Friday, May 4, 2012

While the cat's away ...

... the mice will play.

Roy and Amy have been hard at work since I've been on the river, finishing up the Blacktail. With Jim Hall and others they came up with a really sweet 30% proportional blue stain stripe, with a diminishing pin-strip to set it off. Stunning. They have some wild plans for a fancy transom. A little more interior box work and it's out the door. Launch planned for next week.

Marieke came by to leather her oars the last couple nights. As we were nearing the end of the project, trying to hold parts steady while we worked, Will came up with a plan for an oar roller made from old skateboard wheels, which soon morphed into a more bush-league reality. A couple of old casters from the cabinet of things-too-useful-to-throw-away... a hinge from the old apartment house Coop and I bought back in the '70s... some scrap lumber... a few handy clamps... And damn, not enough casters... but beers will work fine:

Those oars spin so smooth now!  Here is Marieke applying the smoking hot wax to the leathers. Drink it up, wraps, so you can sweat it out on the river.

And since we have momentum, let's resuscitate a couple 40-year old Willie oarlocks to go with the Willie boat we recovered last month. The great thing about those old brass oarlocks is how ductile they are. Pound and pry long enough and they go right back into shape. Some of the new ones are so hard they'll break an oar before releasing it--might as well use full-ring oarlocks at that point. These ones are old enough they still have the peace sign in the casting.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Julius jubilant

Julius survived his fourth Grand Canyon trip unscathed, through little fault of my own. I missed a few runs, slopped through a few others, but came out right-side-up and smiling. I was a training boat and blabbermouth on Arizona Raft Adventures's annual "Dories and Stories" trip. Last year I took down the Edith--my replica of the 1911 Kolb boat, for its 100th anniversary. This year I took Julius to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Holmstrom's solo run of 1937. (Next year it'll be a Nevills replica, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of that historic style.)

I shot a lot of video footage, although most of it was unremarkable. I'll post a few amusing ones. Here is Hance, where Alan and I violated each others' personal space for the entire run:
High res YouTube link

Sockdolager, where I tore an oarlock out and bent it:
High res YouTube link

Here we are hauling the potty to lunch, in lieu of the poo boat who had headed downriver early to exchange hikers. Buzz would be proud.

Horn Creek, where I actually made the run:
High res YouTube link

And a pause for beauty at Trinity Canyon:

Granite Falls: push hard left, get swept right anyhow--my standard run, but it seems to work:

Down the left wall at Crystal:

Another wander up Specter Chasm:

And one of the worst runs I've made at Bedrock since I was a greenhorn in the mid-70s. Angle, Brad. Angle! For the love of god, angle!

An ouzel posing at Deer Creek:

And what was most likely the most spectacular run, down the right at Lava Falls, hot on the heels of an upside-down dory--a huge ride, complete with a high-speed chase through Lower Lava, nearly flipping in pursuit of a runaway dory oar... and the danged video cam ran out of gas before we even got to the rapid. Ah well... have to do it again.

A consolation shot at Pumpkin Spring and a few closeups Julius's suntanned Port Orford Cedar glowing in the late afternoon light. 'T'was a fine expedition.