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..--- Priest Lake to Canadian Border Crossing ---
.......................--- Wednesday July 22, 2009 ---
Night's Anchorage: In the Trailer at Border Crossing into Canada.
( N. ??o ??.???' -- W. ???.o ??.???')
Sailed about 0 miles -- motored about 0 miles
We were up early on this day and motored over about 1 mile to the boat ramp around 7:30 a.m.. We tied to the dock and I hiked up to the parking area by the park entrance and retrieved the Suburban and was glad to find the battery up and it started right up.
Back at the ramp with the Suburban and trailer and backed into the water the Mac was easily loaded onto the trailer with no problems. We pulled up....
.....to the staging area and took the mast down and loaded the dingy outboard, dingy and anchors with their rodes into the Suburban. Before lowering the mast I tried the turnbuckle that Blue Water Yachts had sent as a replacement for the one we lost half of on the trip up. Well it was shorter than what we had before and wouldn't work without still using some of the life line pieces from the front of the lifelines that had the adjustment holes in them. We weren't real happy about this, but there wasn't much we could do and at least now we could adjust the tension easier that with what I had made up. I'm not sure what else we did, but it was about 4 hours later around 2 that we finally left.
We drove down to Cavanaugh Bay Resort for one last meal of pulled pork in the form of BBQ sandwiches. Right across the road from the resort is the grass strip where we saw a number of planes land when we were anchored overnight in the bay there a few days earlier.
From there it was back into SandPoint, ID where we stopped and got some lumber so I could raise the bunks on the trailer later in Canada and I'll talk about that a few more days into the trip report. We also visited a Laundromat and went to Walmart for food and other items and Home Depot for a hand saw to cut the lumber. It was also very hot there in the high 90's.
We finally got out of Sandpoint late about sundown and started north towards the Canadian/US border. The ride was beautiful in the closing light of the day and we stopped in Bonner's Ferry for a burger and shake. We arrived at Porthill where the border crossing is at 10:30 and the border closed at 11 p.m.. We decided to go across when it opened at 7 a.m. in the morning, but didn't really have a place to stay as there is no real town at Porthill, just a few homes. We drove up a side street and found a Post Office there with a gravel parking lot and some homes a couple hundred yards away. We pulled over to the side and as far from the Post Office as we could on a side hill and called it a day.
It was still very hot and 11 p.m. by now and we didn't want to attract too much attention, so didn't put the pop-top up. We had the hatch that has mosquito netting above the V-Berth open, but there was no cross ventilation and about 6-8 mosquitoes had made there way into the boat when we did and we spent some time trying to hunt all of them down, but didn't succeed. We finally fell asleep wondering how many times we would be bitten during the night or if someone would come by and tell us we couldn't park there.
..................--- First Night on Kootenay Lake ---
...........................--- Thursday July 23, 2009 ---
Night's Anchorage -- West Arm of Kootenay Lake about mile 14 on lake arm
( N. 49o 36.727' -- W. 117o 05.869')
Sailed about 0 miles -- motored about 1/2 mile
We were up at 6 a.m. and drove the 1/4 mile to the border crossing and were 1st in line to go across when they opened the gate. When the border guards opened up their station we went inside to see what we could expect when coming back across even though we would re-cross further west back down into Washington. You will have to wait until then to see how that went, but we are back in the states as I post this.
On the Canadian side the border patrol there looked at the packed Suburban from his window and at the sailboat and asked a few questions, but didn't look like he really wanted to look at all of our junk and told us to go on.
The drive north into Canada was beautiful and we were in a wide glaciated valley headed towards the south shore of the main part of Kootenay Lake that ran north for about 100 miles. We had a choice of going up the east side of the lake and then taking a ferry to the west side and on to the West Arm of Kootenay which was our destination or going west and then north to Nelson, B.C. which is the route we took, but maybe never again.
So we headed west and began to ascend a long and high mountain.....
...... pass. The scenery was spectacular with....
... snow fields near the road. The problem with this route is what goes up must go down. The Chevy Vortec V-8 handled the going up, but the going down wasn't so good.
At the summit we were faced with a great view, but also over 8 miles of over 8% downhill grade ahead of us (see the arrows pointing to our highway far below us). This was a continuous grade down and I worried about the brakes as the trailer has none (this will be rectified over the winter when we add a second axle). I tried to keep our speed under 40 as I didn't want to have things get out of hand. This was quite a lot of braking, so I decided to shift the 4 speed automatic into 2nd and engine brake. Well after a few miles of this we could smell something that was hot and it wasn't the brakes as I was hardly using them. We pulled off at a turnout and could then identify the smell as transmission fluid. Evidently the transmission was working very hard and had started to heat up. I didn't know if I'd done any permanent damage to the transmission clutches or not, but put it in third and ran the rest of the way to the bottom using the brakes.
We arrived in Nelson an hour or so later after one more smaller pass on the way. We were going to eat lunch in the downtown touristy area, but the streets were very narrow and we couldn't find a place to park. I dropped Ruth at a bank to exchange some of our dollars for Canadian ones and started circling the block getting stares of "what are you doing hauling that boat up and down the business district". She came out and we escaped the business district.
