Saturday, May 12, 2012


Finally, for the first time in an extremely long time--maybe December?--I worked a regular week. 12 hour days for four days straight. And man oh man, I'm feeling it. But it's great to be back to a regular schedule.

Regardless, it's been a bit of an odd week. Some big stuff, lots of little stuff. Like:

A couple came across one way, scrounging for coins to pay the fare. I got 30 cents in pennies from them. They came back the other way about 20 minutes later, asking if I could break a $100 bill. When he opened his wallet, it seemed like he must have had at least $1000 in $100 bills. Hmmm. Rather suspect. My first thought was a drug deal…

I went across the river to get a minivan with an older couple in it. They had come from Portland, and were heading to Dallas. If you don't know the area, coming across the ferry was the long way--they came too far south, and would cross the river just to go north again. The wife, in the passenger seat, was insistent, and kept asking me, "Isn't this stupid? Don't you think this is stupid!? Our GPS sent us this way! It's SO STUPID! Don't you think this is Stupid?! My husband and I argued the whole time you came across the river over how STUPID it was." I was cracking up the whole time. I'm sure what happened is that they missed a turn north of Salem, and by the time they got through town, this was the route the GPS had re-calculated them onto. 

A car came on board, a big SUV with two couples, all in their 50s or 60s. As I was approaching the driver's window to get the toll, someone in the backseat rolled down the window, held up a big bulky life jacket, and said, "Do we need to put these on now?" I cracked up. Evidently, it was one of the guys playing a trick on everyone else, getting them to think they needed their own life jacket to cross the ferry. It's a great trick actually, something I could see my step-dad pulling off. The couples all got out and took pictures of each other in the life jackets. I was laughing SO HARD the entire time across the river, and snapped a picture of them too: 

On Monday morning, about a half hour after opening, I’d only carried three cars by that point. I’m going across the river empty, for my favorite place to sit when the boat’s empty. I flip the switch that raises and lowers the aprons…and nothing happens. What should happen is that the apron—which is the part of the boat that hangs out past the hull (the body of the boat) and is the part that actually touches shore—goes down, or up, according to what I tell it to do. You want it down when you land, otherwise, you slam the hull into shore. Not fun. So it wouldn’t move. This is something we’d all talked about happening in the past, and I didn’t really know what the solution was. So I called the boss, and he basically said to close up, close the gates, and he’ll come down and we can see if we could fix it.
Electricians came down, and couldn’t quite figure it out. We needed it fixed soon, so some guys from one of the crews came down, and we adjusted the height of the cables that held the aprons up, finally figuring the heights enough to be able to land the boat without lifting the aprons at all. It took about 8 hours, all told, and it was a long day of lifting, turning, pushing, and basically working my butt off.

It seems like ever since the boat has been open, we've had problems with the toilet. It seems like possibly, just maybe we've got a fix. The pipes are very small, and get clogged easily. So the new rule is that the toilet is now “Costa Rica Style.” When I first went to Costa Rica, I was surprised that you don’t flush the paper, you put it in a garbage next to the toilet. It was the same way in Belize. And now it’s the same on the boat.

Wednesday, late in the afternoon, I noticed a lady on one shore taking a heck of a lot of pictures. More than the usual tourist. Pictures of the towers, the parking area, the signs, the boat. Finally she came down, and told me that she’s scouting ferries for a car commercial shoot. How odd! But cool, regardless. I told her that my boat’s the cool boat, and they should film early in the week cause that’s my shift!

Wednesday, right before I closed, I got a van full of people who I swear, were all tweaked out on meth. The ran around the boat, jumping up and down, and even when they stood still, it seemed like every muscle in their bodies were tense, ready to run, fight, go crazy. I got them across the river as quickly as I could, and was happy to see them go.

One night, right before closing, I saw a car on the other side pull up, stop, then park. I didn’t think anything of it, it’s closing time, they’re parked, no biggie. I walked up the hill and closed the gate, and when I walked back down, they were out of the car and standing on the ramp, down at the river. I closed up the boat and headed that way, where my car was parked. Halfway across the river, they walked quickly up the ramp, got in their van, and pulled the van up to the stop line to board. Oh dear. When I got to shore, they tried to come down and onto the boat. And when I told them I was closed, since it was now 7:06, they got really angry. They actually yelled at me, that they were here before 7. And they were, but I couldn’t tell that they wanted a ride based on them being parked out of sight. I do hate that, when people get to the boat just after 7 and I’m already locked up. 

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