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  1. #1
    Hooked on Touring
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    The BC Ferry, "Queen of the North" sank off the BC coast this morning after hitting a rock in the Inside Passage. It appears that everyone on board was rescued. Those of you planning a bike trip thru Prince Rupert should be aware that summer service will be impacted.

    For many cyclists, a cruise on the "Queen" was a delightful part of our bike tours. I decided to head south rather than north last year after the forecast predicted more rain in Alaska, but sunny skies for Vancouver Island. It was a 15-hour trip thru some of the most stunning scenery on earth. Lazy snoozes in the lounge, walks around the deck, and pigging out at the all-you-can-eat buffet. (Cyclists always love these!) I will miss this lovely, old ship.
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  2. #2
    One Hep Cat Joe Dog's Avatar
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    This was big news in Alaska today. Thank goodness it seems like everyone made if off. The Alaska State Ferry system might provide an alternative if this is going to really impact anyone's plans. We have taken the ferry from Valdez to Whittier and it was a great time. It plys the waters from Southeast all the way to Kodiak, but I've only been able to sample a wee bit of the route.

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Actually, from what I've heard, the ferry that sank was a spare that they put on the water while the usual ferry was in dry dock receiving maintenance. If that is indeed the case, then I doubt that there will be much of an impact at all.

    Also, from what I've heard, they are still missing two passengers.

  4. #4
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    Definitely WAS the Queen of the North - see BC Ferry website.
    Two people are still unaccounted for.
    All ferry service north of Port Hardy cancelled until further notice.
    An older, smaller ferry under repair at present may be used as a replacement.

  5. #5
    sth
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    A very unfortunate accident. Hopefully the two missing people have just gone on their own way or there has been some type of mis-count.

    This has put a big, uncertain question mark on my plans. Was going to rid up the island, ferry to Prince Rupert then ride to Jasper then down to Vancouver. Hopefully they figure out some type of alternate service. QofN was the bigger of the two northern ships and its loss will definitely impact travel up the coast.

    A future trip I was planning and may move up is to take the small ferry to Bella Coola and then ride east to Billy's Puddle(Williams Lake). Shorter but that road is through some neat scenery. I would just have to psyche myself up for the ride up "the hill".

    Gotta pull out the maps and make some backup plans.

  6. #6
    sth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Dog
    This was big news in Alaska today. Thank goodness it seems like everyone made if off. The Alaska State Ferry system might provide an alternative if this is going to really impact anyone's plans. We have taken the ferry from Valdez to Whittier and it was a great time. It plys the waters from Southeast all the way to Kodiak, but I've only been able to sample a wee bit of the route.
    Hey Joe Dog: How long is the ferry trip from Prince Rupert to Haines or Skagway? Is it direct or does it make lots of stops? From their website (which could use a little polishing) it looks to be a long trip.

    And: what is the road like from Tetlin Junc to Dawson, and to Eagle?

    Thx

  7. #7
    Hooked on Touring
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    Yeah -

    I've ridden out to Bella Coola from - - whatcha callit? - - Billy's Puddle? Coming down Heckman Pass I had both feet on the ground and my brakes smokin' - - so going up will be a bit of a huff 'n puff. The pass section is unpaved as is another section above Klinaklini. But most of the route is paved with very, very light traffic. There are services every 100 km or so - soooo much more civilized than stretches of road in Nevada.

    The Alaska Marine Highway may help out BC ferries this summer since they have a extra mainline boat that usually is back-up - perhaps for Queen Charlotte Islands sevice - that would free up the Queen of Prince Rupert for the Inside Passage. I doubt that anything would impact Bella Coola service since that boat is sloooooooow. The Saturday schedule leaves at night, cruises among the islands the next day - including 4 hours in Klemtu, then arrives in Bella Coola early the next morning.

    Have fun whatever you do. I'll make sure the folks in Williams Lake know how you dissed them so that you get a warm welcome.

  8. #8
    sth
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    Part of the charm of the Mid Coast ferry route is that it is slow and much more personal. Several people that I know that have taken the trip say they loved it. I have only driven the hwy and recall the hill being steep in a truck. Dont know what would be worse on a bike, up or down. I think down.

    Thanks for your input.

  9. #9
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    PS - The Alaska ferry trip from PR to Skagway is between 32 and 40 hours depending on whether the boat includes a stop in Sitka. There are about a half-dozen stops. The AMH ferry schedule has always been nearly impossible to understand. This is partly because the channels in some places are quite shallow and cannot be traversed at low tide. So no trip starts or ends at a similar time. (The LeConte hit a rock last year, but was refloated.)

    This is an easier page to read - choose a month at the bottom.
    http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/schedres/scheds/S06.htm

    No insult to BC's Inside Passage, but the Lynn Canal is just too incredible for words. It really is worth the 36 hours. Why not stop in one of the towns along the way? I love Wrangell - too small for the cruise ships!! The Tues boat out of PR is overnight and the Thurs/Fri schedule north from Wrangell is ideal for scenery and arrival times. The Taku is my favorite, too.

    I prefer Haines to Skagway. Haines is more scenic - has a great hiker/biker campground right on the water's edge - has fewer tourons from cruise ships - and is a bit funkier. If you do the Haines Jct route, be sure to overnight at the Nadahini Hilton north of the Yukon border in the high tundra of Three Guardsmen Pass. A 6 x 12 plywood cabin with a plexiglass picture window of the mountains - and free.

    The Klondike Highway up to Dawson City is paved but rather blase. Usually in black spruce forest with rolling hills. There are a couple of nice spots along the Yukon River. The Dempster up to Inuvik is gravel with lots of dust on dry days and people who go too fast and really kick it up. Tombston Range comes early on, then a lot of tundra.

    Best - J
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  10. #10
    One Hep Cat Joe Dog's Avatar
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    Thanks, jamawani - I did not have an answer on the ferry question, but you did.

  11. #11
    sth
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    Great info, Jamawani! Thanks. That link is much easier to read. If things dont change too much this summer, because of the ferry sinking, and I can stick to my original plans, I think the North is on the planning books for '07. Do you know what the road west from Dawson into Alaska is like? I realize the Dempster could be a great big ugly but I am kinda looking at it as more of a challenge, a goal. I couldnt go to Dawson and then pass on Inuvik. Would likely fly out of Inuvik.

    Sounds like the two people missing on the ferry did go down with it. No sign of them turning up after nearly 48 hours. Strange, too, as it took an hour to go down. Lots of time for an orderly evacuation and for everyone to know what is going on.

    Hopefully they get the little boat running on this route soon.

    Have you seen this Journal: http://www.geocities.com/leon_mauric...rone/index.htm

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