The lemon! There is no better way to describe than a lemon. No I am not talking about a vehicle; I am talking about what my wife calls the boat.
I do not know what it is but every time she gets into that boat, something weird happens. Perhaps it is her morbid fear of boats and waves and water or perhaps it is my over exuberant desire to show her how much fun boats can be. No matter what the reasoning, something always goes wrong.
A few years back was a classic year. For the May long weekend we were going to join some friends up at Okanagan Lake. They had rented a cabin and we were going to bring the boat. I couldn’t wait to show off in my little toy. Even better, after a long wet winter, the weather couldn’t be better. We had reached record highs.
Like everyone else on the long weekends, we ducked out of work early on Friday to avoid the traffic. Yah right! Have you ever had the joy of trailering a boat in rush hour traffic with a standard vehicle? Let me tell you it is not fun.
We eventually got past the bottleneck sometimes referred to as the Port Mann Bridge. Whoever Mr. Mann was, I am sure he does not deserve the cursing he gets each and every day from irate drivers. The traffic on the other side of the bridge was not that much better. One second we would be cruising along at 100 km/h the next second we would have to slam on the brakes to avoid introducing ourselves to another bumper.
We finally got onto the Coquihalla Highway. This spectacular highway is certainly worth all the hype. Not only do you get to marvel at wonderful engineering feats or awe-inspiring mountain peaks but you also get to see how fast people can really drive. I often wonder how the speed limit through this mountainous highway, with its sharp corners and steep grades, can be higher than the flat, wide open Trans-Canada Highway, which cuts through the Fraser Valley.
Due to the heavy traffic, I was trying to make up time so I was driving a little faster than I like with a trailer. Sure enough, we had a blow out. Those bias-ply tires sure do explode when they go! Better yet was the fact that the blown tire was on the traffic side. We had the good fortune of being just over the crest of a hill at a bend in the road. This way, vehicles (mostly fast moving semis) would come barrelling over the hill and try to cut the corner. I do not know how many times I felt the streamline effects of those massive semi-trailers shake the boat and trailer while I dangerously tried to change the tire.
Luckily we made it to our destination with no other problems. It was dark so I did not bother to put the boat in the water.
The next day was a scorcher. By 10 am, it was 25 degrees Celsius. What a day to go boating. So the chicks went shopping (I know when I mentioned cabin you thought we had some lovely wilderness retreat, we did but that still did not stop the girls)! Meanwhile, my friend and I decided to put the boat in the water. Down to the boat launch we go. We unhook the boat and unload it no time flat. Only one problem, I cannot get the engine to run. It would turn over fine, but every time I revved the engine, it would stall. Meanwhile my poor friend was standing in the lake all this time. It is quite amazing the slight shade of blue ones legs can turn if subjected to cold conditions long enough.
After several wanna-be technicians (myself included) looked at the engine, we still had no answer. We did figure out that if we kept the motor idling it would run fine. Just don’t juice it. Eventually, we decided to cruise the boat down to the cabin. I was sure the problem is only temporary and we will be up and running in no time.
Let me tell you, I have no problem trolling in a boat for hours as long as I have a fishing rod. But to troll in a speedboat and helplessly watch as other boats zip on by has got to be one of the most embarrassing things. What made matters worse was to see the hysterical laugh my wife and her friend broke into as I puttered around the corner.
After helplessly working on this user-unfriendly engine, you know the kind without a carburetor, for hours and pumping in every fix-it chemical I could find, I gave up. The caretaker of the cabin was a mechanic and he fared no better.
The next day was another beauty. After exploring the nearby mountain in the morning, we all decided it was time to see the lake from the water. We all hoped into the boat (dog included) and prepared for a cruise…I mean troll.
It was fun at first but once again, we were getting a little antsy watching all of these speedboats cruise on by. It seemed the faster they were going the bigger the smiles on their faces. Every now and again, we would try to squeeze a little speed out of the engine. This was like trying to ride one of those mechanical bulls. It would speed up and then slow down, speed up and slow down, speed up and slow down, speed up and slow down. I think you get the picture.
When we finally brought the boat into the mechanic, we had a lovely $900 bill. No one ever said toys were cheap.