Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter #18
Isuzu Trek Rally is forming up at the National Trek Rally
Clark (clarkvg at charter.net) says: The National Rally is
scheduled for the June 7-12. Its going to be at the Missouri State Fairgrounds
in Sedalia, Missouri. www.trektalk.net has more info...
We currently do not subscribe to Trektalk so I
have to rely on their website. If you thinks it's a good idea, mention in the
newsletter that I'm facilitating the I-trek session(s) and have those interested
contact me, or Al (trektalk) about topics and suggestions. I need
to do some planning to determined how much time we will need at the
Rally for topics. I want to get back to Al soon so if we want more than one
session we can fit it into the schedule.
One idea I have for a topic is to revisit "Road
Handling Problem and Solutions for the Isuzu Chassis".
There has been a lot of talk about shocks over the years
on the Treks. The original owner of my '94 2840 (89,000 miles) added a
leaf (spring) on each side on the front and air bags on the rear.
The wandering, swaying, vibrating, and bouncing that I have read about
doesn't exist in my unit as the others have described. The shocks on mind
have never been replaced and they seem to be working fine. I would like to ride
in another Isuzu to experience the ride and then have a couple of others ride in
mine and then discuss the differences(if any) as a topic.
Clark also contributed: We are in the middle of replacing
the speedometer cables and drive gear on our ‘94 2840 Isuzu. Our cables were
very rusty. I would suggest that folks lube their cables.
Somehow they sent the wrong cables or they were redesigned. We ended up taking
the cables to a shop and had them replace one of the ends with one from the old
The cables and gear cost about $70 (wholesale). We bought the parts from a Isuzu
Dealer. We plan to finish installing the cables this week.
Cruise Control Troubleshooting and Repair
Editor Dale (daldr at aol.com) sez:
My cruise control quit working this summer after working
normally for several years. Here is how I went about fixing it:
I sat down and read all the Isuzu Trek Owners
Infoletters pertaining to the Trek cruise control.
I contacted Bill (or Terry) at Acme (800-552-2263 or
574-534-1516) to get them to fax me a set of troubleshooting instructions.
I visually checked for frayed wires at the steering
column as this had been reported as a problem earlier by another Trek owner.
I checked the cable from the servo at the throttle pedal for looseness. It
was properly snug (checks to see if the cable is broken, has come loose from
the servo or is improperly adjusted). Also, I noted that the vacuum light on
the dash illuminated before engine start (tests the bulb and vacuum sensing
system) and that light went out shortly after engine start and that the
brakes worked normally (this tested to see if the vacuum source was normal,
which is used by the cruise control as well as the brakes). Also check
visually the vacuum hose going to the servo for cracks, etc.
Note that the speedometer needle works normally. (the
speedometer cable from the transmission goes directly to the cruise control
servo, then another cable from the servo goes to the speedometer, so this
checks that both cables are OK and working normally).
An easy way to see if the unit is getting electrical
power was the next check. With the ignition switch ‘on’ and the cruise
control ‘on’, while Trish pushed and released the ‘set’ button, I
checked for a ‘clicking’ sound at the servo (can-like device with two
cables coming out the left (vehicle left) side, one cable coming out the
back, vacuum hose coming out the right side, three wires coming out the top,
a green (ground) wire attached to the frame or housing of the servo). The
servo is located just inside the front access panel and about a foot left of
center (vehicle left or your right) and below the level of the access panel
door. The servo contains the ‘brains’ of the cruise control and a
diaphragm across which vacuum works to activate the throttle cable. There
are five or six small holes on the bottom side of the can to allow the
non-vacuum side of the diaphragm to have access to atmospheric pressure. (I
actually had a mechanic from a well recognized Isuzu repair facility in OR
see one of those little holes and want to epoxy it closed, saying this was
the cause of the problem. For a qualified mechanic who is supposed to
understand pneumatics, this was an incredible brain fart!). If the clicking
sound is heard, proceed to #6. If not, remove the two electrical plugs
(three wires) on the servo and inspect for corrosion of the contacts, then
clean and replace. Now try #5 again. If still no clicking is heard, locate
the fuse case and check the fuse (hard to find – located separately, tied
up somewhere near the steering column under the dash – it may be up so
high under the dash that you need to remove the top of the dash panel to get
to it and that’s easy to do – just take the four screws out of the panel
sides and the top cover of the entire dashboard cover will rotate up. If its
still not apparent where it is, see Ken Harmon’s description of where the
components are in Infoletter #14).
