Thursday, January 27, 2011

The New Ferry Terminal

It's hard to imagine that it's January 27 already. It's even harder to imagine that the weather on the East Coast is so much worse than what we are experiencing in Alaska at the moment. As you can see from these pictures, the snow is pretty well melted down by the water. Outside of some rotting piles along the streets , most of the snow I see here is confined to the mountains. Just the way I like it. I don't want to gloat though- it could all change in a heartbeat and we could be shoveling mountains of it for the last half of the winter. I hope not.

I know that there are a few former Hoonah residents who follow this blog and it's been awhile since they've been here, so I thought I'd let them see our new ferry terminal. Its a pretty fancy affair, with a covered walkway, fenced in staging area and a huge parking lot. I don't know why we needed something so big. I guess the powers that be figured we'd be needing it some time in the future. It's a far cry from what we had when Jan and I drove up the ramp in 76. Back then the terminal manager was a big, older fellow named Swede. I think he used to log or work on boats in his younger years. Like most of the men from his time he worked hard and played hard. I think he took the ferry terminal job just to keep him in drinking money. The work wasn't too demanding and the hours were few- just the kind of job a man needed to supplement his income as he neared retirement. Swede was pretty easy going and quick to laugh. He lived down in a trailer in a small clearing up against the mountain and the road. The road runs right along side of the beach and when Swede was still alive it hadn't been paved yet. With all the rain we'd get there were huge pot holes which always filled with water. I don't know how many times he told me the story about being in the trailer with Fred Gadke one late fall evening. Apparently Fred had made a pot of saurkraut for supper. I guess it didn't set well with Swede and a few hours later he desperately needed to go. I don't know if they didn't have any indoor plumbing or if Fred was availing himself of the facilities at the time, but Swede ended up running across the road in his underwear and squatting on the beach. He said a car came by and he could see Millie Jack's face through the window right before she hit one of those puddles. Of course he got soaked. He laughed every time he mentioned how cold the water was.
He and Fred are gone now, along with the trailers that set there. There are a couple of houses in their place now, and across the street where Swede went to relieve himself there is a new tank farm being built. Of course the roads are paved and now we have a new terminal building. It's all very nice I guess, but not nearly as entertaining. It's going to be hard to have a great story if we become like everywhere else in the country. I'll know we've hit rock bottom when Mc Donalds comes to town.


  1. Wow! That is fancy! I kind of forgot that they were just starting to build that when we came up in May. I guess the next time we come to visit Hoonah, it will be quite the luxurious experience for us getting off the ferry boat. haha

  2. Nice... I remember seeing the drawings for that a while back.

  3. It's a very nice place- much easier to heat too. I think the primary heat source is a Monitor heater. It's so well insulated that it doesn't take much to keep it toasty. I'm sure it will save big bucks in the years to come with fuel prices the way they are.
    We had a number of projects going on in town this year- repaving the roads,the ferry terminal,new playground equipment down at the park and now they're finishing up the new fuel tank farm. I think the city is going to be putting in public restroom down by the harbor this year. It will beat the heck out of those green porta-potties that are scattered along the way during tourist season. Lots of changes.Like I said, hopefully we won't change so much that we'll lose our character.

  4. What is character, exactly, dad....and how would a McDonalds or true toilets in a now "booming" tourist site change who you all a matter of being true to yourself and not allowing the outside influences to "change" who you are...I miss the small time life sometimes..the simplicity of it...I just miss home period, I guess.