Lee’s Ford Marina

Note: This is the second part of a two-part post. Click here to read The Boat from Hell – Part One!

The next morning we drove another hour or so before we got to the lake. After finally getting there, we realized we’d be putting our boat in for the first time by ourselves on a reallllly busy boat ramp where people with $75 thousand dollar boats were looking down their noses at us and judging our every move. Tim and I both were afraid to drive the boat or back up the van with the trailer hitched. So Travis backed the trailer into the water, and then jumped in the boat while Tim parked the van a mile away. I just kind of stood on the shore like a dumbass.

Travis went to start the boat. Nothing.

He drifted around for a while, eventually floating over to some yacht club dock, where we weren’t supposed to be. Tensions were high. I wanted to help, he didn’t know what was wrong, it was hot, we both feared we’d driven hours to only have to turn around and go back home, or worse. At this point, we sort of… started yelling at each other. We weren’t like trailer-park-call-the-cops-yelling; just heatedly discussing each other’s perceived ignorance.

Before you go judging… we’re married. Well, we weren’t yet at that point, but had been together for 8 years. If you’re going to tell me you’ve never been those people at some point in your life, well… aren’t you just special. People who love each other disagree. It’s human nature, and sometimes… they tell their loved ones that they want to punch them in the face at a borderline inappropriate volume level, in the middle of some fancy pants Kentucky yacht club, after suffering heat stroke in a stinky creeper van for 7 hours, while awaiting the sinking/explosion of the boat you just spent months refurbishing.

(Yes I did just use the words “fancy pants” and “Kentucky” in the same sentence.)

And to top it off, people always think we’re fighting when we’re not to begin with. Even my family makes comments like “can you feel the love?” when we’re totally just razzing each other. We’ve considered adopting southern accents when we’re play fighting so other people can distinguish the difference. My sarcasm is also so damn awesome sometimes, that even my husband has a hard time telling if I’m being serious or not. If we’re really fighting, trust me… you’ll know the difference.

Have you ever seen Mr. & Mrs. Smith?

But, back to the story… At this point, Travis had the boat somewhat dismantled when in mid-tantrum a light bulb formed over his head. He checked a fuse. She fired up and off he went, leaving me standing on the dock while Tim was still on top of the mountain/parking lot above the boat ramp and is only beginning his descent.

I stood there, half expecting him to just keep on going, middle finger in the air. But he stopped when he found a dock that we were actually allowed to park at. We loaded up and set out!

We get about 2 miles away from the dock and realize we forgot to get gas… that was a $5.00 per gallon mistake we learned the hard way at the marina.

The boat ran for maybe an hour, and then we started losing power. We were at full throttle and were only going about 10 mph (I don’t know speed in knots…). We were in this huge expansive lake on a holiday weekend moving at a snail’s pace, while people in these huge house boats were blowing past us, nearly capsizing us a dozen times.

At some point the guys decided to “take a look.” We were taking in water from the back end, due to too much weight in the back. So we started redistributing our crap to the center and front of the boat. We got a little faster, but still something still wasn’t right. We stopped again and the guys decided it must be the primer ball on the fuel line. So they completely disassembled the fuel line and took that off.

Meanwhile, mind you, we’re floating in the middle of this very busy lake. We were up shit creek WITH a paddle, which I literally had to use to keep us from bashing into the rocky shoreline. It was like 95+ degrees, no breeze, with the sun reflecting off the water. I promise you I put on about 4 gallons of sunscreen… but I’ll get to that later.

They finally got the damn primer ball off, but then the engine wouldn’t even turn over. So they put the S.O.B. back on.

I think after probably close to two hours, we finally got the engine running again. Not the way it was supposed to, but we would take what we could get. We eventually stopped in a cove to eat lunch and jump in for a swim.

Well we forgot we threw the ladder away after we had been swimming for at least an hour or two. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but it’s 100% scientifically true that girls are not as well equipped in their upper body to do “pull-ups” we have a higher body fat content, and our arm muscles aren’t as impressive as men’s. Pull ups are useful in daily life, to do things like… pulling yourself back into a boat with only your upper body. I have never in my life, even at my thinnest, been able to do a pull up.

So needless to say, we spent another hour trying to get my ass back into the boat. After the first 30 minutes, I just told them to throw me a rope and drag me back to the dock. Eventually they got so irritated, they each grabbed an arm and drug me back into the boat over the hardware and old broken ladder mount. I had bruises for probably a month afterwards.

We got going again as the sun was starting to sink lower and lower. We decided it was probably time to start looking for a place to set up camp. Every cove we checked out for 2 hours already had like 3-4 houseboats in it. So we eventually decided we’d just go back to the marina and camp in Tim’s creeper van.

This was probably my favorite memory of our boat; it was about 8pm, the sun was starting to set at our backs. It was shimmering hot pink, orange and gold off the water. The surface was like glass. There was nobody else out there but us. The boat finally started to run right, so we were skimming across the top of the water at what felt like 100 mph. It felt like we were on mother-effing Miami Vice. Travis was happy for what seemed like the first time in months, he was grinning from ear to ear. Tim was even happy! We all threw our arms into the air and started wooooo-ing at the top of our lungs!