Test drive the Trek, getting it up to 45 mph then hold
down the ‘resume’ button for a full minute. If you feel pressure on the
accelerator pedal like the cruise control is taking over, the problem is in
the relay (about the size of a small matchbox with two red and two blue
wires coming out of it, located somewhere near the steering wheel column,
under the dash). If nothing happens (cruise control doesn’t try to take
over), the problem MAY not be the relay. If the problem is the relay, you
have two options: one, buy a new relay from ACME (this historically is a
weak point in the system so you may want to consider option two which is to
buy two relays from Radio Shack and accomplish Ken Harmon’s modification (Infoletter
#14 ). Ken also described therein some other good reasons to replace the
ACME relay. Get Ken or I to send you the schematic for the mod.
Accomplish the electrical testing found in the ACME
troubleshooting document. This is easily done in less than 10 minutes and
should eliminate or find any problem in the electrical system.
If the electrical system checks out OK, you have now
eliminated problems with not having power, problems with the electrical
system, problems with the speedometer cables, problems with the vacuum
source. All that is left is the servo itself. This turned out to be my
problem. $75-100 later, a new servo from ACME will show up at your door.
Installing it is not difficult, but I recommend not removing the servo until
you are immediately ready to install the new one, lest you forget exactly
how you did it. Here is how: Remove both speedometer cables, being careful
with the top one (goes to the speedometer gauge) as it has a small extension
part at the servo end – don’t lose it. Remove the two wire plugs (three
wires). Remove the vacuum hose at the servo. Remove the two nuts attaching
the servo to its mounting bracket. Have someone inside the coach hold the
accelerator pedal down or put a stick between the pedal and the front of the
driver’s chair to accomplish the same thing, to give you enough slack to
be able to pull the bell housing of the throttle cable (backside of the
servo and held in place by the two nuts you just removed) away from the
servo far enough to remove the pin that holds the cable to the servo. Now
remove the servo from its bracket and rotate it so you can remove the ground
(green) wire from the servo housing. Reverse the process to install the new
one. If you are lucky, it will be good and will work, as mine did….and
Editor Dale: A while back the bong warning and red
flashing light quit working on my RVA leveler jacks. They worked fine but the
normal ‘down’ warning was missing. Since I was going to be in Escondido, CA
(where RVA is located) in a few weeks, I called them and made an appointment.
They found a broken wire in the left front wheel well and quickly had me on my
way again. There have been many excellent reports on the service provided by
this manufacturer, so I’ll add my thanks for a job well done on a fine
product. Their website is www.rvajacks.com
The ‘Ken Harmon Section’
Ken (Kencathyha at aol.com)
has been such a wonderful contributor to our knowledge base over the years of
the Isuzu Trek Owners Infoletter, he almost needs his own section in the
Infoletter. The following contributions, as usual, are well written, resourced
and solved. Thank you, Ken. Here they are:
Blackwater Odors (Ken
Soon after taking delivery of our Trek I found there were bad odors in the
bathroom after driving in windy conditions or when trucks caused large puffs of
wind as they passed. I suspected problems with the overfill tube in
side of the toilet bowl. Removing the toilet and investigating the design of the
overfill “J” trap tube in the base of the toilet, I noticed it did not have
much of a low spot to hold water and keep odors from coming up from the
blackwater tank. The flapper valve on the end of the tube looked
like it was
subject to fouling and would not work reliably. Relocating the “J”
trap so it
had a better low point helped somewhat but the water would still
blow out of the trap and let the odor up into the toilet bowl.
