The Columbia is one of the main long-haul ships of the Alaska Marine Highway system. She did the four-day journey from Skagway to Bellingham and back. This ship had over 400 passengers, a hundred plus cars, 50 motorcycles, numerous18-wheelers, and many commercial trailers plus a crew of 65. The ship traveled at 20 knots had bow thrusters for amazing maneuverability in and out of the hundreds of islands, reefs, and rocks along the journey. The four-day trip was a milk-run with many stops along the way and travelled the inland passage between the islands where the seas were smooth and only for a one-day stretch heading to Bellingham, did we ever get in to open sea. The trip was perfectly smooth, no rain, and blue skies all the way. As the crew told me, this was a rare event. Just my luck.
There are several classes of service on this ship. Janine and I had our own cabin with bathroom and shower. Other classes of service included communal bathrooms and showers while you slept on the floor or on couches in the main passenger room. The cheapest class of service was on the back deck where you could pitch your tent and deal with the elements. This was old-school hippie backpacker-style travel.
This post is a segment of the journey driving from Alaska to Southern California.