The Salmon 2003

The way this works is, if I have a lot of time to sit on the bank and think, I end up writing a long story. Hopefully this is not too much detail, hopefully it will be interesting for someone who wonders what the mundane side of racing is like. Hopefully I will not have a lot of time to sit on the bank and think for at least the next few races… Oh yeah, sometimes I forget to ask for names, and even when I do I then promptly forget them. ANYONE who wants send me an email about your team, anything you want to say about them with everybodys names will have my eternal gratitude. I have been calling Jeff Bradley's navigator, Dustin, "Kurt" just because the first time I met him he was wearing coveralls with that name sewed onto them. Sorry bout that, my mind just won't let go!

The Road Trip to Idaho

  We left Klamath at 8:16am on Wednesday, intending to go to Grants Pass, then Portland, then Lewiston then through Stites (to see Lynn’s ex-sister-in-law) and then to Riggins, perhaps stopping overnight somewhere along the Columbia. We stopped for lunch/breakfast at Heaven on Earth, a nice place on I-5 at the Quines Creek exit. They do a lot of baking and along with pies and turnovers, they have these cinnamon rolls that are truly stupendous. They have to be at least ten inches across, probably eight inches high and weigh as much as the spare tire in most modern cars. I couldn’t convince myself to get one, we were hauling a lot of weight already. We did buy a turnover for later, though. Along the way we got another look at the Umpqua from I-5, boy was that a fun race, can’t wait to do it again! Lynn found a short cut (anything for a break from I-5) that cut over towards Silverton at Salem and came into I-84 at Oregon City.
 The trip through the backroads from Salem to Oregon City was interesting but slow. It was no thing, we had two days to get there. Lots of neat little towns and farms back there. Also, signs of some continuing timber harvesting but also a few signs of the rapid decline of that industry in general in Oregon. All the little towns looked prosperous and healthy now, better than fifteen years ago, and that was nice to see.
  We got back to interstate highway at Oregon City, but still had to drive through the rush-hour traffic of eastern Portland for about twenty miles to get to I-84. Once that was out of the way and we had turned east on to I-84, everything was great because I didn’t have to concentrate on not getting run over by a zillion little soap dish cars all rushing for home at once. With my pickup and the boat on the back, sometimes it felt like I was in the middle of go-cart race and my entry was a delivery truck hauling half of a double wide mobile home. Ever drive with your shoulders scrunched up so you won’t bump anyone?
  The drive along the Columbia was absolutely great. Waterfalls, awesome geography, dams, a big damn river with barges and tugboats, mysterious factories with lots of plumbing, lights and other unidentifiable equipment. We really enjoyed the drive a lot. We are natural born tourists, we stop and read the Historical Interest signs that we come across and are truly engrossed in the geography wherever we go.  We both try to remember the history of the areas we travel through, mine tending towards Indian and Mountain Man stories and Lynn tending towards Settler stories.
  Most of the ways from The Dalles on we were under the leading edge of an eastbound black storm front. Sometimes an arm of it would get ahead of us and we would drive in pouring rain, sometimes we would outdistance it and we would be in sunshine and wind. All the way we could see this big black storm in our mirrors. At Umatilla, we cut off of I-84 onto 730. This kept us along the river and steered us towards Walla Walla, Washington, which was where we had decided to spend the night. Finally we had to leave the river just before Wallula and take 12 towards Walla Walla. Dusk came somewhere along the way and we pulled off the highway into Walla Walla at 8:16 pm. Later, in Riggins, Toby and Dave told me they caught us just as we turned off the highway and honked, but I didn’t notice it at the time. I guess it’s because people honk at me all the time, I usually just try to ignore it. A lot of them wave at me too, but most of them seem to have only one finger on their hands… Weird, huh? Anyway that’s enough road trip story except, I really liked the Columbia route, I like Lewiston, I like driving in Idaho and we drove quite a ways along the Clearwater River, an excellent candidate for another great Idaho race.

