is Pearce Ferry Saturday Morning and you, Mr. Boatman, have a problem.
You need to be at Lees Ferry by midnight with your motors, which
are, at present, in need of a few major repairs. In a huge rush
you de-rig the boats and load the trucks, jump in, and roar off
into 200 miles of scorching high-noon desert heat, not even stopping
for pizza. Surviving that, you arrive in the cool Flagstaff pines
many long hours later. Next: you must rebuild your two outboard
gearhousings, right down to the shims. This greasy fiasco leads
obliquely to heliocoil work of preposterous dimensions. Soon you
are cursing loud. You would rather go sit in the truck, to try to
sleep your way to Lees Ferry. Dont worry. You will. Soon.
But, before all of this, it was Pearce Ferry Friday
Night. You were one-half day ahead of schedule. The Plan: return
early to Flagstaff and sleep in a bed, between sheets, with your
girlfriend whom you have not seen for three weeks. On the morrow
you will linger with her still. There will be fresh ground coffee
and fine, crisp-baked lemon scones. Yes...
The deluxe tour bus with your 20 passengers has long
since departed. The 37' inflated inrigger assembly has been got
into the long trailer backed deep into Lake Mead. Now it is being
pulled from the lake. Suddenly the truck lurches. And again. Soon
it is stuck. You off-load the boat, which does not help. The truck
is still stuck. More weight!, somebody yells in the
gathering dusk. The boat goes on again. Nothing. The boat comes
back off. By now it is dark, pitch black. And, by now, you are stuck
So far there have been only a dozen hurried conferences.
Now, thanks to a deliberate huddle, a single vision arises: jack-up
the trailer and get rocks under its wheels! Into the pitch black
Pearce Ferry Friday Night you stagger, in a vain search for any
stone comprising more hard surface area than a solitary pebble.
You may wish to try this same exercise yourself sometime. There
are no rocks. There is dust and driftwood and a boisterous population
of Mojave rattlesnakes and nothing else. After seeming endless hours
of wandering empty-handed through the desert darkness you and your
comrades settle on a dynamic alternative. The driftwood! Theres
loads of it, huge chunks everywhere!! Massive faggots of this snake-infested
material are gathered, pushed, pulled and shoved downslope to the
lake where they....float away(?). Later, much later, after beer
and stale pretzels and more, if that even seems possible, even more
lousy rasta music, this which bubbles up from inside the truck cab
where you sit partially submerged, morning comes. It is raining.
To Hell with The Plan.
Three boats are coming off-river; you are, luckily,
the first. Two more trucks and trailers will soon arrive. The second
truck is on time. The second and third boats motor into the landing,
through a maze of driftwood, to disgorge their grizzled horde of
7-Day passengers. Soon Number Two Truck is stuck. Things take a
decided turn for the worse. There is no phone for 10 miles; passing
messages to Flagstaff concerning events at Pearce Ferry becomes
a fine art unto itself. Number Three Truck is late but, finally.....wait....what
is this?! There is genius at work: with a makeshift (we are talking
nickels and dimes here, folks) block and tackle and Number Three
Truck never closer to Lake Mead than Redlands, California, Number
Two Truck comes free, and, shortly thereafter, Number One. After
that, by the grace of the Almighty, you are, two hours later, on
the road. Yeah!
OOOPPS!! The truck has lost its brakesthe brake
drums are filled with water. The driver gambles, he keeps going.
There is nothing else to do! There is a schedule to meet. As an
aside to it all you offer wagers on the amount of lubricant remaining
in the trucks differential, and are surprised to find takers.
Now, about the trailer. When it slumped, trying to
emerge from the lake many light-years ago, its rear axle got bent.
This translates into three flat tires before you arrive in Flagstaff,
the shop, at 6PM, a few hours behind schedule, just in time to rebuild
your two outboard engines while headed for Lees.