September 28, 2015

Arkansas River trip…. September 2015

Our boating buddies, Larry and Diane, invited us to do a trip on the Arkansas River….they’ve traveled to Florida to boat with us several times so we figured we should head their way…


Left early Sunday morning…stopped at Carl’s to pick up the trolling motor and battery..fill water jugs and left. … didn’t even get out of Florida and we blew a tire…must have hit something because the rim was dented….stopped at a Walmart and bought 4 new tires…these wheels are different so now we don’t have a spare….that’s why all new tires.

4 hours later we were back on the road…taking turns driving…we decide to stop for a few hours sleep in the boat at a Flying J truckstop in Birmingham AL.

We didn’t get to Ft Gibson, OK until after dark…followed the GPS and we got lost…finally had to get directions. By the time we got to the ramp we decided we’d launch in the morning…too tired and that is when mistakes are made.

Visited with them for a few minutes then went to bed.


Larry and Diane were already in the water…they launched yesterday.


Sunrise…Jim and Larry going over some stuff while the fishing boats got launched.


We waited until they were done…then we got wet. It takes us a bit longer to launch and we don’t like to tie up the ramp.


We both have Yukon Deltas…Larry’s is a year or two older than ours and you can see a few changes. Meander is a 25 ft  and I think Larry’s is a 23 ft…so interior is different too. He has real doors and our are sliding.


In the “diamonds”…


They sure get through the water nice.


A little side trip….had to cross the bar at the entrance…kind of scary because there was so much dead wood sitting all over…but we made it. There is a camp site here.



They “U” turned and we are heading back to the Arkansas River.


White Pelicans taking advantage of some of the debris along the river.



Heading up a side creek for our first anchorage…the tall things on the R are for tying up barges.



We rafted up…had supper…Larry and Diane supplied ribs…after dinner and a visit we moved away and anchored. This way we can swing into the wind. Our generator is on the rear deck and Larry’s is on the bow.



Had a beautiful sunrise.


They forgot coffee so Jim took a thermos over to them. Had to bail a lot of water out…Jim fixed a leak and it was good last time on the St Johns River…but leaking bad now.



Here comes the sun….


After coffee we headed out again…nice cool night…even needed a light blanket.



In the lock…they have ballards that you put a rope around and they move up or down with the water…no messy ropes hanging down the side to hang onto.


I love the ledges….


lots of debris from the flooding in the shallow areas.



They are dredging out the channel.


Diane is captain now. Ours had a top rail like this one…but Jim took it off and used it to make the things that hold up our rear deck roof. Ours were wood and had rotted out.


There they go…our “river guides”.


We are heading to a marina where we will spend the night…and have dinner at a seafood restaurant that Larry and Diane have been to before…..Shad’s   here is a link to their FB page if you are in the area.

We stayed at the


Spring helped us dock….and fuel…but the best help was when she told us the next fuel stop had been wrecked during the flooding …saved us….we cannot carry enough fuel to get there and back or to the next one.….she also offered to give us a ride to Shad’s Catfish Hole, and told us to call when we were ready to come back to the boats …the owner would pick us up….very nice people.

September 17, 2015

Two Nights on the St Johns River, FL 9-14 to 9-16-15

When things sit for any length of time, down here,  they get a little dirty…so Jim is cleaning up for the trip.


We decided to go to Lake Monroe and launch…it’s not expensive and the truck and trailer are secure.

Finally!!  we’re on the water!


Beautiful day…this is one of the side creeks we take…we enjoy the skinny waters and fewer  boats.


This is the entrance to the canal that takes you from the St Johns River to the Hontoon River.



If you plan to take a trip on the St Johns River…be sure to get Tom Krantz’s Guide to the St Johns River….You’ll end up going places you never thought you would.

My red line is a bit squiggly but that is the trip through the canal (dotted lines) and the Hontoon River …it eventually brings you back to the St Johns…I love this part of the trip.


We had planned to anchor back here for the night but got there so early we decided to head up to Drigger Island.

There is a very deep hole at the entrance …depth gauge read 60’…very popular fishing spot.

We nosed up to the weeds ..still near the entrance so we could catch a breeze. I sewed Velcro down both sides of the screen for the front door…now it is secure from mosquitos. With that open ..and the screened side windows and the screened back door ( I didn’t put full Velcro on that because the rear deck is also screened)…… it wasn’t too bad sleeping.015c

Tuesday morning we got up…had our coffee and donuts on the  rear deck….sent Larry & Diane a text that we were having “cop” food…then headed to the Norris Dead River…another little side trip… it takes you to Lake Woodruff.



Once we got to Lake Woodruff we turned around and started south…pulling out tomorrow…this was just to check out the boat…it hadn’t been on the water since May.

This is what it looked like when we got back on the river…you can see the rain on the right. It POURED!!!!!


Then it just rained steady….so we headed back down the Butcher’s Bend for the night.

We tend to forget the seasons here…but the trees are thinning out and the Red Maples are turning.


Back through the canal…


A tour boat travels this…but because of the rain we did not expect to meet it. Normally we wait until early morning to go through from this direction or early evening. You can see it would be hard to pass a big pontoon tour boat.


Still misty rain when we got to Butcher’s bend but had a nice breeze…by evening it had quit and we could have the doors and windows open…another nice night on the water with lots of frogs singing us to sleep.

