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An Adventure Made in Alaska (Part Two)


We turned to walk up the very dark and isolated boat launch and headlights came roaring up the road; it was two minivan taxis. We jumped in and off we went – word was it would be a 45 minute ride. We drove through some of the prettiest country I’d ever seen and it all went by in a blur. Until it didn’t. Our van slowed down for no reason and stalled as the other taxi continued to drive away. Our driver didn’t seem to speak much English, but that didn’t stop the coaching from the back seat. It didn’t matter because nothing she did seemed to work other than slowing, stopping, starting again, and driving until the next hill when it would begin all over again.

The talk in the minivan quickly turned to panic. “We are going to miss the ferry!” “They won’t wait for us because of the tide.” “Could the driver please just pull over to the side of the road the next time we stall?” One person asked, “Please turn on the flashers.” But we were riding in the only car in the USA that didn’t appear to have emergency flashers. About the time we had given up all hope of reaching the ferry in time, the other taxi came back, cresting the hill in front of us. She made a quick u-turn and we all jumped in, but not until I looked up and saw the most beautiful star lit night sky I had ever seen. The news was good, not only for us, but for the other half of our fellow travelers waiting back on the dock in Wrangell; “Yes, the ferry is waiting for you.”

Once on the ferry, I found a comfortable spot for both lively conversation with my fellow travelers and also sleeping quarters for myself, which turned out to be a long soft bench. My late arrival didn’t avail me of the possibility of a sleeping berth. I slept like a baby, just like always. Eight hours later, we pulled into Juneau and I sleepily followed the crowd off the boat and into a waiting taxi. I shared it with someone whom I met the night before, who was coming home after a two day trip that had turned into a much longer adventure since his original plans was to fly, as well. I met up with Sarah and Carla again and we exchanged stories about our sleeping arrangements. They had found recliners on the top deck that didn’t sound comfortable at all, while I had my bench. They were sure I had scored a stateroom; I had thought the same of them. Nevertheless, the minivan got us all the way to our hotel. We all parted ways and headed to our rooms without our luggage, wondering if our bags were having similar adventures on their way to Juneau.