If any of your travels involve going to Washington State and riding on the Port Townsend/Keystone ferry, well, last November, it was taken out of service due to large pits in the hull. Then, the vessel was declared unfit. It carried a lot of cars, something like 100 or so. Well, later, they "borrowed" a ferry from Pierce County (in Tacoma) but it only holds 50 cars, and only 4 RV's are allowed on each sailing. Because it's summer, you now have to make reservations.
I had reservations for this morning, but I didn't want to get up early and RUSH RUSH RUSH to get there on time, so I camped at Fort Casey State Park (a "boondocking" park, but you still pay $19 for the use), which is right in spitting distance from the ferry dock. It was great!
However, when I showed up yesterday at the State Park, the ferry situation was a mess! LOTS of cars lined up. SO, when the mess got resolved and it slowed down a bit, I approached a "ferry employee" and mentioned that I had a reservation the next day, what do I do to make sure I get "found" if there is a huge long line and how do I make sure I don't get bumped because they let other cars on. Keep in mind, this is the first year that this ferry has had to deal with reservations, (It's always been first come, first serve) they are still working the kinks out. This is what I was told:
"You need to get there an hour early, but it's best to get there right after the previous boat leaves (which could be more than an hour....). In case we have to cancel a sailing for some reason, anyone with "advance" reservations (and those are anything made more than 48 hours in advance) has preference over those who made same day or day before reservations. They have a list of your names and they will make an effort to find you in the line."
The ferry worker also told me that it will be 2010 before they get their new boats built for the service at this location.
Apparently, yesterday, they had to cancel a sailing because the boat Skipper (isn't that what the "driver" is called???) fell behind schedule for some reason. This caused a backup. However, when I got there this morning, I showed up about two minutes before the previous boat was supposed to leave (which was two hours early for me...), a ferry worker told me, "get on, we are loading." I replied, "I am on the later boat." She said, "we got room, just get on." Oooooo KAY!!!!
I can't wait until 2010. Riding this small 50 vessel ferry from Keystone to Port Townsend was horrible, it rocked and rolled! I'm surprised my cat didn't get sick, he throws up when I drive on winding roads! I almost got sick! The big boats they had before didn't rock and roll like that! OH, and my new RV cost me an extra $10 for the ferry ride. My new RV is 1 foot longer than the previous RV. Well, this one little itsy bitsy foot threw me into the next pricing threshold. It's 1) under 20 feet 2) 20-30 feet 3) 30-40 feet 4) over 40 feet. PPPTTTHHHH!!!
The other option to get to the Olympic Peninsula is to take the Edmonds/Kingston Ferry at Edmonds (south of Everett...). You get the big boat. Rides better than this little boat at Keystone.
Oh, one more thing. Don't EVER go up to an "employee of the Washington State Ferry System" and ask..... "excuse me, are you a ferry person?" He kind of gruffly responded, "Yes, I am an EMPLOYEE of the Washington State Ferry System." They don't like being called "ferry persons" for some reason....... beats me....