I spoke with Thetford and they said they were removing the “J” traps
their newer designs so I plugged the tube on my mine. During the same
troubleshooting operation I found a problem with the blackwater tank vent on
at the right rear corner of the coach. The hole in the roof was more
inch larger than the pipe. The gap between the pipe and the roof
vapors to reenter the coach and spread through the rear cap of the
problem was solved by installing window sealing putty (the type that is
For the next four years or so the odor problem was solved but eventually
returned. I traced the problem to the original Thetford Aqua-Magic 4
It had developed a leak at the flange where the bowl and pedestal are
sealed and assembled at the factory. I tried to reseal it with no
installed a new Aqua-Magic 4 and it solved the problem for the next five
Then the problem came back.
This time I drained and dried out the whole system, closed the bathroom
drain and sealed it with duct tape, and taped over the sink overflow
Then I tested it by hooking up the outlet of a shop vacuum
cleaner to the
sewer hose so I could blow a slight pressure through the entire system and
let it exhaust out the open roof vent. Using a small strip of
detected air movement behind the toilet. I removed the unit and
tried to reseal
upper and lower halves with no luck.
When I went back to get another Aqua-Magic 4 I found they were no longer
available. I purchased the new Aqua-Magic 5 which was supposed to be
replacement. The installation did require an extension of the water
connection. On my first trip the odor problem was very bad. I
removed the unit while
on the road and discovered it needed a thicker seal between the base of
toilet and the floor. I was able to locate a thicker aftermarket seal that
solved the seal problem - but the odor was still bad. When I got
home I set up
my shop vac air test system and found air movement behind the new
removed the toilet, fitted a seal to the bottom flange, and put a slight
pressure inside the toilet. With bubble solution I found not one,
not two, but
three separate leaks in the aft side of the new toilet. Back on the
Thetford offered to replace the toilet but I was not interested in another
unit from the same production run that could have all the same problems.
upgraded to one of the new “Style Lite China Bowl” units with a much
design. The unit has been in use for several months with no hint of
Exhaust Manifold Cracks (Ken Harmon)
After my earlier problems with Isuzu exhaust manifold fasteners breaking
(written up in the Infoletters), I tried to keep a close watch on the
attachments. On a recent trip I thought I could hear a slight “ticking”
sound similar to the original stud problem and leaking exhaust gasket. A
inspection did not disclose any problems that I could see.
At the next maintenance interval I removed the turbocharger heat shield to
repair a crack in the shield. This would be the third repair on this
particular item. When the shield was on the bench I noticed a spot
of black soot on
the inside of the shield. I inspected the area on the exhaust
the soot could have originated and found a clean 3/4 inch-long crack in
exhaust manifold. The crack was very difficult to see. The crack
the top center of the turbocharger mounting flange and went inboard into
I scheduled the motorhome into the local Isuzu shop in Albuquerque to have
the manifold replaced. When the manifold was removed one large and
cracks were found in the lower flange of the turbo mount. If the
lower cracks had connected through the manifold I could have ended up with
two-piece manifold and a very large leak.
We have 155,000 miles on our rig now. My advice is to check your
manifold bolts frequently and the exhaust manifold carefully with
miles. If you need service in the Albuquerque area, Big West Isuzu
has an experienced Isuzu service technician: ask for Dan Galbraith.
Air Conditioning Problem (Ken Harmon)
Traveling in hot weather this summer I began to notice poor air
performance while traveling through cities with stop-and-go traffic.
highway it worked okay. Investigating the problem I found that the
fan (the one that sucks air through the condenser) was no longer operating
the fan blades would not move. The condenser is right behind the
grill and the puller fan is attached to the back side of the condenser.
Acme in Goshen, Indiana, suggested a couple of places in the area that
have part but none of them had the correct fan. One source suggested
universal fan available from Car Quest and I looked at that unit. It
a bit less, and I would have tried to use it but the tools I had on the
were too limited to attempt to adapt that fan to the Trek.
I ordered a replacement fan from Acme; Part No. 430-384, “fan assembly
pull through”. The mounting tabs for the fan are P/N 4100651, “mounting
90 degree”, 4 each required. The condenser mounting hardware kit
250-280. Replacing the fan was no problem with the front grill
removed. Be sure
to check the new fan to verify that it is pulling air; if not, switch the
wires to change the fan rotation.
