Alaska Marine Highway with motorcycle

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by crashmaster, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2007
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    Alaska
    Because or problems getting a Canadian Visa in time, I might have to go from Bellingham to Whittier on the AMHS. However, all the vehicle spaces are booked for the entire summer.

    My question is how they deal with motorcycles, in other words do they stuff them into the corners when you show up, like on every other ferry? So if the website says there are no more spots for vehicles, would that mean no more spots for motorcycles as well?

    Thanks, Vin
    #1
  2. mightymanx

    mightymanx Cheap-ass KLR rider.

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    Your best bet is to call there are always cancelations as well.
    #2
  3. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it?

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  4. Nanuq

    Nanuq Aventurer by Trade

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    Two things: I've showed up with no reservations and the boat packed in the middle of August, literally with no room to set up a tent or find a chair to sleep on under the salarium. The worse I've had it in Bellingham is when they had me wait for everybody to load and then they ask the lower deck guys if they have room-those guys are awesome and very accomodating, some of them riders themselves. They have always stuffed me on the boat somewhere. I've even had to strap my bike to the posts. There is ultimately a limit, but I find more success by showing up at the ferry terminal or calling the terminal directly when somebody is working the window. It happens all of the time, those of us that use the ferry as a way of life it's equivelent to catching the bus or taking a taxi, usually no worries. Now if you want a cabin that is a different story-camping on the boat is fine, there are showers to use and plenty of room on the upper deck or down below in the common areas. I would call the Bellingham terminal or even the Juneau terminal and see if they can work it a bit for you. The Alaska Marine Highway site is not always accurate. Additionally ask about the discount for going and returning to the same port, often times they won't charge for the rider.


    It's a bummer about your paperwork, I debated about taking the ferry a couple of summers ago when I was returning home to Sitka, I was passing Bellingham with about two hours before departure. As i passed the exit I thought "screw it," and I kept crusing into the evening and ended up camping at the face of the Big Cheif climging wall just south of Whistler, B.C. I had a blast and took my time cruising the long way through B.C. and I beat the same boat into Skagway four days later. I even had a few hours to spare while I waited for it in Skagway. I hopped the ferry and headed to Sitka.


    Good luck and have fun!
    #4
  5. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Nanuq, thanks so much for the information, that helps me quite a bit. Hopefully the Canadian Visa will come through, but its always good to know that I would have a chance at a back up.

    Sorry folks, I posted a new thread before I saw the other thread, my bad.

    Thanks, Vin
    #5
  6. noshoes

    noshoes soñando con México

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    When you coming up to AK?
    #6
  7. TeneRay

    TeneRay 2>4

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    I have the same question but the other way.

    Everything is set for going to Alaska. I depart from Prince Rupert, ferry to Gustavas, then Haines. From Haines, I ride to AK and fart around for two weeks. However, I want to ferry from one of the Anchorage area ports back to Bellingham.

    The Anchorage area ports I'm referring to are Whittier, Homer, or Valdez. The AMHS site says they're all full. I called the AMHS service desk and the guy was not being very responsive or helpful. All he said I could do was pay the reservation fee for a passenger which would add me to the waitlist. If I don't withdraw by July 2nd, I'll lose my deposit regardless. On July 2nd, I plan on being in an area with no cell reception so that option isn't going to work.

    I'd really like to leave from Valdez. Anyone have any luck going to WA from any of these ports when booked full?
    #7
  8. CheckerdD

    CheckerdD Long timer

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    Dave Rankine, Reno NV
    Ironically I just got off the AK ferry Columbia at Bellingham today. 1) Depending on the season it's fairly easy for them to add an extra bike on the ferry. 2) As shown on the linked thread, they park the bikes in the front of the boat. The boat loads at the front in Haines, the rear in Bellingham. I.E. They put the bikes on first in BH, last in H. The terminal in Bellingham is only about 10 mins off I-5 so you wont waste much time if you just show up and see if they can fit you, which they most likely can do. If you miss the ferry take I- 5 up to the Canadian boarder, and then take the Sea to Sky Hwy from Vancouver to Wistler BC. That is one of the worlds great Motorcycle roads. If you continue on that road, it takes you to 97 North - the bottom of the Alaska Highway. So you do not go out of your way much by going to Bellingham. 3) The Alaska Highway is the easiest road to Alaska but the lower half is so straight these days, you might as well be in Kansas. If you want some excitement, check out the Cassiar highway. Canada route 37. Note a useful tool are the highway cams at www.driveBC.CA You can tell from them if it's really raining. By the way getting to Haines does not solve your visa problem. Most ride into Canada after Haines. Take a look at the schedule from Haines to Whittier. It used to be really limited. Dave
    PS And yes Crash master I am grateful for your informative posts in the Latin America forum.
    #8
  9. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Thanks for all the info folks. I'm putting the GF on the ferry from B'ham to Whittier and riding solo up to my place in G'wood.
    #9