Friday, July 25, 2008

Alaska #6 -- July 25, 2008

On Friday, 11-July-2008, we awoke and looked out the window at Skagway's famous Ore Dock and Ore House (!). When we were up and dressed I looked out to starboard and saw a string of White Pass and Yukon passenger cars, spotted below a cliff covered with graffiti left by the crews of many ships that had called at Skagway.

We were on the second section of the three-section morning train. It was pulled by a pair of shovel-nosed GE locomotives, flanking an ALCO. The first section was for people from the Coral Princess, which was docked behind us.

Our companions on the train had mobility issues, so we were in a handicapped-accessible car. I didn't write down the number. The wheelchair lift worked smoothly and lifted them right in. My daughter and I climbed up and the next car and crossed back. There were three wheelchairs and a mobility scotter aboard. There were rails in the floor so that seats could be added or removed.

We enjoyed looking at Skagway as the train rolled out of town. My wife said it looked like a place where people really live.

Once we passed the town limits, they announced that we could stand on the platforms as much as we wanted, as long as we did not cross between cars. I spent most of the trip on the platform, watching the waterfalls and catching glimpses of the other two sections. I missed the bear.

I'll write more about the train trip on my Park Trains and Tourist Trains page (

When we got back to Skagway, we pulled off the main line and into the station. Our companions insisted that we get off while they rode back to the ship. We later learned that because of the area's severe tides, it took a lot of assistance to get them aboard.

We walked around Skagway, visiting various businesses along Broadway, including the Sweet Tooth Cafe. We picked it because it reminded us of Bill's Place in San Francisco. We wanted simple food after all the fancy stuff on the ship. My wife had fish and chips and my daughter and I had grilled cheese sandwiches.

We had a nice walk back to the ship, but I learned why the Tlingit name means "place of the winds". It got to be very windy and cold.

Skagway was our favorite port in Alaska.

I took the photo in the White Pass and Yukon station.

Johnny Griffin died today.

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