After buying our coach it took me a long time to realize how the
heat and air conditioning switches work. When you need air
just push the button for the air source and distribution you want.
pull the button out it deactivates the air conditioning system, including
the puller fan, but it still allows air to flow the way you want it
Pressing the defrost button gives you air conditioned cold air on the
To get heat, pull the defrost button out to turn the air conditioning
off (including the puller fan) and then move the heat lever to warm. I
I drove through a couple of ice storms picking up a lot of ice on the
windshield before I figured this out.
Roof Maintenance (Ken Harmon)
(Editor’s note: See also the same topic by jfigueras,
Inspecting the roof I noticed numerous small cracks, less than 1/16 inch,
the fiberglass roof mat. In addition there was a fine white powder
exposed glass fibers starting to appear on the surface. I think the
gel coat that had deteriorated in the sun, exposing the glass fibers.
I started looking for some type of surface treatment to stop the
deterioration. For some reason the Monaco reps that I had spoken
with earlier did not
recommend the “snow white” roof treatments I have seen in the local
store. I began to look into deck paints used on fiberglass boats.
The product I used was Blue Water Mega Gloss 8701 white paint from Blue
Water Marine Paint,
1999 Elizabeth Street, North Brunswick, NJ, 08902, (800)628-8422. I
their recommended primer and thinner. To remove the loose fibers and
powder, I used a wire brush mounted on a push broom handle to scrub the
surface of the fiberglass roof mat. I used water to facilitate the
brushwork and carry away the dirt, powder, and fibers.
After masking the roof I used regular enamel paint rollers to put down the
primer and paint. I did not remove any equipment from the roof, just
brushed as far as I could under and around things and then used a paint brush
get back under things as far as I could.
Engine Warm-up Shakes (Ken Harmon)
Over time I began to notice increased engine roughness during the warm-up
cycle on cold morning starts. The problem became very pronounced, with
engine rolling in the mounts and lots of white smoke (unburned fuel) out of
exhaust. The next time I had the motorhome in the shop I had the
nozzles cleaned and flow checked. All nozzles were okay but I continued
have the problem. The engine would start and run perfectly for about
Then it would gradually get rougher until it shook and rolled very hard,
and then quit.
Troubleshooting information from my local dealer and FMI in Portland
suggested things like a bad injector pump, air leaking into gascolator,
brake closing too far, and several other things. I had already
at the glow plugs, the #1 and #2 glow plug relay circuits, and the
air heater circuit.
Fortunately, during one of my early troubleshooting sequences I happened
shut the engine off, turn the key back on to the accessory position, and cycle
the engine warm-up switch. With little background noise in the area I could
hear a “sucking” sound coming from someplace on the right side
engine. Checking the service manual I found there are two vacuum-operated
on the fuel injector pump. The Fast Idle Actuator is used to
rpm during the warm-up cycle. The actuator is mounted horizontally
on top of
the fuel injector pump; look for it a few inches below and slightly forward
of the fuel filter canister.
When I checked the hose connection to the Fast Idle Actuator, the hose
off in my hand. It was cracked and crispy on the end. Looking at
end of the hose I could see that it was cracked where it attached to the
solenoid valve mounted on the frame rail. After replacing the hose,
start and warm up is noticeably improved, with a definite engine rpm
when the warm-up switch is cycled on and off with a cold engine.
The second vacuum-operated item on the fuel injector pump is the Aneroid
Compensator, shown under the title “Fuel Low Cut Function” in the
manual. When I looked at this device I found that the vacuum hose was
connected. To find the Aneroid Compensator, look for the round
device on the
very back end of the injector pump. I installed a new hose connecting the
Aneroid Compensator and the controlling solenoid mounted on the frame (in a very
difficult location). According to the manual this device “reduces
amount of heat developed by combustion” by cutting the fuel flow to the
5% when the coolant temperature reaches 208 degrees F.
In light of the discussions about power boosting the Isuzu engine I think it
is interesting a device was installed to limit the top end fuel flow
delivered to the engine.
