Saturday, July 21, 2012
Treasure Hunting Hovercraft Style 2
Phil and I tried everything to get my hover started and after about 15 minutes of no success we started talking about options. About two hundred yards from us was a private boat ramp that Phil thought we might be able to use so he jumped in the river and started walking up toward the ramp to ask the owner if we could use it to drag my hover out of the river. While Phil was walking up to the neighbors I kept messing with the hover and getting things ready to tow it by hand up to the neighbors or anchor it to Phil’s dock if that was my only option. Phil came back after about 15 minutes and said the neighbor was good with us using his ramp so Phil said "I'm already wet so I might as well tow the hover up to the ramp, my wife is on her way home so she can take you to your vehicle and you can meet me over at the ramp and we'll load this thing up. With that he took the rope and with hover in tow began to walk toward the ramp. I climbed the hill back up to his house and waited for his wife. When Dee arrived we headed to my car and retrieved it and the trailer then it was back to the private ramp. When I got back there I backed down the long hill to the boat ramp and did what I seldom do, I backed my trailer into the water to load my hover. When I backed up I noticed the trailer seemed to stop so we decided that was far enough and floated the hover up onto the trailer. I strapped it down and started to pull out. My front wheel drive dug in and then spun the tires, I backed up and got a little bit of a nudge and tried again and with that the vehicle moved about a foot and a half and dropped off the concrete onto gravel and spun again. After about 5 tries of doing that Phil said he thought I was stuck in the river mud with the back of the trailer, he felt around on the back of the trailer and sure enough I had scooped up about a thousand pounds of mud and it was keeping me from pulling out. We floated the hover off the trailer again and I tried to pull the empty trailer out of the water but still it wouldn't budge, so Phil said he would get his all-wheel drive SUV and pull it out. So Dee went to get their other vehicle, when she got back we pulled on the trailer and it still wouldn't budge so Phil checked the back of the trailer and it was embedded in the mud about two feet. We decided that we would have to get some of the mud off the back of the trailer and so Phil and I proceeded to shovel the mud with our feet. It was like pushing lead powder and in the 103 degree temperature I was feeling the effects of the heat. All the time we were trying to do this I kept thinking, "Great I come out here to treasure hunt and all I get is one problem after another". After about 10 minutes we finally got enough mud off the back of the trailer for Dee to pull the trailer ahead enough to get out of the mud, we then pushed the hover up on the trailer with two of us pushing and Dee pulling the front with a rope and the hover went about two thirds of the way up on the trailer and stopped. The hover was full of water in the inner hull and was too heavy to lift so Phil suggested we strap it down pull off the ramp turn around on the hill leading to the ramp and let the hover slide up the rest of the way on the trailer. This guy was smart he obviously had done this before and at this point with the sun beating down on us and I was ready to just leave the thing in the ater and let it float away forever. Phil is an interesting guy he always stays calm and just figures out whatever he has to make it work, last winter he was out fishing by himself, tripped while moving around in his boat an fell into the freezing cold river with no life jacket on. As he fell into the water his head struck the boat motor and cut his head just above the eye, he managed to pull himself back into the boat soaking wet and bleeding he motored back to his house about a mile away climbed the 200 feet up the 40% grade hill to his house and got patched up. All I can say is "he is amazing" not real bright sometimes (no life jacket and alone) but he is also amazing. After loading my brick of a hover on the trailer strapping it down and moving up to the top of the hill we switched the trailer over to my vehicle and I was ready to go. The home owners had left and were now back so I could meet them and thank them for allowing me to use there ramp, Mike the homeowner said, "No problem if you ever want to use the ramp again feel free". He offered us a cool adult beverage to help soothe the wounded ego and refresh ourselves after the ordeal but by then all I could think of was getting this hover home and collapsing in a chair and licking my wounds so I declined thanked them and headed toward the house. "How disappointing", I thought, "I had all these plans of finding treasure and all I got was frustrated and cost Phil, his wife and two perfect strangers some grief" all that and no treasure! Then it dawned on me, Phil, Dee, had just spent 3 hours of their Saturday in 103 degree heat helping me load my hover onto the trailer at a perfect strangers ramp who has offered to allow me to use it whenever I want to. I guess I found some real treasure after all, it wasn't the precious metal I could exchange for money it was incredible friendship and generosity of the people who helped me. Treasure is not someone else’s lost valuables it is friendship and kindness and with that I realized Me and my hover became a little richer that day and I found a treasure that is rare and extremely valuable.