Tuesday, October 6, 2015

High and low

We decided Monday morning prior to leaving Vancouver that instead of driving north on I-5 past Seattle to the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry to Whidbey Island we would take a different, for us, route leaving I-5 at Olympia, WA and taking US HWY 101 north to HWY 20 and the Port Townsend Ferry where we could make a reservation and guaranty, if we got there on time, we would arrive on Whidbey Island early in the afternoon.  Initially we thought we would try for the 1215 hour ferry, but TLE suggested we go for the 1315 hour ferry, giving us an extra hour in case of some unforeseen occurrence.....how prescient is my woman?

Our goal was to roll the wheels by 0800, and we were merging on the I-5 at 0758....not bad.  Unfortunately, just as we were settling into the day's drive the police cars with lights flashing, along with ambulances, and fire trucks began passing us at high rates of speed going north.  Within a few miles traffic came to a grinding hault....I mean stopped with engines off.......there had been a bad multi truck accident on the North Fork of the Lewis River bridge.......this unforeseen event delayed us 54 minutes, and there went our 1 hour buffer.j....we could afford no further delays.

Big truck accident on I-5 bridge over North Fork of Lewis River
The driver of the box truck was airlifted to the hospital....no fatalities

Traffic stopped at 0817 and we began to move again at 0913.......check in time for the 1315 hour ferry was 1245, so we still had 3.5 hours to cover the still remaining 183 miles before that time......the last 43 miles on a windy, twisty, very narrow, slow two lane highway, which included two construction zones.....we arrived at the ferry at precisely 1241, paid our fare and just drove to our waiting spot pictured below.....we were first in line, which meant we would be first off (after the walkers, bikers, and one motorcycle).  The one way cost was $79, which included a senior discount.  How we safely covered that 183 miles in that amount of time I have no idea......that was the 'high' of the day.

This is our second time taking the Newell and trailer on this ferry, but the first time taking it from Port Townsend to Coupeville (Whidbey Island).  The surprising thing was the 1315 hour boat is the smaller of the two ferries that connect Port Townsend with Coupeville, and I was concerned that might be a problem as we had taken the large on the first time and it was pretty tight.....as it turned out they allowed us to straddle two lanes making our ingress and egress quite easy.....the large Kenworth to our left also straddled two lanes.....normally they park vehicles 3 abreast.

We arrived at our college friends' home (Bob and Karen) near Coupeville about 1415 hours......I had decided in advance to back down the short dead end street and drop the trailer in front of one of their houses, then drive back to the intersection and turn the coach around to drive it down to the lower level behind the main house.  We backed the trailer down the street and successfully dropped it, then I drove back down to the intersection to turn the coach around.....as I began to back around the corner to complete my three point turn I saw that the left rear dualies were going to cross the grass, but it just looked like a small dip in my mirrors, so I proceeded.....suddenly I felt the left rear plunge into the ditch driving the hitch into the pavement, and effectively I was stuck....I could not go forward, and backwards.  I still cannot believe I did that......I immediately called AAA, and within 30 minutes I received a call from Simmons Towing down in Clinton (about 30 miles distant) who asked a number of questions to be sure he could get me out with his tow truck......the really big tow trucks come out of Everett, WA which is about a two hour drive each way.  Based on my answers he felt he could do it.  He arrived about 1600 hours, and decided to winch me out from the street to the left of the coach in the picture below.....he felt trying to pull me out going uphill would be more than his truck could do, and I agreed.  

While I was waiting for the tow truck I installed the two large two large tow hooks I carry for just such an emergency as this, and Monday I was so glad I have them.....

 On this day I needed both hooks....it would not have worked with one

Gary, the tow truck operator, hooked up a winch cable to each hook, and told me to crank the front tires all the way to the right and when he gave me the signal to give it a little 'gas'.......at first nothing happened, but then he gave me the signal to give it gas, and we began to inch forward, and within a few seconds I was back on the street.

Without this wheel chock Gary put behind one of his tow truck wheels I don't think we would have been unsuccessful....you can see how it dug into the asphalt as the truck was being pulled backwards trying to extricate us from my mistake......

Out of the ditch!

Within a couple of minutes Gary was on his way, and I was driving down to the lower level of Bob and Karen's property to park the coach and set up for our 6 day stay.....

A few years ago I installed one of my 30 amp boxes in Bob's barn, so this will be the second time we have been able to use that box during our stay on his property.

I returned to the scene of the 'low' for yesterday to take these picture to add a little perspective to the the scene.......

 This picture does not really show how deep this ditch is.....it is about 24" to the bottom

Where the trailer is in relationship to coach while we are here in Coupeville....

By the time we were settled it was getting dark, so we called it a day and had dinner, and then watched a couple of our regular programs.  

Things could have turned out way worse than they did......if the hitch had not hit the asphalt and dug in there probably would have been damage to my city water plumbing, the exhaust, the oil pan, oil filter, etc.....as it was none of these things hit the ground because of the hitch......but it was only by a couple of inches.....the hitch saved my bacon.

Thanks for stopping by!

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