Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Road TRip

Last Saturday night the weather forecast was not good at all, predicting a couple of inches of snow by early Sunday morning. That's not good, as Keewee and I had to be out the door at before dawn to go spend the day in Allyn, Washington, near the South end of Hood canal, installing a computer system in a liquor store, then training the employees on how to run it.

Since the Washington State DOT totally dropped the ball by not ordering replacement car ferries for the Whidbey Island to Port Townsend run several years ago when the money was there to do so, and since the 77 year old ferries that had been used on the run until a few months ago are now in such poor shape that they aren't safe, (so they say, but I think it has more to do with politics than marine safety) the DOT just shut down the ferry run completely. That means instead of a 30 minute ferry ride to Port Townsend and perhaps an hour and a half drive to Allyn, we now must go across the Clinton to Mukilteo ferry, then drive South to the Edmonds to Kingston ferry to get back to the Kitsap peninsula. From there, it's still and hour or so to get to Allyn.

When we got up early Sunday morning at least there wasn't any snow, but the roads were basically wet ice. Great fun to drive on, for sure! If it would have been colder it would not have been so slippery. We got to the Clinton ferry without mishap, only slipping around a little bit. When I fired up the mini-van to drive off the boat and pulled on the lights, the instrument lights wouldn't light. I chose to drive the old highway down to Edmonds figuring it was going to be really slippery either by freeway or old highway, but there should be less traffic and fewer screwballs on the old highway. Other than locking up a wheel or so every so often when stopping at stop lights, we arrived at the Edmonds ferry terminal to find out that the regularly scheduled every thirty minutes ferry would not be departing for an hour and forty minutes. We got to sit in the car for an hour and a half waiting for the boat to arrive.

The ferry ride to Kingston was uneventful, and by now the sun had come up and the road conditions were fine, wet, but not much ice. The install and training went according to plan, and by early afternoon we were back on the road headed home. We stopped for a quick dinner on the way, then to Kingston for the first ferry. We arrived in perfect time and had only a few minute wait until getting on the boat. By now it was getting dark, and I sure would have liked to have a speedo I could see. Fortunately I had my miniMaglight in my pocket so I could check the speedo every so often, kinda like flying an older Cessna with a flashlight in your mouth, since panel lighting on older Cessna's consisted of a single red dome light with a brightness knob that shone approximately in the direction of the panel.

We got lucky with the Mukilteo ferry too ,as we arrived just in time to drive right on to the boat. A fifteen minute ferry ride, a ten minute drive, and we were back in the driveway where we had left in what seemed like two days earlier. It had been a very long day.

The next morning we awoke to two inches of snow. We had timed it perfectly!

Yesterday I checked out the panel lights and found a blown fuse. I also discovered that the tail lights are on the same fuse! (dumb!!) We had managed to drive all the way down and back with only brake lights and turn signals, but no tail lights.

I guess we had a lucky day all around!


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