View from our room at Salmon Rapids Lodge
Scout trip

  Dave Provost offered to let Lynn and I to have a look at the river along with him and Toby in Dave’s 19 foot Eagle sport. The plan was to head out about 10 or 11 so it would be warmer and also that was race time, the river would look right. The Sport has no windshield and it hadn’t been very warm the last couple of days, so helmets were the way to go too.
 We launched at the Lucille ramp and headed down river. I had been watching river levels the week before coming over, and the Salmon had been around 16000 to 18000 CFS but falling.  Those levels were 4 to 6 thousand above last year at the same time. By the time we got to Idaho, the river had come down to the levels it was last year, and it looked just about like I remembered it, maybe a little higher, but not much.
  An uneventful run down, Dave drove the line he would race and it was also the line I would race. It was still cold enough I was glad I had gloves, gave Lynn my right one as she was holding on with that hand and  I was holding on with my left hand.
  We did find that rock in the pool  just below the bridge above White Bird creek. It’s a sneaky SOB. Dave’s boat made a huge thud, spouted anti-freeze, motor wound up and our boat ride was over. It broke the intake in at least two places, bashed in the steel plate and aluminum hull right in front of the intake, broke the cone mount, broke the back u-joint in the driveline and popped the seal on the transom plate, all this found later. All we knew immediately was that water was coming in fairly fast. Dave was paddling with the single oar, I was bailing with the lid off the battery box and the bilge was sending a full stream of anti-freeze and water overboard. Lynn was trying to bail with a Gatorade bottle, but we were not catching it. Dave and Toby got the boat beached just above the start line and we heaved the back as much out of the water as we could. There was just about 6 or 8 inches of boat left sticking out of the water in the back when they beached it. Close, but a miss.
 Toby got a ride back to Lucille to bring the truck and trailer back to a beach across the river. A couple of young guys loaned us some square buckets to bail with. We jammed cardboard in the gaps in the back and bailed the boat. In the meantime, Will, Paul Rob and B.J. came down river in Will’s boat and helped us pull the backend out enough to silicone the hell out of the gap in the back. By this time, Toby was back with the trailer, Will towed the boat across the river, came back and picked me and Lynn up and we all rode back to Riggins in Toby’s truck. The guy who lived across the river asked if everyone was ok and said that we made a really loud bang when we hit that rock. I’ll bet! Ouch. Dave had bought a policy on the boat just before leaving Grants Pass. That has to be one of the all time great moves Dave!
  I hate it when someone is kind enough to give us a look at the river and something like this happens, it’s not my boat, I can’t do anything about it and I feel bad for them.  It isn’t the first time this has happened, I wish we could look at the river in our race boat and save the wear and tear on other peoples stuff. I don’t think I like cast intake pieces much either, they seem to crack even if you just bump something with them. I’ve seen that before too. The fabricated ones are much better for smacking into rocks and stuff. The steel bottom Dave had recently put on this sport boat saved the day, without it I am sure that rock would have either gutted the pump completely out of the boat or as Dave pointed out, stuffed the nose really hard when the bare aluminum grabbed the rock. Dave is one of the most continually prepared guys I know, he doesn’t leave an awful lot to chance.

Black Hawk, Lynn pointing at our number one landmark for that rapid.

Boat show

  The boat show, tech in and sign up were at the information center in Riggins. Quite a few more spectators than last year, but last year it rained. I enjoyed looking at the sprint boats on display, one had a great flag paint job that I admired. These boats are little jewels, go look in them if you ever get a chance.

  Dwain Longfellow and crew were there with a brand new Eagle A-class boat  “Liqui-Fire #244” with a chrome-moly cage and injected small block. They painted it that perfect yellow, looks like a Ferrari yellow, and had done an absolutely first class job of putting the boat together, every single thing was done exactly right. They all looked very happy to be back racing too. Lynn and I were glad to see them back, they are  good racers and good folks.

  Duane Dunson had gotten in from Canada with his new boat, #247 (name not known yet). Chuck Thompson was driving for him on the Salmon, but wouldn’t be in until late that night. Duane told me he had some problems with DOT over the trailer registration and he is going to send me an email about the problems and how to deal with them for the information of anyone going to the Canada World’s this year. I’ll be posting a link to the info on the main page-

  Justin Boice and the “Boice Jet” #221 crew (another really big Oregon crew) were there and obviously ready to go. You can tell by the body language sometimes, and from their body language, these guys were relaxed and on top of it.

