Monday, June 30, 2014

No, I Didn't Die

Sorry about the absence. Life gets busy ... also, sometimes I have little to say. Or, more precisely, I don't know how to say it well.
Last Friday Adam and I went (for the second day in a row) to do some necessary shopping. We took the ferry to Havelock, which is normally a fun sparkle added to a boring road trip. The ferry ride makes it more like a date!
Except when it doesn't.
We arrived at 9:47 to board the 10:00 ferry, which normally is plenty of time. I've made a ferry with mere seconds (literally!) to spare. We were shocked to find ourselves in Row Four -- a good indication we would not fit on the 10:00 ferry boat even with their very best Puzzle-Working Ferry Boat Employee to work, squeezing SUVs, vans, boat trailers, and such onto the ferry. Crunch!
Six rows of vehicles, desperately wanting to board the ferry
You guessed it. All the cars in front of me were squeezed on the 10:00 ferry. I was the first one not to get on. That made me first vehicle in line (yippee!!) for ... the 11:00 ferry. Sigh. An hour's wait, in the heat! In the photo above, that's my beige van with its nose over the line in Row Four. (The rows are numbered 1-6, left to right.) Rows 5 and 6 were filled too. After the 10:00 ferry left, rows 1 - 4 quickly filled again. Yikes! They put cones in front of those rows so the newcomers wouldn't think they could board first on the next ferry. When humans have to wait with feigned patience in line, in the heat, for an hour, they are very intent on fairness. See the white car next to me in Row Three? She's a friend of mine; we chatted. She arrived at 10:20 for the 11:00 ferry -- forty minutes early! -- and knew that she could not possibly fit on the boat!
 The ferry from the other side arrived at 10:20, unloaded its cars and sat there, waiting, empty, until the departure at 11:00. We could have all driven around through New Bern, but it takes an hour to do so, and burns the gasoline. Might as well wait the hour at the ferry lot, not burning gas ... unless you sit there with your engine running, as some do!
patient humans, waiting in line
We used to have ferries every half-hour. Then our state government realized what a mine of tax money they were missing, not charging a toll for these 20-minute rides across the Neuse. They began threatening to charge a toll for a public road (it's hwy. 306 on both sides) used by locals to get to work. They wanted to charge per car, and then charge per passenger as well! Pamlico is a very poor county. We fought the tolls, and the matter is still in dispute in Raleigh. But one temporary solution was for the DOT to cut back on the number of ferries that run. Thus, the hour wait. The ferry employees are still there, paid to stand around and do nothing for that extra time. The ferries sit also, motors running. How does that save money?
On Friday, all the parents were picking up their kids from local camps too, adding to the crowd of drivers. The system was overwhelmed. They ran out of parking lot space.
 Adam doesn't mind the heat in summer. He wears long-sleeves year-round. He sat in the van and read a book.
On the sunny side of the car, I put my umbrella in the window to block the sun. I was glad I'd brought my knitting along; it kept me occupied.
 When we finally boarded the 11:00 ferry, my nose was way up in front, near the barrier. Adam and I enjoyed listening to the camp parents interrogating their little boys about their adventurous weeks. It was entertaining.
 This very pretty sailboat motored across our path.
And when we got off the ferry on the Cherry Point side -- I kid you not!! -- this was the only car in line there! Sigh.
Much research and thought have gone into the ferry tax situation. Many argue that removing all tolls, even on the long ferries to the Outer Banks, would produce more tax revenue because tourists would be more willing to travel there, and would spend more tourist money, supporting the poorer coastal counties. We rely on tourism heavily. It is a solid argument. And lest anyone assume this is a Democrat state gov't trying to over-regulate and over-tax ... oh no! North Carolina now has a Republican governor, Republican Senate, Republican House. As Republicans, they say they want to balance the budget, save money, be fiscally responsible. Increasing all the ferry tolls (i.e., taxes) is one of their solutions. Most of the people I know, if the tolls happen, will simply stop using the ferry. This will reduce the need for ferries, and some of the employees will lose their jobs. Sad situation, if you ask me.
Meanwhile, I'll enjoy our ferry, the breezy rides, the seagulls screeching behind above the churning water, the sailboats gliding by, the happy passengers. Hooray for the ferries!

10 comments:

  1. I love ferry rides! My favorite is the trip from Hatteras to Okracoke. Waiting in any kind of line is not my choice of activity, but for a ferry I'll do it willingly. Really enjoyed this post! Y'all made the most of it all!

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  2. Alynn and I loved taking that ferry ride with you and Adam. It is such a nice place to live.

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  3. When I started reading this post and discovered your wait my first thought was "prime knitting time, woman!". So glad to see you were able to redeem some of the wait. I was knitting in a McDonald's line last week :) Makes me happy!

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  4. Ferries are tricky! The time management piece is hard if you are the first car to be turned away. I'm glad you brought your knitting!

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  5. It's sad what they have to do to save money (or not as the case my be). Glad you made a positive out of it! I hate waiting x

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  6. Enjoyed the wait and ride with you! I had never been on a ferry before until a few years ago when my husband and I went from Tobermory to Manitoulin Island in Ontario Canada. What a delight it was.
    Have a beautiful week.
    Joy! Debbie

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  7. If you don't take the ferry, how do you make the trip? Glad you had your knitting and that Adam had a book.

    Hope the rest of your week is good with little waiting in lines.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

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  8. On my wish list is to ride the ferry across the Irish Sea. Smart thinking to take knitting alone; I'm never w/out some sort of handwork or a book.

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  9. Taking the ferry at the gulf was always such an exciting adventure for us when I was little. Even my dad thought it was great fun. We went out of our way so we could ride it. :)

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  10. I think I would have been very impatient. I don't do heat well! Glad you made the most of it and enjoyed the ride. :)

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