If you’ve known me for more than 10 minutes, it’s no secret I thoroughly dislike Texas. The time we’ve spent in Denison, however, has softened me a bit. Sure, their history textbooks are complete fabrications, they are thoroughly obsessed with guns and gun rights, and did I ever mention the horrific experience of stopping at a rest area to pee? (I believe I have, so enough of that.) But for the most part, we’ve enjoyed the friendliness of its people and the security of our slip at the marina. But the day finally came when the trucking company was loading up Nautical Dreamer to drop it into the Arkansas River. It’s fairly nerve-wracking to watch your home get yanked out of the water (akin to pulling your house from its foundation), and plunked onto a truck. Once it was on the truck and several straps were secured, the trucker had to move the truck up the hill so another truck could get in place to receive its boat. So it was secure on the truck but not SECURE on the truck. I gave it a WIDE berth in case it came tumbling down.
I wasn’t prepared for how time-consuming it was going to be. We waited hours in the extreme heat and humidity. I don’t think I’ve sweated that much in my entire life. My eyes stung from the drips drizzling in. All my clothes (and I mean underwear and all) were soaking wet. And all I did was watch. I can’t imagine what the guys were feeling. How they wear pants rather than shorts is beyond me and many of them with their beards, mustaches and looong hair.
Communication wasn’t the best at the marina so we were caught slightly off guard when they called looking for us. We dropped everything and headed over to the haul out area. But we hadn’t finished securing everything. So when the trucker and his spotters headed out to lunch, Rick climbed up and finished securing everything. Then we said goodbye to Nautical Dreamer and thought, fingers crossed, we’d see it on the other end.
We decided we didn’t want to follow the truck figuring it would be interesting for the first 20 minutes or so and then be a giant drag. Or we’d be worried it would topple any minute and we’d spend the entire trip with stomach issues from worry. So we headed out on the four-hour (give or take) drive to Ft. Smith, Arkansas, to wait.
We ended up waiting five days (yes, you read that right). Many factors led to this. The guys had bad weather that caused a delay in taking off the fly bridge. (Nautical Dreamer was too high for the electric wires. In fact, we were told if we’d been an inch taller, it would have had to travel with an electric bucket truck and crew to lift the wires, which would have tripled the cost. So we had to take off the top.) The state tells the trucking company the route it is allowed to take based on the height of the boat. The route was a winding hilly road, sans guardrails, that the truck and its two escorts (one in front, one in back) had to move quite slowly on over the course of a couple days. Once they arrived at Applegate Cove Marina in Sallisaw, Arkansas, it took several days to reinstall the fly bridge (again weather played a factor—the temperature was way too high to work in the afternoons).
I have never spent so much time in a hotel as I had waiting to be permanently left alone on our boat. If we’d known, we could have used that time to vacation and enjoyed hoteling it. But this was every day getting up and wondering if today was the day, then finding out it wasn’t.
As an aside, we stayed in a Residence Inn with a great rate from Hotwire.com. The rooms are basically a studio apartment and if you’d like you can leave a grocery list and they will pick up and deliver to your room at no additional charge beyond the groceries. How cool is that?
Any hoo, finally, the day came. The crane was in use and after waiting around, the trucking staff decided to “float” it off the truck. If you’ve ever been in a smaller speed boat you’ve done this. Back the car down the ramp until the boat floats, then pull away. A little more complex given the size of the boat, but it was basically the same thing. With many trees in our way (again due to our height), one of the guys sat on the fly bridge with a saw and hacked off limbs as the boat was slowly driven into the water.
Then Rick got in to take it across to our slip. I had to drive over to the slip and get ready to grab lines. I was practically peeing my pants worrying about my job. The last thing we needed was to pull a Rodney Dangerfield in “Caddyshack”. If I didn’t catch the lines, then what? Relief came as not only did the trucking guys come over, but the marina emptied into our slip to help. Now Rick just had to slide it in. But as he got closer he realized there was no way we would fit—too high.
Discussions ensued as Nautical Dreamer treaded water. There was a spot on the end, not covered but with water and electric hookup that we could use. We all tramped down to that end of the marina and the guys proceeded to “catch” the boat while I watched and worried (which seems to currently be about all I’m good for). Given where our hookups were the boat needed to be backed into the space. The width of the slip was generous but Rick had to be cautious he didn’t hit a post at the back end with the swim platform. Made it in without much muscle from the crew, set everything and hooked up…well, the water anyway. The electric receptacle was for 30 amp and we had 50. One of the guys found the mechanic who jerry-rigged it and then ordered some part.
We appreciate Applegate Cove Marina for its friendliness and cost ($250/mo. including water, sewage pump out, and wifi–even if the wifi sucks). Several boats are doing the same trip we are, starting in October. We think we will delay and see if we can tag along. They’ve done the trek before so it would be good to have “experts” to draw on and nice to have others around. Plus, maybe we can get all our projects done. Hey—a girl can dream, can’t she?