 Paul Bagshaw and Rob Soule and half of Roseburg (including Dan) were there with “Unpredictable” #277. I looked at the motor, but it looks just like the last one to me. That’s good I guess, because the last one was a real thoroughbred of a motor. Judy was not there, she is home getting ready for you know what.

  #211 “Danger Zone”, the eternally impeccable A-class boat that is Will Chandler and B.J. Wyatts weapon of choice was of course there. I don’t know how they do it, they drive through the same dusty roads we all do, they park on the same beaches everyone else does, but the boat almost always looks like it was just freshly detailed. Not that most of the other boats don’t look like they are ready for a boat show all the time too, it’s just that Danger Zone seems to be just a bit shinier or something. Man, our boat looks like a dumpster most of the time in comparison.

   #295 “The Fish”.  Robert White and Jerry Peckham were there with Bob’s new River Wild wing boat. Bob White and Dave Provost have come up with a really unique design, the boat that Dave is racing is the second generation of the design and Robert’s boat is the third generation.  I don’t know for sure what they call them but the nearest description I have is a very light, very narrow hull with short stubby wings. To me, it’s a wing in ground effect design, kind of like the Russian Ekranoplan, but pushed by a jetpump instead of a jet engine. So far, they appear to be very efficient, stable enough, and they make good use of whatever horsepower is available. Another plus is that they also turn very well.

  Two local (to western Idaho) brothers, Gary and Duane Labrum, had decided there was not going to be enough race boats this year for the Salmon race, so they converted their fishing boat into an A-boat! It has a stout Dart 434 SBC for a motor (Built by brother Gary), an axial flow pump- a Scott I think and it still had the articulated mount for the trolling motor attached to the back.  I forgot to ask them what the hull is, but it is extra-beefy, a real rock crusher. Actually just what you want in a fishing boat! Gary wrote me an email, turns out this hull was a race boat way back before it was converted to a fish boat. Gary says it is an 1988 Weldcraft, designed by Doug Riddle and bare weighs almost 1200 pounds! He comments further that back then they were built first to take punishment and second to be fast. Duane Labrum drove and from what I saw, he has a real future in jetboat racing if they stick with it.
  If I have counted correctly that’s seven A-boats, not bad!

   Dave Provost and Toby and “Risky Business” #182 were the only B-boat there that was running. Dave was hoping another b-boat would show but it didn’t happen, he was in a class by himself.

 FX class was composed of Steve Hanlin in his new 19 foot Eagle step-tech “Cat Sass” #45,

 Lynn and I in our 21 foot Kwikraft  “Raven” #16

Sam Whitten, one of the Salmon race organizers and also the chief technical inspector, going over Jeff's boat with Jeff watching closely.

Jeff Bradley and Dustin Van Hulzen (got it right this time) in “Morning Wood” #42 a Robert White/River Wild hull. We all had the same motor, Chevy 350 ZZ-4s.

