Keystone Crossing


When Don and I left at 10:00 am for a day trip to Port Townsend for our anniversary, we had no idea that we wouldn’t be home until after 11:00 that night. We’d forgotten: The Keystone crossing can be difficult. The ferries that run that route are smaller than most in the fleet, holding only 64 cars, and the crossing is about 45 minutes, much longer than the Edmonds Ferry or the Mukilteo Ferry. Also, routes often get cancelled because of low tides.


Luckily, Don looked up the ferry schedule and realized that we needed reservations to go to Port Townsend (though somehow the fact that we needed one to come back escaped both of us). He made a reservation on the 1:15 ferry. We thought that would give us enough to have lunch in Port Townsend and spend some time at Fort Worden State Park before taking the ferry back home that evening. I imagined we would be home by dinnertime.

Even with reservations, we were lucky we got on the ferry. When we arrived at the ferry terminal in Coupeville, there was one long ferry line, which moved one car at a time through the pay station. And then it didn’t move for awhile, which turns out to be a problem on a hot day when you’re driving a car that is 20+ years old with a big, heat-producing engine, which my husband does. Steam spewed out from under the hood and the coolant boiled over, spilling all over the ground. It needed some time to cool down but that, of course, is when the ferry line started moving. We let out a huge sigh of relief when we finally rolled onto the ferry.

The crossing was uneventful and our time in Port Townsend went as planned. We had lunch at an excellent Thai place and then walked the beach out at Fort Worden.

We got to the ferry terminal at 6:00, thinking we would catch the 6:45 ferry home and that’s when we found out we should have made reservations for the trip home. We were told that we would be on the 8:30 ferry. We waited until they loaded the 6:45 ferry, just in case, and were seven cars too far back to get on. We looked at the schedule for the Mukilteo Ferry and realized we would have to catch the 10:30 home. That was much later than we wanted to be but there was nothing we could do about it. We were stuck.

But stuck in Port Townsend isn’t such a bad thing. We had an excellent dinner on a restaurant balcony overlooking the water and we left Port Townsend right at sunset, which was magnificent throughout the entire crossing. Although we were both tired the next day, I’m very glad we missed the 6:45!






12 thoughts on “Keystone Crossing

    1. Thank you! It was worth it for me too. It’s so hard to get sunset pictures here because of all the trees. Being out on the water during the sunset was a lovely experience!

        1. Those are very lovely sunset through trees photos! Sunsets from my house look more like a giant wall of trees with a speck of orange showing through. 🙂

  1. What a great sunset…and it sounds like you had a very memorable day.

    (I think you were meant to wait for that ferry home so you could have a lovely dinner on the island).

    1. It was a memorable day and I think you’re right that we were meant to wait for the ferry. If we had left at 6:45, it just wouldn’t have been enough time there.

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