Wednesday, October 5, 2011

the night we {and our boat motor} almost died

I've got a lot to do today, but I haven't posted in awhile... so here's a random story from our recent trip to northern Minnesota, to tide you over until I come up with something, you know, really good. {Warning: this story is completely anti-climactic. Also, I'm writing it in a hurry, while Charlie is napping, when I should be cleaning or something...}

The Night We {and our boat motor} Almost Died

On one of the last nights of vacation, my sister Anna, her husband Steve, Marty, and I decided to go on a little evening fishing trip. We put Charlie to bed, gave the baby monitor to a very sweet, obliging cousin, and set off. Steve is the outdoorsman of the group -- he rigged up our poles for Walleye fishing, and we headed out to the great expanse of Voyageur National Park.

After a 10-minute boat ride, we made it to "the spot" -- 70 feet of water, right in the middle of a giant lake. We were far, far, far from any shoreline (this is important to note for later), right on top of a reef where walleye typically hang out. Because walleye, they like reefs. {See, you didn't even know you'd be learning how to fish when you came over to this little blog today, didja?}

The sun was setting. The fish weren't biting. But it was gorgeous.

We moved to a different spot, because, well, that's what you do when the fish don't bite. {Again -- more with the fishin' learnin'. You'll be a pro in no time...}

Here's Marty and Steve -- it's a terrible picture, but it shows that they were intent. on. catching. fish.
...While I was taking pictures of my shoes, and singing songs to the hypothetical fish in the water.

And then, in the distance, as the sun was setting, we saw it.

A wall of clouds, coming in from Canada.
At first, we were like, "Oh hey, see that lightning way far off over there? Cool."
And then, a few minutes later,
"Oh hey, see that lightning, like A MILE AWAY?"
{This picture doesn't capture the clouds correctly. They were scary, and dark, and loooooming, and filled with lightning and thunder. GAH.}

And then, as the sun was setting...

we went to move to yet another spot...
and the boat motor wouldn't start.

This was our family's boat, the boat we grew up with. I KNEW this boat. The motor never made that noise.

Marty, a brilliant mechanical genius, tried to figure it out. So did Steve {the avid outdoorsman}. Anna even took the lid off the motor, just to, you know, see what was going on. I just started hyperventilating, and then I dug through the entire cabin, looking for the flare gun and a set of paddles. {for the record, there was no flare gun, and only one paddle. rock on.}

Meanwhile, the storm is rolling in. And it's dark. And we're in the middle of a national park, without a radio.

Did I mention that we didn't even tell anyone where we were going?

On a lake that's 212,000 acres, that's KIND OF A PROBLEM, if you're stalled and it's dark and a massive storm is coming in.

And, remember how far we were from the shoreline? Yes. Ohhhh yes.

Here was my most-flattering reaction:

We started up the trolling motor {which will propel your boat at a rate of .000000002 miles per hour}, and promptly began spinning in circles.
Mind you, no one was freaking out, except me,
because I was envisioning spending the night on the shoreline {if we ever made it there}
with bears,
and a massive storm,
and a dead boat.
And I was wearing my skinny jeans {really, what was I thinking?!},
so I was clearly NOT equipped to survive in the wilderness for a night...

even though I'm married to an Eagle Scout, who was sitting right next to me and wasn't worried a bit.

And then.....

after twenty minutes of scary silence.............

TRIUMPH! The boat motor STARTED!!!

We raced home.
{Steve wanted to stay out and fish. He is nuts.}

{Yeah, see those clouds? Yikes.}

We pulled in to the lodge, just before the storm hit.
And then I was sort of sad,
because the story might have been better,
if I could have talked about spending the night on the lake
with bears,
and a dead boat,
and skinny jeans,
and my sister, and her husband, and my husband...
But then I thought about the bears,

and the massive size of the 212,000 acre lake...

and I was very glad that we were safe, indeed :)

p.s. I might have to ask my sister Anna to write her version of the story. 
It might differ slightly from my own...


georgia b. said...

oh, crack me up! this was heeeeeelarious!

it may have been anti-climactic, but very funny... and very suspenseful. i wondered how it all would end... although, i knew it must have ended well for the most part if you were alive to blog about it. =)

too funny. love the scared self portrait shot. and though you were being chased by ominous clouds, you caught some beautiful photos of them for sure!

glad you got back safe and sound. learned your lessons, i hope! =)

Anna said...

hahaha!! This is so great! My story is the same...minus the freaking out part. I did have my cell phone, but no one on land would answer theirs for some strange reason! I was also quite dizzy and could not stop laughing because the trolling motor we got about 100 yards back towards shore with, was broken and we were spinning around in circles!! HAhaaa!!! Thank God the motor started working again after I 'checked things out' ;) I love it Char!

Rochelle said...

you are so. so. so funny!!! this is insanely hilarious and yet, so freaky! i'm so sorry you went through all that, but you did get a darn stinkin funny story out of it. and i did learn some fishing skillz, now i'm ready to go out and rock the next lake i come across!

you are an amazing storyteller, just so ya know. ;) and by the way, i would have totally been freaking out and hyperventilating way ahead of you!! :)