Haines Fun

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8.17.08  Haines


Today was a work/play day -we needed the basics with groceries, buy books, get gas, tanks dumped, wash Ciao Baby, etc and we wanted to explore Haines.  Seeing a small town on a Sunday afternoon is not particularly productive, but we did enjoy a short visit to the Sheldon Museum with Tlingit culture information.  


However, talking with locals during all our required tasks is one of our most cherished activities.  The people here are extremely nice and we feel quite at home.  Haines is a gorgeous town along the inlet at the top of the Inside Passage.  It is considered much quieter than Skagway, as the big cruise ships prefer Skagway.  We thought it had just the right mix of activity, shops, and natural beauty.


Haines also apparently has rather mild Alaska weather.  Their record low was -17 some years ago, with record high being 90.  By comparison, Fairbanks can be -40 rather routinely and is typically 90 during the summer, although everyone will admit that this summer has been rainy and “cold” (we’ve heard “the coldest summer on record since 1970”).  We’re just thrilled to avoid the Houston summer.


But today’s most important work came in a long visit to the Haines Ferry Terminal.  Remember when we went to the Alaska Visitor’s Center in Anchorage who “helped’ make our $2400 ferry reservations (for which we could about take a cruise with midnight buffets).  They’d told us to “check in at the Haines Ferry Terminal and they’ll apply the ‘See Alaska’ pass and refund your money for the pass.”  Sound iffy?


Well, when I checked today in Haines (a day early, thankfully)- ah well, not the case at all.  Fortunately, we met an angel nicknamed “Fuzzy,” who manages the Haines Ferry office - she could not have been more helpful.  Most impressive was Fuzzy’s phone discussion with an Alaska Visitor’s Center person (the man who helped me wasn’t there) - she was a class act. 


I think the 1-800 Ferry person provided bad “See Alaska” pass instructions to the Alaska Visitor’s Center person.  The “See Alaska” Pass must be booked and paid for online.  Period.  And one may only have 3 stops for essentially the cost of a “thru pass”- which is a straight shot, without stops, from Haines or Skagway to Prince Rupert (or vice-versa). 


So we will have to figure out what we want to do at this point.


Apparently, the AVC is a commissioned travel agency.  In hindsight, I should have booked it myself online.


We’ll return at 9 am to the ferry terminal tomorrow (Monday) to work it out before our 11:45 am ferry to Skagway.  I really believe Fuzzy will get it worked out for us, if humanly possible.


This little saga has been a terrific travel lesson for Jazy, who helped with the ferry booking in Anchorage, so it’s good for her to see how travel planning works or doesn’t, in spite of our best efforts. 


Jazy has been helpful reading all our travel books so we can explore towns with a plan.  It’s a terrific lesson in synthesizing an overwhelming amount of information - and for tackling a location to experience the essence of a place in a short timeframe.


We met another Lazy Daze owner, the Palmers, today in Haines!  We’d passed them before (near Girdwood?) so it was fun to chat with them today.

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photo by: sheba124