Breaking News…Part One of My Alaska/Canada Road Trip Itinerary Has Changed

Alaska Marine Highway
Photo from the Alaska Marine Highway Website

Last week I shared part one of a proposed itinerary for my Alaska/Canada Road Trip in my “Preparing Myself for a Road Trip” post.  Things have changed.  Although I’d really love to drive all the way to Alaska a different opportunity arose to today.  I’m purchasing a roundtrip ticket on the Alaska Marine Highway (the ferry).  I’ll still have plenty of driving to do, but by taking the ferry I knock over 2,800 miles off.

My parents take the ferry to and from Alaska at least once a year.  They tell me the scenery is spectacular.  With less time driving, I’ll have more time to enjoy the sights and share them on my blog.  Not to mention, I will no longer have to tell people “I’ve never been to Southeast Alaska”.

Before I share the itinerary, here is the math that helped seal the deal.


  • Roundtrip mileage will be approximately 4,500.
  • Conservatively my car will get 18 miles per gallon (it might be closer to 20, but I can’t be certain).
  • Gas prices in Washington are around $4.10 per gallon, but in some places in Canada I may spend up to $8.00 per gallon.  For the sake of estimation, I’m assuming an average of $5.00 per gallon.

Driving the entire way will cost $1,250.

Ferry and Driving

  • Roundtrip mileage will be approximately 1,636.
  • Using the same math as above fuel will cost $454.
  • The cost of the roundtrip ferry is $1,694.

Taking the ferry and driving will cost $2,148.

The Price Difference

The price difference is $898.  If I divide that amount by the number of miles I won’t be driving, the cost per mile is 31 cents.  Driving those additional 2,864 will cause additional wear and tear on my car.  That wear and tear will eat up the savings I’d experience by driving the entire way.

Other Factors

Money is not the only deciding factor.

The Pros

  • I like the idea of being able to sightsee instead of focusing on driving safely.
  • I’ll still go through Canada.
  • I’ll still get to Alaska on the same day.
  • I’ll still drive a significant portion of the Alaska Highway (for the experience).

The Cons

  • It will cost more.
  • I won’t be driving the full length of the Alaska Highway like I planned.
  • I won’t be visiting Liard Hot Springs. which holds fond memories from my teen years.

My New Itinerary

Because I’m purchasing my ferry tickets tonight, this itinerary won’t change…I promise.


  • May 11th at 6:00 pm – Depart Bellingham, Washington.
  • May 13th at 7:00 am – Arrive in Ketchikan, Alaska for a two hour layover.
  • May 13th at 2:30 pm – Arrive in Wrangell, Alaska for a one hour layover.
  • May 13th at 6:30 pm – Arrive in Petersburg, Alaska for a one hour layover.
  • May 14th at 3:45 am – Arrive in Juneau, Alaska for a two hour layover.
  • May 14th at 10:15 am – Arrive in Haines, Alaska.


  • May 14th – Drive from Haines, Alaska to Haines Junction, Yukon Territory.
  • May 15th – Drive from Haines Junction, Yukon Territory to Tok, Alaska.
  • May 16th – Drive from Tok, Alaska to Wasilla, Alaska.

Stay tuned for my upcoming posts about my Alaska/Canada Road Trip.  I can’t wait to share my experiences.

4 Replies to “Breaking News…Part One of My Alaska/Canada Road Trip Itinerary Has Changed”

  1. Pingback: Dogs on the Alaska Marine Highway System (Alaska Ferry) | Travel, Photography, and Other Fun Adventures

  2. This is a GREAT COMBINATION Pam. Take a deep breath in Juneau, my birthplace and home for 30 some years. The Alaska Ferry System allowed small towns like Juneau, Kake, Haines, Ketchikan, Petersburg, and Wrangell to send basketball teams around Southeast Alaska when the previous options included only expensive airplane trips. The ferry system opened the world to Southeast and is still one of the best values around for the scenic beauty and the quiet peacefulness of a water voyage.

    • I get into Juneau at 3:45 am, so I’ll probably be taking a snore. Just kidding. I will definitely try to be awake just to see it.