Vice is Nice

We were like 3-4 miles from the marina and we come around this hair-pin curve where there are all of these random white crosses up on the cliff edge. Travis screams out “Those crosses are kind of creepy up there.” No sooner had he finished the sentence, the boat just stops. Like, stop-stops. No sputtering, no slowing then stopping. It just stops.

It was deaaaad. Good job, Travis. Way to piss off the Big Guy.

Travis started flipping switches, checking batteries etc. Light bulb #2… we forgot to fix the gas gauge on the boat. We ran out of gas.

We sat there for a few minutes thinking a fellow boat enthusiast would happen by and notice our bout of bad luck and perhaps offer a gallon or two of petrol to help us along our way.

Nope. We waited probably 20 minutes before the first boat BLEW past us creating massive wake, which I had to get the oar out again to keep us from smashing against the rocks.  A few more boats flew past and acknowledged our flailing “help” arms, and just kept on going.

By that point we were starting to get a little miffed by the current state of things and the fact that fellow water-craft enthusiasts aren’t exactly what I’d call “helpful.” Travis started digging around in the storage locker on the floor of the boat, looking for something. As soon as Travis lifted the hatch, a look of horror came across his face. There was a lot of water in there.

I immediately started bawling. We were going to die. I strapped a life vest that my dad had given me that belonged to our family, in what appeared to be the 1960’s. And to top it all off, my mother had taken a permanent marker and written our last name across the back of them in billboard-size letters. I have no idea why. For fear that someone would steal our 50 year old life jackets?

Yikes. If the water doesn’t kill them, those shorts will!

(I never could understand why she did this to everything we owned. Because you know, writing your name on something means someone isn’t going to steal it. My mother would be appalled at the number of Tupperware containers in my possession with “CAROL” inked across them.)

Luckily in our case they would have ID once our lifeless bodies washed ashore after the sinking of the S.S. PILE OF SHIT on Lake Cumberland.

So the boat was filling with water. Travis began bailing the water out with a 2 day old paper McDonalds cup. I began my prayers. Tim starts fishing. Lightbulb #3 on my part this time, I remembered some flyer someone gave us earlier in the day. There was an emergency service for people who broke down. Like AAA for boats. By the grace of God, I had cell service and frantically dialed the number, trying to choke off the sobs.

This a-hole answered and informed us it would be just shy of $300.00 to come and tow us. AND it would be about two hours before he could get there because he was having dinner on the other side of the lake. I would have hated to interrupt his jerk sauce dinner!

I covered the phone with my hand and I repeat everything to Travis. He threw the cup down and started screaming that “we’d let the boat sink before we pay that!!” Apparently my hand wasn’t muffling anything because the guy on the other end started chuckling and informs me that if we waited until after dark, the price would double.

I hung up on him. It looked like the boat was going to its watery grave in Kentucky.

About this time two fellas on a small bass boat happened by and tell us they will try their best to tow us as far as they can. They didn’t exactly have the equipment to pull it off, but bless their hearts; they pulled us about a mile. It was like a Honda Civic towing an F150.

(Miracle of miracles, as they started towing us, the water started draining out of the boat. Apparently because when we were sitting still, the boat was sitting flat, so the water couldn’t run to the back of the boat to be pumped out. We also later learned that we had majorly overloaded the boat past it’s weight capacity, which also effected it taking in water.)

Eventually couple of middle aged guys, who both looked like Anthony Bordain, in this gorgeous yacht-looking boat stopped at the sight and offered to take us back to the marina. We were so thankful I could have leapt onto their boat and hugged their heads off! We were being towed close enough to make small talk with the guys and came to find out that one of them grew up in Grove City where we live now! They informed us they had all been there before and they’d been towed back dozens of times.

We finally made it back to the marina around 10 or 11. Travis put another few gallons in the tank to get the boat up on the stupid trailer while Tim walked the mile back up the side of the mountain to get the van. By this point I am so cold I felt like I was about to go into hypothermic shock. I realized I looked like a damn lobster. I was burned to a crisp. (Seriously, 6 months later I still had a tan line from that weekend!) Travis wasn’t in much better shape.

Tim comes with the van and the trailer. While Travis is getting the boat ready, he ran one of Tim’s fishing hooks into his hand. This was probably where we decided to end the trip.

I spent the next two hours looking for a hotel. I just wanted a shower and a soft bed. We finally found one in B.F.E. an hour away. It was a total roach motel on the edge of a cliff. But it had A/C and a soft bed. After we got showers and started to really feel the sunburns, we laid in bed watching Tim make a Dagwood sandwich. Complete with Doritos, ham, cheese, lettuce, salami, bologna, ketchup, mustard, mayo etc… He turned around like an idiot to show us his treasure and straight up dropped it, face down, on the toenail-clipping-and-pubic-hair-infested carpet from 1973.

He picked it up and stuffed it in his mouth.

We went home first thing the next morning. We could barely move, let alone spend another day baking on the water. On the way home, a huge boil formed on one of the trailer tires, by the time we got to Travis’ parent’s house where we were going to drop the boat off, the tire was completely flat. Thank heavens it at least got us home.

We unloaded the boat, and left.

We came back in the late fall to move it to my grandma’s barn. Where it sat completely untouched until the following spring when we traded it outright for our motorcycle. 🙂

Goodbye and good riddance!


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