Day 30 – July 5, 2001 – It was still raining today, not a downpour but a steady, get-you-wet-and-cold type of rain. We spent the morning packing, adjusting things on the cars, borrowing things from the Capps that they had put on their car but wouldn’t be needing now that they were turning back (gas cans, running board rack, cb radio). It was sad to leave Bill, Sue and David behind but the trip is too hard and too long to keep on if you aren’t enjoying it. We had to check in to board our ferry for Skagway at noon. Once again, we were struck by the inefficiency of a monopoly – the Alaska Marine Highway is the only way to get your vehicle from one point to another in Southeast Alaska and pretty much the only way to get around if you don’t have your own boat or seaplane. Therefore, they can cancel your reservations arbitrarily, make you wait in interminable lines even if you already have your tickets, make you wait in even longer lines to actually put your car on the ship, and then make you spend 45 minutes along the way moving your car around because they decided you needed to move 4 inches to the right. We ran out of complaint forms.
The trip was lovely, even in the rain. Steve Markowski and Cindy Hudgins had flown into Juneau so this was their first ferry passage. Even with the cold and wet, Steve hardly left the deck for the entire way. He got to see a whale which is pretty terrific. The mountains were shrouded in clouds and mist but the outlines were there and we saw three different glaciers, including a great view of the Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau. We arrived in Skagway at 10 pm, nearly two hours later than our tickets had predicted and nearly five hours later than we were originally scheduled before they cancelled that portion of our journey. The town is charming and our hotel was a lovely Victorian restoration. Unfortunately, we were all too tired to do anything but fall into bed.