The Off Ramp
Mille Lacs, Minnesota
I took my wife, daughter and mother-in-law out for a few hours on the water and everything was going just beautifully until we headed back to the boat ramp (my mother-in-law had never been on a boat before so we weren't going to extend our luck). There were two guys at the ramp trying to get their boat off the trailer and not really taking notice of the fact there were two other boats besides us, waiting to get in. Both had their backs to us as they were trying to do something to the winch post, (I was betting the bow eye shackle was jammed into the bow eye). As this went on I could sense the restlessness of one member of our crew so I asked if they wanted to be dropped off at the dock, which was met with immediate agreement. After letting them off, I went back out and circled with the other boat. To my utter horror, I watched my mother-in-law head straight to the boat at the ramp and I could hear that words were being exchanged. Then she leaned into the trailer winch and spent no more than 30 seconds doing something and then walked away. The boat went right into the water, an event that was met with applause from both me and the other boats. As we were pulling out of the park where the boat ramp is located, I had to ask, "What did you say to those guys?"
She paused for a second and said, "I told them they were inconsiderate, that there were people waiting, that I had to get a meatloaf into the oven and that if they don't know how to operate their boat, they shouldn't be wasting my time." We drove home in silence but I'll tell you this, I was smiling all the way.
Feldheimer Ramp Hebb Park, Oregon
My buddy and I were driving with his boat in tow for some fishing on the Willamette River when ...Kaboom!...the right front tire on his truck exploded. After a quick swerve and some braking, we got off the road and took a look at what had happened. He was one of those guys with everything at the ready so after taking a look, he had the spare tire off, the tool box opened and was at work on loosening the lugs on the flat tire. That's when someone stopped just ahead of us and walked over to, I would guess, offer assistance.
"We've got it covered," my buddy said as he loosened the third lug nut.
"I saw your boat and wanted to know if you could tell me about a good fishing spot nearby?" he said.
"Go to Hebb Park," I offered. "Just up the road. You'll see the sign."
"OK, thanks." He started to leave but turned back toward us.
"Did you get a flat tire?"
It reminded me of the story told in the Off Ramp a few years ago about a guy at a filling station who sees a tow vehicle and boat trailer and asks the guy putting gas in the truck if that's his trailer?
"No," my friend said. "I always buy round tires."
I could see him taking in all of this newsflash material. The guy walked back to his truck and drove off. By this time my friend had jacked the truck back down on the spare and as he was putting the tools away, he looked at me and said, "The scary thing is that guy probably votes."
You can minimize your chances of getting a flat tire by taking a few minutes to ensure proper inflation
Winches are designed to load and unload boats, not to hold boats in place on the trailer
Tips and advice for using the proper etiquette at the boat ramp