Not much wildlife…Jim did spot 3 gators but they were in the water and too far away for pictures. Didn’t even see our cruiser at Butcher’s Bend. They’ll be out to sun themselves when the weather cools down. That is why boating during the winter is so much more fun…We do have nights in the mid 30s..but by mid morning it is usually in the 60s or 70s….and if you travel slow and watch the shore…there are gators everywhere.


Boat ran well…bilge pumps came on automatically when it was raining…got to the bridge..gave the bridge tender a call for an opening…had to circle around for about 10 minutes till the train passed…radio went dead..tack went dead…engine ran but skipped a bit…made it to the dock..shut down and couldn’t raise the motor for travel…it took awhile but Jim found a fuse in the motor that was bad…replaced it…everything powered up …motor up and we were able to load it on the trailer and head home.

Jim has a few repairs to make to the roof over the rear deck…then we’ll be ready for another trip.


September 11, 2015

‘57 Chevy Aug–Sept 2015

Jim had a few afternoons with nothing to do… so went shopping…and found a ‘57 Chevy.

It was is Ogden UT.

He called about it and the guy was going to make a pickup in SW Kansas and would meet us there…

We had the AC in our truck fixed in VT but it quit again. Had it fixed on Thurs…picked it up..went to Carl’s to pick up the trailer and hit the road around 10:30 am Fri.

We were to meet him the next day so we did it trucker style…he drove…I drove…he drove..I drove…you get the picture…unfortunately we did not have a nice comfy bed, toilet or shower …had to sleep in the back seat.

Part way there the AC started acting up….freeze up…shut if off…on again…freeze up…shut it off…we did that most of the way to Kansas….

Car looked good…it started and was backed off the trailer and driven on to ours…deal done.

Spent Fri night in a motel….gave Jim time to make sure it was tied down for the trip home.


We checked it each driver change….straps would loosen up…Jim would retighten …but it made it home.

Sometimes things just don’t go the way you plan….AC went on our way to Grove OK..spent the night at Larry and Diane’s..(our boating buddies) even got to have dinner out with them and Red and Kathy ..(more boating buddies)..when trucking we kept our boat on Grand Lake in OK…that is how we met these great people.

Left early the next morning ..overcast all day so the trip was not too bad…bit hard to sleep in the heat…but we work outside in the heat every day…we can tough it out.

By the time the sky cleared up we were heading E and the sun was at our backs…

Got home…car wouldn’t start so had to roll it off the trailer and use the lawn mower to tow it in the garage. Oh well…Jim likes a challenge.

Exterior looks pretty good..Jim found some flaws but I would not have seen them if he hadn’t pointed them out.


Interior is very good too.


He likes to work on motors…not interiors


It’s a 4 door Bel Air.

Even the trunk is clean. We can store a lot of stuff for travel in here.


When it was running as we loaded it…Jim could tell there was a problem with one cylinder…the guy came down some on price. When he got it inside he did a compression test…sure enough….so he went shopping again…he found another engine for less money then he could rebuild this one for. So out she came…



These are the motor mounts….so now we have new ones…


Needs lots of cleaning…


Changing parts from one engine to the other….good thing the guy he bought the engine from also threw in the engine stand….now he has two.


He has a parts washer in the other shed…pumps diesel fuel in a stream while you scrub.  Needs new clutch and pressure plate.


Now he is scraping all the places he can reach….getting off years of gunk.



When he has a project like this….we have lunch in the shop.


So far, this has taken a few weeks.


Doing a compression test on the new engine.


He hooks it to the battery…hooks up an oil pressure gauge (gives me a job). Plugs  his tester in the spark plug hole…pushes the button in his L hand and turns the engine over…writes down the compression…and on to the next one..sounds easy but it takes a lot of time.


He’s cleaning and checking every little part in the carburetor. Sit down jobs are nice.


Fresh paint…Chevy orange.


It’s coming together….


I  liked the aluminum covers but he wants it to look as original as possible, and it does look pretty good with these.


Down here you have to cover every little important hole or the mud daubers will have them plugged full.

He said these are called “Ram Horns”….


After the engine was put in he started working on a shroud. We will most likely tow our little camper with this to some Tin Can Tourists meets. The shroud helps keep the engine cooler when idling.


all painted and in place.



It runs!!  just needed a bit of tweaking…


Gave it a good wash.


The bumper had been hit at one time…so Jim removed it and straightened it out so it fit right.


The middle section has some scrapes and he doesn’t like to see a hitch receiver hanging down…so..

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Then he made this for when we are not towing.

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We donate to the Wounded Warrior Project and this is their emblem.

He figures if someone bought this for a show car they would replace that section of the bumper so he might just as well have it the way he wants...

The Scamp looks almost as good as it does with the ‘49 Hudson. The car matches our awning…red. It will look great all set up in a campground.


New exhaust system is next…and while on the lift Jim will get the rest of the gunk off.

It’s been a month of hard work….

At some point Jim wants wide white wall tires…these tires look good but are very old so no trips till we get new ones. He’s working on the plug wiring…brake lights…and some other minor problems. I laugh when I say that…nothing is “minor”…

Jim has always liked Chevys…the nice thing about running around with these old cars?  Jim can fix them.