up. I watched as my rear wheels got closer and closer to the drop off to the water. When I couldn't go even an inch closer to the drop off I managed to go forward and work my way out.
Well, it was an experience