Boats are wonderful things to own, when everything is working as it should. Unfortunately, like all toys, they have a habit of failing at those times when you most want to use them. Case in point is our recent trip to Phoenix to spend time with our ďSnow BirdĒ friends. Thus, Iím writing this piece.
I decided that since we were going to stay in the area for a full week, itíd be fun to have the boat so I could fish any of the large reservoirs, Pleasant, Horseshoe, Bartlett, Saguaro, Canyon, Apache, and Roosevelt. All of which are within two hours of Phoenix.
Before leaving I had the boat checked out, to make sure it was running properly. We then hitched it up for the trip south. I donít know what it is about trailered rigs that seem to draw out the worst of my fellow drivers, but the trip from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs was miserable. We narrowly avoided being involved in an accident at least three times, primarily due to folks cutting in front of us, as in a car length at best, and then hitting the brakes. Trailered rigs donít stop on a dime, and attempting to do so made life interesting. Actually, it was bad enough that I was thinking that we needed to call Ghost Busters as it felt like every demon, imp, sprite, or otherwise possessed driver was on the road with us.
Traffic let up once we got south of Pueblo. While traffic was light, the winds were not. We dealt with either high crosswinds or headwinds most of the way to Phoenix. Not only did they make for challenging driving, the gas mileage dropped precipitously. Every time a tanker truck passed us, I found myself wondering if there was some way to run a line to them. They could give us on-road fueling, rather like the in-air fueling the Air Force practices.
Needless to say, it was a relief once we made it to our friendsí place. I looked forward to the next few daysí towing to be limited to runs from the house to a nearby reservoir. Life was good. At least it was until I started prepping the boat for the next dayís fishing. Thatís when I discovered that the winch tree on the front of the trailer had developed a crack. Actually, it was fractured to the point it was dangerously close to separating. Iím not sure what would have happened had it broken completely, but I rather doubt the outcome would have been good, loss of the boat off the trailer was a distinct possibility.
I tried to locate a replacement unit that Sunday, to no avail. The best I got was a referral to a welder who specializes in such work. Monday I took the tree in for repair with a promise that it would be ready by Tuesday at the latest. All isnít lost, as Iíll be able to use the boat for three of the planned five days.
Even better, it turns out Iíll able to fish all week as one of the reasons for bringing the boat proved to be false. Theyíre once again allowing fishing on the area golf courses. Ah, well, such is the way of life.
There are two things to remember when taking a boat on vacation. It will be an adventure. No matter how well prepared you are, things have a way of going wrong. Second, the old adage about boats is true. They are a hole in the water that you pour money into.
Still, when it comes to fishing, itís well worth the effort and expense.
First published March 12, 2017 Fort Collins, Coloradoan
Anteroman, CO 3/14/2017 12:59:09 PM
A boat is a hole it he water surrounded by wood, fiberglass or aluminum that you throw money into.
Boating is similar to standing in an ICE COLD shower tearing up $100 bills.
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.
Yes, I can relate,
Lloyd Tackitt, TX 3/14/2017 1:18:38 PM
Perhaps there's a market for boat rentals along the lines of the home rental thing, airbnb?
bron, CO 3/14/2017 6:23:25 PM
Our big trip last summer was Blue Mesa. My alternator went out on Highway 50 by the dam in the middle of nowhere. It was the only time it wasn't cloudy and rainy. No cell reception but 911 worked. Had to get towed to Gunnison for repairs. Even with triple A it was expensive.
Kennywho, TX 3/15/2017 9:03:52 AM
I enjoy reading your posts.
Bet the tree was weak and got broken by all the wind buffeting against the side of the boat.
My little 12' jon boat sits on an old 4'x8' utility trailer to which I added a winch tree. With the end gates down the boat fits perfectly. I also added runners in the bottom of the trailer to guide the boat on. Not sure I'd take it on a long trip though. Original tires are 16 yrs old. Just in case I also bought a new spare and mounted it on the tongue with a pull-on jack.