The Fretwater ChillyBin 276 achieved completion and is ready to go downriver with me in a little under two weeks. Yikes. It’s almost summer.
My beloved dory Cataract came down from the loft after a winter of drying and got her bottom insults doctored.
But lest we get ahead of ourselves, we did launch into one more frenzied streak of productiveness. Nine new oars on order are now in production. Starting with big fat heavy ash planks.
After carefully sorting and testing our patterns, we actually found all nine oars hiding inside those planks. Each one got it’s outer laminate milled out as well.
Then we cut them into a square version of their final shape.
Once the planing stops we work up a sweat with sandpaper.
Outdoors we went after the blades with a serious grinder, then an almost as serious sander. And at week’s end we had a mess of pretty sweet oars.
And a quick seminar on how to open and close recalcitrant oarlocks. Cheater-bars to open.
And a hammer to close and re-shape. It’s good to have a block inside the oarlock so the reshaping goes properly.
And then a pause to reconnect with the river–the reason we do all this ridiculous boat stuff. I headed up to Marble Canyon to re-certify my Food Manager’s card, do the annual AzRA guide pre-season orientation, and participate in the annual Guide Training Seminar. My talk was on Doris Rapid–more on that another time. One guest appearance was from Greg Adams, great-grandson of James White–the poor old prospector who was plucked off a log raft from the Colorado River at the foot of Grand Canyon 150 years ago and presumed by many, myself included, to be the first person to float through Grand Canyon. Greg built a painstaking replica of his great granddad’s vessel for us to admire.
And at noon the next day a bunch of us old wooden boat-heads headed up the river for a few days of frolicking.
But in the big picture it’s still a desert.
Mariposa lilies. It must be spring.
So very pretty. Even though they say we lost the best ninety percent of Glen Canyon, the wee bit we still have is pretty amazing.
You never know who you’ll run into on the river. We camped next to a group that will likely be all the rage soon: Scary Larry and the Transylvanians. That was pretty interesting.
Then this happened.
Yikes. So it’s back to the shop to tidy up a mess of loose ends. And head down the river.