What a lovely day on the river-with no mishaps! I can definitely tell that the weather has turned a bit. It’s supposed to get down to 40 degrees tonight so I have my jammies with the footies on! I finally got on the river at 1PM with my trusty cohort/neighbor’s help. I think he is helping me in a NASCAR sort of way. You know everyone goes to the races to see the wrecks-well there he is! Actually, he has bent over backwards to help me which I appreciate a bunch. I’m sure he is not done helping me either-he just doesn’t know it!
You call that a transom?
Now that’s a transom!
Am I lucky or what? I spent the whole day with half of the boat in the garage working on the transom while it rained outside. I can only imagine being out on the river with a broken down canoe in this crappy weather. It was nice having all of my tools to take care of this mishap. I have the boat completed but it is supposed to pour tomorrow so I will wait until Wednesday to shove off. My transom is rock solid and could most certainly handle a bigger motor now. What is more probable is the stresses will now be focused somewhere down the line. The canoe was rated for my motor size so maybe the broken transom was just a fluke.
Loaded and ready to go
Got back underway around 1 PM. Leanne took me to the very same public boat ramp that I pulled out from. I was busy putting the boat together when an entire church congregation came to the boat ramp for a baptism. They seemed to be of the fundamental flavor with the ‘Shall we gather at the river…..’ singing and the pastor or elder walking with a full length walking stick/staff. I decided to stop working on the boat, sit on the dock and observe. It kind of reminded me of ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou’. I was just waiting for the horny toad! The whole shebang took about 30 minutes. I then got busy with the boat again.
My ducks in a row!
Had a treat yesterday with Leanne coming to visit. We met at a state campground and spent the day together. I gave her a shopping list and she brought everything. She will never know how much easier she made my trip with the things she brought! After the near miss the day before, I was more than ready for a break. We had lunch at a small town mom and pop and ran a few errands.
Had a perfectly good day going on until I got just south of Parkersburg, WV. Parkersburg has a boat regatta/show/festival/something going on for Labor Day. I got out fairly early to avoid that traffic that was headed towards there. I have been trying to straighten out the curves in the river much as you would do in a car on a winding road. Only in this case, it saves about 1/2 mi. for each bend. I also tend to hug the sides of the river as the heavy traffic takes the middle. The Army Corps of Engineers tends to use old barges that are no longer servicable for parking along the river I guess for erosion control. I was rounding a right hand bend which was lined with barges when I came upon three older paddle wheel barge engines. These things were roaring along. By the time we came with eyesight of each other, it was too late for either of us to deviate from our course. I was about ten yards from the barges and about thirty yards from the innermost engine. I knew I was in a crappy position but could not do anything about it. I assume these barge engines were going to the boat festival. I saw the first wakes heading for me and they were about four feet. What I saw next terrified me. As these wakes hit the inner barge containment wall, they were bouncing off them so now I had wakes from both sides. I knew I was in for alot more than I bargained for. Four foot waves from both sides. I did not have time to see my life flash before my eyes. Maybe I did and I missed it! As the waves hit me, I chopped my throttle to only give it enough to get me through this-fully knowing that I did not know how to get throught this. The waves started crashing over me and I thought I was a goner. I was glad that I had the deck on which deflected much of the water. This washer cycle lasted for about a minute before I knew I was going to get through it. I broke a left front strut and took on enough water to fill half of my canoe. It’s a wonder that I didn’t go under! I was angry that these three big boats that were moving very quickly were so close to the side of the river. I don’t know the rules they follow but they weren’t following my rules! I spent the next 45 minutes bailing water from the canoe and assessing the damage. The strut I could deal with. Unfortunately, the cordless drills and batteries that I brought along were under water. They are toast. I learned a couple of lessons from this fiasco. Since I am usually the smallest craft on the river, I will hug the outside bank. I haven’t had any problems with the commercial barges as they follow a certain set of rules. The smaller vessels make up their own rules! Secondly, if you are in a canoe, just assume that everything that you brought with you is going to get wet. I will limp into home in five days and make some revisions to my craft before continuing on. This is probably the closest I’ve been to ‘seeing the other side’. I think I have all of my affairs in order-you just never know when your time is up.
This is my take on locking through. When approaching the lock, the first thing I do is pee my pants. I call the lock master on Ch.13 and ask about waiting times. He will then instruct me how long. There are stop lights(just like at intersections for cars) that you follow. After the gates open, the green light flashes and I proceed in. Once inside, I loop my rope around a floating bitten and hold tight. This bitten will rise and fall with the depth of the water. After the gates are closed, they flush the lock until the water gets to the level of the downstream level. Today that was about 25 ft. They open the gate after the levels are stabilized and then toot their horn. That means I can unloop my rope, fire up my enging, and get out of dodge. Sounds easy, huh? Roping the bittens is a handful when you are by yourself as you are doing everything at once. And you don’t want to miss your bitten that you choose because then you have to go to the next one up or back up. I use my extension hook to help lasso them. The lock master today says that was pretty slick and everybody should have one. He says he sees lots of river challenged people and all it does is waste their time. Today I was lucky!