Race day Saturday

  At the driver’s meeting we found out that in the interests of safety, the starts would be at two minute intervals instead of the usual one minute intervals. Also, it was mentioned that some racers had expressed interest in running the old, longer course all the way into Riggins and that everyone should think it over and it would be discussed at the Sunday driver’s meeting.
  All the starts I saw went fine, one boat having a little trouble getting on top. The two-minute intervals made for nice smooth starts, no residual waves banging you around as you were trying to get launched. We went up the left-center side of the rollers below the bridge, a little smoother and not nearly as big of a launch off the last roller as when going up the right. Also kept us away from that damn rock.
  Our race was over quite quickly, as we neared the bottom of the island the engine temperature had reached 195, by the time we got to the top of the island and had cleared the rollers it was over 240. Before I could get to the beach on the far shore, the temp gauge was blinking “HIGH” and the motor had developed a solid miss. Park it and forget it, no Salmon race for us and Raven this year.
   I was pretty disgusted, took off my helmet and threw it in the sand then took off my jacket and threw it in the sand also. Of course, someone saw me have a tantrum, I heard about it later. I was more than a little pissed. We sat and watched Steve come through. They got some huge air off those rollers at the top of the island, it looked like six feet under the boat! Hit the water, full throttle and gone- looked like he’s been running though here for years!
  Jeff cruised through with no aerobatics and and no fuss and they were gone too. I really like the sound of the Kiwi style muffler he built. Nice mellow tone, and makes the pulses sound very even.
  That was it for awhile and then the sweep boat showed up. They offered to tow us back down river to the ramp at the gravel pit, which was great of them, usually the sweep boat asks if you are OK, waves and continues on up the course.
 They took us in tow and away we went. I don’t know what that monster had in it but it was able to pull itself and us along right smartly. I kept eyeing that big column of water coming out of the pump, but we only got sprayed tangentially. Cooled me right off after my tantrum. Our boat was whipping left and right in the wake of the big towboat, I wondered if it was possible for our boat to roll over under tow? Felt strange for sure. I reached back and felt a stream coming out the cooling water overboard, we were going fast enough that the cooling system was being pressurized. I tried the steering but it had zero effect. Moving the Place Diverter up and down did have an effect though, putting it full up raised the bow and took some of the spray off of us. I think all I was doing was raising the Diverter enough that is wasn’t dragging and stuffing the nose a little.
  By the time we had reached the gravel pit, even only getting sprayed now and then, our top halves were soaked. We had put our helmets on so at least our heads were dry, but my throat, were that cold Salmon water had been hitting it, was numb.  I thanked the guys for the tow, awful nice of them, they could have just left us to float down.
  Just about the time I figured out I would have to walk back to get the truck, a lady pulled up with a video camera. It was Frank Migurney’s daughter and she kindly offered me a ride back to the boat ramp to get the truck. I did a short interview with her, which I am really bad at, but if we want videos of the races, we gotta do interviews, right?  I tried to con Lynn into doing it, but she was way ahead of me (like always) and told me forget it. I wish that I could think of snappy and interesting things to say like maybe Paul Bagshaw does or Juan Pablo Montoya, but every time I do an interview I come off looking like I just learned to speak last week and I haven’t learned action verbs yet.
  Got the truck, and got it back to the ramp. Boy, was Lynn glad to see me! The current at that ramp would switch directions and in case you don’t know Lynn, she is kinda small and the boat is kinda big. Nothing to tie it to, so she was wrestling the bow back and forth to keep it from floating away. I guess she had been wrestling the dumb thing against the variable current since I left. We got it on the trailer and took off for Blackhawk to watch everyone come back down through.
  At Blackhawk we heard the announcer mention we were out and on the beach then they said #295 The Fish, (Robert White and Jerry Peckham) had pulled over also, that there might have been a fire. Well, maybe. Fires are pretty rare in these boats. We learned later of course that the pulley on the water pump had walked forward and it probably threw the belt and overheated. That would have been steam somebody saw and thought was smoke.
 Down run, first day, at Blackhawk, spectators point of view
  Will Chandler and Paul Bagshaw  (#211 and #277) both picked their way swiftly down through the slicks behind the two dry rocks in Blackhawk.
  Chuck Thompson, driving #247, went the same way but out towards the bumpy stuff a little bit and also swiftly.
  Duane Longfellow #244  ran a straight line from the top to the bottom alongside the rocks, and real fast, but this left him out in the rollers at the bottom, and a bit out of shape.
   Justin Boice #221, ran right down through the bumpy stuff along the shore and hauling, wasn’t as smooth but I think it might actually have been the fastest run through Blackhawk.

  QUALIFIER=> It is truly impossible to tell how fast without actually using a stopwatch or something, so my impressions are subjective, and might have been affected by the engine noise alone!<=QUALIFIER

  Duane and Gary Labrum in the fishing boat, came around the corner wound up, turned in at the top of the rollers along the shore and out about fifteen and feet then just kept it floored and hauled butt down through the rollers! Their boat is heavy enough it just seemed to kind of shove the rollers aside and muscle it’s way down. Very popular with the crowd at Blackhawk!
  Dave and Toby in #182 “Risky Business” came cruising down along the shore in the rollers, around the corner and gone.
  Steve Hanlin #45 “Cat Sass” was whipping and stomping along the shore, looked like a 3 second bull ride or something! The green boat was flying all over the place, this run being the crowd favorite after the fishing boat.
  Jeff Bradley and Dustin Van Hulzen #42 “Morning Wood” ran smoothly down through the rollers along the shore, turned the corner and disappeared.

