We go on a lot of camping trips to Lake Mojave. These trips have included more and more people in recent years, which means a lot of wear and tear on the boat. Hauling tons of heavy gear such as Easy-Ups and well-stocked giant ice chests, as well as everyone's tents and bags, firewood and fuel, means there ain't much room for humans to sit. Moving the heavy stuff on and off the boat damages the... oh jeez, what is it called? The trim that goes around the top of the sides. Anyway, it's just not good for the lovely and expensive Chris-Craft.
Last summer, just as we were getting ready to leave our cove on that over-loaded vessel, Stacey lost her footing and fell off the boat, slicing a big ol' gash in her upper arm. That was the last straw for Drew.
Stacey and Drew have been talking for years about getting a pontoon boat to haul all the gear. We've had three and four families using the Chris-Craft, and it's a drag having to sit on top of the gear when going to and from the campsite. Packing the heavy stuff onto a pontoon would be so much easier, with much less wear and tear on boats and humans alike. It doesn't need to be anything fancy or pretty as long as it runs. A couple weeks ago, Drew started looking on Craigslist. I said I would like to also be part owner of the pontoon. The budget was $3,000.
Last Thursday, Drew and I drove to Havasu to look at a boat. The photos showed that it was in rough condition, but it came with a trailer (which on its own was worth a lot, as pontoons often don't have trailers) and the guy said the motor ran. When we got there we found that the boat was in much worse condition than we thought, and Drew and the owner couldn't get the motor started. Now, Drew can fix pretty much anything, and everything on the deck could be replaced, but Mindy would probably have killed Drew if he had brought such a big project home, and no one would have blamed her. The guy didn't want to come down in price so we said sayonara.
On Saturday, Drew, Stacey, and I, along with Dede, who was visiting from San Luis Obispo, went to Yucca Valley to look at a more expensive boat ($4,500). Drew was hoping to get the price down to $4,000. When we pulled into the owner's driveway (well, front yard, really) we saw that all of his vehicles had DEPLORABLE stickers on them. I just about barfed. Dede and Stacey said that maybe I should wait in the car. It was pretty funny. Then the guy came out wearing a DEPLORABLE LIVES MATTER t-shirt! Double barf!!! Oh well, it's the dessert. I'm guessing he had a meth lab out back.
Drew started assessing the important stuff and we sisters climbed aboard to take a look. Everything was in really good shape. The upholstery was only a year old and everything else except the carpeting looked good. And the carpeting wasn't all that bad. The guy said the motor was an 85hp Force, which is made by Mercury. He said it ran kind of slow, which was ok for our needs. The owner opened his garage to get something he needed to start the motor. Inside was more Trump crap, as well as a Confederate flag on the wall. Big surprise.
The motor started on the first try. Things were looking good for this boat. We knew we wanted it, although it galled me that we would be giving this guy a single cent. Drew haggled with him a bit and got the price down a little. We came back to Riverside with our new baby.
As soon as we got to Drew's we set about cleaning it up. We were so happy that it came out looking so good. After we were done we just sat there enjoying it. Drew texted our friends, Dave and Christa, and they came right over to see it. Then Stacey's friend, Michelle, came over. Then Mindy and Tori came home. We had a lovely little party right there. So, of course, the next thing we did was order pizza! It was the perfect way to end the day.
And to make it even more perfect, the next day, Drew opened up the motor to take a look. He found that the reason it ran slow was there was a loose ground wire inside a connection, which the guy had missed. Drew hooked it up and VROOM! He also did a bit more research and found the actual model number. It's not an 85 hp engine, it's 125! He said that bought the value up another $1,500 to $2,000!
Oh, please let me call the guy and tell him! Please, please, please!!!
So, we're looking forward to our first river trip of the year. We'll pack the pontoon, and when the trip is over, all the heavy stuff can be stored on the boat. And the deck is pretty big (overall length is 24 feet), so pretty much everyone will fit when we go to our special get-out-of-the-wind party spot on the lake.
Oh man, I am looking forward to some major family fun.