GCRG logo - waves above name with sheep
  A Report on Recent Developments at Pearce Ferry, AZ
  The News ~ fall 1992

t 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. Don’t 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 good.

   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! There’s 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 brakes—the 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 truck’s 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.

Shane Murphy

big horn sheep