Monday, June 7, 2010

AN UNEASY DAY & A CANOE RIDE

click on photos to enlarge The day is beautiful. I drove to the property I MOW and fired up the mower to try and get the Grass cut before noon. The Mower is of the zero turn variety and the left wheel is rotating under what seems like half power. Actually the wheel motor, one on each wheel, is slipping. If I could get it apart I'll bet I could fix it. But, it appears to be a pressed together unit. Best price to fix it is $750.00. $600.00 of that is a new wheel motor. Lets see; $3500.00 for the Mower, $500.00 per year up keep (sharpen blades and replace, replace belts here and there, oil changes and gasoline, and air filters.) Three years old....Yep, total investment $5750.00 to Mow Grass for three years. Hell of a deal! Of course I'm not mentioning it takes one of my days off from work to Mow. Think of the rainy day or even medical nest egg that could be built up with that money. Gotta Mow though. The bad thing is that I can only Mow banks diagonally uphill because the right wheel becomes the dominant drive wheel that way. If the left wheel is on the down side of the slope; the Mower will dive instantly down hill. The property is all hills. The frustration level mounts very quickly. It's bad enough to waste beautiful days cutting weeds but, when the machine is limping along...its stressful! I have to treat the yard as if it were a pool table and the Mower a cue ball. On steep banks I do a mental calculation where the Mower will fall to and try to maximize the cut on the grass. Sometimes the machine dives wildly down the hill and I have to ride it out to a stop. I got the main yard done and along both sides of the long, long driveway. There wasn't enough gasoline to Mow the orchard or the bird box pathways through the meadow.
Then, as I walked up to the truck I noticed a very slick rear tire. Just what I needed. I jumped in and rushed off to town to get a pair of rear tires for the old F150 Ford. It's always something. This will set me back a couple hundred bucks. More stress.
After not too much or careful consideration, I decided to go to Calderwood and camp over night. It was 3 o clock. The canoe went on top of the truck cap and Douglas took his place on the front seat of the truck. I stopped at Hardies drive through for a burger. I thought about the drive to Calderwood. Route 129 is still closed; the shortest route. The only way there was over the Cherohala Skyway for 40 miles and across Joyce Kilmore Memorial Forest to Route 129 North to Calderwood Lake from the North Carolina side of things. It sounded like a rat race. We turned around and headed back to the habitat. It just didn't make sense. The Hardies burger didn' make sense either. Worse piece of crap I ever tasted. I couldn't bring myself to give it to Douglas. I put it back in the paper bag and took it home to the garbage. I didn't even want to toss it out of the truck because I have more respect for wild animals that may come across the nasty morsel and become ill after eating it.
The canoe is on the truck cap so the only thing I can do is drive us to the cove down at Tellico Lake. And so we did and here we are. It certainly isn't Calderwood Lake but we're on the water.
I sat in the grass behind the truck and watched a ski boat drive recklessly about in the cove. Just when I was ready to leave, the craft left the cove and went down the main channel of the lake. "OK, this might work," I thought. After unloading the canoe and all the stuff I needed, a jet ski appeared. Again, I almost packed up and left. He put on his idiotic display of nonsense for all to witness and then disappeared in a flash. Wish those things were never invented! "Get in the boat Douglas."
We paddled the shoreline just in case anymore speedsters appeared. It's a nice paddle to the park bench where I am writing this from. I enjoy this spot, especially when the lake is devoid of watercraft. I have no lights on the canoe or I would come here at night. I do, however, have lights on the Gheenoe. I may do a midnight run to this park bench some night this week.
A houseboat noisily pulled into the bay and set anchor.
He evidently took the mufflers off his exhaust as the twin engines are very loud. People and their noise! First loud words were, "Alcohol!" As usual their voices carry only too well across the water and I can hear their conversations perfectly. Just what I want to hear. Yep; don't get any better than this.
And then I started thinking; there was a time when every second of my free time was spent on a motorcycle. And, I mean "every" free moment! Tennessee, the lakes, my beloved boats and my wonderful dogs have changed all that. Wilderness appreciation has outweighed the desire to pile road miles on a motorcycle. A very limited income also has drastically affected my motorcycling experience. It is an expensive sport and I am not motivated to ride for the sake of riding. I've done that to the tune of over a million miles in my life time. I need a destination to make the motorcycle gig work and I've been there and done that..
It's been an interesting journey through the course of my life till now. I used to only see sunshine in my future as a young man but, now a cloudy sky seems constantly overhead. Guess it's an older age thing.
Douglas is having the time of his life swimming. He's been in the water for the better part of an hour. These canoe rides in the evening are for him really. He loves to sit in the boat and get chauffeured around.
He rolls all over the grass and whatever else when he comes out of the water. I love him. What a companion!
I guess the day turned out fine when it's all said and done. I sure would like to get an overnight in at Calderwood. We'll see what happens tomorrow. And a movie or two of my boy below:
video video