Our small portion of the lake shore is home to more boats than people. Most importantly, there is my boat. But the Laurel (the proprietor of Camp Casey) also owns three others – a small motor boat, a canoe and a somewhat dicey row boat. Being boat lovers, the both of us, we immediately wanted to get out in to the lake and almost before we started ran in to trouble.
First, the motor boat. Initial inspection revealed, shall we say, a severe lack of recent use.
The water is supposed to be outside of the boat, yes? And as for lack of use, I need to specify lack of human use. Several generations of daddy long legs spiders and their loosely related brethren had established a flourishing colony including roads, grocery stores and extensive cemeteries. But, never has a spider infested underwater boat detered the determined boater. There was a lot of this,
some bailing, a can of bug spray and relatively few curses.
Meanwhile, there was another boat to be attended to. Driving across the country, every body of water larger than a cow pond, stoked my excitement to break out mt boat. I mentioned, always quite casually, “I could put my boat in there.” As there are just a few lakes in the U.S. of A., by Montana, I could only get as far as “You know, I could…” before someone else finished it for me. So, now that we had finally arrived at the lake I could put the boat into, I was salivating at the chance.
And. The frame wouldn’t fit. The skin felt too tight. The latches kept snapping up when they weren’t supposed to. I managed to hit myself in the face (no surprise there). Finally, as I was fighting the last piece into place I discovered this.
Several of the aluminum hinge pins in the central frame had slipped out, leaving the hinges disjointed and askew. The pins, which are actually hammered down on one side to hold them in, had sheared the their heads off and were slippping out. Without the pins to hold the joints together, there was no way to guarantee the stability of the boat. I had visions of the whole thing snapping closed with me inside like a imploding circus tent out in the middle of the lake. And I was heartbroken. No boat. No lake. No summer of sunset kayaks and mid-lake hush.
While my boat was falling apart, the motorboat was given a make-over. We slid her out of the cradle, the motor purred on the second try and we took off southward. The lake was beautiful.
I set my boat regretfully aside for a day until we drove into Middlebury and found salvation at the hardware store.
The pin on the left is an original while the four bolts to the right are replacements. We took a piece of the frame into the hardware store and combed the bolt drawers for anything that would fit. These 1/4 inch x 1 inch stove bolts fit perfectly. The new bolt is on the left; an old aluminum pin is on the right.
I made time tonight to slowly, thoughtfully, put the boat together and make it out just in time for sunset. The lake spooled out like glass, fish were beginning to peck at the underside of the surface and bird sounds carried far out into the center of the lake. It was everything I knew it would be.