The Boat; Part 3.

Now to the big problem; moving the boat. There were several obstacles. Where would we get a trailer to put the boat on? How would we get it on the trailer? Where would we get a truck to pull the trailer? How would we get to the marina and boat ramp without running into telephone wires? These were the questions we faced. It turned out that these weren’t the only questions we needed to ask.

We lifted corner by corner of the frame that was holding the boat upright until we could place cross beams under the frame. Then we lifted the beams, one side at a time, little by little until we had elevated the beams and boat high enough to get a trailer under it.

We spent days finding a route we would take to get to the boat ramp at the marina. The truck owner was a reluctant participant. My memory is that it was a pre WWII small pick-up, with a bad motor and faulty brakes, but it had a trailer hitch. Jack rented the trailer. I don’t think it had a bed – mainly an angle iron frame, but it was thirty feet long. It was definitely not meant to carry the weight of our boat – with its cement keel.

We would have preferred to travel at night, but the marina parking lot closed at 6. Our biggest fear was blowing out the tires of the trailer, tipping the boat and … there were some scenarios we really didn’t want to think about. There were a lot of last minute adjustments. We had started early, but it was about 2 in the afternoon when the boat left the lot. There were about ten of us that made our way to the marina and spent two very long hours waiting for the truck to arrive. When it pulled into the parking lot, with its out of proportion load in tow, it was a pretty sight to us. The truck engine was smoking and the owner was ready to have done with the day, so he quickly maneuvered the trailer to the start of the ramp and slowly started to back up. Once the boat hit the steep part of the ramp, the truck’s brakes were no match for the weight and the two started picking up speed. I was reminded of Lady, the large horse I used to ride on the ranch, who would sense when we were almost home after a long day’s ride. There was no controlling her as she raced home. There was lots of bumping and shaking and shouting as they headed toward the water. I always rode bareback, and Lady would stop suddenly as we came to the gate and I would go flying over her head, but usually managed to hold onto the reins and glare at her as she sheepishly apologize for her antics. At the bottom of the ramp, the water brought the tandem to a halt. Relief – cheering – until we all realized that there was one detail we had not thought about. The trailer was completely submerged, the truck had its rear tires in the water, about half of the keel of the boat was underwater, but the hull of the boat was still about two feet above the water. We got a long rope and tied it to the front bumper of the truck and assured the driver that we would be able to pull his truck out, no matter how deep he went. Having harrowed the drive through town the driver had gotten sucked into the spirit of the effort as well as the physics of the problem, as we all had. Slowly he backed up. The motor quit when the exhaust was blocked by the water. We kept pushing the truck by hand, pushing it into the ocean. The driver had his door open, looking backward, and when water started coming into his cab, that was all he could take, so he jammed on the emergency brake. We were all in the water by now, all of us except the boat. We un-hitched the trailer from the truck. It took fifteen of us, but we were able to pull the truck out. He managed to get it started again and he took off. It was getting late, after 5:30. A coast guard boat approached with a bullhorn telling us that we needed to get the boat off the ramp.

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About Newell Hendricks

I have lived a good life. Maybe a counterculture life, maybe a normal life. I have written operas, built houses, been involved with cross-cultural education between Latin America and the U.S, and hardly ever had a job I have helped raise two wonderful children with my amazing wife. It's been a good ride. And I go to church. I've just finished a book of stories from my life, I am still connected to an organization in Nicaragua that promotes sister relationships between communities, faith communities, or schoold, and to the extent that my cancer doesn't pull me down, am attempting to share some of what I have learned, or at least tried out. Welcome, and let's share.
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