Howdy! Grab a chair an’ a beer! So… Did ya ever have one of those ideas that seemed like a good one when ya had it, but turned out not to be so great after all? Yeah, I figured ya did… A month or so back, I was tryin’ to sell my toy hauler because we bought it for the trip to Sturgis last year with our three bikes an’ haven’t used it since. After a month or so on Craigslist, I came to the conclusion that I either had to swap for somethin’ else or give it away, so I listed it under the “Barter” section. I told Reggie that we’d just run that sucker up the flagpole an’ see who salutes.
Another week or so went by, an’ a guy sends me a picture of a boat. Now, ya gotta understand that I’m not a water guy. I swim like a bowlin’ ball an’ float like a horseshoe. Some folks are claustrophobic, some are scared to death of crowds, flyin’ an’ other stuff, but I tend to panic in water more than two feet deep. So what the hell do I trade for? A damn boat! And not just any boat, mind ya, but a 225 hp Avenger ski boat that’s fast enough ta rip your lips loose from the wind hittin’ ya in the chops! I have to mention that Reggie was kinda skeptical about the trade. “Can you drive a boat?” she asked, lookin’ over the sleek hull. “Can I drive a boat?” I laughed. “Of course I can drive a boat! Nothin’ to it!”
In spite of my assurances, she still looked skeptical. “I mean one that you don’t have to air up with a tire pump.”
“Awww, one boat’s the same as another,” I assured her. “I’ll figure it out.”
When I got the boat home, I started lookin’ over the stuff that was packed under the seats an’ in every nook an’ cranny. I recognized the anchor an’ some other stuff, but I was a bit perplexed by some squishy things that were stuffed under one of the seats. Hmmm… I thought. Plastic gourds? What the… They had pieces of nylon rope on them, to keep them from fallin’ overboard, I surmised, so they must be important.
About that time, my “prepper” neighbor came over to see what was goin’ on, an’ probably to see if he could borrow the boat.
“Whooo-eee!” he said. “Nice boat! Can I…”
“Have a beer?” I interrupted him in mid-sentence. “Sure.” He looked at me like he wanted to say somethin’ else, but before he could get a word out, I held up one of the plastic things. “Any idea what this is?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said, takin’ the plastic floaty thing. “It hangs on the rail to keep the boat from bumpin’ against the dock.
“Oh… yeah… I kinda thought that’s what they were,” I said, tossin’ it back into the boat. “We’ll have to take it out sometime.”
The lake was packed as I backed the boat down the ramp an’ into the water. “Shouldn’t you take the tie-down straps off first?” Reggie asked.
“Uh… Yeah, I guess so,” I said, wadin’ around back of the boat to release the straps. I helped her in, then let the boat drift off the trailer an’ tied it to the dock, bumpin’ against the floaty things. So far, so good, I told myself as I parked the truck and trailer, jumped in the boat an’ fired it up.
Just past the “no wake zone,” I opened the throttle. That was mistake number one. The thing took off like a top-fuel dragster, the bottom of the hull poundin’ the water like a sledgehammer, but the faster it went, the less of the hull was in the water. It was just startin’ to get its legs under it at 70, but I kept thinkin’ about my swimmin’ ability an’ slowed it down to 40 or so.
At Pine Flat Reservoir, they make ya wear a lifejacket any time the boat’s movin’, an’ I had mine all strapped in place. I stopped the boat an’ turned around to grab a beer from the ice chest, an’ the arm hole of my life jacket caught the shifter/throttle an’ jammed it all the way back. Before I could turn around, it was doin’ about 60 backwards, nearly capsizin’ a fishin’ boat, two jet skiers an’ the sheriff’s patrol boat.
Dirty looks were exchanged, along with obscene gestures. I thought sheriffs weren’t supposed to do that!? Reggie had an extra shirt pulled up over her face like those hoodlums on Cops. Guess she didn’t want to get sunburned…
After checkin’ all the equipment, he told me to be careful an’ sped off, leavin’ me to the mercy of the fishermen who were tryin’ to cast their crankbait into my lap. Reggie convinced me that it was time to head back to the dock, an’ after a couple of tries, I got it on the trailer an’ tied down for the trip home.
Under threats of sleepin’ on the couch till Hell freezes over, we decided that boats are not my thing. From now on, I’m stickin’ to things with wheels on ’em, so if anybody wants to buy a scary-fast boat, just hit me with an e-mail. I’ll make ya a killer deal!