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by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

I was Yesterday, it was Feb-RU-rarry.  Cold and dreary.  Today it’s March.  With sun, and a whole lot cheery(er).  The Summer of 2015 boating season starts today!  Bungled rhyme notwithstanding; it’s gonna’ be a full calendar of adventures and opportunities.  The boys and girls of my modest fleet have been getting ready for months now.  Time’s a wastin’.

OK, just moment of rhetorical clarification.  Sure, we all know, that boats are girls.  We call ‘em she, and stuff belonging to each she, is properly labeled as “her” this or that.  But, there’s certainly a male contingent involved.  Like trailers, and motors, and trucks to pull all those girls around.  Not misogynist, just equal-opportunity.  Anyhow.

I sort of instigated this little adventure coming up next week, way back in November.  Back when TODO lists were free and easy.  Back when the whole winter Building Season stretched gloriously ahead.  Back before my hands hurt quite this much.  Mostly, back before I discovered how many things still have to be fixed, changed, modified, and generally moved around before I can pull a floaty thing over the mountains and through Big City traffic, and launch in a part of the Pacific Ocean known as South Puget Sound.

The cognoscenti in charge of web sites and such have called this evolution the South Sound Mini-cruise.  Being of less-refined stock, I refer to it as the Damn-the-Drizzle-cruise.  Hey, we’re going to the rain capital of the world, just about.  So, when I dreamed this thing up, the idea was to bring a boat “with a roof, and windows, and a heater…”  The relatively minor notion that I didn’t exactly have one of those vessels quite ready, equipped, or even properly designed for the conditions we may encounter didn’t bother me too much.  At the time.  Waaaaaaaay back in November.  Well, here we are.  Just a week to go. 

I’ve been putting on a third shift, and offering overtime again.  Except, the working conditions haven’t been all that swell.  Seems, the boat selected for this first cruise of the new season sits too tall on her trailer to get back inside the shop.  We’re talkin’ waaaaaayyy too tall, in fact.  Like I said, anything seemed possible eons ago in November.  So, things like pulling trailer wheel hubs and installing electric brakes, and shifting rollers, and all that stuff that doesn’t even bother a guy much in July, gets a bit frisky working outside with snow still on the ground.  But, we all got our troubles, and yours are probably worse then mine.

And, another minor irritation.  I went out today, looking for a place to do a sea trial.  I thought it might make sense to know if the boat in question was going to display a propensity to sink or turn turtle before embarrassing myself in public with such malapropos behavior.  So, I went down to the local open-all-winter ramp.  When I say down, I mean DOWWNNNNNN.  Seems the folks that run things around here, have pulled all the plugs.  Even if I wanted to back down that local version of San Francisco’s Lombard Street (of Steve McQueen marque), there wasn’t enough wet stuff between the cold air above and the cold mud below.  So much for sea trials.

Well, on to getting things done.  There’s something else decidedly female about boats.  Maybe you’ve noticed?  They don’t really like to share.  Nope.  And, that’s a problem with some of us who only have so many life jackets, and spare tires, and swing stoves and such like that to go around.  I have to borrow and shift stuff all the time.  For example, trailer tires.

All I said to “Strumpet” was something like, “Hey, since little sister get to go to the party, and since you don’t…could she borrow your new shoes??...”

I’m pretty sure my pinched finger, and smacked knee was purely accidental.  And, the fact that the fender wells didn’t fit, or the older tires one of which suddenly failed to hold air, was pure circumstance.  Now the spare that came from “Old Salt” and the canoe paddle and tea pot from “Lady Bug” also seemed to require some sort of flinch and cuss words to obtain - along with a bunch of other stuff.  But, I’ve been pretty clumsy lately.

Oh yeah, I did find a place with water to sort of test things.  By then it was getting dark, and cold(er), so I tried a sort of fast cruise on the trailer.  And, that was probably a good thing.  Seems the drain plug had lost its grip.  But, at least I think we’ll find a way to get from trailer to salt water in a more or less efficient manner.

Both motors started.  And, there was only one leak of any consequence.  Hey, we’re getting’ there.  But, I gotta’ go get some electric brake assemblies and coax my knees to the pavement for a few hours of quality time out in the driveway.  See ya’ later.

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