Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Shadowy St. Joe

This morning when I got up I had no clue what I wanted to do, so I thought about how nice the day was going to be and decided to do something about it.  One of the things I have always wanted to do was to take the boat and motor down Lake Coeur d'Alene and then go up the St. Joe River to St. Maries.

I filled the Jeep with some food and water, the tablet, and the two containers of gas and drove down to the boat.  By 8:30 AM I was on my way. The boat buzzed along at 28 mph on a glass smooth lake.  I whipped past Harrison and spotted the old railroad bridge that is now part of the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.  Idling forward and under the bride I entered the St. Joe River.  The channel is well marked and before long I was back up to speed.

What a rush! The water was so smooth. The boat moved like a bird skimming the water.  I stood and let the wind chill my skin.  I had my coat on and my hoodie up hoping to dampen the wind chill.  I still got very cold.

When I reached St. Maries I pulled into a city dock, sat in the sun and ate my brunch. What a wonderful day I was having.

I loaded up, turned around and headed out.  Everything was going great!

I followed the river down slowed the engine and idled back under the bridge.  Once free of the final no wake zone I hit the gas and got back up to speed.  Suddenly I heard an alarm.  At first I thought it was my Lowrance so I turned the power off on it.  The alarm sounded again. I cut speed and dropped my rpms down and the alarm stopped.  The outboard was running well, but I could not get the rpms up above 3000 without the alarm. I checked the cooling intake and it was not clogged. I was baffled.

I chugged into Harrison and docked at the public dock.  At this point I checked the oil and it was exactly where it should be. I raised the motor and checked the cooling intakes again. No luck.

I idled back onto the lake and bumped my speed up until the alarm sounded and then backed off a bit.  I was able to travel at about 6.7 mph so that is what I did. It was slow but I was able to head home.  While I traveled I posted progress reports to Linda and Alex Harris so that folks would know how I was doing.  The morning was so fast and exciting, and the afternoon was slow and boring.  The positive side was that I was running on glass water and the sun was so warm I had to strip down to my T-shirt.

I arrived home at about 4:30 PM.  It felt good to be back and I could relax knowing that I made it.

After putting the boat away I drove home smiling all the way.  It was just another adventure that worked out and I can check "boat the shadowy St. Joe" off my bucket list.

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