ALASKA OR BUST Part 1 of 2

by Louis Bignami

Alaskan wildlife, fishing, scenery and the uncrowded pleasures of the wild offer something for everyone. All agree that no other state offers the variety of outdoor options you can find in Alaska. Few agree on the best way to get there. Some fly; then follow the tour route or rent vehicles. This works if you do not tote too much gear. Some drive in on the Alcan Highway. Some drive to Prince Rupert from Vancouver; others drive up Vancouver Island, ferry cross to Prince Rupert then take the Alaskan Ferry. Or you can take the British Columbia Ferry System to Prince Rupert then change to the Alaskan Ferry. . Of course, if you want to be coddled all the way cruise if you do not mind limited shore time. The choice is yours.

To enjoy Alaska you need to get there. You can fly in if time is more important than money and you do not want to tote home all the fish you catch. As is the case if you cruise or take a organized tour, we fly to Vancouver. If possible we go CP Air because of the good service, nice food and an understanding about the odd shaped packages fishermen and such tote.

If money is more important than time, you probably should drive. From California you have three choices. First, you can drive up scenic Highway 101 or faster, but boring I-5 before you visit scenic Port Townsend and Olympic National Park. Then, if it's not blowing on San Juan de Fuca Strait, enjoy the ferry to Victoria from Port Angeles. In stormy weather this can be a rough trip and lines or cars seem the rule on weekends and holidays.

You can also take the ferry from Seattle to either Victoria or Vancouver. For a more scenic trip, leave from Anacortes on Whidbey Island as your ferry winds through the scenic San Juan Islands to Sidney and visit Victoria. Victoria, the most "English" Canadian city certainly deserves a day's visit and a stop for high tea in the late afternoon.

From Victoria you can hop on the ferry that runs over to Tsawwassen or drive north to Nanaimo and the scenic ferry to Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver. Both routes offer scenic options. If you don't mind rough roads you might drive your own vehicle part or all of the way through Canada and/or Alaska. Your own wheels get you where you want to go when you want to go. Spare parts such as belts and protection over headlights reduce vehicle damage. Load your rig with food and fishing gear and you avoid the often ruinous prices of the Bush too!