I heard that on the down run there was about nine seconds covering first through third in A-class. The three boats were #211, #221 and #244, but I don’t know in what order.  That is some close racing!

  Robert and Jerry didn’t make it up, so we didn’t get to see them run back down. The pulley on their water pump tried to walk off the shaft and they had to park it. They were on their way to Grangeville that afternoon to get a new belt, after being stretched and twisted, the one on the motor had decided it wanted to run upside down.

  We returned to Riggins and I pulled all the plugs. Water came out of every hole except #1 and #2. I motored the engine over to clear the cylinders, replaced the plugs and started it up. It had a solid miss, maybe two. Saw Steve Hanlin and he told me his motor was toast, it had a very bad knock and they could feel it when turning it over by hand. They were done. We took Raven down to the ramp in Riggins and I ran up river and then back down twice. The motor would only pull up to 4500 with a bad miss then began dropping to 4000. Whatever is wrong is unfixable without my pile of ZZ4 parts, which are at home. I don’t want to run it tomorrow and completely destroy the motor so our race is now truly over. Back on the trailer and back to the motel.

Race day Sunday
=   Spectator point of view =
   We watched the up river run at Blackhawk. Everybody ran up along the left side of the visible rocks. After Chuck and Duane there was a big gap- Robert White and Jerry Peckham should have been there but weren’t. The gap grew to about 8 minutes. The only thing I could think of that would cause this was a red flag down river somewhere. This I did not like. I looked around but I don’t think anyone else there watching got it.

Will and B.J. charging out of Blackhawk heading upriver.

 I don’t remember the order after that, because just about the time I could hear a boat coming, the announcer said that # 295 The Fish, which was Bob and Jerry, had flipped upside down at the gravel pit. After a short while the announcer said the crew was out and OK.  Relief.
  The announcer at Blackhawk did a very credible job, doesn’t get all mixed up in the with the single starts like some I have heard and was giving some great  “relational” comparisons, like how quickly they got from Steelhead to Blackhawk. All together a great job.

  After Jeff went by we moved up river to an interesting place between Steelhead and Box Canyon. On the down river run at the end of a big left sweeper is a spot were you have to run in along the left beach past what looks like a creek but is just the river rejoining itself around an island. We were about a half-hour early, so we parked and got out and sat in the sun, just enjoying the nice day and the scenery. A fellow that was also parked there came over and took a look at the boat and we struck up a conversation with him. He was from Southern Idaho, somewhere down by Boise, and had been coming to this race for ten years! He told us some interesting stories of the early races.

  #211, #244 and #277 ran almost the exact same line and speed through this section. Even their approach to the riffle was the same. Some places, there is only one fast way to do it. I took pictures, but I need a much better camera if I am going to be doing a lot of this. I don’t intend to be doing a lot of this!
 #247, Chuck Thompson and Duane Dunson took the same line, but Duane’s motor was sounding sick and they were quite a bit slower than the first three.
  Justin Boice #221, was late and we found out later his pump had inhaled a finger out of the grate, lunched itself and they had to be towed in. They had changed the pump and made the start but now had a DNF for the previous leg. They went through just ripping, water spraying out of the bowl/nozzle surface.
 No fishing boat. Their boat had lost an impeller blade, which ate the impeller behind it, which ate the wear ring.
  Dave and Toby #187 Risky Business took a low energy ride through this spot. Dave was goofing around or something, I saw them turn sharply left then right. That wing boat turns real quick, looks like a formula boat when it does, I would really like to drive one sometime.
  Jeff Bradley #42, Morning Wood, the surviving FX boat was NOT taking a leisurely drive.  They went through this section like they just stole the boat! Cool! Again we got to hear that sweet sounding exhaust system.
 And that was it for the 2003 Salmon Race. Watching the races is better than not going to the race at all, but we would both prefer, by a large margin, to be out in the river. We did meet lots of interesting fans of jetboat racing. I am amazed how far some of them travel to watch the races and how long they have been coming.

