Sunday, August 28, 2016

Smoke that Prop!

So…  last time I tuned in for an update, I was talking about how I was having a bit of hipster moment in Omaha rebuilding a propeller in a coffee shop.  I am going to have to back up a moment now to just above Souix City, Iowa.

Just before Sioux City, there is the last wild stretch of the Missouri River before it becomes “channelized” or “engineered.” Read that as a big gutter that flushes the water of the Missouri as fast and deep as possible down to the Mississippi.

As I was puttering along, kind of zoning out… I was suddenly surrounded by a squadron of local kayakers! (They always come out of the sun at you!) I didn’t realize kayaks could go that fast!

Dave... crazy fast kayaker that caught me!

Then they caught up with me again at the Ponca State Park


Little did I know it, but this kayaker would be my rescuer a few days later!

This bunch were paddling sixty miles that weekend of the MNRR 100… or, the last wild 100 miles of the Missouri are designated a special park.  If you paddle them, you have completed the MNRR 100.  On accident I happened to do this.  Dave, the leader of this band, added me into the award ceremony at Ponca State Park.  

Instantly going into “shake, take, salute” mode, he assumed I must have been a politician.  I assured him I wasn’t but that there is a massive database of pictures held by the United States Air Force.  Every award, honor, or attaboy ever given by the USAF is photographed mid-handshake as the award is passed.  Probably for posterity or something… No one has ever in the history of the Air Force ever EVER wanted to see one of these pictures. (Leave a comment in the bottom if you have ever even seen one of these photos after it was taken…)

The First Shake Take Salute picture ever actually published:

I exchange information with some of the kayakers and and let them know about a really old tree that I had seen there in Ponca State Park.  Being that Kayakers and sail boaters are all cut from about the same level of nerdyness, they were also excited about an old ass tree and all went up the hill and looked at the it too.

Here it is.  This oak tree was born in 1644.  Think about that for a while...

Anyways. Remember that propeller?  Literally the first day out of Omaha, just south of a place called Nebraska City. (Home of the Ely Windmill Factory Museum) I smoked the crap out of that rebuilt propeller.  I hit a submerged rock dike so hard I am sure there were seismologists jumping out of their rolling chairs thinking this was going to be the big one!  

The Ely Windmill Factory Museum… note this is a museum of windmill factories… NOT a Museum of Windmills!  Making it even more notable don’t you think!?

I managed to shred the entire inside of that propeller… It was a clean sweep.  My repair… shattered, the remaining structure of the propeller… shattered, and even the shear pin… well it was fine.  Probably reused that. (cut down high tensil drill bits are the same as shear pins right?!?)  No better propeller salesmen in the world than the Army Corp of Engineers!

Luckily one of the kayakers who lived just up the road in Omaha came to the rescue!  There was a marine store in Omaha that could get the propeller.  Who would have known that it would be such an odd ball part.  No one carries it in stock. I think they only sold two in the history of Mercury Outboard. Apparently, if you are going to buy an outboard motor, no one ever goes for the 2.5 horse… except apparently my dad. Probably went down like this:

Outboard Salesman:  So… you got your 2.5, your 5, and your 10 horsepower outboards.  All weigh the same and cost the same.  

Dad: I’ll take the 2.5.

Outboard Salesman: Ummm… Ok… you putting this on a canoe or something?

Dad: No, I have an old row boat that I like to drive really slowly in.

Outboard Salesman: Like for trolling?

Dad: No… my family has a fishing curse and can’t catch fish. Hmmm… do you make a 1.5 horse?

Now, I have never done Heroin or crack, or any other famously addictive drugs… but I do know for sure that they are nowhere near as addicting as an outboard motor!  You see, you try to do the right thing.  You try to row… but there you are… facing the back of the boat looking right at the damn thing.  Each stroke you think, this could be a lot better… well, maybe just for an hour or so… this is like a headwind… it counts… right?… I did row some today, I deserve this…


Well It would be like trying to get off coke but leaving a big scarface mound of it right there in the middle of your kitchen table all the time.  

In addition, I had made a decision about this trip that made the motor imperative to have in working order.

So… Rescued by a generous kayaker, who also also happens to be a chef.  Needless to say, I ate better than I have in months!

No comments: