Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tom and the Fast Dinghy

The hard bottomed inflatable with centre console and 30 hp Honda four stroke outboard accompanied us on our moose hunt last year. After the hunt it was stored at Tom’s for the winter with our intention of goose hunting.  Goose hunting season passed and now we’re into bear hunting season.  Tom and I don’t think we’re likely to use the boat for bear hunting.  It followed then that I should drive my truck out and bring it back to serve my sailboat.
On the way from Vancouver to Chilliwack I stopped at the Hub to get my hunting license renewed. I’ve already renewed my tidal and non tidal fishing license.  When I got to the country Tom figured with the boat out we should clean it.  So we set too pressure washing it. Tom had put a fin on the motor for better function and even tried sanding the bottom.
“What it needs is a coat of bottom paint to keep the barnacles off. I’ll remember to do that when I’m painting the big boat’s bottom next year.”  I said
Panda, Tom’s female  dog friend joined us. Gilbert had a marvellous dog time.
“We should take the dogs for a walk along the river.”
And so we did.  Lovely spring weather. Roaring rapids.  Blue sky with cumulus clouds.  New flower buds.  Green leaves fresh from winter hiding. Snow still on the mountain tops. Air fragrant with spring.
“My neighbours thoroughly off the grid, solar panels, heated basement water.” "
“Very smart."
“”It might be necessary."
“Self sufficiency isn’t something to be frowned at."
“The problem is the city folk."
“It certainly is.”
“Most are utterly incompetent and all they know is how to criticize.  They really are terrified.  A rat race of anxious and the other half zombies."
“Our parents generation were like most of the folk who are in the country, can raise their own food, know animal husbandry, construction, hunting, fishing,  all the survival skills.
"I know. I’ve developed a fair assortment myself. Just hope I don’t have to use them."
“Might have to if the city folk don’t lose their stupid. They’re so wasteful and destructive.
Yes they are. Talk pretty though.  Everything fashion and not a word of substance."
Always has been.
The dogs were wading in the river.  We slowly made our way back to the boat.
I missed backing up to attach the trailer and dropped a wheel in to Tom’s culvert.
“Stop!” he screamed.  I got out of the truck and looked at the brick culvert that had risen to interfere with my wheel.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know that was there."
“Put it in 4x4.” Tom said.
“I did and it still didn’t come out.”
“let me try.'
So Tom got in and with me pushing we made absolutely no headway.
“My winch, “ I said. “I knew there was something I was forgetting.
So with not much adieu I pulled out the cable and Tom tied it about a tree.  With him driving and me operating the electric winch the truck came free of the culvert.
“That just paid for the winch he said.  And now I know my culvert will withstand a tsunami.
It certainly will.  Tom had built a brick end to the large pipe he had running under his driveway.
“It used to flood until I put that it. The neighbour had a large pipe he wanted to get rid of. I found the bricks by the side of the road."
Well, now we can get back to hauling the trailer.
And so we did.
However we couldn’t find some parts so jury rigged connection with a set of clamps and hoped that it would hold knowing the chains would stop it from getting away if the trailer jumped off it’s ball.
The ride back to town was interrupted by a need for diesel fuel, a toilet stop and more coffee.  The coffee Tom had made earlier was raw in comparison.
It was night when we got to the boat launch.  Naturally we seem to do these difficult things in the dark.  Our first conundrum was backing the trailer down without hitting a couple of police cars which appeared but showed no interest in us so we tried to act naturally.  We had no idea what time the boat launch closed and Tom had only jury rigged a green and red light which came and on when jiggled.
He was afraid to get wet. I was in the back of the dinghy with the engine down trying to start all the while nervous in the police presence.  I really hoped they got their man so they didn’t investigate us with any interest since we weren’t sure the boat would float or the engine would work.  With a last push I got the boat free and the engine started only to have it stop minutes later after Tom rand the truck up and away with Gilbert certain he’d never see his Dad again.
All I had to do was drive a few miles from Indian Arm under the rail way bridge to Coal Harbour against full current, uncertain of the quality of gas in the engine, having figured the stall to be because the tank vent wasn’t working.  The rapids were exciting.  It was dark and I was keeping a lookout for wood and tankers and hoping the boat wouldn’t stop in the whirlpool around me. I’d only seen in the flicker of the white light I held in my hand pointing back as the required ‘stern light’.  I had on my life jacket but was mildly aware that hypothermia would get be with fair certainly if anything happened.  Regardly thanks to Tom’s fin I was driving full open throttle like a bat out of hell rwith the rush and terror growing on me to that point where exhilaration sets in.  This happened when I was just about under the bridge and saw the glimmer of a hope that I might survive this silly expedition.
Out of the rapids and up the creek I found my sailboat with an ecstatic little dog barking and jumping about showing me clearly his lack of earlier faith in my reappearance.
“Well done, “ said Tom.  “I realized you were going again the rush and the rapids would be rather fierce.  Did my fin help."
“it did indeed and thank you."
With that we headed out to our favourite lamb restaurant on Lonsdale Quay remembering to bring a box of leftover back for Gilbert.

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