July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow


June 20, 2013
New Adventures


May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug


May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference


May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy


April 15, 2013
In The Middle


March 29, 2013
On The Hook


March 18, 2013
Tinker Time


February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix


February 15, 2013
Time Travel


February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation


January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending


January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports


December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current


December 1, 2012
New Neighbors


November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?


November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?


October 15, 2012
CHANGE OF LATITUDE


October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable


September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem


September 1, 2012
Promises


August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options


August 1, 2012
Go West!


July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination


July 1, 2012
Propane


June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly


June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour


May 15, 2012
Making New Friends


May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New


April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast


April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler


March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature


March 1, 2012
Last Dance


February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique


February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound


January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World


January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation


December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell


December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds


November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love


November 1, 2011
On the Water Again


October 14, 2011
First Impressions


October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun


September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road


September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!


August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row


August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat


July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home


July 1, 2011
One Step Closer


June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future


June 1, 2011
Made in the USA


May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice


May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around


April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude


March 15, 2011
Helping Hands


March 1, 2011
THE PERFECT BOAT!


February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options


February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!


January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing


December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing


December 15, 2010
The New Plan!


December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg


November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water


November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile


October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough


October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?


September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool


September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder


August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland


August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"


July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time


July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!


June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous


June 1, 2010
On the Hard


May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West


May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board


April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance


April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures


March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise


March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound


February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters


February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise


January 15, 2010
New Frontiers


January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences


December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port


December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady


November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello


November 13, 2009
A Cult Following


October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time


October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye


September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature


August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote


August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay


June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North


June 1, 2009
Northern Migration


May 15, 2009
Priceless


May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye


April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!


April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy


March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound


March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?


February 15, 2009
Slow Motion


February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View


January 15, 2009
High Anxiety


January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands


December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure


December 1, 2008
All Together Now


November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike


October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River


October 16, 2008
Big City Lights


October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins


September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop


September 1, 2008
The Space Ship


August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle


August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!


July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around


July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop

   

New Adventures
By Kismet, Thursday, June 20, 2013

By Jim and Lisa Favors

There is nothing quite as exciting as heading off to explore cruising areas unfamiliar to us. The trip planning, research, boat preparation, and provisioning are all essential parts of the process. When properly followed this process helps to ensure a new boating adventure is just about boating and exploring, not about unexpected surprises such as maintenance issues or scheduling difficulties.

 

To get to the impeller the top pulley and belt had to come off, Mike worked at it from the boat’s cabin and I accessed it from the cockpit.

During Kismet’s six-month hibernation this past winter we laid out plans to head west this summer. The first leg of our journey will bring us to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, on the Green River in southern Wyoming/Northeast Utah. After exploring the mountain canyons by boat for a few days we’ll retrailer Kismet and head further west for this trip’s major launch in Anacortes, Washington. Although we’ve cruised Washington’s Puget Sound and San Juan Islands before, Annacortes will act as our launching point for exploring areas further north up into Canada’s Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and if time permits, as far North as the Broughtons. When we finish our time in the PNW, we’ll head to Portland, Oregon, drop the boat in the water on the Columbia River and wait for our first grandchild to be born. This trip will be a four-month excursion, we want to make sure we get the most out of our travel plans and cruising time by having a schedule and a plan.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about planning every hour of every day in the form of a rigid itinerary. Lisa and I are too free spirited for this kind of structure. I’m referring to the type of planning that we think is necessary to make our cruising experience come off with as few hiccups as possible. The kind of surprises that make you say to yourself, “I sure wish I would have known about this or done this or that before hand,” are the types of surprises we’re trying to avoid. Consequently, since I don’t like flying by the seat of my pants, I spent considerable time during this last winter in the preparation and planning mode. I staged what I thought needed to be accomplished into two categories, boat/trailer prep and destination orientation.

Although I found the impeller to be in good shape we replaced it with a new one.

With our Kismet out of storage and conveniently parked in our driveway, I started my typical pre-season launch list. (In some cases this is a reversal of our end of season storage tasks.) While reinstalling the boat’s battery bank I scuffed up all the cable terminals and applied dielectric grease to each cable end in order to prevent corrosion and provide better connectivity for all the reassembled parts. With the boat powered up I checked to make sure everything electrical was operational. If I were going to have a surprise I’d rather have it in our driveway, not out on the open water.

Hard to believe all this stuff was on Kismet last cruising season, the sad news is that this is only about 60% of everything, but it’s all essential to our livability onboard.

With 250 hours on our engine it was time to replace the impeller, a job I knew needed to be done, but one I was not looking forward to. An engine impeller (used to pull water through a marine engines chambers for cooling) is relatively straightforward to change, if easy to get at. The reason I was not looking forward to changing ours was because of the impellers hard to get at location. My friend Mike and I worked for 2.75 hours laying on our backs or bellies, often in contorted positions, one blinded from the sight of the project and taking visual instructions from other as we dismantled a pulley belt and pulley so we could gain access to the area for the impeller swap.

