The boat is back, and it’s lovely

We bought Jon Seltzer’s old (early ’60’s) boat and beat the crap out of it up on the St Croix river when we had the cabin.  It wound up spending 10 years in the garage, gently guilt-tripping me and asking to be restored.  I finally realized that I a) didn’t have the time and b) didn’t have the skills to fix it up and we teamed up with Jim at Imperial Boat Repair to get the job done right.

Several things are going on here.  We married the old 40 hp Yamaha that used to push our pontoon boat with the Whaler this time around.  I decided that meant we needed a new transom, partly because I was worried that the old ’60’s transom would just fall off the boat with the bigger motor and partly because this is a long-shaft motor and the transom needed to be higher in order for things to work right.

All of the interior wood was shot, so I ran off to Teh Internets and bought new wood that Jim installed (abandoning my long-procrastinated original plan of refinishing the old wood).

Then there was the job of Getting The Goo Off The Boat.  You can see from the “before” pictures that I took a half-hearted run at washing that stuff off in a few places, but none of the stuff I used really worked worth a darn.  Jim and his gang acid-washed the boat and presto! it’s nifty.

Meanwhile the motor went off to Jim’s favorite mechanic (pictured below) and got the once-over, since it hadn’t been run in 10 years and wasn’t put away very carefully.  Then Jim and the gang rerigged all the wiring and controls, threw in a bilge pump and a depth-sounder, rewired/repaired the trailer and today Marcie and I dropped by to pick it up.  These pictures tell the story.

Pretty nifty huh??  I think we’ll wait ’til Monday to put it in the Mississippi (down by Alma, Wi) to avoid the weekend-boater crazies.  Then we’ll see how fast an old 13 foot Boston Whaler goes with a 40 on it.  I’m sure it’ll be fast enough for me.  I’ll add an update and some more pictures after the maiden voyage.

Nice river scum!
Nice river scum!
Old transom - pretty rotten, pretty nasty
Old transom - pretty rotten, pretty nasty
Mike's lame attempt at cleaning
Mike's lame attempt at cleaning
Note the out-of-whack trailer
Note the out-of-whack trailer
Detail of new transom, under construction
Detail of new transom, under construction
New transom
New transom
Rewiring the trailer
Rewiring the trailer
Jim (left) fixing the trailer
Jim (left) and Steve fixing the trailer
Cleaning carbs on the motor
Cleaning carbs on the motor
Running in the motor
Poor motor -- lotsa gunk!
Check out the new tonneau top!
Check out the new tonneau top!
Jim (right) and ??? (the guy that did most of the work)
Steve and Jim in front of the boat they repaired. Way to go!
Back home.  Big difference!
Back home. Big difference!
New transom, and trailer straps
New transom, and trailer straps
New steering.  Nice rigging, eh?
New console, steering, switches, depth-gauge (on top, behind steering wheel). Nice rigging, eh?
Transom's not so nasty now
Transom's not so nasty now. See that gas tank under the front seat?
New gas tank, under front seat
New gas tank, under front seat
Detail of the new bilge pump
Detail of the new bilge pump. Never had one before.
Another transom shot
Another transom shot
I love this transom
I love this transom

 

First RV journey

Marcie and I have been planning to get an RV ever since we rented motorhomes to take Robert and Richard on trips during their spring breaks from school. The original target date was going to be April of next year (when we hit our 25th wedding anniversary) but the sale of haven.com sorta got me fired up about Changing Our Lives so I moved the schedule up a few months.

I’ve been researching RVs forever, so the decision-process was really more of an update than starting from scratch. I’m a big fan of the folks at The RV Consumer Group. They’re complete nut-cases about how unsafe most RVs are and I’m with them — especially after what happened on the way home from picking up our 5th wheel. We had what turned out to be a relatively minor crash when a deer ran in front of us on I-80 just outside of Des Moines. I attribute a lot of that happy outcome to the fact that we were running a rig that the RV Consumer Group folks would rate very high for safety — a relatively small 5th wheel trailer, pulled by a truck that can handle way more load than we’re putting on it.

Had we been running overloaded (the way lots of people do), or in a Class-A motorhome (where everything is in one bus-like vehicle), or if we’d had too little undercarriage protection on the truck (and hosed up the steering) we could have been in a lot of trouble when we hit Bambi at 70 mph. As it was, the deer is quite dead, the truck is in a plain-Jane Chevy dealer’s body shop for not-too-complicated repairs, and nobody got hurt. Can’t complain about that outcome at all, especially since this happened on a really busy freeway and there were lots of cars and semi’s I could have hit. ‘Course, the deer probably would argue with that assessment, but she be dead.

Anyway, on to the fun stuff. Pictures! Lotsa pictures. This first set is the saga of the truck and the RV — starting in Phoenix where we picked up the RV, and ending up in Des Moines yesterday;

Truck! RV!

And here are the classic tourist snapshots of the trip — includes the Grand Canyon and the Black River Canyon.

The Road West

And here are some videos (turn the sound down, it’s just camera noise)

Grand Canyon 1 

Grand Canyon 2

Gunneson Black River Canyon

Continental Divide

Get a customer service human being – gethuman.com

Sure, they’ve been around forever. Sure, most of you probably already know about this site. But just in case you don’t, here’s a pointer to GetHuman.com — a great site if you’re trying to get to a human-being customer-service type person.

Marcie was trying to find the path through Northwest Airline’s patented “Voice Prompts From Hell” system to book a seat for me on an existing reservation. She finally gave up. I remembered reading about GetHuman somewhere, Googled it, looked up NWA and tried it out. Tarnation! Worked perfectly.

I’m sold. It’s even got the incredibly-secret path to Amazon customer-service reps!

Trip to New Zealand

Marcie and I just got back from a trip to the ICANN meetings in Wellington, New Zealand. This is a post of a few of the many pictures we took.

Here’s one “above the fold” — read on to see the rest…

This is the first day...  the cable car up the hill behind our hotel

This is the cable car we rode up the hill behind our hotel on our first day there — quite the view of Wellington (a town that reminded us a lot of San Fransisco). Read on to see the rest of the pictures.

Continue reading “Trip to New Zealand”