As you know, we live remote. Not so remote as to NOT have neighbours but remote enough that you can’t see ’em and only a few reside within a few miles (see pic). In previous writings, I have opined that there is less than one person per square mile (over 250 square miles) and most people live with others (i.e. family) so there are many, many square miles uninhabited….the way it should be. In winter, the population drops precipitously. We live remote all year but it FEELS way more so in winter.
Naturally, we modern-style OTG’ers all travel to town at some point and, despite being independent and different from one another (in so many ways), we all share a few things in common, most visibly, the community dock. Whether you live on an island ten miles to the west, ten miles to the north or just ten miles away on the same island as I do, you use the community dock on the nearest ‘connected’ island which is our first ‘leg’ of re-entry to the grid, the city, the big-box-stores and the madding crowd. Most people use it – on average – once a month. Do the math: 250 people, 30 days…roughly 8 boats on the dock per day. In reality, it is more like 3 or 4 but, at busy times, it can be as much 15 or more.
We left for Victoria last week and quickly re-entered the larger madness. What a treat that was.
Because remote taxpayers do not get much in the way of amenities or services, we are all pleased as punch with the community dock (a joint community – local government project). Only a few short years ago, there was no dock. There was, instead, just a community raft. A floating raft-dock that tipped and rolled when anyone was on it served as the ‘landing’ for accessing the ‘connected island’. That raft might accommodate two or three boats in a pinch. The would-be shopper would tie up, then pull the raft into shore, step on land and then pull the raft back out using a clothesline-like device.
You can imagine the improvement the new dock is over that! But, here’s the deal: because as many as sixteen boats could conceivably congregate on a heavy weekend or for a special event in town, rules were developed and one of them is that no-one can leave their vessel tied up for more than 48 hours. That amount of time allows for an extensive town day with, perhaps, a weather-delayed return overnight allowance day. But, if you are going to knowingly be away for more than two days, it is incumbent on the user to find a ride to get over to the dock and arrange for a ride to come back so that your vessel does not occupy valuable dock space.
Good manners also suggest that your ride over/back with the considerate neighbour does NOT oblige them to help you with your load. They all will, of course, but we usually load our car the day prior to leaving and make sure that we are taxi-service-only coming back.
When we leave for any amount of time, we are carrying luggage, any garbage to be recycled, any returns of products, mechanical devices requiring professional repair, containers, totes and the like. We often go to town with 200 pounds or more of crap.
Coming back, of course, is a bigger chore. Typically we return with in excess of 500 pounds of crap. This trip: about average. Some of it is packaging, the aforementioned totes and luggage but the bulk is consumables of some sort, food, lumber, parts, fuel, etc. Usually, a good portion is also fragile. This trip we brought a couple boxes of wine and a pane of glass (and eggs). The only limit to what we can carry is the size of the SUV and the boat. Fortunately, it is about the same amount.
We also have a utility trailer that has, on occasion, been filled as well but that means two boat trips at the very least and we are pleased to have left those days mostly behind us. One major schlep is enough.
This trip, our pre-arranged ride-neighbour got the days mixed up and we were destined to arrive at the dock with no transportation ready (see forlorn expression above). That can be problematic. So a few last-minute calls to the outer regions and we were handled. D was available after 2:00 and G was available before 2:00. Whenever we knew for sure what our arrival time was, we would let them know and one of them would be there. We called G and said, “1:00 pick-up, if you please.”
At 1:01, she was right there tying up her boat at the community dock. AND she had brought our boat (towed behind) with her. New Yorkers can’t get taxis that efficiently.
So, what is the point of this blog? There isn’t one, really. Just a day in the life….that kinda thing. But it is interesting to note that our ‘neighbours’ as distant and disparate as they can be are quickly at the ready to help. It’s a good community.