After finishing a recording in Seattle, Laurie and I started north on Interstate 5. Traffic was moving along at its usual 78 mph in a 65 mph zone without a single patrolman to be seen anywhere because they are all looking for terrorists that are supposedly waiting in the ferry boat lines.
We managed to get out of downtown Seattle a little after 2 p.m. and stopped briefly in Marysville for a sandwich. We had figured that if we could get in the ferryboat line by 3:30 p.m. we would have a good place on the 6:25 p.m. ferry. We stopped briefly at the Swinomish Reservation to fill up on gasoline because it was a dollar per gallon cheaper then on the island.
Fifteen minutes later we put our credit card out for a book of ferry tickets and discovered that the 6:25 p.m. boat was already full and the next one we could get on was at 8:50 p.m. We had two options.
1. Drive back into Anacortes and have a leisurely dinner and take our chances at snagging a place in line that would let us get on the 8:50 p.m. ferry that would get us to our island at 10:25 p.m..
2. Or sit in line for the next five and a half hours, or so we thought.
As we sat there we watched some of the other people who were waiting, throwing Frisbees and walking dogs. A few carloads were eating large picnic baskets full of sandwiches and other good deli stuff. I tried to doze off but the car alongside of us was having a tailgate party.
As I watched the sun slowly move along behind a stand of large trees we walked down to the snack shop in the ferryboat building. Laurie opted for her usual Starbucks coffee and I went for one of their great chocolate chip cookie, ice cream sandwiches.
By now it was 7:30 p.m. and the 6:25 p.m. ferry could finally be seen off in the distance headed in.
As it turned out, our 8:50 p.m. left at 10 p.m. and we made it home at about midnight. That would not be too bad, only 10 hours for what should have been three and a half to four hours. I can drive from Seattle to our home in Big Sky, Mont., in only two hours more than this 90-mile drive took. Amazing, but that is what a Friday night is like here!
I don’t want to slam the ferryboat system, but when I checked three years ago or so it was reported that they had more than 300 people in the administrative offices to handle 22 ferryboats. I wonder if they laid off too many executives and that is the reason for the ferries always being late.
There was a rumor that the ferryboat executives had hired a $75,000 consultant to tell them why the ferries were late so often. After 34 different ferryboat trips the consultant suggested that they publish new schedules and the ferries would always be on time. No other corrections were necessary.
Living here on the island, we live and die by the ferryboat schedule and I hope that they will just keep on rocking and rolling for another 40 years at least. Maybe they could start naming the ferries after successful Seattle people and businesses.
I would like to ride on the new Costco or the Gates Foundation, or the Kirkland for example. Why not? They have named the baseball and football stadiums after companies. Why not a new fleet of ferries?
Could the baseball teams or the football teams have survived if their stadiums had not been paid for the way they were by selling naming rights? Except my wife would fight it … she grew up here and loves the ferries all being named after Native Americans or their tribal locations.
At any rate our 8:50 p.m. ferry finally left at about 10 p.m. and we got home about midnight instead at 4:45 p.m. Even with all this, I’m glad we don’t have a bridge to the island … it would get too crowded!
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