Alaska Marine Highway and Conclusions

I reached Seattle in the mean time and I’m preparing myself for Japan. However, before I take some conclusions here about the last few months, first a bit about the journey from Whittier (Alaska) to Seattle (Washington).

Whittier – Bellingham – Seattle
After a wonderful afternoon with Carl and Henry at sea, I spend a somehow cool night aboard the boat from Car. It was raining heavily again in the morning and it was still raining when I made it on board the ferry M/V Kennicott. There, I put up my tent on one of the upper floors. I was a bit disappointed, that it was not possible to tent on the top deck though. We left Whittier in the rain and we couldn’t see a lot of the beautiful area. It kept raining the next few days and even got stormy which made some people sea sick and push the waves high up on the boat. At that point I was happy, that my tent wasn’t on the top deck and was covered… Because of the bad weather, there was not much too see outside. However, it made it possible to e.g. translate the posts of the last few months also to English ;-).
The ferry drove from Whittier to Yakutat and continued from there through Juneau to Ketchikan. There, the weather got much better and especially along Vancouver Island, we saw some Orcas and at least three breaching (jumping) Humpback Whales. This was a great show. They were watching us and we them :-).
We finally reached Bellingham the next morning. From there I took the train down to Seattle. Both Amtrak and the ferry changed their schedule in the last few days. So it’s always best to have some spare time included in your itinerary…

That’s it with cycling in North America. I had a great time here, also with some low but a lot of high points. Following some more details. Let’s start with the negative to end with the positive :-).

The worst thing was of course, that Ines and I both got sick just before Yosemite. This took a lot of energy and was very frustrating. The positive thing was too, that we could count on the understanding and support of the owners of the campground where we stayed.
The other negative thing was traffic. Especially in the southern part, there was a lot of traffic and a lot (especially RVs, SUVs and trucks) were driving reckless. I don’t know if it was intensely or just not thinking but there were several times when I was happy, that I was still alive… And in most cases the dangerous situation would have been avoidable by the drivers. We also had a few such situations in Alaska, even when there was more than enough space. It seems that some drivers just think that cyclists shouldn’t be on (their) road. And some even showed this to us directly…

The positive thing here were the people. The waste majority was very open minded and very helpful when we needed some support. I would like to mention here especially (but not exclusively) Sarah and David in Los Angeles, Lionel and Chris in Pismo Beach, Eric in Seattle, Margot and Olaf in Penticton, the unknown car driver, the unknown cyclist and the unknown camper which showed us the Northern Lights in Fairbanks and Carl and Henry in Whittier. A big thank you to all of you!! We also enjoyed a lot to meet other cyclists and other travelers on the way. Happy traveling to all of you!
Positive was of course also the landscape and the animals which we saw on the way. I enjoyed especially Big Sur,Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mt St Helens and Rainier, the north of Vancouver Island, Haines Highway, Denali National Park, Kenai Peninsula and the journey on the Alaska Marine Highway. And not to forget the Northern Lights. I wished there would be even more of those. Positive was also that we made it to Anchorage. I hadn’t really doubts because I know in the mean time, that it is very much a question of really wanting it. However, it is still great to see, that we were able to do almost 4’000 miles in a bit more than five months (which brings me up to almost 5’500 miles in total 🙂 ). And it was also great, that we did not have even one puncture on the whole way. This thanks to good material but also because of good streets. However, there was also a lot of garbage on the shoulders. I would like to mention here especially dippers…

If you are asking me, if I would do it again, I would probably say yes, but without the bike. Not that I’m sick of cycling but I felt that there is not really enough space on the road for cyclists and that they are not very welcome (on the road). 99% of people here were traveling with a car/SUV or even a RV. As a cyclist with a tent, you are really an outsider… And I wouldn’t do it with children (especially along the coast in the south) because I think it’s just too dangerous. If you are traveling with a car or even a RV, please slow down and keep distance when you are passing cyclists. If you want to be nice, I’m sure they would love it to get a cold beer or a coffee/chocolate during a break :-).

That’s it from my side for now. Thank you very much for reading and commenting during the last few months. I was always very happy to hear from you. And I would love it to hear from you also during my cycling in Japan. My plan is to cycle south starting fro Tokyo. Any advice is still very welcome! Next post will be either from Japan or on the way to there :-).

All the best from Seattle,


PS: Pictures from Whittier – Seattle can be found in the Gallery. Don’t miss the breaching Whales!

About Stefan

I'm a telecommunication engineer by profession and like to discover the world by bike. I think, that it is the perfect speed to move but still be in touch with the world and the people which live there. And I'm very happy, that my wife Susanna is joining me now on those adventures. If you are interested in other journeys we did so far, please also check my website Stefan, Switzerland

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