……AFTER WE FINISH CLIMBING TO THE WHITE PASS SUMMIT !
We were slightly delayed getting into Skagway and getting off the ship. Only one other Holland America ship was with us at this port. We later heard that there had been very strong winds overnight which delayed the docking of the two ships.We also later heard from a guide that Skagway is a Princess/Holland America town, with all the seasonal employees receiving company housing. So that explains a lot of things like 2 Princess and 2 Holland America ships in Juneau and a sort of repeat here.
Skagway is a town of 27 streets and 1000 full-time inhabitants, which swells to several thousands during cruise season. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad was built during the Gold Rush to the Yukon. Some of the failed miners spent their time building instead. The Railroad ceased to function as a route for goods when the highway was finished and actually went out of business until the vintage cars were refurbished and it was turned into a commercial enterprise based entirely on the cruise ship season. The younger guides and workers come for the summer months from their regular home states and then return to Texas or wherever about the first week of October. The bus drivers and other tourist workers also are seasonal. For example, the Webers’ 72-year old driver and his wife arrive in April and rent a place for $8 a day and then will be returning to South Carolina on Friday for the winter months.
While the Mendenhall Glacier was Juneau’s “big gun” destination, the Railroad is the same in Skagway. There are several options on the route with the trip to the Summit at Frasier in BC, Canada being the long one. You MUST have your passport with you to get on this train trip as the Canadian Customs agents board the train in Frasier and they don’t have a sense of humor, so don’t try to take their photo and make sure you follow directions. The bus drivers load tourists in Skagway and then drive up the highway and bring them back in the buses. The scenery is spectacular, with 4-5 changes of vegetation and a number of waterfalls. The Webers also proceeded from Frasier to the Yukon Suspension Bridge, about 20 minutes further into BC, but actually just shy of the Yukon Territory. They will stamp your passport though!
It was a quiet evening at the Wheelhouse Bar, just the Webers and Watsons for the most part. So we still have not heard of any extra adventures. The Lokkens were going to drive a Hummer around the countrysides, so we will report on that after we finally see them. When we left port, they were not paging “missing passenger Lokken” so we assume they are still with us. The Hellmans did the train trip and then spent the rest of the day in the hot tub. The Watsons and Finches and their merry band did some shopping since they have already seen everything multiple times.