I’ve found a new place to live – Haines, AK. OK, so we’re not really going to settle here, but it’s my favorite town/city of the trip so far. It’s at the northern end of Inside Passage, about 75 miles north of Alaska’s capital city, Juneau. We arrived in Haines last Monday via a one hour ferry trip from Skagway. We checked into the aptly named Oceanside RV park and were one of only two RVs in the campground. On Tuesday we took another ferry as foot passengers to visit Juneau for 3 nights. The Juneau trip was expensive even without taking our vehicles and we were somewhat limited on what we could see and do when we got there because it rained most of the time. We were lucky to have a break in the rain on our second day there, though, and that allowed us to hike up near the Mendenhall Glacier. I think the highlight of the trip for the boys was the 4.5 hour ferry ride to Juneau when they got to walk out on the deck in winds that blew them of their feet.
We returned to Haines on Friday and, fortunately left the rain in Juneau. Haines is pretty quiet at the moment and even when the tourist season begins in a couple of weeks it will only see about as many tourists in the whole season as Juneau may see on its busiest single day. I’m really enjoying Haines and the fact that we’re camped right on the edge of the Chilkoot Inlet able to look across the sound to the snowcapped mountains on the other side. The people here are great, too. Everyone has a story to tell and a sense of adventure. Several of the families here travel to places like Mexico (with their children) for a few months each winter. We’ve decided to stay in Haines at least until Friday. The weather forecast is good, the pace of life is slow and the scenery is stunning.
We have seen some interesting wildlife (including humpback whales, orcas, porpoises and mountain goats) but I didn’t manage to take any decent photos.
Before I sign off, I’ve got to tell you about the only other RVer in our campsite at the moment, Gerry. He arrived yesterday afternoon in his class C RV with a small dirt bike on the back of his rig. I’ve since found out that he’s 66 years old and from Texas. Nice man, I was talking to him this morning. Anway, Nina, the kids and I went out for a drive and a hike late yesterday afternoon and saw him riding around on his bike near where we were going to hike. Fine. When we got back to the campground Joyce, the camp owner, came over to our rig to sort out a problem with cable TV. Whilst she was there, she told me that Gerry had had and accident on his bike, fallen off and hurt himself and had to have a ride back to the campground with his bike in the back of a pickup. She said he seemed a little shaken up, and had gone to bed early to rest. This morning, when I saw Gerry outside looking over his bike, I went over to see if he was OK or need any help with anything – maybe a ride to the medical center, or whatever. He said he was OK, didn’t need any help and was going to drive his RV over to the medical center for some x-rays. It turns out, he’d broken his collar bone, fractured four ribs, punctured his lung and had to be airlifted to Juneau. What a tough old dude. Now, none of this is funny – apart from the fact (maybe) that he hadn’t told his wife, who’s still in Texas, that he’d bought a brand new motorbike on his way up to Alaska!