Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A really bad day hovering 4

First consideration what is on the bottom of this river? Answer silt and in this particular river there is a lot of it, so as my feet hit what should have been bottom I found myself now sinking in what may have been thousands of years of muck build up. I had a vision of a dinosaur in the tar pits of California and I thought I’m going to kill myself trying to keep this thing afloat. Frantically I worked my way from the side to the back of the hover to try to lift it up and keep it from completely sinking. My sons were on shore grabbing at anything they could to keep the front on the shore as the current of the river was attempting to drag the entire thing down river. This was actually a good thing because it allowed us to move the craft from the bank to the boat ramp where we at least had some solid surface on which to rest the nose of the hover. If I had a camera at that moment the chaos resembled the Keystone Cops of the silent film era. Every one on shore was grabbing at whatever they could to assist in dragging this thing up on shore while I was in the back knee deep in much trying to lift not only a 1500 lb hover but probably 2,000 gallons of water while sinking in muck, it was not a pretty sight to behold. My face must have told the whole story because the look on my oldest son’s face was one of pity as he jumped into the water to help his desperate father. Like father like son I guess. His success in this endeavor was pretty close to mine and there we stood father and son sinking with all my hopes and dreams of future hover adventures. Together we did manage to keep the craft from taking on anymore water and with the assistance of those on shore we managed to get the front four to five feet of the hover up on the boat ramp which made holding the rear of the craft up a lot easier. Now the question is what do we do with it at this point?
The craft was still filled with nearly a thousand gallons of water, I couldn’t start it up, and I had no way of moving it any further out of the river. My thoughts were confused and the idea of loosing my huge investment along with everything else tied up with it made me nauseous, but I had to force myself to think solution here. Fortunately my fly on trailer also had an electric wench on it so I thought we can back down the ramp use the wench to pull this thing out of the water. I had my son back down with the trailer we stretched out the cable for the wench hooked onto the front lift eye and hit the switch for the wench. I’m telling you this was a really bad day hovering and it was not about to let up at this point. The sound from the wench was more like a quiver as it may it’s last fleeting attempt at performing with a nudge that was less than a tug it stopped, the battery was dead. I had no jumper cables and no way to power the wench so now what? By this point my strength was dwindling to nothing as I was still holding up the back of this behemoth, you know the feeling when everything begins to shake, add to that the body temperature dropping to the temperature of the cool running river and I was in serious trouble we had to get this thing out of the water and I had to get on shore. I told the boys to pull the truck forward slowly so we could at least pull the hover out of the water enough for Paul and I to get on solid ground. With the wench cable already in place they began to move the entire rig forward I heard things beginning to creek and I knew the strain on the lift eye on the front of the craft was straining to stay in place. So we had to slowly pull the craft up and allow the water to drain. So for the next thirty minutes or so it was tug, drain, tug, and drain until we finally got the thing up on the boat ramp. I had no idea what I was going to do with it at that point but at least it wasn’t sinking anymore.
I thought I will call the towing company I have used over the years they will be able to lift it up and sit it on the trailer, I reached for my cell phone which was securely fastened to my belt. Hmm how can I say this? Cell phone on my belt, the same belt that had just spent the last hour in the river! You guessed it I sat there staring at the water dripping from the casing of my cell phone thinking that figures. Fortunately my son had his cell phone in the front seat of his truck so we were able to use it, as I was talking to the towing company and trying to explain what it was that I needed done Paul suggested we call my daughters boyfriend Russ who has an F350 that could at least pull this thing the rest of the way up onto level ground. So I told the towing company I would call them back if I needed them and I hung up. I now called my daughter to see if we could get Russ over there to help us. He was about thirty minutes away and by now the sun was really dropping and I knew we were looking at nightfall and still trying to get this thing onto the trailer. We managed to move the hover up onto flat ground. And then we somehow got a set of jumper cables, which powered the wench and with everyone lifting and pushing we managed to get the thing up on the trailer strapped down and ready to transport it back to my home.

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