Saturday, May 14, 2011

Party on board

Yesterday, the new BV ferry was towed upstream, past the WL, while I was working. It was already a somewhat slow morning, but, because of a newspaper article, everyone knew it was happening today. I would have loved to have stood on the railroad bridge in Salem and watched the ferry go by from above. But it was pretty fun watching it glide right past me.

I was the first person to see the boat round the bend downstream. All of the other ferry operators were waiting on shore, having gotten permission to come up to watch it come by. I hadn't met most of them yet, so when we saw the ferry coming, we puttered over there and picked them all up. It was great fun, everyone was in a good mood, we all horsed around on deck, since there were very few cars crossing.

When they ferry passed us, we got a good look at it. It's a 6 car boat, but about the same size as the WL, which holds 9 cars. The added space is for sidewalks on either side of the cars, so pedestrians and bikes have a safe place to wait. The cabin looks like a nice size, and the engine room is bigger. Spaces are supposed to be more logical, with better and newer systems. Plus, it's all just shiny and new, and that is cool in and of itself.

The thing I love the most is that the builders who towed it upstream, slept on board. It's a long trip, especially going against the current. They got through the locks at Oregon City and spent the night about 8 river miles north of the WL. Then yesterday they made it past Salem, and tied up somewhere near Independence, I'm guessing. Wouldn't that be fun, sleeping on a boat being tugged upstream? It's very Mark Twain to me. There was a popup camper and a few tents on board. There's a great pic in the Salem newspaper from the railroad bridge, from above. Don't you want to join them in the tents? I really did!

So today, the ferry should land at the BV ramp. It'll take a few weeks to get it hooked up to all the cables and power lines, and to finish outfitting the boat. The cabin needs to be outfitted, all sorts of little parts need to be attached and set up. After that, we'll all train on it. They're guessing it'll open in late June or early July. I hope I'll get to run it! It's much slower down there, fewer passengers. Which is fine by me. The WL gets about 900-1200 cars a day. The BV gets less than 100. So that means I'll get paid to sit in the sun (or air conditioned cabin), talking on the phone, reading, knitting, listening to music. I think I can handle that!

And in the interim, I'm applying for other jobs. I had a pretty bad interview for a job in Coos Bay this week. I knew I was underqualified, and that I didn't want to move to Coos Bay, but interviewed anyway, and I'm glad I did. There's a really great job I'm applying for (today!) as a planner in Eugene, and a planning job in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm really pleased with myself that, at this point, I've applied for 4 jobs, and had two interviews. Really great percentage, especially in this economy!

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