It Still Counts

The view from our camp site

This trip has to be our least favorite trip yet. It was a holiday weekend, and everybody and their brother came out. We were far away from home, had rude neighbors, things kept breaking, in the end we had a small fire, and returned home with the aid of change we had saved for doing laundry. And somehow I was still not angry.

A little back-story here: When I was a kid, my family used to go camping a lot. We would load up the old RV and hook the Glastron on the back and we would head out for some fun on the water in Corpus Christie, Texas(or areas around Corpus). Or we would hop up to Medina Lake. Our neighbors the Moore’s and the Little’s would come with us all the time. They have several pictures that prove I wasn’t simply hatched as an adult.

Fast-forward to the weekend before our trip. We were buying a boat. We had the cash out and ready to buy a really nice Sleek Craft. Then he cancelled the deal on us. We were devastated. Then we got to looking again, and found someone with a Glastron CV23. I was a bit surprised by it. It wasn’t really on my radar, but I kind of liked the looks of it. Then that night, a Facebook friend request came in from someone named David Moore. One of the neighbor kids from when I was a kid. He and Gary Little, my two closest friends from my childhood were now back in touch with me. It was too much of a coincidence. We went to check out the boat the next day, and I absolutely loved the boat. It figured though. My memories as a kid were of our Glastron, and I just got back in touch with my old family friends.

Our mini land train

Though this one was nothing like my family’s boat. Though I think my dad would have been happy to see it is powered by a Ford engine. After the test drive on the lake, I hooked it back on to the trailer and we brought it home. The next weekend, we headed out to Lake Powell. I hooked up the 5th wheel and maneuvered it to get the boat hooked up to it. When driving on level ground, I barely felt any difference from the added trailer, but once we started heading up the mountains, the engine had to work just a bit harder. I guess adding a few thousand pounds does make a bit of difference going up hill.

We pulled on through the night. I was going to make dinner that night, but by the time we pulled in, all I could think of was how soft and cozy our bed was. I didn’t even bother unhooking the RV when we got there. It was too dark to see what our site looked like, so I figured when we saw it during the day light, we’d check to find a better spot. That worked out not too horrible, as we found several spots that looked better than our original spot. I had some maintenance to do on the boat, and so after getting the RV positioned, disconnected and sorta-kinda leveled, I went to work on the boat. This involved a trip out to Oreilly Auto parts, as the shop near my house gave the wrong parts for hooking up the regulator. Once I finally got that taken care of the fuel air mix was way off, so I had to tweak that too. No biggie really. I just set it to the normal starting position(one and a half turns for a Holley), and it was pretty well right on. In the mean time, My sweetheart applied the Utah sticker. We were barely inside the Utah border, but it still counts. We also had to get water jugs because even though I filled the water tank, it was reading less than 1/4 tank. When we got back and filled the tank again, the rains began to fall. A lot. It ended up raining the entire afternoon, and into the evening. Might have been nice to just stick a funnel out to capture the rain.

On one of our trips out to get parts(because lets face it, any time you work on a motor, you always end up needing more parts), we stopped off at the Hanging Gardens. right near the dam. My lovely woman hops out, of the truck and sees a pretty flower, and takes her time getting a good picture of it. Only to realize that when she came around to the other side of the truck there were hundreds more. We walked along the path to the Hanging Gardens and it really is quite a contrast to see the desert with vegetation coming from the sandstone.

Pictures really don’t do it justice.

We decided to go for a little boat ride, and check out the lake. And having brought the boat, it would have been a shame not to fire it up. It’s a jet boat, which means it can go very fast. But it’s a shallow “V” which is great for flat water, but heavy waves will beat the crud out of you. Add in deep water, and a whole slew of boats being there(imagine that, a holiday weekend and a bunch of boaters show up) and you have a really painful ride on the lake. Don’t misunderstand me, I had fun. My sweetie had fun. And I got a speeding ticket in the no-wake zone… Seriously, I was idling through the area, and ended up getting a ticket for a wake. The cop said my wake was “cresting” so he gave me a ticket, and a safety inspection… woohoo, we passed the safety inspection… I figured they had to give me a ticket, after they saw my shirt that read “I didn’t do it.” Not the best shirt to wear when protesting that you didn’t realize you were doing anything wrong. It may not be the worst shirt to wear, but it ranks pretty high up there.