Roof Repair: another approach
Joanne Figueras (j.figueras at verizon.net )
contributes: Last fall we discovered water stains on the driver’s side
ceiling; they extended from the bed inset (no leak over the bed, thank goodness)
back to the refrigerator and over to the AC. I pulled the speakers and AC cover
and felt inside the ceiling as far as I could reach, but didn’t discover
anything. The wood framework for the AC didn’t show any evidence of water, and
the gasket looked OK, but I tightened the bolts anyway. I then went onto the
roof and found some loose caulk around a screw holding a solar panel (which is
in front of the AC), and I saw many tiny cracks in the fiberglass. We had the
roof painted about 5 years ago, and the cracks are definitely into the glass and
not just the paint. I can’t tell how deep, but if water puddled over them it’s
possible that it got through. All the seams are firmly covered with cloth-backed
Eternabond and look tight.
We moved a dehumidifier into the RV and waited. No more
stains in spite of more rain. We decided it might have been just the driving
rain of the northeaster that caused the leak. I moved the RV to a different
off-level location, and after more rain found more ceiling stains—this time
over the door. Apparently water had run across to the other side. I pulled the
light and other speaker to help dry inside the ceiling, and we covered the rig
with a tarp—which we should have done originally.
That’s where it now stands. I read RV posts about
sealing roofs, including Ken’s using Blue Water Mega Gloss, and I’ve talked
with several companies about their products, and as of now I’m planning to use
Liquid Roof, an EPDM rubber coating (www.epdmcoatings.com).
By the time I decided on the product, it was too cold here on Cape Cod for it to
cure—needs 55 degrees for several days. I will remove the AC and 4 solar
panels, prepare the surface, coat, let cure till it’s walkable (about 4 days),
and then replace the stuff. I’ll be able to refrigerate Liquid Roof for use
over the solar panel bracket screws after I replace the panels. Cost of
materials (4 gallons of product) will be about $300.
This is the plan. We considered driving south or west to
do the work, but since we’re having a very pleasant winter here, and since the
logistics of carrying ladders and other tools are daunting, we’ll probably
just wait for spring. Comments welcome!
CO Detector Failure
(Also from Joann Figuras): Our original CO detector
started beeping about once a minute last fall, and nothing made it quit. The
best-price replacement I’ve found (for a good one) is the CCI flush-mount
model, available for $65 from rvshop.com. The next cheapest price for the same)
model is $99 on sale at pplmotorhomes.com.
Alternator Failure far into the Boondocks: A Quick Fix
Editor Dale says: Three hundred miles south of the border
in Mexico, on a remote beach I found out the alternator had quit some miles back
when I tried to shut off the engine and it wouldn’t shut off. Moments later,
it shut off by itself. After the appropriate “Oh-oh”, I tried to restart the
engine but it wouldn’t crank. The battery voltage was very low. The engine
started using the ‘boost’ switch that brings the house batteries on line to
start the engine so we could move to our overnite spot, a long way from
anywhere. Curiously, the ‘battery’ warning light never came on. We had been
running that day with headlights on. We were two days driving from our
destination for the winter.
Our problem was that neither the generator nor the
inverter (that charges the house batteries) provides a charge for the chassis
batteries. I ran a 10 gauge wire I had in my tool kit between the positive
terminals of the house and chassis batteries, then ran the generator for an hour
that evening and again in the morning. The engine started normally, and we drove
for 2 hours (lights off this time) before the monitor showed the house (and
chassis) batteries to be significantly discharged. Then we ran the generator
(while continuing on our way) for 45 minutes, after which we could drive another
two hours before needing the generator again. We were able to continue with this
scheme to our destination.
Upon inspection, the alternator appeared to have oil
stains on its underside, so I assumed the alternator and regulator (which is
internal in the alternator) were ruined because of Al Readdy’s report in the
last Infoletter, so I ordered a new rebuilt unit from an Oregon Isuzu truck
dealer and a friend brought it down a month later, along with a new charge relay
that should be replaced whenever there is an alternator failure.
