End of a great summer

Saturday started out with a lot of frustration from a simple random car issue.

I was cleaning out the garage and had some fishing gear to give to Jeff.  When I set it on the passengers seat, some halibut rigs engaged the electric parking brake on the Leaf.  I never use the brake.  And that might be why it’s now seized.  I looked up how to mechanically release the electric brake, and that didn’t work.  Of course, the car was in the wettest part of the driveway where the water trickles down to the road, right under the middle of the car.  I could sort of run it in reverse, with the back wheels that are locked up dragging, and the front wheel drive able to push the car backwards down the hill.  I figured I’d get it down to the level pavement by the road, and then I could work on it.  That was all working well as I inched it back wards down the driveway, until the car would go no further when it got to some soft mud under the shot rock from all the rain.

It looked like there was enough room to squeeze the truck between the house and the car so I could drive the truck below the car, and then try to drag the car the rest of the way down to the road.  Well, there was not enough room.  There was maybe an inch clearance between the house and the truck bed on one side, and an inch between the other side of the truck bed and the car on the other side.  And my eyes can’t do an inch anymore.  I crunched the side of my car a little bit, and was worried I wouldn’t be able to back out back up the driveway, but managed to do that without more damage.

Now I needed to pull the car back up the driveway somehow and get it out of the way so Sara could get her car past it from the garage to the road.  There was no place to hook up a tow chain underneath the car.   I went online and found there’s a tow eye in the emergency tool kit in the car, even though the owners manual doesn’t talk about this as far as I could find.  I threaded the tow eye to the front of the car, and dragged the car up the driveway carefully with the truck.  The car was now in a drier spot, but still on an incline that was enough that I don’t feel real safe trying to jack up the rear of the car to work on the brake mechanism, which I think I could tackle after watching a good you tube on this repair.  I think I’ll see if I can get a mechanic to do this in town, and get the car towed there.

Then a bright spot.  The outboard mechanics called.  My boat was ready.  And the engine still works!  The engine would not idle properly, and I thought it was the reed valves.  Turns out the answer was much simpler.  Not cheap.  But simple.  The stud holding on the alternator had snapped after I’d replaced the alternator when I got the engine (a common issue with Optimax engines, I found out from online discussions), and when I tried to drill out the part of the bolt threaded in the mount, I buggered that up (of course), and ended up putting  a smaller bolt sideways next to it.  The alternator was now on a little cockeyed, but it worked.  Until it didn’t.  I think it stretched the belt or something, and so the belt wasn’t turning the air compressor properly.  The air compressor on this outboard is akin to the computer on my diesel truck I came to find out, controlling alot of functions, including the idle.

The mechanics have a crafty welder next door.  All of us consulted on how the welder could try to fix the mount for the bolt.  We decided he’d grind off the part of the mount that I’d buggered up, then carefully reform the mount (which is located on the engine block) by building up welds.  He’d have to go slow and be as careful as he could to not heat up ruin the engine cylinder on the other side of the engine block wall from the mount.  He said he couldn’t guarantee he could do it, and I agreed to take the chance.

The mechanics called just as I got the car moved to it’s current spot, and they said my boat was ready. They sounded a little giddy, so I hoped for the best.  I asked if the engine still started, and they said it was running as they spoke!  The welder succeeded in reforming the mount, then the mechanics drilled and tapped a new hole for the bolt.  I was happy.  They were happy.  They said it was a challenge for the welder but he fixed it in the end.  It took about 50% or more longer than the welder expected, but I was fine with that.  It is what it is, as they say.  I love the outboard, and the engine wasn’t gonna really work if the repair couldn’t be made.  Plus, now I have working relationships with both the mechanics and the good welder – all of which I’m satisfied with – for future work.  And another good thing was when I went to pick up my boat, there was a boat with a home built hard top that was just completed, and so I’m hoping to get info on the welder who built that so I can see about getting one for our boat.  Things were looking better from the morning.

I checked the forecast, and after days of wind and rain, the forecast was for calm and drier tomorrow!  I picked up ice from Chris on the way home from getting the boat.  After emptying the boat when I left it at the mechanics, I started to re-outfit the boat so I could go trolling tomorrow.  First I had to remount the kicker I’d removed so the mechanics could have easy access to the big motor, and re-attach the new rectifier I put on the kicker to charge the battery when I’m trolling.  Next was to put on the downriggers I use for hand troll gurdies, and put the fishing gear back aboard.  I remembered at the last minute to put back the new cleaning tray set up.  I was ready to go in the morning.
I didn’t sleep well the night before, so got a late start.    I launched the boat and headed out in almost calm seas to the fishing area. On the way, I realized I forgot my spoon leaders, so I tied up what I needed for the day on the way there.   As I turned into Chatham Strait, the southerly wind was making a 1 to 2 foot chop, so I headed south as far as I’d caught fish in this area, then turned north to go with the wind, and put the gear out.  There was only one other boat sport fishing.

The lone occupant of the sport boat came out on deck gesturing to me with his hands out and turned up that he’d caught nothing, and I gestured the same.  As I got to the north end of the fishing area after a couple hours without a strike, I picked up my gear to try another spot north of this spot.  The sport boat pulled his gear, too.

It took me about a half hour to run north to the area open for me up near Berners Bay.  I caught 5 fish here late in the season last year, so thought I’d try it again.  I saw lots and lots of sea lions hauled out on Benjamin Island on the way.    I dropped the gear, and fished north with the wind.  I got one fish – still bright – but that was it – for a couple hours of fishing.  But a nice end to the season.  It was a nice dry day so warm in the wheel house of my little cruiser.  And knowing I’d fished to the end of the time when I could catch fish, so I wouldn’t be thinking I’d missed catching more fish for the season if I didn’t go again.

It was a pleasant hour+ run back to the boat landing in calm seas.  I saw cow and calf humpback whales on the way home.  At the launch, a duck hunter was pulling his boat, and he said hunting was good with early migrant ducks and it was good to get out with “the little one”.  I wasn’t sure if he meant his hunting dog or child, neither of which I could see.  As I was backing my boat down, I saw that he’d meant his son, who was wrapped up in his phone like a an addict getting his fix.  Just like some of the scouts and parents might be at the campout I was missing this weekend.  I felt a twinge of pain.  Technology has so many benefits, but there is a downside.

When I got home, I filleted the lone fish I caught, and put the frame and head and fins, along with the eggs I left on the boat, into the crab bait jars for checking the pots the next day.  I started cutting up the fish, and saw it was the rare fish filled with parasitic cysts.  I looked them up and found they aren’t dangerous to humans, but there was more of them than I wanted to eat, so we passed on fish for dinner.

We had a mailed package waiting for us, and after I cleaned up from messing with the fish, I opened it.  It was a beautiful rectangular glass tray with a salmon on it.  From Andrea and the twins.  When I emailed to thank them for it, Andrea said Odessa had made it!  Even better.
That capped an August of memories with friends and family here, and an enjoyable September of fishing.   Fishing and selling to a buyer, without having to worry about packaging, storing and selling them myself as I did in the past, sure has made fishing enjoyable and satisfying.
I’ve been walking daily getting ready for elk hunting with Roy and Zeke, and so now looking forward to fall hunting and maybe some high bush cranberry picking if I can find some.

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