We cruised along until the fuel tank got near half empty, and turned around. I’m not quite sure I trust the fuel gauge just yet. It’s supposed to be a 65 gallon tank, and we ran through that pretty dang quick…I think I’ll get a backup tank, and see how much fuel she really holds, and whether the gauge is really reading close to the truth or not. Of course it could also be that the fuel tank isn’t 65 gallons. Still, it would be nice to have a couple backup tanks just to have some wiggle room. We booked it back to the camp site, carefully slowing to one step above stopped at each of the no wake zones, and then before we got there, we stopped for a little break. Somehow during this stop, I picked up a rock in the impeller. So the boat wouldn’t get up on a plane, and it felt like it was going to shake itself apart. I carefully limped it back to shore and stuck it back on the trailer. It started getting late, so I had to make dinner. The boat would wait until morning.

That night, our neighbors were up til the wee hours. Apparently they don’t care about the 10:00 quiet time. That reminds me of why I like staying far away from everyone. In the middle of nowhere. Other people had their generators putting away into the night. To make it worse they were those loud worksite generators. All in all, a less than pleasurable night.

Morning came, and disassembly revealed the wonderful rock that was causing the issue. It’s now part of my wonderful woman’s collection. I took the opportunity to verify nothing else was wrong, and closed the pump housing back up. We had to go back into town to get a couple parts, because some of the darn bolts were damaged to the point that I simply had to replace them. Not really major parts, but major enough. I bolted it back up and we decided to launch the boat at the marina. The last beach launch left us having fun trying to get the boat out of the water with a stuck truck. So I really didn’t want to do that. It turns out that with the America the Beautiful pass, and the boating weekly pass, we were allowed to go to the real boat ramp and launch there. That saved us a quarter tank of fuel there. Plus we were able to fuel up the boat at a regular gas station, as opposed to $4.75 a gallon…

So we dropped it in the water, after being told about the coa… coli.. quagga mussel and how it’s RAMPANT at the lake(learn more here), we headed to go see the Rainbow Bridge. We headed out past “slow down to a crawl” marina, and while there saw people making ACTUAL wakes, and not getting pulled over, and ticketed… I’m guessing it was because the lake wasn’t stuffed with boaters. Or they just don’t like me. Either way, we motored on after I passed there. This day there was nowhere near as much chop on the water. Comparatively, it was smooth. Unfortunately, we made a wrong turn. I didn’t know it at the time, but we turned down Navajo canyon. Don’t get me wrong, it is a gorgeous ride, but we didn’t get up to see the Rainbow Bridge.

Interestingly, though we did burn up a good enough chunk of our fuel getting to the end, I really don’t consider it wasted fuel. It was an absolutely lovely ride, and I thoroughly enjoyed the views. We headed back to the RV, and figured the next day we would just play around on the water. I had managed to conserve fuel a bit better this time around, and had a little over a quarter tank left after having gone farther than the previous day. Funny how not running it at top speed will save fuel.

Feeling a bit pleased I ran the engine up a bit, and cruised back to the area by the Lone Rock area. As I began bringing the engine back down something in the engine felt like it let loose. I could hear a distinctive change in how the engine sounded, and so I putted it back to our camp site. When I got there, I opened up the engine compartment and noticed oil in the bilge. A LOT of oil in the bilge. Most people call that a bad thing. At this point the boat had me beat. So we called it a night.

