We woke up in the middle of the night in our loft in the Dacha, once sweating, then once freezing. It's not exactly like camping on the ground . . . but it's definitely still like camping.
The middle of the night here in the summer is stunningly beautiful. At 3:30am you could see a hint of dawn to the north, but instead of erasing the stars, it seemed to enhance them. I'm sure there are more stars than there used to be. When we go to bed at 10 or 11 Scorpio, our sign, is scuttling across the sky to the south of us. In Seattle, the city blocks our southern sky. At 3:30am here, the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper jump out at you from the northern horizon, bold against the glittering blue-black. We've bought an inexpensive "child's first telescope", and I was tempted to set it up last night at 11pm, even though our day began at 6:15 in Seattle.
I had collected our boat trailer from Mom and Marsh's Wednesday night (Marsh had done hours of rehab on it: checking the tires, greasing joints, scraping away corrosion, using the old air tools to remove frozen-on nuts; Mom had spray-painted, in fluorescent pink paint, four bits of dowling that she'd zip-tied to the four corners of the trailer, with Mylar flags to warn other drivers of the low-slung, boat-free Shorelander.)
We slept fitfully and not long enough Wednesday night, and then hit the road around 8 am.
Using the Mini, Ian dropped me at the boat and helped me take off, then he raced back up to our house and collected the 4-Runner and the trailer, to meet me at Sunnyside boat launch. We're lucky to have a ramp so convenient to home. Just as I left the marina, still at idle speed, I saw something in the water. A bird? Floating trash? I couldn't identify it, and turned a little closer. It was a small otter, sucking in a long piece of lake weed as if it were spaghetti! A good omen at the beginning of our trip, for fun and play.
Aside from the anxiety I've been feeling lately about all the possible things that could go wrong with absolutely everything that I choose to do, everything worked perfectly. We managed to use the launch ramp before all the WWII-era landing crafts (repurposed as land-and-lake tour boats--kitschy, noisy, and dangerous on land because of their high, plow-like bows and attendant forward 20-foot blind spots [a cyclist was killed last year because the driver of the Duck simply couldn't see him]--and annoying at the public boat ramp because there is one every 7 minutes during the high season), and Ian drove our rig safely and steadily up I-5 through morning traffic.
Our original "plan" had been to leave our house to collect the boat at six and make the 10:20 sailing from Anacortes. In the event, we left the house at 8 and arrived at the ferry terminal just before 11, where we paid $260 for the privilege of being cars 9 and 10 in stand-by for the 12:35.
We took a stroll on the beach at the ferry terminal with Spackle--the tide was way out and he happily cooled his paws in rank, clingy sea-slime--then returned hopefully to our car at the announcement of the 12:35 boat.
We were stopped at first, numbers 1 through 8 having been allowed into the boat, but after some minutes and some masterful high-level Tetris by the ferry loaders, we were two of the last 3 cars allowed on. We were parked precariously (but well-chocked) on one of the upward ramps to the second floor.
After a painfully careful exit from the ferry (cars boarding on Lopez had come up the opposite ramp facing us and had to inch past us to go down, turn around, and drive off at Orcas), we at last arrived at our land, where we parked the boat at the road, hauled as many bags as we could carry down the hill, and collapsed for a 3-hour nap under the gentle breeze through our porthole.
Groggy but somewhat recovered, we did a half-hearted scrub of the lake weed pasted to the bottom of the boat, then launched it flawlessly at the unofficial West Sound log dump. I took several gloriously fast spins around the bay while Ian returned the car and trailer to the land, then I picked him up at the county dock, let him drive a couple spins, and we slid into the West Sound marina and moored for the night.
Dinner in town, back at the Dacha just after 10, sleeps, sweats, wakes, shivers, sleeps, and here we are: on VACATION!
one-fingered on my phone