Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Miss Lilly... second season

Here's Miss Lilly in the Spring... right before we put her in the water for the season:

Miss Lilly went mostly unused this year. It wasn't the water level this year... our first season we had to move her at the Fourth of July because of the drought... I'm sad to say that engine trouble made us leery about taking her out. The trouble actually started at the end of the summer of 2007, but it was time to take her out and winterize her; we’d had a mechanic come look at her, but he didn’t find anything wrong. She seemed to be fine earlier in the summer 2008, so we didn’t do anything else. BUT, over the summer, we got stranded across the lake one Saturday evening when we went out to dinner and the boat stalled out as we were pulling into a slip. Lucky for us, we were there and pulling into a slip. Unlucky for us, the engine just wouldn't stay running when we were ready to leave after dinner.

It was a busy Saturday night and people were coming in to drink and listen to live music. Other boaters paced the dock, helping to direct traffic. “Are you leaving? How much longer will you be?” For us, the answer was, “We’re not going anywhere; we’re stuck.” Another boater (who, incidentally, lives on the next peninsula on the same side of the lake as we do) knew of a local boat mechanic that was at the restaurant that night having a few drinks and dinner. He went to go find him and bring him back to our boat. The mechanic came down to the boat and looked at it. He started her up, revved the engine, played with this and that, made her stall and backfire and determined there is something up with the carburetor.

The first boater told us that if we could wait until the bar closes, he’d give us a tow back home… it would be a win-win situation; we’d drive his boat so he wouldn’t be driving drunk and we’d get our tow home. But, what time does the bar close? Ugh! It was a nice night, sitting there on our lame boat; a little humid, but otherwise clear and pleasant. We waited a few hours, trying to start the boat up every once in a while to see if she’d stay running. During that time, we called SeaTow (similar to AAA for automobiles, SeaTow will come get you in your boat) and without a membership, a tow would be about $200. It was a little after 10 pm when Doug finally decided that he really didn’t want to wait for a drunken guy to give us a tow and we headed up to the restaurant to call a cab. By then, Ian was no longer allowed to go inside to use the restroom because he wasn’t 21 and the crowds outside were across the front of the restaurant and wrapped around the side. It’s been a LONG time since I’d been out to a club, but I guess after 10 pm, this restaurant had turned into one. I asked a bouncer if it would be alright to leave our boat in the restaurant slip overnight. He said it wouldn’t be towed or anything but couldn’t guarantee its safety. Ian had a big problem with this. He was going to stay on the boat so it wouldn’t get vandalized. We talked him into coming home with us. There were a couple of cabs already in the parking lot of the restaurant/club so we didn’t have to call one. With tip, the fare was $40.

I got on the computer and signed up for SeaTow… while I was officially signed up, my membership would not be valid for 24 hours. So we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it until Monday.

Ian called a friend and they headed back to the boat and spent the night on it. In the morning, Doug and I stopped at the AutoZone to pick up some Sea Foam (a gas additive to help clean the engine) and BoJangle’s for some biscuits and drove over to the boat. Ian and his friend said they were up most of the night… the boater that would tow us came down to his boat around 2 am, continued to drink until 4 am and left around 8 am, never coming over to see if we still needed a tow. We poured the Sea Foam into the gas tank and started the boat up… She RAN! And she continued to run. So Ian and his friend took off across the lake for home. I was holding my breath as we stood there, watching for him to get past the no-wake zone to see if the boat would run when he could give it more gas. He got home before we did and said the boat did fine until he slowed down to enter our cove. It stalled; but he was able to get it running enough to get it into the cove, maneuver through the boats and docks and it stalled again right at our dock. I don’t think we’ve been out on it since. Though, really, we’ve been so busy this year; we haven’t had a lot of spare time to take it out.

Doug has finally called a close-by marina that has boat repair service. We’re going to take the boat over there this weekend. Whether we drive it over or have her towed is still up in the air. Last year, when we trailered the boat, we brought her home and all three of us got out there with sponges and the hose and got her all cleaned up for storage. It worked well, because all the lake-muck was still damp from just coming out of the water. We won’t be so fortunate this year. When we take her over to the marina, they’ll use their crane to take her out and place her where the mechanic(s) can work on her. We won’t have the opportunity to scrub her down. When the engine work is done, they will use the crane again to place her on our trailer. By then, the lake-muck ought to be nice and dry and caked on to the hull of the boat.

Also last year, I had a couple of sponges in the boat so every time we took her out and we’d stop to swim, we’d go around the boat and give her a little “massage” to get some of the gunk off her. Since we hadn’t taken her out this year, that hasn’t happened. She’s a little neglected. So I just checked the water temperature to see if there is a possibility of me getting in the lake to scrub her down as much as I can before we take her to the marina… 70 degrees! Brrrr! Ummm… I’m gonna have to think about that. With the air temp being in the 60’s. BRRRrrrrr! Guess I need to come up with a plan “B.”