Awards Ceremony

Will Chandler  and B.J. Wyatt , #211 "Danger Zone" accepting the 2003 Idaho Cup. At this point, the fastest Whitewater jetboat racers that Idaho has ever seen.

 First Place in A-class and the Idaho Cup for fastest boat,
#211 Danger Zone - Will Chandler, B.J. Wyatt
Second Place in A-class
#244  Liqui-Fire - Duane Longfellow and (oops! Please send me an email, never did quite figure out who was navigating!)
Third Place A-class
#277 Unpredictable – Paul Bagshaw, Rob Soule

B-class First place
#187 Risky Business – Dave Provost, Toby Smith - ran every leg! Finished another one! Yahoo!

FX Class First place, Their first race on the Salmon
#42 Morning Wood – Jeff Bradley and Dustin Van Hulzen – did every start, every mile and every leg. Great run guys!
Second place, also their first run on the Salmon but in the broken bin with us after loosing the motor on the down leg on day one,
#45 Cat Sass, Steve Hanlin and Steve? (oops! Please send me an email!)
Third place, slowest boat, least miles run before blowing up, dumbest crew,
#16 Raven - Me and Lynn

We heard at the Awards Ceremony that about half one  race team was reviving an old tradition that has fallen into disuse lately by getting arrested for “wrestling in a saloon”, or something like that. They were bailed out by race time the next day.

I commented to Paul that pulling off a third in the crowd he was racing with wasn’t too bad. His response was immediate, “I wouldn’t want them to get too used to it.” Somehow, I don’t think any of the rest of A-class are taking anything for granted.

The Fish looking pretty sad. Usually when one of these boats is pulled from the river upside down, a lot of damage is also done by dragging the boat across the bottom of the river. Unknown how much of this was the crash and how much was the salvage job. It's quite likely the smashed exhaust and further torquing of the cage was done by dragging the boat.

Robert and Jerry’s crash was pretty bad and could have been a lot worse. What I heard was that the rear of the boat started walking around with the back end skipping, they ended up still going upriver but pointed the wrong way, the ass-end dug in hard and the boat slammed over backwards, coming to a very abrupt halt in about five feet of water, upside down and pointing upriver. The chrome-moly cage was smashed down, more on the navigator’s side than the driver’s side, but I think an aluminum cage would have been right down to the cockpit rails. The job of the cage IS to absorb an impact, protecting the crew and it did do this.
Jerry was out right away but Robert ended up in the nose of the boat, which was full of air, in the dark with his helmet full of water. He said once he got his helmet off and got his bearings he was able to get out ok. Jerry was going nuts (I heard) trying to find Bob while he was up in the front of the boat.  Scary.
Jerry said that this experience makes him want to stick to building motors in a nice safe shop or maybe race Mountain Bikes.

The trip home

We drove back through Riggins, headed for Ontario, Oregon and said goodbye to Riggins, until next year. We love this race, the town, the trip over and back.  I really wanted to run Raven in the Salmon’s big water, but that’s just boat racing, I guess.

About ten miles from Council, Idaho a couple in a car passed us and pointed us over to the side of the road. I pulled over and got out and asked, “What blew off?” The man said they saw something fly off the right wheel on the trailer and that smoke was coming off of that wheel as well. Bearing, of course. What they had seen fly off was the bearing cap, the smoke was the grease trying to catch on fire. I am glad they stopped us, the next section of road is a bunch of tight corners with steep banks and lots of sturdy trees!

I thanked the couple in the car and they went on their way while I jacked up the trailer and began taking the hub off. Both bearings and the inner seal were chewed up, but the hub is ok, the nut and washer is ok and the inner races came easily off of the axle. One outer race in the hub is going to require a press to remove it. The grease cap is long gone.

 Jerry Provost was about 10 minutes behind us and he stopped while I was taking it all apart. It is by now about 4 PM on Easter Sunday and none of the towns out here have a population topping our hometown of Klamath, which is about 700. We talked over the odds of finding a hub this time of day on Easter Sunday in the towns nearby and decided it fell somewhere between a slim and a zero probability. I believe it was Jerry’s brother-in-law that was with him that said probably the best of a slim set of chances would be to go on to Council as it is the largest town nearby.

