Monday, August 23, 2010

B is for Boating

I contemplated naming this post P is for Pathetic. Perhaps D is for Determined might have been a good subtitle. But I found the silver lining of my boating woes in the cloud of friends with which I am blessed.

Friday afternoon Dale and I headed for Red Wing to try yet another can of Sea Foam in the gas tank of my dilapidated vessel. We were greeted by a full campground and dock loaded with a Glastron Classic Boat Convention. It looked very interesting, but we didn't want to waste any more daylight, so we drained the additive into the gas tank and took off.

Usually when I find myself on the river, especially the Mississippi, I feel as though I can breath more deeply, relax more fully, appreciate creation with wonder. This summer, hopping into my poor ancient boat, my stomach twists into a knot of hopeful anxiety. I find myself intently focused, not on the majestic and peaceful surroundings, but on the boat, wishing its mechanical systems into compliance and desirable behavior, listening keenly for the least little engine hiccup, primed to feel the slightest hitch through the frame of the vehicle.

For the second time in as many days we were able to make it out of the no-wake zone above Bay Point Park and open up the throttle a little bit . . . . and sure enough, there it was, the warning hiccup that precedes certain disaster.


So back we went. We stopped at the fuel dock, barely able to keep the boat running. After inputting a few gallons of gas we limped back to our own marina, fingers crossed, lurching through the swift current. So we tied off the boat and began looking at all the classic Glastrons gathered. Our first boat was a Glastron. We named it The Honeymoon because we spent Dale's pittance of a pension on its purchase when he changed jobs just prior to our wedding.

Sitting on the end of the dock near the boat landing, sipping beers and watching the antics of couples dropping boats in the water and pulling boats out, we were entertained for nearly and hour. We witnessed the near catastrophe of a beautiful big, new, Crownline Cruiser being crashed into by a rookie river guy in a hot rod Glastron. The Glastron was louder than any boat I've ever heard and had a James Bond logo on the stern; "007" with a pistol (white boat at right in photo). He was caught by surprise when the current took his stern, and he yelled at the Crownline owner to protect his boat that was safely tied to the end of the landing dock (was to the right of where the white Glastron sits in this photo) awaiting it's First Mate to back the trailer in (as you can see, she's already there and he has moved the boat to the trailer by the time I got the phone camera on them). Crownline guy (yellow shirt in the photo) scrambled from the dock across his tall bow and over the port side to prevent the crash. His protective handstand on the Glastron's stern became a slow-motion cartwheel atop the offending engine compartment. He flopped on his back, rolled to keep his hands on the hull of his own boat, managed to retrieve his hat from the water, and prevented a nasty scrape in the process, while 007 pretty much ignored the whole incident. Once on the dock 007 turned around lethargically and spotted the body sprawled across his stern, "Oh, ya okay?" Didn't even give the guy a hand to get up and off his boat.

Once we were confident that no one was bleeding, burned, or in the water I looked down our dock at my beloved to see him attempting to stifle the giggles. He burst into laughter that was no longer containable and cackled for a solid five minutes. It was highly contagious and we both laughed long and hard. One of Dale's favorite past times is people-watching at boat landings. Note to self: bring the video camera so we can win big on America's Funniest Videos!

Saturday we were invited to go out on the Truax's boat du jour. They are proud new members of the Prescott Boat Club. They had a pontoon boat reserved and invited several members of the local village to join them for a day of leisure. Some Skovs and a Schlafge joined them in spite of the cool, overcast weather. I gotta give it to Bud. The minute we cleared the Prescott bridges and were on our way upriver, the sun broke from the clouds and we had a beautiful day before us. Danika tolerated me tubing with her and participated in my stunts and antics. We had a great time giggling and maneuvering. We even went down to Diamond Bluff on the Mississippi to try for a bite to eat at the Nauti-Hog, but they were too busy and the wait was too long. Hastings Old Time Car Show vendors helped us abate the hunger. It was a great day with fantastic friends.

Sunday, after church (and a super sermon by Fr. Frank) I went to Red Wing to clean my boat, pouting and scheming that if I'm going to get it running I should sell it right away so I can use the money as a down payment on something more reliable. It was my passive aggressive mode of cleaning when I'm pissed and wishing that I could play with my own toys. Just as I was working up a sweat the rescue team arrived in the persons of Dale, Beth and Tom. Let's go boating in the Wanamakers' new boat.


So off we went, down to Lake Pepin. I was breathing more deeply, relaxing more fully, and truly appreciating the spectacular view of limestone palisades, marshy sandbars, and eagles. We floated around in the middle of Pepin in our upside down life jackets (diaper mode), played some dice, and even attempted some water skiing. In five tries I wasn't able to coordinate my waning strength and rusty technique to get up on one ski, so we abandoned the plan and decided to call it a day.

Finding both gas docks already closed, we did luck out in getting to tour the model for the newly forming floating condominium concept; The Marquette. It's very similar to our retirement on a barge idea. None of us have that kind of money yet. But the concept is pretty nifty. I posted to the their blog to encourage them to get the motorcycle transport sorted out. We'll see. Could be a deal-breaker for these River Rats.

So this morning, as I get my writing skills honed to create some devotions for work, I sit mostly content, and with many stiff muscles, my heart full of gratitude for friends and opportunities.

And then it occurs to me that I've got to get a different boat. I finally figured it out. The boat is named Never-A-Nuff. That name was already on it. I hate misspellings like that. Cute - not. Clever - not even close. It is rumored that it's bad luck to change the name of the boat. (The paint is the most permanent substance I have ever encountered - much stronger than the mechanical systems.) I think it's bad luck to own a boat named Never-A-Nuff!

So, anyone wanna trade?

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