While we were sitting there, we realized that we left the truck over at the Wahweap marina. After dinner, we decided to walk back the several miles to the marina to get the truck. After a couple hours of walking, we got almost to the highway, and were saved by a ranger. He picked us up and took us to our truck. After realizing just how far we would have had to walk, I realized just how silly it was thinking I would just walk that .

The next morning I found a spot that I would be able to drive the truck to and pull the boat out without digging my way to China. It was significantly less steep, and I was fortunate to get a boater to help drag my boat to the spot I found. By this point I was truly feeling beaten. I didn’t want to show it to my sweetie, but I wanted to just sit there and call it done. When I pulled the boat out of the water, and dragged it back to the RV, I was feeling completely drained.

What can pick you up better than playing with your pup though. Our Storm loves to play in the water. Actually, she loves to get anything she sees in the water OUT of the water. So we threw a stick for her.

Throw the stick!

I GOT IT!

This one’s better!

I GOT IT!

I’m getting tired now.

*CRUNCH*

Thanks to Storm I felt much better. She cheered me right back up. For the first time though I was happy to be heading home. We had been rained on, and had our water tank empty on us, the boat broke down twice, I got a ticket, and the noise each night made for a really unpleasant trip. After I loaded up the RV, I tried to pull out. And we’re digging in. Back it up a little, and get a run at it. Digging in. I did this a number of times, and finally someone came over and told me how to do it. I completely ignored his advice and simply backed my trailer up until it was on solid ground and kept backing the truck up til it too was on solid ground. I’m not certain why I get better traction going in reverse than forward. I’m sure there’s some weird physics explanation, or automotive explanation, but for whatever reason it seemed easier to push the trailer up the hill than pull it forward. After it was on solid(ish) ground I hooked the boat up and off we went back to town.

The wood I have in the bed of my truck is fairly wet. It wouldn’t light for anything. And the rain we had didn’t make it light any better… But apparently being warmed gently the night before had caused the wood to actually have embers. So at 55 MPH the wood that was in my fire pit lit, and then caught the wood in the bed of the truck on fire as well. That just isn’t right. Cruising down the road I always rock and roll, and check my mirrors. Drive with trailers enough times and it becomes second nature. During one of those checks I noticed the flames kicking up. I quickly pulled to the side of the road, ran back to the boat and grabbed the fire extinguisher, and quickly put the fire out. As I’m grabbing the now extinguished chunks of formerly burning wood that wouldn’t light to save our lives before, and removing the propane tank that was enjoying some quality time roasting, the sheriff pulls up. Someone had called to report a vehicle on fire(me) and he wanted to make sure I wasn’t still burning. I appreciate that. Nothing I hate more than being on fire. Soon after, the fire department shows up, also to make sure I wasn’t on fire. They did a quick check of hot spots, and verified I did a Fine Navy Job™ of putting out the fire, and clearing out the hot bits. Never thought I would have to put that fire fighting training to the test. I’m marking this one down as “Pass”

For some silly reason, my credit card payment hadn’t been processed. So I neither had the cash, nor my credit for the ride home. And each of the trips to a certain gas station had authorized for $75 each time despite not using $75. So this put my card at the limit. So I had to figure a way to get home. We had $40 in cash, a little over 2/3 tank of fuel, and 260 miles to go fully loaded. It was not looking good. Just going from Page to Flagstaff burned most of the 2/3 tank of fuel, but then that was the rough part of the trip, as it was mostly up hill. We started looking for anything we could scrounge for fuel. We had had so many unexpected expenses hit us over the past couple weeks, that we were just tapped out. And what SHOULD have been covered by the credit card, was waiting on processing. After calling them they said it would process the next day. Great, but what about getting me home, NOW? Cool, so my credit card says I have a 0 balance, but 0 cash available. Woohoo. We remembered we had a bunch of coins for laundry, Would it be enough? That put us at $50 for the remainder of the trip. It was close, but we made it all the way from Flagstaff to Phoenix, and were able to drop everything off… The nightmare was over.

But it was still better than staying home.
And the rest of the pictures here

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