After a couple of nights in Idaho, we headed on to Tacoma to drop Bucky off at a kennel. Along the way, we spent a night at a nice little RV park in Stanfield, Oregon (at a Pilot truck stop of all places) called, you guessed it: Pilot RV Park. When we were unhooking, I unintentionally broke the safety cable on our breakaway switch on the trailer by opening the hitch without removing the cable first – OOPS! Fortunately, it was fairly cheap to replace and I had to grab a new pressure reducer for our water hose too (I had left ours connected to the hose tree in Eden, ID)!
After Stanfield, we went to a cool RV park in the mountains in Olympia, WA called Riverbend Campground. We just spent one quick night there, but the trees and stars were beautiful! The next day, we dropped Bucky off and struggled through some terrible traffic in Seattle as I tried to find a place to get diesel – we should’ve just stopped in Tacoma. After several hours in traffic, getting gas in downtown Seattle …
… and a few harrowing narrow and steep streets (at one point a guy came out and moved his car so I could make a turn!), we stopped at a mall to try to find a place to store our trailer during our time in Alaska and Canada. We weren’t able to find a place to store the trailer, but fortunately we were able to find a fairly new RV park in Arlington, WA where we could leave the trailer set up during our two-weeks in Alaska and Canada. It wasn’t cheap, but we were very glad to find a place to drop it and the truck off because we were running out of time; it was already about 6 PM, and we still had to drop it off, drive to Vancouver, and pick up Dawn’s mom at the airport in Vancouver (a surprise for the kids) around midnight so she could go with us on the cruise. It ended up being very late when we rolled in to the aptly-named Sandman Hotel in Langley, BC.
After two days to rest and get ready, we drove to Vancouver and boarded the Celebrity Infinity for our Alaskan Cruise!
As we went through security, it was pretty funny when one of the security personnel stopped me to ask if I knew I had a drone in one of my bags! I replied that I did, and they informed me that drones were not allowed to be flown on board; I could keep it in my room, but if I was caught flying it on the ship, they would confiscate it!
Our first port is known as Icy Strait Point near Hoonah, Alaska. After disembarking, we stopped for a lunch consisting of seriously-overpriced fish and chips made with fresh halibut. We were disappointed to find that it was a drone-free zone, so we weren’t able to get any footage from the air, but we enjoyed a quick walk past some of the stores. The kids had a blast on the beach, where we saw at least one little girl enjoying a swim! Our kids loved walking on the rock beach, looking for cool rocks, and tossing as many as they could into the water.
After that, it was on to our whale-watching tour. Be sure to check out the video to see the majestic beauty that we enjoyed! We had a fun cruise out to the location where they usually see whales. Then we spent an hour or so cruising around watching one humpback whale they called Ruffles. We weren’t able to get quite as close as I would’ve liked, but we were still able to hear the sounds Ruffles made every time he came up and breathed out! It was SO much fun to spend some time watching the serene water and mountains from the bow of the boat as we waited for Ruffles to come up for air. We saw his fluke just one time, but we just missed it with our cameras.
During our return, I spent some time talking to the captain and his niece who was also his first mate. He told me they had seen some orcas on the tour earlier in the day, but the sea in that area had gotten too rough to return. I asked about things like cell service and grocery stores. They said they have some stores in Hoonah, but they often fly to go to larger stores like Costco for cheaper supplies. Regarding cell phones, they said AT&T phones show full LTE, but they had been told they only had 3G service in the area. We could certainly attest to that with the weak service we saw on our phones. Once we got back to the pier and got off our tour boat, I remembered I had intended to tip them. I quickly folded up a $20 bill and tried to throw it to the first mate; she missed it, and if fell into the icy water! I was determined not to lose it, so I anchored myself to the pier with my legs and reached out as far as I could to grab it. Dawn, her mom, and the kids had all started walking for the ship and were startled to see what I was doing! Thankfully, I managed to grab the money and get it to the crew without falling in!