Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"You're gonna need a bigger boat!"

More sailing through cowboy country!

So with a few days of perfect wind, (See previous post) I make my way down to the Garrison Dam.  As I am almost at the marina, the largest pontoon boat I have ever seen pulls me over and after a few minutes of questions about what I am up to they ask me over for dinner!  Great!, because at this point my stove has been broken for about a week and a half so I haven’t eaten anything hot in that long!  (This pontoon boat was so big it had a bridge on it!)  Anyways, disappointingly they no-showed so I just spent the night in the hammock in the harbor with plans to figure out how to get below the dam the next day.  

The next morning comes and I meet a guy named Mike Quinn. He is also a sailor of cowboy country though with a much bigger sailboat. I am sure he could win a Hemingway look alike contest if he ever found himself in Key West. Within minutes of talking to him… using the shock and awe method of asking for favors, he has borrowed a passerby’s full size sailboat trailer, borrowed another passerby’s pickup truck, and we are watching for trees and power lines as the whole thing is on it’s way down the backside of the dam without even taking down the masts!  

PLOOOOP!  Into the river again!  Couldn’t be easier!

Mike Quinn, picture stolen from GEARJUNKIE

With all my problems solved for the day, Mike asks if I would like to go sailing with him.  

Of course!

Next thing you know, we are back out on the reservoir sailing along… same wind, but whole different feeling about it!  At probably about a knot or so faster that I could get for the same wind, we glide through the waves and wind smooth as can be!  Well, smooth like standing on the side of the seats and wetting the railings… but none of the white knuckle peril I feel in my boat.  

Lot of discussions about putting tell-tails on your sails.  This progresses to discussions about women, politics, more sailing… Either way, as I remember it, we pretty much solved all the worlds problems in a few hours of talking while sailing!  

With the world’s problems solved we headed back into the harbor for whiskey cokes!  Mike calls his wife Sissy to come pick us up… or at least me up as he is only there on his pretty much one seater motorcycle.  

Two dudes on a motorcycle, hey, we have all been there… two dudes on a one seat motorcycle, well, like I said we called Sissy.

Just as Sissy arrives, who else should walk onto this same dock in the middle of North Dakota but Melissa and Mark Sprague and family!  

So after a few “Holy shit, what the hell are you doing heres!?!?!”  You can imagine that we were surprised we could even recognize each other after what, ten years?  I look like the castaway she is back flying Hueys, and neither one of us was expecting or looking for each other.  We make plans to hang out the next day and I head home with the Quinn’s.

Well, it turns out there were a few problems Mike and I hadn’t gotten to, but luckily Sissy and I solved them on the back porch with beer.

The next morning Mike and I go to Knife River Indian Village.  Another NPS run spot, and extremely well done.  Being kind of slow at nine in the morning on a weekday, the park ranger David Carr gave us a personal tour.  Extremely knowledgeable and excellent at explaining things.  A little soft spoken so my best advice is to just let him talk.  One interesting thing he mentioned was, that not only was this Sakakawea’s home village… also, John Yunker’s family farm is almost right across the river!  Mr Carr was familiar with Yunker’s site and though never having been there in person, thought that from what has been described, Yunker’s probably has found the original Ft Mandan!

Mike dropped me off at the Sprague’s campsite and we spent a few hours catching up!  This was the usual Air Force checking in about where everyone is at these days.  Chances are, if you know both of us, we talked about what you are up to now.  

They dropped me back at the boat where I discovered my rudder was missing!?!?

Well SHIT!  I really needed that rudder!


Forrest Brenske said...

Hey Nik It was Great getting to talk to you the other day at the marina at lake sakakawea state park the other day i think your trip is so cool and i hope to do some thing similar in the future. good luck on your journey and safe sailing.


Melissa Sprague said...

Hey Nick! It was so great to catch up with you. I still can't believe we ran into to each other. Safe Travels!

Notorious said...

Forrest! Hey! Thanks it was good talking to you too! Glad you're reading it! Thanks!

Melissa! Yea! holy smokes hey! WOW.