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by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

Part One - Part Two - Part Three

The day the music died.

There are lots of things better discovered in your own driveway.  A couple of those popped up today, and were pretty big game changers, I’m afraid.

First off.  It was supposed to be a pretty straightforward task.  Pull trailer wheels, pull hubs and brake drums, replace brake backing plates with electric units, reassemble.  The biggest deal was supposed to be the trip to The Big City for parts.  Well, when this:

Starts looking like this, up close:

Things stop being simple.  Somehow about $100 became over five times that much in about two seconds of inspection.  The whole axle needs to be replaced, along with bearings, brakes.  The works.  There’s even a press-fit bearing race that has to be frozen into place.  Well, what else can go wrong?

I was still figuring that I’d figure it out.  Somehow.  This sharing among the girls had gotten pretty far out with tires and stuff like that.  Now, I was gonna’ have to swap trailers.  Not a real big deal.  I’ve done it a bunch of times.  Well, maybe, before I do that, it would make sense to make sure everything else is gonna’ work out.  Maybe?

So, running down the check list, I figured it would be a good idea to run both motors for a while. Just in case.

And, in keeping with the situation, you’ll probably guess.  Yep.  Old Faithful chose that particular moment to both blow his water pump to smithereens, but also blew the 2-stroke outboard equivalent of the rear main seal on a car.  Neat, huh?

Sooooooo, at this point I was beginning to loose interest in continuing with such stuff.  And, since one axle is bad; who knows how many others are, also.  I went over to storage and hooked "Lady Bug" up.  Her trailer axles looked OK, when I pulled the hubs.  So, other than the stuff I haven’t fixed from our collision with a rock pile last November, she’s looking like a good candidate for the cruise.  Other than no roof, no windows, and there’s not much a heater can do in an open cockpit, anyhow.  Other than that.  Oh, yeah.  And the iddy bitty cabin space is about as big as the glove compartment on a Volkswagen.  And, we are talking about taking a several day trip in that little spit kit. With probably crummy weather.   Don’t get me wrong, I don’t completely object to standing with my head out of the hatch to pull my pants up, as well as completing several other “personal” tasks.  But, this is a major comedown from standing headroom, and walkin’ around space. 

But, wait.  It gets better.

Then, it started to snow.  Pretty hard, in fact.

This boat collection in the driveway was looking like it needed to be someplace else.  “Roughneck” got returned to storage.  And, suddenly, my primary candidate for this Damn-the-drizzle trip was quite significantly sidelined with major injuries.

Within, about the next 30 minutes, visibility had dropped to about 100 feet.

And, now, there’s about 5 inches of the stuff on “Lady Bug’s” deck.

Maybe tomorrow things will improve a bit.  Maybe.  Like, what else can go wrong…??

Comes a time when nothing you plan is gonna’ work out anyway.  And I think I’ve reached that point.  So, I gave up on the master list and started a short one, scribbled on an old gas receipt.  It reads in part:  “Load Lady Bug…go sailing…”

Sometimes, it’s important to remember that “plan” is a four letter word.  And, I take it on good authority that if you want to make God smile, all you gotta’ do is make plans.  Well, that’s about the long and the short of it. 

In my own pointy headed way, I considered the odds.  Made lists of things that for sure needed to be checked, fixed, and outright done over.  I thought about things that I can’t control, like weather and if people would even come to this sort of eccentric event that I was trying to drum up interest in.  So, here I sit rather well chastened. 

If I had left everything to the last minute, to chance, and to dumb luck; I’d be in about the same boat—as it were.

Yep.  Just like old times.  My good old road warrior van, “Big Ole,” will pull good ol’ “Lady Bug” the peripatetic pocket cruiser of a thousand launches and recoveries all over the western half of this country.  “Quiet Quigley, junior,” son of the late QQ, will carry Miss Bug in fine style, I’m quite certain.  We’re all some years older than when we were out travelling all over the place.  We’ve all had injuries, infirmities, and insults heaped upon us.  But, we did it before.  We can do it now. 

And, just as soon as the sun melts this snow off her deck, I’m gonna’ hop up and see just how many year-old PBJ’s are left in the galley locker, what sort of small animals may have taken up residence in the linen locker, and whether that 6-year old deep cycle battery can be convinced to climb down by itself and go into retirement peacefully.  Well, I could always hope.

Time’s a wastin’ and we’ve got work to do.  Plans to make.  Well, let’s just stick with the work part, for now…

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