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by Jim Porter

Yes, Virginia, there IS a Buddy and some of him resides in all of us. I won't divulge his name or location, in that he might try to pass some of his 'good fortunes off on me in return. Not to upstage your recent hard luck story, I tell you another true one. Buddy and I had a day something like that once. This is an honest-to-gosh real story and it could have ONLY happened to Buddy and me.

We were in a convoy - Buddy in his Motor home with the boat in tow and me following behind in my car and boat. Heading for a big weekend semi-pro tournament at Pamlico Sound, NC, we was. Somehow I wind up in the front. Then, on the CB radio, I hear someone asking another vehicle about something in the ditch. One says it looks like a luggage carrier off a car. Soon, I hear "and it's full of fishin' stuff". Oh, heXX, I though. I speed up and get ahead a way, pull off the shoulder and watch as Buddy goes past looking at me sorta strangely. Yep, you guessed it. His carrier is gone. We went back 20 miles looking for it and calling on the CB. No body home.

Finally, at the lake, Buddy backs down the ramp/ "Drain plug in?", I ask. "Yep', old Buddy replies. Floats the Allison off the trailer, ties it to the dock and heads for the parking lot.

I launch. I head for the parking lot.

30 minutes of parking lot BS later, two guys wanders past talking about the 'sunken bass boat' at the ramp. Yep, you guessed it. Drain plug-less Buddy. All of the boat visible is two feet of the nose in a 45-degree up angle, but still tied to the dock. One gas can, 2 tackle boxes, life jackets and lunch are floating in and around the dock. Tackle boxes sunk before we could get them.

4 guys chest deep in water can move a submerged boat pretty easily, so we put Buddy's trailer back into the water. (Before he gets the motorhome out of the parking lot, though, he runs over my car with his 35-foot 'castle'. So much for that fender.)

WAY into the water, so we can slide the boat up on it underwater. Got in over the trailer and connected to the winch rope. Pull up a little so we can get the boat to touch the trailer some. What? Why not? Over the end of what ramp? Your trailer? Oh, double-heXX.

4 guys can easily lift a submerged boat trailer while the tow vehicle eases forward enough to get the trailer tires back on the ramp. Now, align the boat, ease it out a little. Let in drain some and ease out some more. Drain more, ease out more. Motor home dies. Won't start. People want to use the ramp. Oh, triple-heXX.

Finally get the mess up into the parking lot. Takes 3 hours to dry out and redo the motor, but it does start and run.

Out into the Sound. Up Big Creek. Buddy, remember that big cypress stump in the middle of the creek at that sandbar; it'll be submerged at this high tide. Crunch, scrape, jolt-oh, shXX. Yep, that's the one. I guess its still here. Creek is clear from here on up. Lets get on plane and run the last mile or so.

3 minutes pass and Buddy slows to an idle, starts waving like mad. I turn and go back. He's got 2-3 inches of water in the floor. Drain plug come out? No, checked that. Where's water coming from? Don't know, but the harder I run the more this water starts to bubble around my feet. Bilge pump city. Go to bank. Wade out and run hands under boat hull. Yep, luck is still holding. Only a 20-inch long by 2-inch wide hole in the hull. Running the boat forces the water into the boat through the hole. We is hangin' in there now, you betcha!!

Gotta run to get back. No other ramps in this remote area. Will have to idle and keep bilge on. I'll follow you. 1 hour after dark, we are at the ramp. Some has stolen the motor home and the boat trailer. I have a flat tire where the ripped front fender (with the blue motor home paint on it) gouged a tire.

And, you thought YOU had a bad day. (Of course, the beer was in the motor home.)


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