Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Lady Washington Part 1

Something woke me. My eyes flew to the clock to make sure I didn't oversleep the 4:45am alarm. The dial screamed black void. It wasn't the clock alarm beeping, it was the alarm system shouting out a warning that the electricity was off. Beep, once, twice, three times. I shot out of bed and tripped over the rain boots. Forgot they were in the spot usually reserved for clear passage to the bathroom. I groped my way to the sink and patted the counter until my fingers closed over the cold metal of the watchband. The face blinked blue and read 2:30.

The wind howled outside and rain pelted the windows. The hundred foot Douglas firs
surrounding my house strained and creaked not more than 40 feet away. I cringed. Windstorms wreak havoc on my nerves. Two months after moving here a hundred footer fell across the driveway, trapping me in until my ex came over with a chainsaw. The electricity went off then, too. For five days.

Thoughts of a nice, hot shower before going to sea left me miserable. I'm out in the country. Without electricity, the well pump quits working. No water for showers. No water after the first flush. I lit a couple candles, pulled up the lever on the sink and filled the sink with hot water before it had a chance to cool. When it was gone, no more water. With the aid of a plastic cup I washed my hair and shivered in the dropping temperature. Dang. No blow dryer.

So my day started out wet, two hours earlier than anticipated. There is an old sailor saying, "Get wet, stay wet." Perhaps an omen? I got dressed by yellow candlelight and dragged my duffel with the extra clothing and rain jacket out to the car. Back inside I blew out the candles and grabbed my keys, stepping into the garage again. I screeched to a halt. No electricity. Power door. Stuck.

The trunk provided a flashlight and the top of my convertible came down so I could stand in the car and grab the dangling rope to disengage the garage door opener. When that was done I put the top back up and trotted to the double door.

Perhaps this is the time to admit I strained a muscle in an unmentionable place while lunging with a sword. (Yeah, yeah, I know.) The garage door is extremely heavy. Heavier than any other garage door I've ever become acquainted with in my very long life. When I heaved, the muscle blathered out its protest.


On the way to the Red Lion Inn at the Quay, the road was littered with tree branches in the pitch black. My headlights didn't seem to light the road well in the driving rain. I did manage to make it to the meeting place where we left our cars and piled into Nelson's camper. Bruce, Ryan and I squeezed into the front and Mattie and Amy snuggled into the back to sleep the hour to
Rainier, Oregon. As we crossed the Lewis and Clark bridge the rain let up a little and we scanned the shoreline for the Lady Washington. She floated, hugged up against the dock, in all her magnificent beauty, waiting to get out and run.

Part 2 tomorrow.


  1. My goodness - what a grim start. I hope it wasn't the Fates saying, "Beware! Stay away!" I look forward to Part 2.

  2. GAH! I can't wait for part 2!!! I want to KNOW!!!! Great GREAT story!!!

  3. What a lot of blue sky I see in the photos. It must have turned into a warm, tropical day! :)

  4. Oh, Melanie! What a great story! I'll be back as soon as Part 2 is up. I live in the country too. Every word describing those non-electrical, un-flushing, non-water-flowing-ing moments struck a chord with me. I've also experienced the pain in the...uh...well...similar pain. Those are wonderful photos of a grand ship. Thanks for sharing them!

  5. Thanks for your comments. Dale, yes that was blue sky. We have wonderful weather here in the PNW.

    Ax, you should have come with us.

    Jewell, there are times I wished I lived in the city. Whenever the electricity goes out and whenever I find I'm out of something I need right away.

  6. Sailing takes a lot out of you. I'm so tired I can't do part 2 today. I think I need to get my land legs back.

  7. Hey, glad to see you're doing the two weeks! Your blog came up on my LW google alert a couple weeks ago, but I didn't know you were going to be a t'weeker. I'd tell you you're going to have an incredible, exhausting, wonderful time, but you probably already know that by now.

    I think it was around day three of my two weeks that I was just about ready to give up, convinced that I was the most incompetent lubber to ever step foot on the Lady's decks, and oh god, how will I survive two weeks of this? If you have any doubts, talk to your crewmates! Miah's one of the friendliest guys I've ever met, and everyone wants you to have a good time. In another day or two you'll feel like you were born for this, if you don't already.

  8. Dave,

    I'm not doing the two weeks, although, after Sunday's trip, I really, really wish I could. It might be something to try my next vacation. I'd love to be in volunteer status, and I envy you.

    Tonight I intend to post part two.

    Would you mind emailing me? I have a question.

  9. anxiously awaiting part two! Land Lubber??

  10. Jar of Giggles,

    Thanks. Yes, I'm a lubber. But I didn't get sea sick, that is in my favor, right? (Can you get seasick on a river? Would that be riversick?)


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