Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Linda had serious reservations about taking the truck, camper and Jeep on the ferry. Why couldn’t we just drive through Seattle down to Olympia and take US-101 toward the coast. I resisted saying, “I’m not driving through Seattle. That is way more stressful and takes much longer than taking the ferry over to the peninsula.” Ultimately, I wore her down.
Next we had conversations about reservations. Should we or shouldn’t we have reservations? Then we had discussions about how they were going to price the passage. Pricing depended on whether or not the Jeep was being towed by the camper. I didn’t want to mess around with unhitching/hitching at ferry terminals.
We got reservations. Linda made ferry reservations on-line. To make a reservations, a credit card must be presented. The credit card won’t be charged unless one fails to show up at the ferry terminal on time.
We over-estimated our total length. Fortunately, the ferry terminal agent measured our length by hand and saved us a pile of money. Instead of 45 feet long, we were measured at 39 feet. We were charged for 40 feet instead of 50 feet. They round up. Ten feet is, apparently, a big deal.
We showed up early right around ten AM. At the terminal entrance booth, the first thing I told the agent was “We have reservations.” He asked for our name and which ferry we had reservations for. I replied, “Pearson for the Eleven O’Clock Ferry.” He looked us up on his computer, looked at our rig and said how long are you. I gave him that deer-in-the-headlights look. Linda leaned over and told the agent that she estimated our length at 45 feet. The agent responded, “How about I measure it.” Then he got out a wheeled tape measure and measured us.
Next, the agent went back in his booth, plugged in the correct length and told us the price. I handed him a credit card and he handed back a receipt with the card. then he told us which holding lane to drive into.
As we drove into the holding lane, the ten AM ferry was docking. Cars unloaded.
Ferry workers orchestrate all vehicle movement on and off the ferry. They provide excellent supervision to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. The row to our left loaded first. We were the first vehicle in our row and we followed next.
Larger vehicles, like trucks, trailers and RVs load into the middle three inner rows. Smaller vehicles like cars typically load into the side lanes (not seen in this view). The side lanes load and unload last. The on-board ferry loader, circled in green, stands in the spot he wants you to pull into.
We were parked so close to the wall that the camper’s legs touched the cones. I couldn’t open the driver’s door. No one was going to be able to walk between our truck and the wall.
After ten minutes or so, the ferry was ready to depart. It was a calm day on Puget Sound, the body of water we were about to cross. The ferry’s movement away from the dock was barely perceptible.
We kept our instruments powered so we could watch our progress crossing on the dashboard. The miles to the next “turn,” the Port Townsend ferry terminal, kept counting down as the ferry made progress. The ferry did a good job of staying on the official route across the sound.
As the miles to the next turn counted down on the Apple Car Play map, the fog cleared and Port Townsend appeared.
The ferry docks by using the engines to push against the pilings on both sides of the ferry hard enough to hold the ferry in place. Passengers can feel the ferry lurch a bit as the pilings push back.
Once docked, the first row to roll out is always the middle one.
Only one truck and trailer were in the middle row. The next row to go was the one on the right. Then the row we were in rolled next. We rolled off the gang plank and onto the road up the hill.
Turning left, we continued on our way to Port Angeles.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!