I was still worried about the transmission as we could still smell the fluid and stopped at a couple business and asked if there was a transmission shop that could do a flush on the fluid. We were finally directed to a small shop that was also on the way to the park where we wanted to launch from. The old guy, probably my age, didn't want to look at the transmission till the next day. I was parked in a motel a few hundred feet away as I couldn't get into his small lot. Finally he agreed to take a look and moved one of his vehicles so we could pull into his place. He looked at and smelled the fluid on the dip stick and felt we didn't need to change the fluid until we got home and that the transmission was probably all right. That was a relief, but I still wouldn't feel good until we were back in Utah and that was about 1400 miles away at this point.
We drove on down the road on the north side of the West Arm of Kootenay that headed east about 10 miles to where we turned off into Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. We pulled down near the ramp after finding out there was no ramp fees or fees to leave the Suburban/trailer parked for as long as we wanted, although they do give you some paperwork to put on the dash so they know what is going on. We started unloading the Suburban and getting ready to step the mast when we were hit with a rain storm. I unhooked from the trailer and left Ruth with the trailer and the Mac and went to a nearby store/marina down the road a little ways and bought ice and got 4 gallons of water from a faucet in the park.
On returning the rain stopped and we finished with the boat prep and moved closer to the ramp and inflated the Zodiac. After getting the dingy down by the water I backed the boat down the ramp and into very shallow water.
(this picture was taken on a different day than the day we launched)
The ramp was pretty steep, but then flattened out as it entered the water. The shallow water was not good and also now the wind was really blowing into the dock at a slight angle.
The Mac floated free at the stern and was about 3/4 off the trailer when it got stuck. I had the centerboard lowered about 6 inches on the up-haul line in the cabin and evidently the centerboard was down enough to dig into the bottom. Using the winch on the trailer I was able to pull the boat forward enough to pull the centerboard up tight inside of its pocket in the bottom of the boat.
The wind was increasing and trying to blow the boat off the dock and into the shore. The dock was short and the way it was built you could only use the one side by the ramp. We got the boat pulled off the trailer and against the dock and while Ruth watched it I parked the Suburban and trailer.
Now the question was how to get out into the lake. Usually I push the boat off with Ruth on the outboard, but that wasn't a good option this time in the very shallow water with no room for error. We took the fore and aft dock lines and ran them through the eyes of the two dock cleats we were using and took the ends back aboard for Ruth to hold so that we would stay tight on the dock as I ran the outboard in reverse and tried to back us out into the wind and waves. This worked pretty well with her letting the lines slip through the cleat eyes as we backed out. The only problem was we forgot to bring those lines back aboard and they were now in the water as the boat backed out into the lake. About 50 feet out the stern line found the outboard prop and wrapped around the prop and stopped the outboard. The wind started to drive us back in towards the dock and the shallow water. The main sail was up and luffing, but it was going to be tricky sailing out of this due to the very shallow water and the fact the centerboard was still up and we would have to tack into the wind immediately with no headway at this point.
I tried to free the prop but couldn't with it down in the water. I tilted the outboard up and got out on the swim ladder and reached over and untwisted the brand new 1/2 inch dock line we had bought the day before. With the prop free I lowered the outboard back in the water and luckily it started right up and we motored out into the lake away from the dock and shallows.
Clouds were rolling in, the wind was increasing and we were in unfamiliar waters. We spotted what appeared to be a small somewhat sheltered area on the north side of the lake about 1/3 to 1/2 mile away and headed towards it on the motor. We made one pass into the stiller water close to shore with the outboard to see how deep it was on the depth finder and to look things over. On the second pass I dropped the 22 lb. Bruce in about 9 feet of water and let out about 60 feet of rode with 30 of it being chain. The boat stopped and started swinging on the anchor in the wind.
We were somewhat more sheltered by the wind here, but it was by no means calm and lightning strikes were getting more frequent from the worsening weather and were becoming a concern. I got in the dingy and took the stern line ashore in the now falling rain. Once on shore I pulled the stern of the Mac to within 30-40 feet of shore and tied her off to a tree. No trip line this time as things were happening to fast.
The lightning intensified and I became more concerned for Ruth's safety on the boat. I've been in bad lightning storms in the mountains with strikes very close at hand and they are not fun and this was Ruth's first experience in a situation like this, but she was taking it well. I decided we might be safer on shore, so I returned to the boat in the rain and picked Ruth up and returned to shore with her. On the side of the shore a few feet from the water was a combination of car size boulders and trees and the ground rose sharply up a hill towards the highway that bordered the lake. We felt we were better protected there from the lightning than out on the water with the mast sticking 30 something feet up in the air. It might of been a false security, but at least we felt better.
We sat back in the rocks and were somewhat sheltered from the rain and had rain gear on although Ruth's was one of those cheap plastic ponchos. The rain and lightning let up once, but about the time we got to the Zodiac it intensified again and we retreated back to the rocks. I then remembered the vent was open on the outboard gas tank and started to worry about getting water into the tank. I took the dingy and returned to the Mac to close the vent. While I was there an elderly man picked his way down to the beach to Ruth. He owned the house and a cottage next to it that was about 500 feet around the side of the small bay we had anchored in. He offered us the use of the cottage for the night to get out of the weather and we talked for a bit until he returned home in the rain.
We really feel the Kera Jane is home and didn't want to abandon her so we decided to not take him up on his very generous and warm offer and returned to the boat wet and cold as the lightning strikes moved further from us. It was late by now so we dried with towels, grabbed a quick snack and hit the bed after a long day.
During the night there was a period where there was more lightning and thunder off in the distance and the wind changed direction which brought some waves into the bay, but as always the mighty Bruce and 30 feet of chain and the rest of the line held steady and the Mac stayed in place for another night.
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