With impeller changed and buttoned back up, I kept my fingers crossed for good luck and headed out for the launch ramp. My objective was to submerge the boat far enough into the water so I could safely fire up the engine. I wanted to make sure the boat started, along with wanting to inspect the impeller housing to make sure I had no leaks, then I’d know we were good to go for the season. While at the launch ramp I also fired up the generator, tested the air/heat, ran the GPS and radar and made sure I had power to the solar panel. All systems were a go and my pre-season list was getting shorter. I like to do everything possible beforehand to ensure pleasurable and safe cruising; I don’t like surprises out on the open water.

It’s a lot of work to first clean the fiberglass before waxing but the final product makes it all worth it.

On the way home I stopped by a local tire shop (prearranged) to have all of the wheels taken off of the trailer to have them balanced and rotated. We found out that each wheel was out of balance and that one even needed 13 oz. of weight to bring it into balance. I’m not sure if it was just me trying to justify the expensive or not, but the ride home from the tire shop seemed quite a bit smoother, which should translate into longer trailer tire life.

After my other boat chores were finished I proceeded to clean and wax the hull. Lisa says I’m a little anal about this and that I look at the finished result as if it’s a little bit sensual in nature, but who can resist touching a freshly waxed shiny surface? My first step was to clean off the old wax and/or hard water spots by washing the boat with a mixture of white vinegar and dish soap. Next I applied Collinite 920 fiberglass cleaner with an orbital buffer in preparation for a final coat of Collinite 925 Wax, which is applied by hand and taken off by orbital. With a slick, shiny, Bristol finish sitting in front of me, I started to imagine how beautiful Kismet’s shiny red hull will look sitting pretty in the Pacific Northwest.

Here you’ll see one of the rusted caliper slide pins that needed to be cleaned to help keep the brakes functioning properly.

Towing a boat, or anything for that matter, any distance requires proper weight distribution, there are limits that must be adhered to. In light of this, I took everything out of the boat and added it to the pile of things already stored in our basement from last fall, the necessities we typically carry in the bed of the truck during trips. I did this so Lisa and I could sort through it and re-evaluate what was absolutely essential to put back on the boat for our trip west. My strategy was to weed out duplicates (like the three cutting boards I found), and eliminate things not needed such as my oil extracting pump (our engine has fresh oil now). In doing this, our main objective was to pair down the weight carried on the boat and in the bed of the truck. The secondary benefit is that we get a better feel for what we’ll be carrying, why and whether it’s on the boat or in the truck bed.

Wheel bearings are a critical safety factor on a boat trailer. Although we only have 8,000 miles on our trailer I made an appointment to have the wheel bearings inspected and adjusted. While this was being done I also had the technician inspect the brake pads. The brake pads and rotors were in excellent condition and the wheel bearings only needed to be adjusted along with changing the oil in them. The caliper slide pins on each caliper also needed to be cleaned for easier operation. So, with everything in good working order and reassembled our trailer should be trouble free for the entire trip.

After the wheels were taken off to be balanced, I asked the service man to please rotate the tires on the trailer when they went back on.

I felt good about the preparation phase of our trip planning. I felt confident we had minimized chances for unpleasant mechanical surprises both on our cross-country trailering trip and while cruising during our time out west. Finally, turning to my destination orientation category, I began my research during the long, cold Michigan winter; it seemed to help spring arrive sooner. Previously, we’d only read articles about the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming/Utah, so my first project was to acquire a map that covered the waterway and surrounding territory. With map in hand I was able to better ascertain and gather information, such as where launch sites, marinas and waterway campsites were. At the same time I was reading online blogs, websites and, magazines articles about the area.

While doing research I learned that any boat being launched into the Flaming Gorge has to go through a decontamination process. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) does not want any invasive species, such as zebra mussels, getting into the Reservoir. Because of this they provide a free decontamination of a boat’s engines, boat wells, anchor lockers, etc. with 180° water, which is meant to kill any living organism. I found that the DWR has an inspection station at Lucerne Valley Marina, where we’ll launch Kismet, but they don’t inspect on Tuesdays. This was helpful information, by doing a little forward planning I’ll make sure I don’t show up on Tuesday, thereby not being unpleasantly surprised wasting a full day in the process.

Because we’ll be cruising for a little over two months in PNW, once we arrive in Washington, I needed to decide where to launch the boat when we do arrive. My criterion was based on finding a suitable ramp, a place to park our truck and/or store the trailer. I was able to locate everything we needed in Anacortes, Washington. The additional benefit is that Anacortes is also a convenient jumping off point to start our PNW cruise into the San Juan Islands, Canada’s Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound and hopefully destinations further north.

Our trailer has an oil-bath bearing system with sealed bearings, shown here on the backside of the brake rotor assembly.

Passports, charts, and cruising guides, customs, and GPS charting were all on my destination orientation list. I purchased a 2013 Waggoner Cruising Guide (covers Puget Sound to Ketchikan, Alaska) to help me orientate myself with unfamiliar territory. While reading the guide, I highlighted areas of interest, ones we might like to visit, in addition to marking pertinent information on safety concerns or navigation aids. We already owned a Canadian Garmin chip for our chart plotter and the passports are already packed. We sure wouldn’t want to tow our boat 2,200 miles only to find we’d left any of these items at home. When we arrive in Seattle I’ll pick up whatever charts we still need and with that I think we’re good to go and ready to head out for another excellent adventure.