Saturday, July 16, 2011


We’ve been busy entertaining nieces and nephews so I haven’t been a very reliable poster.  It seems like a lifetime ago now but it was just Thursday morning when we woke up on Gray Hawk and then headed north to catch the early ferry out of Nanaimo.  I had some Growsafe business to do at the Brazilian consulate in downtown Vancouver and then we pointed the trucklet east.  All went relatively well except for one interminable parking lot around Abbotsford.  I don’t know how people live with that as a part of their daily lives but I certainly can understand how road rage happens.

When we arrived at the storage lot in Chilliwack Leonard wanted to visit.  I’ll miss him so I’ll have to make the effort to get back for the occasional visit.  I found him two years ago when we moved out to Chilliwack and I was looking for a place to store the cube van.  He had a little sign at the edge of his yard on the road up to Cultus Lake.  When I walked into his shop he was modifying a very tired New Holland forage harvester  in order to power it with a Ford 240 cu in 6 cylinder engine.  He eventually took the power harvester to Mexico where his winter landlord uses it to chop palm leaves into silage.  He calls it “feeding the dragon” and apparently two men with forks can’t keep up to the dragon’s appetite for palm leaves. 

When I heard what his plan for the machine was my first question was “how the hell do you plan to get it across the Mexican border?” and apparently I was correct in thinking it would be a challenge.  He gave up on hauling it across himself, hired somebody to haul it across and then they lost it.  It sounds like it took many weeks and threats of legal action to eventually locate what would be worthless scrap iron to pretty well anybody anywhere in North America. 

On Friday Leonard was in a visiting mood so Marilyn got to sit in the truck while he and I went over his and our winters.  He did confirm something that has been bothering me since we started trying to fish in the ocean.  When we fish walleye in northern Saskatchewan we use something called a bottom bouncer which is just a piece of heavy wire with a 90 degree bend roughly in the middle of it.  The line to your fishing rod attaches to the bend, your hook attaches on a long leader to one of the “legs” of the L shape and the other leg is weighted so that it will bounce on the bottom.  You lower it down until it touches bottom which leaves your lure streaming 10 or 12 inches above the bottom either in flowing water or while you are drifting.  Then you bounce it – hence the name.  I’ve asked several so-called salt water fishermen about bottom bouncers and so far nobody has heard of them but Leonard likes to fish in both Mexico and on the northern end of the Island and he uses bottom bouncers.  So now at least I’ve got a plan for whenever we get back out there this fall.

We spent the first part of this week entertaining Marilyn’s sister’s kids on the boat.  They came with us for a day of prawning, spent the night on the boat by Butchart Gardens and then we went crabbing.  They didn’t have licenses so we couldn’t fish but that didn’t much matter because we can’t really catch fish anyway.  The fireworks at Butchart were excellent and free.  We had no idea what to expect but had been told they were worthwhile.  We also had no idea where to tie up but as it turned out I don’t think we could have picked a better spot.  It was tricky anchoring though – the channel was rocky on the bottom so really hard to get a bite on and fairly deep.  By the time we got stern tied we were already closer to the shore than I wanted to be and then the asshole next to us arrived back on his derelict boat and informed me that we were blocking his view.  We had a few words during the course of which I refrained from telling him exactly what he should do with his attitude and eventually I pulled us back even closer to shore until the fireworks were over.  Since the fireworks were in the air (surprisingly!) I don’t think our position made a damn bit of difference which simply confirms my initial impression that he was just a drunken asshole.  But it seemed that advising him of that might not be immediately productive.  After the fireworks finished I slacked the stern lines and took in some anchor chain to move us back forward.  By morning we still ended up closer to the shoreline than I liked but no harm came of it.

Now we’re parked in Alison and Camiel’s yard west of Airdrie.  The frenchy-bus fired right up first try and all the systems appear to be working.  The biggest issue so far was one sticky padlock.  I have Master locks all keyed alike for the bay doors.  They get full of road salt in the winter and they just aren’t meant for that kind of service.  Its OK if you use them regularly and keep them lubed but when they sit for as long as they did this time its always a problem.  I might have been able to free this one up eventually with enough patience and PB50 but it was preventing access to the electrical bay and that meant I couldn’t switch the main power disconnect back on so eventually I resorted to bolt cutters to get into the bay.

As is often the case, we’ve got some busy days ahead of us.  Growsafe wants me to go to Brazil to do some initial installations for their systems in that country.  I’ve got my normal summer stack of Palliser files to pick up in Regina and Marilyn has several Sask. projects on the go.  The Brazil departure date is a moving target based on whenever the Brazilian consulate gets around to issuing a visa so its hard to plan at all.  Fortunately we consider 7 day plans “long term planning”.

1 comment:

Singing Land Cruiser said...

Wait! Your in the Bus now? Where is the Boat? Are you staying in the Bus for a spell? M&C