We removed the left front tire to gain access to the
alternator. That, in itself was a learning experience. We thought we would never
get the lug nuts off until we found out that the lugs on the left side of the
Trek are left-hand thread! Once we could see the left side of the alternator, it
appeared we were in luck! We discovered that the positive (output) wire terminal
had cracked and the wire was not well connected to the post on the alternator.
After repair, alternator function was normal. The oil on the bottom of the
alternator was due to a very minimal seep. Possibly, the battery light did not
come on because a small, possibly intermittent current was able to get through
the badly cracked terminal. It is comforting to know that one can carry on, at
least during daylight hours, in their Trek, with the use of a simple wire
between the positive terminals of the house and chassis batteries.
EMB Rack attachments again
John (cvrwy at highstream.net)
has listed his fix to keep the EMB rack alignment proper so the gears don’t
jump notches when the bed is raised or lowered: A month or
so ago, I posted a story to the TrekTracks MSN group on the faults of the method
of anchoring the original EMB gear/rack to the wall of a coach. I pointed out to
the group that as the EMB motor turns the gears there not only is an up/down
force that moves the bed but there is also a force that tries to push the rack
away from the gear.
The main point that I made to the group is that the aluminum frame of our
coaches does not lend itself as an excellent base for the EMB rack. Aluminum is
soft compared to the steel rack attachment bolts and the bolts tend to tear the
thread in the aluminum frame if you torque the bolts too much to get some
rigidity. The bottom line is that from the very beginning the rack cannot be
rigidly anchored to the wall. When operating the EMB, the racks do tend to get
pushed away from the gears which leads to the tooth "skipping" that is
I seem to remember that one of the group members used long carriage bolts that
went completely though the side wall in order to keep the rack rigid. An
excellent fix, but I didn't like the idea of the carriage bolt head being
visible on the outside of the coach.
Of all the methods I thought of to keep the racks rigid, my current fix was the
least obtrusive, at least to us. I merely inserted a horizontal 3/8 diameter
steel rod running front to back between the two racks at the level of the bottom
of the valance, to keep the racks from moving away from the gears. Only one 3/8
clearance hole needs to be drilled on each rack. No disassembly of any part of
the EMB needs to be done. The rod's length is adjustable to allow for the
correct spacing of the two racks and for it's installation.
The length of the rod is the distance between the racks plus about 1/2 inch. I
threaded both ends of the rod and then painted it black. On one end, the length
of the thread is just long enough to jam a regular nut against the end of the
thread and have about 1/4 inch of the rod extend beyond the nut, or about 1/2
inch of thread. I locked this nut further with Locktight. On the other end, I
threaded the rod about 1-1/2 inches long so that I could thread the nut far
enough down the rod so I could insert the rod between the racks. Once the rod
was inserted, I snugged this nut up against the rack to hold it and the rod in
position. I used a nylon insert locknut on this second end.
I used the steel spacer rod because the 3/4 inch square backup tube welded to
the rack lent itself to this method. I would be a bit reluctant to use this
method if I did not have the steel tube backup. I understand that some Treks do
not have this backup tube on their racks.
Since I installed the rods, we haven't had a hint of the EMB wanting to skip a
tooth. So far and hopefully for the future, all is well.
Alaska: The Inside Passage by Trek
Linda Dahle (lindadahle at bdumail.com) provides
this great writeup for those of us who are thinking about doing the Inside
Passage by Trek:
I was prepared that Alaska would be stunning, I was not
prepared for the thrill of the inside passage. I am delighted to try and share
my experience with you, and hope you will make the trip yourself one day. I had
started making plans in February for a travel time of Memorial Weekend. The
Milepost magazine was the first thing, what an excellent book and probably paid
for itself by keeping me from backtracking or missing turns. There are free
coupon books and advertisement flyers along the way with maps and so forth but I
was still glad I bought the Milepost.
