Miss Terry was busy editing and proofing my new book yesterday and I didn’t have anything to do. So when my buddy Jim Lewis invited me over to check out the trailer he had bought for his Old Town Predator PDL kayak, I told him I was on my way.
The pedal-powered Predator PDL is an incredible fishing platform; it’s very stable, has a super comfortable seat, and it leaves your hands-free for casting and reeling in the big ones when they bite. But it’s a big kayak, at 13.2 feet long, 36 inches wide, and weighing 117 pounds. And that can be a drawback. Especially for someone like Jim who had a problem getting it out of his SUV and maneuvering it into and out of the water by himself.
He started out using a kayak dolly, and while it helped, it was still difficult to manage on his own. And getting the kayak into the back of his Kia Sorrento was also a challenge.
He decided a trailer was really the best option for him, and the other day he found a used boat trailer that he thought would do the trick. So we loaded the kayak onto the trailer, took it down to our dock, and put it in the water and took it out two or three times to practice.
While it worked, the bunks (the carpet covered wooden railings that the boat sits on while on the trailer) were spaced too widely apart. So we decided to take it over to my garage and reposition them. And that’s when the project started.
Anything that has been in salt water around here rusts, and the U-bolts holding the metal shackles that the bunks rest on were completely rusted, as were the shackles themselves. There was no amount of oil or WD-40 that was ever going to loosen the nuts, which had been rusted into place. So I got out my trusty Dremel tool, the only power tool I’m allowed to use, and made short work of cutting the old U-bolts off.
I love my Dremel. Terry got it for me our first Christmas together, before she knew just what a klutz I am and how dangerous I am with just about any kind of tool. I have used it on more projects than I could ever remember and it’s still going strong after 20 years. Everybody should have one of these.
Once we had the shackles off we realized that the wood on the bunks was rotten. So it was time to go to the hardware store. There’s a great little place near us called Anchor Hardware that has anything and everything you could ever need, and it’s one of those old-fashioned places where the employees know where everything is and are always happy to make a suggestion to make whatever project you are working on easier.
We returned to my place with two new shackles, 2×4’s to be used as bunks, the heavy duty fabric used to cover them, nuts, bolts, screws, washers, and a partridge in a pear tree. We used Jim’s chop saw to cut the 2×4’s to the proper size, then a stapler to attach the fabric to them.
Before attaching everything, we put it all in place to see how it was going to fit. So far, so good.
Then we lifted the kayak into place. The whole kit and caboodle didn’t fall apart, so we used a couple of electric drills, wrenches, and sockets to put everything back together. All of this without adult supervision. Well, not really. A few times we had to have Miss Terry come out to the garage and double check our work.
And here’s the finished project. I’m sure somebody with more skill than Jim and I have, say your average zoo chimpanzee, could have done a better job and made it look neater, but it’s functional, and that’s all we were hoping for.
Well, that and not to cut off any fingers or toes, or do any other irreparable damage to our bodies. Just to be sure, we did a count when we were done. That extra toe Jim has on each foot kind of threw me for a loop, but I’ve got to admit that having them webbed like they are makes him a hell of a swimmer. At least his prehensile tail was removed at birth.
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Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Big Lake, my first novel and the first book in my Big Lake mystery series. This is the one that made the New York Times bestseller list and launched my career as a mystery author. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – It’s beginning to cost a lot like Christmas