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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Here rudder rudder rudder....

Ok.  So where was I!?!

Oh yea.  So I got back to my boat and my rudder was missing!

The best that I can tell, I beached the bow of the boat against the river bank.  Then the dam closed the gates and the water level went down.  As it did, the bow stayed put and the back of the boat went down with the river.  The first thing to touch would be the rudder.  The upward pressure as it sank into the river bottom popped it out of its pins then it flopped over into the water.  When the water came back up, it just floated away.  

SUPER BUMMER!

Well, with the main control surface of my craft gone, I had to improvise.  I lashed an extra oar to the stern post.  An old whale boat trick... and to be honest... should probably stay with whale boats.  If i needed to spin the boat to put a harpooner next to the sperm whale, it would work great but for holding a steady course or angle to the wind it is pretty awkward.  

Worst case scenario the rudder is 125 miles down stream.  That is assuming 24 hours at about 5-6 miles an hour current.  Best case, it is hung up on a snag a quarter mile down stream.  Actually, that seems most likely!  I can hardly eat a can of soup before the river tries to throw me into a snag or the bank.  It is probably the same for the rudder!  I'll have it back in no time!



I hand the oars to Mr Heston, loosen the stop on the motor so I can swivel it by hand to use it to steer, then crank him up.  I start systematically searching the banks figuring the rudder couldn't have gotten far.  

Fast forward:  TWO DAYS Later:

So many thunderstorms... No rudder.

I’ll get back to the thunderstorms in a minute but for now, just consider I am motoring into Bismarck ND from the north and have been ravaged for days by thunderstorms.  I am cold and wet, everything I own is wet… well, I did manage to keep a few things like the oatmeal dry, but that is about it.  

I figure I’ll get into Bismarck, spend the night in a motel to dry out, then find a hardware store and talk the manager into letting me build a new rudder behind his store. 

Instead, what do I see as I come around the bend just north of town… A TALL SHIP!

Yea, you read that right!  I see a huge tall ship right on the river bank!  Well it is actually a house, but made to look like a tall ship.  On the forecastle of the ship/house there is a guy.  As I am blowing down the river he shouts to me.  “Where’d you start from?”

I answer and he shouted something else back to me.  I couldn’t hear so I turned around and came up to his dock to continue our conversation.  We start talking for a few minutes about the weather, he asks about the boat etc. 

Well, in the course of this conversation it comes out that that I will have to build a new rudder.  He offers for me to borrow his tools tomorrow and build it there!  He likes that kind of project anyways and would be happy to help!

Pulling in to Rollie and Corky's dock.


Yep... shits all wet... and no rudder.



The next morning Rollie picks me up from the motel where I have sort of dried out to the point of being only mostly damp and we proceed to build the rudder at his house.  As it turns out he has spent his whole life running up and down the river, restores old cars, and has sort of a side gig of buying rust free cars from the desert and bringing them up north to sell where they have all disappeared.  

Couldn't have lucked out any better!

Here is the new rudder we built!


Due to glue drying, and sealing the wood… it takes two days to finish the rudder to the point it will survive the next few months in the water.  So for these few days, Rollie and Corky take me in, let me turn their yard into a huge drying rack for everything I own.

My stuff drying all over the place. (Also, inside the buildings are a few awesome old cars!)

Bests of all!  I got to sail their house around the river for a while!  


ARRRrrrrgggg!  









8 comments:

Mike Quinn said...

Cissie and Mike are in Casper, Wyoming. We will be going down the Green River soon. We just completed a six day sail on Lake Sakakawea. Glad you got going. When did you leave Bismarck?

amateur.sophist said...

Is it possible the rudder just sank with all the hardware?

Ben from Soul Food in Ft Pierre said...

I'm glad you made it to Bismark safe! Stop back at this coffee shop any time you wish!

Anonymous said...

I'm delighted you have a new rudder. Even more delighted that your blog continues to have increased traffic and that you started out of Bismarck dry.

Like the Tennessee Williams character (Blanche DuBois), you have surely been dependent on the kindness of strangers. I imagine that was pretty much your purpose.

Reading carefully. But responding rarely.

Love, Sam

BrandyK said...

Nick,
I met you last night in Yankton. Thank you for sharing your blog. I enjoyed reading up on your adventure. Your bravery has allotted you an experience that most men have only dreamed of. Humorous writing! BTW, I pack heat for the weirdos who are concealing zip ties! (I realize I used this comment on a June post. First timer at following a blog!:)
Best wishes,
Brandy

BrandyK said...

Nick,
I met you last night in Yankton. Thank you for sharing your blog. I enjoyed reading up on your adventure. Your bravery has allotted you an experience that most men have only dreamed of. Humorous writing! BTW, I pack heat for the weirdos who are concealing zip ties! (I realize I used this comment on a June post. First timer at following a blog!:)
Best wishes,
Brandy

Notorious said...

Mike: I stayed a long time. I think I finally got out of Bismarck on July 20th.

AS: No, it definitely floats. there isn't that much hardware. Mostly it is wood. If it had sunk I could have seen it just sitting there on the bottom. It is out floating around now a hazard to navigation for sure.

Sam: Mostly my life is getting everything wet, then drying it out... then being helped by strangers. I am massively Karmicly in debt after this trip.

Brandy! Yes! Glad to have met you... and glad the blog is at least entertaining! Thanks!

Notorious said...

Ben! Thanks!!! I will next time I am in town. Look forward to hearing about your trip down this river too!