We came to this town because it seemed a perfect fit for us (according to the guidebooks). When you come in from the water, across a space of wilderness that takes at least two days to get to the nearest place that would commonly be recognized as civilization, you have to make sure of these things. Because nothing is more disappointing than facing cantankerous seas, scouting out anchorages at some wild half-way spot (that aren't harboring dangerous rocks just beneath the surface), then finally pulling into a destination that absolutely couldn't be the one you were looking for. But it is.
By the time we finally got here, I had a mountain of deadlines looming, and some that had already toppled over. A few people even thought I might be dead. Internet at the docks? Well, it was in the works, but the committee voted the cell tower down, again, because of the expense. However there was a library “just up the hill,” where—even if they weren't open—you could still get reception outside the building. Grocery store? Other than a sort of mini-mart, the closest was about eighty miles away.
Considering it would take a two-week camping trip to hike that far—and the return trip with groceries would be as good as a sign on our backs in bear language that read, “VICTIM HERE”... walking it was not an option. Neither was hitch-hiking (although it was tempting), since when we finally did make that trip, we did not meet a single other vehicle on the way, and only a couple returning. So, we reluctantly decided we would have to spend the extra hundred and fifty dollars to rent a car for the day (only suburbans, vans, or trucks available because most roads were only gravel logging roads), and buy an entire winter's worth of food all at once. But, alas... none of them were available. Even though there were five agencies listed in those guidebooks.
The local company was run by a man who also worked for the ferries (everyone does two, or three, jobs to make ends meet around here), so he was gone every other week. We called several times to make a reservation, until someone informed us that his wife was visiting family off-island for a couple of weeks, so there would be no one to answer the phone. And while the other businesses were scattered around the island, our best bet was probably in that town we were trying so hard to get to. But what about that “Rainforest Ferry,” the guidebooks (Who wrote that thing?) said left from here, and ran between Ketchikan, Wrangell, and Petersburg? A new dock was ready and waiting, but they hadn't found the right kind of ferry boat, yet.
All of which was getting frustrating, since we were planning on making a few repairs (something about a leaky shaft seal and a busted motor-mount), before setting out over the big water, again. And why hadn't we been able to find that town fifty miles before this one, that was bigger? We searched over an hour for it, before we had to give up and catch a tide that was favorable, or stay another night “out of touch” after so many. What's up with that? Not only could we not find the town, we couldn't find any “divine footsteps” around there, either. Not then.
Because they were in this town.
So it was, that as the Captain and I were in the middle of our morning prayers (telling the good Lord how much we needed a car, that day), a pastor from Forks, Washington (who had brought a work team up for a week to do Vacation Bible School, or anything else they could help the churches around here with) came down to the boat. He said he needed to go to town, and did we want to ride along? Did we ever! And while it brought us dangerously close to our “choking point” to have to buy so many groceries all at one time, there happened to be an extra ten percent off your whole bill at the grocery store—that day only (What? Whoever heard of such a thing?)—which saved us a considerable heap.
Wonderful fellowship and beautiful scenery, all the way (thank you, Pastor Bob!), and a comforting peace that comes from knowing God is still in control of this “expedition of the Glory B,” even when we doubt it. Somewhere along the line I got the sense I should quit fussing about who wrote the guidebooks, too. Because we were brought here to see something. Not the fact that places might be closed, even though posted hours said they weren't. Shh... be still. Watch, and listen. They are on “island time,” here.
And maybe there's something I need to know about that.