Monday, May 2, 2011

My First Day

Today was my first day. I worked about 5ish hours on the boat, the first few hours were in the shops. I got to work, and my boss introduced me to everyone, got me keys and equipment, and showed me around the "dirty" side of the public works facility. Prior to that, I'd only wandered around the office building where Planning is, and really, I only knew how to find Planning and Building Inspection. The rest was a mystery.

I now have:
1 bright greenish yellow reflective vest
6 keys that I'm still not sure what they operate
1 pair of safety goggles
2 pairs of gloves, one leather, one rubber and neoprene
I'll get a hard hat soon

The boss drove me up to the boat, since it was my first day, and he wanted to make sure I knew where to go. A regular operator and another trainee were already working, having been there since 5:15. I spent from then until around 3:45 driving the boat, bullshitting with the guys, and taking tolls.

Driving the boat is HARD! Eventually, I'll take a picture of the panel of buttons and knobs. The main thing is that there are two joysticks. Each one is for one engine, the downstream and the upstream. It's easy to start the boat, you press the button that lifts the gate, and move both joysticks over to the direction you want to go in. You've then got about 90 seconds or 2 minutes to hang out. When you get close to the other landing, you have to use the joysticks to put the engines in reverse, then fiddle with the engine speeds and directions, as well as a giant winch cable, to swing the boat into facing the landing head on. It really likes to twist in the current, especially on the east bank. I get really flustered as we approach the landing, it's tricky navigating the boat in. I have yet to do a landing without very clear direction. However, the other trainee, who'd only been doing it for 2 weeks, had it down pat, so I'll get there too.

Toll taking is nice. Talking to drivers, standing in the sun, directing cars. Some really huge trucks come on. We had three or four cement mixers, there are cement plants on both sides. And we had a big tractor. As soon as the wheels on the mixer or tractor hit the deck, the whole boat shifts around, it's a bit intimidating. You have to learn where to put those, not too far forward or one apron (the ends you drive onto and off the boat are called the aprons) will stick out of the water, not on the upstream side, etc.

Anyway, I like it. At least, so far. Tomorrow I have to be at the Yamhill county (opposite side of the river) side by 5:15 am. I hate mornings. I'll make it though.

Quick things I've learned:
-I need a baseball hat. keeps the sun out of my eyes and keeps my hair back
-better shoes
-better and easier layers
-better food! I had a bowl of risotto and some chocolate, and I was famished. Tomorrow I'll have risotto, raisins, cheese and crackers, and maybe some carrots.

When my boss came and picked me up, I snapped this picture:


  1. I gave you a cameo on my knitting blog: - that might get you a follower or two!

  2. Glad your first day went well, and I would have had a hard time holding my tongue too...

  3. so, he's training you to take the helm when the rapture comes? ARRRR

  4. Oh my.....Please let it be 2012 I have some work to do! I love this blog! You'll be the best captain ever and say that you drove a ferry boat!