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Fraught With Deception

For two days I looked like an "expectant father", but I was female. I shuffled from the ferry, the terminal, and my car, back and forth. On May 6, 2005 my car sat in line jammed between a new, red Mercedes with black convertible top and a 1973 beat-up International, windows curtained with personal belongings and a blue healer pup "arf-ing" inside.

This was surely a sign. I should just turn around and head back.Like many aboard I was headed to Juneau, to a "new job" and along with two hundred others, inconvenienced by the MV Colombia's "new" engine breakdown.

A lot of us were having breakdowns on board experiencing many kinds of fever; "cabin", "ferry", and "terminal" (I mean, ferry terminal.).FIRST DECEIT.Scuttlebutt started, "We'll get back to you in four hours.

" Information bounced from person to person, by the time I got it, it had really changed. The terminal PA system didn't work and no one had answers as to what was going on.During one "false alarm" that we were actually going to set sail a security officer was attacked by his own K-9. The officer found it necessary to provoke the animal. The dog had sniffed the same bags, one too many times and lost his focus.

Our ID's were checked at least eight times everywhere we walked. Those most upset clamored to discuss the issue with local news reporters. The hoopla spanned the news wire, as far as I knew, all the way to Colorado.

Could have been further, but I have family there, so that's as far as I really cared.SECOND DECEIT.Four hours after the first announcement another one filtered in.

"We still have an oil leak in one of the sixteen pistons. The Coast Guard won't let us leave." The Colombia did set off, out to sea, followed by a Coast Guard cutter, gone for eight hours, returned, and announced, "We're not going anywhere.".

"Hoopty", the vehicle behind my car, I learned was the International's name. [Naming a car isn't unusual. I had one named "Betsy" once.] Robert its owner and Zip, the blue healer were Oregon mountain folk. A sewing machine sat in the back of Hoopty.

Robert and his brother sewed leather duds, so he was expanding this newly organized business. Although, the job he was going to in Juneau was likely to set sail, as fishing boats do, before he arrived. Robert was worried, if that boat sailed, he'd be out of job and have to live inside Hoopty. Well, that's what happened.

Later he took another ferry to Anchorage and headed to the Yukon with less space in Hoopty, because Zip had grown.We stayed the first night, housed on the Colombia, offered free meals and bunked wherever. Many louder grumblers were now safely tucked away in reserved cabins opened, finally, in the late evening. It was a long first day.THIRD DECEIT.

I became an island hopper, but where was the island? The next morning, my companion, Mutzi and I headed out to Whidbey Island over Deception Pass about forty miles south of the Bellingham ferry terminal. I stayed off Highway 5 taking Chuckanut road. Just to show how upset I was at Burlington I hopped on Hwy 5 at exit 231 just to go to Exit 230 and hit State Road 20. Eighteen miles west from there I saw Deception Pass. It is deceiving. I drove right by Deception Park not seeing it and continued to the end of Whidbey Island.

The islands are woven together with bridges and highways, further hidden by thick Douglas fir terrain causing part of the deception. If you look you'll find sand dunes, shedding madrona trees, eagles overhead, clumps of kelp in the bay, many trails, and trees, trees, and more trees.Even at first discovery in 1792 Whidbey and Vancouver, master and Captain seamen were deceived, so it happens to the best and the least of us.FOURTH DECEIT.Don't be fooled by National Parks Lifetime membership packages. You can't get by the Ranger station without paying a $5.

00 entry and parking fee even if you have one. You might get it back if you drive in, use the john, and drive out again. Keep the car running and be nice to the attendant.

There are interpretive trails to explore, an observation deck, and lots of historical information about the Samish Indian Nation, Skagits, Haidah raids, Cranberry Lake, Rosario Beach, and more.The awesome bridge with eight-knot currents flowing under it is 182 feet high spanning the gulf between Fidalgo and Whidbey. Canoe Island supports the middle. Summer time crowds are thick according to Park statistics with over two million visitors yearly, but spring is just right.

There is parking on the bridge for sightseeing and photos.I learned that around 1848 Isaac Ebey claimed land in present day Coupeville, one of the oldest towns in the State. Ebey was killed and beheaded by the Haidah in 1857.

I wondered if he was an ancestor of our present day Ebay. That Ebey led early pioneers, now this Ebay is pioneering. Nebulous, I know, sorry.

Mutzi and I shot that day. We weren't surprised the MV Colombia still sat at the terminal. Three more times before boarding our ID's came out. My car again was parked lost between a big, honkin' Louisiana truck and a California SUV pulling a U-Haul; half-full. The other half sat on the pavement as a hunt for a propane leak continued.

I hated to think what could have happened if we were on Queen Charlotte Sound when that was discovered, or not discovered, so we were all lucky we were on solid ground?still.FIFTH DECEIT.Dan, a recent graduate and land surveyor was on his way to Anchorage for his new job.

He slid a beer my way down the bar that night and reveled in Louisiana party stories. Getting by the K-9 unit in Bellingham, due to the distracted dog, caught up with him in Ketchikan. Young, devil-may-care, and just plain careless with his stash, was arrested, jailed, and never made it to Anchorage.SIXTH DECEIT.As for my job, it was fine, loved it really. I had two of them.

The trouble was the income didn't support the economy, my financial threshold was over the limit and I ended up, in a "Hoopty" situation, so I turned around three months into it.No matter what we see, hear, or are told by others, things are not always as they may seem. Don't be deceived.For more information on Deception Pass go here: http://www. Deception Pass State Park Information: call (360) 675-2417 Washington State Department of Parks help line at 800-233-0321.A great book for history of this area of Washington get the book "History of Skagit and Snohomish Counties," Interstate Publishing Company, 2000.


Linda's writing appears in From Eulogy to Joy, Beischel, Xlibris Press, 2000,, http://www.scribequill.

com, and She loves to travel, write, design, decorate, and paint.

Linda studied writing through Long Ridge Writers Group in Connecticut, journalism at MSCD, Denver, and painting at the Art Academy in Loveland, Colorado, USA.

By: Linda Vissat

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