. The Alaska Ferry System has an excellent web site, www.FerryAlaska.com,
I used it to plan my stops and get an idea on cost as well as amenities on
board. When it came time to firm reservations and purchasing my ticket, I was
overwhelmed by all the choices. I got ideas talking with others and thebest was
to use a travel agent who was Alaskan to plan my ferry schedule. I highly
The Travel Connection
PO Box 645
Haines, Alaska 99827
She planned my trip so that I wasn’t getting on and off
in the middle of the night. I had decided to take my Trek off at each town and
stay 2 to 3 days. I had thought of this as a once in a life-time trip and I was
going to see everything. She knew that I would want a cabin one the first leg
from Bellingham, WA to Ketchican AK. It’s 30 hours and one full night. There
are showers available without a cabin but sleeping on the floor in the movie
lounge or in a lawn chair on the outside deck for overnight wasn’t me. We did
plenty of that on the other legs of the trip. The cabin was $300.
We sat on the top bunks part of the time and watched for
FINS going by, That was a blast. Up in the forward observation lounge we met so
many other binocular clad adventurers to hang out with and the view
Many of us had books along, few were read. The water, the
land, it was so close, just a stones throw away. Each bend had something, a
whale, of course, but waterfalls and icebergs and glaciers and eagles
............wow. And then the towns, each one is so different from the others,
with different history and flavor. We joined the American Legion for Memorial
Day pancakes and ceremony, another place we played bingo with all 13 native
women regulars. Sitka, wow it’s Russian. Our ferry was part of a rescue of a
shipwrecked man. I loved it. At each town we drove to the end of the passable
roads. We camped for $7 or $10 at state campgrounds and some places parked in
the ferry parking lot overnight. On the last leg from Juneau to Haines we were
on the 2 day old "fast ferry".
The trip from Bellingham to Haines was 15 days total. And
the total cost was $2,300, that included one adult, 28 foot motorhome, one cabin
for first leg, 2 pets. At each stop there were up to 6 cruise ships worth of
people. They would be there in the mornings and depart between 2 and 4 pm. They
did not interfere with our trip since we had theTrek and could get further than
6 blocks from the pier. I would not take a regular cruise on the inside passage
for a couple of reasons. They cannot go through a good portion of the passage so
they are cruising on the "outside", where the seas can be rough and
the view a ways off. Also they are always in a crowd. The cruise ships also own
or are affiliated with most of the close in gift shops. We were able to get to
the locally owned shops. Juneau was a night mare of people, luckily we had come
in during the afternoon and seen some of it before it was invaded the next
morning with 6 ships. And then we escaped to the most perfect bay 16 miles to
the end of the road.
Things of note: I had my 2 pets seen in WA for the ferry
paperwork, it wasn’t within 14 days of departure and I was lucky they let us
on. There was a one time $50 fee for the pets. Several times a day there is a
car call were you are allowed on the car deck to feed and exercise your animal
them. Propane tanks are sealed off, I put a block of ice
in the freezer and the fridge, it worked great. Don’t take a lot of food. You
will be able to get what you need. Someone convinced me not to take my car along
and they were so right. It has to be driven on the ferry separately and if they
drive it on they charge extra. I would have never used it and it would have been
in the way. I took a shotgun and was glad I did, no handguns allowed in Canada
and I was driving back through BC. I did pay $50 for a one year gun permit in
Canada. I didn’t use it but having it along was reassuring. I regret not
buying more seafood in Petersburg, I was thinking it would be available all
along and it wasn’t. We got off at Haines to drive to Anchorage, WE SHOULD
HAVE LEFT THE TREK THERE AND WALKED BACK ON THE FERRY TO SKAGWAY FOR A FEW
HOURS, instead it was a long swing out of my way to stop there on the way
driving through BC and could have been easily seen in a day. Although I did get
to Skagway on Labor Day weekend with the last cruise ships of the season and the
$42 shirts I had admired all summer were half price, that was nice. I took a
sightseeing flight out of Skagway over Glacier Bay......wow, I shutter to think
I almost didn’t. The price was about $120, I paid $200 for a flight at Mount
McKinley and both were the best money I spent.
I was fortunate enough to have the entire summer in
Alaska, I know most people don’t have that much time, I am so lucky. I had my
cousin along for the inside passage and she had been to Alaska 6 times and LOVES
THE INSIDE PASSAGE THE MOST. And now so do I.