On this kind of a deal, if you already have a jack, there is not a lot anyone can do to help you unless they happen to be carrying around a fully set-up hub. Guess who is going to now travel with not only a jack but also a spare fully set-up hub!

Jerry took off and we took off right behind them, heading for Council, hoping to find a masochist with a bad family life who also happens to own a parts store and likes to hang out there for the piece and quiet on Easter Sunday! Not too likely.

We cruised into Council. Lynn spotted a shop that said Kirt’s Repair- Welding and Fabrication. It did not appear to be open today, of course so we kept going. We found a parts house, but it was logically closed, and we continued on, hoping for a real gas station. There are service stations in Council, but being possessed of good sense, they are closed too. Then we were at the south end of Council.

Crud, I guess it is time to come up with plan #2, which has to do with driving back to Riggins. Hopefully  we can find one of the racers who have laid over there, and hopefully they are better prepared than we are and will have a hub they will let us use. On the way out of Council, we decided to pull into Kirt’s Repair, just for the heck of it. We pulled in but the building was locked up tight, so I pulled up to the side of the building so I could back the truck around and get back on the highway.  Around back of the building was a fenced off yard for keeping wrecked cars, a tow truck and a young man just coming out of the fenced off area.

We met Daemon Ambrose, and it was his tow truck and yard. His dad owns Kirt’s Repair. We told him we had race boat sitting on a trailer with one tire back up the road, and asked if he knew of someplace within a hundred miles were we could get new bearings. No chance he told us, not today. “Let me take a look at the hub though.” Daemon said, so I handed him the hub. He looked at it and kind of smiled, took the hub and went into the shop. He reappeared with a brand new twin to the thrashed hub I had handed him! Amazing!

I asked him if that was for sale, he said let me call my dad, and went back to the shop. His dad said to sell it to us for $35. Apparently, he makes trailers there and had some on hand for them. Talk about falling in it and coming out smelling like roses! I gladly paid for the hub and threw in a ride in a race boat when we get back here next year. We have Daemon’s card and will call before we head over next year to set that up. Thanks a lot Daemon, I was contemplating having to sleep in the boat until Monday!

Feeling great we headed back north to fix the trailer. Paul, Dan, Rob, Seth and others stopped in two trucks and a car while I was putting it back together. They lent us much “moral support”, as Rob put it, and kept us generally entertained while I was sticking it all together. I don’t think I realized until then how hilarious Seth is. Lynn had told me he was funny as hell, I think he is a crackup! After I got it all together, Dan offered me some of their hand cleaner to clean up and some brake cleaner to clean up the mess on the wheel, but by rights I should have that stuff with me and I didn’t want to use up their stuff. I wasn’t that greasy anyway and a rag or two took care of it. The hell with the wheel, it would have taken a whole can of brake cleaner to make a dent in it. Someone? (DAN!) noticed that the “raven” I had cut out of vinyl and stuck to the cowling of the boat more nearly resembled a seagull than a raven. He said it looked like it was kind of seasick too. I completely agree, but I was hoping no one would notice! Thanks a lot for pointing it out DAN! Hee Hee.

We stopped for Easter Dinner in Weiser at Grandma’s Kitchen, and then soldiered on. I stopped every fifty miles or so and checked the hub, but it was staying cool and tight. Somewhere along the way the dust cap flew off again, so out comes the duct tape. Good old duct tape. Duct tape, sheetrock screws and PVC pipe are three of mankind’s truly great inventions. Oh yeah, and blue plastic tarps.

At dusk, we stopped at that little spring between Ontario and Burns and filled our water bottles. We stayed over in Burns. (well actually it was Hains which is just west of Burns.)

The next morning we met Jim and Marilyn Fosback and talked with them awhile as they were also checking out. They were also going to Bend, but then straight across to I-5. We all took off, but at Riley, Jim flagged us down. Jim said if the bearing went out again we could give him a call and gave me their cell phone number. Much appreciated Jim, it made the trip across just that much less suspenseful!

We stopped by the Diamond Lake cutoff and made a snowman on the pump, it being something of a tradition for us.

We made it home about 7:30 pm, a LONG day for us.

We’ll be back next year.

Jesse & Lynn