preparations to the boat

to research information for this trip , I spent a lot of time on the internet, reading of similar trip by others,

see http://bacshortly.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/minnesota-to-new-orleans/ for a similar trip in 2009

see http://livinlif.wordpress.com/black-water-run-2011/ for a 2011 trip.

This provided me with a lot of ideas, possible problems, etc. I also started watching Craig’s list for used pontoon boats, both here in Ohio near me and in Iowa where my brother, Milton, lives. I also researched sources for river charts, marinas, and accumulated a lot of information on the trip area.

In preparation for next summers trip (2013), we found a pontoon boat here in Ohio and purchased a used 24′ pontoon boat with 50 hp motor and a small canoe. these was acquired in early June, and I have spent the past month working on the boat and trailer. Plan to take it to Iowa later this summer.

I replaced all four tires with some tires found under my son’s mobile home. These tires were simply left under the home when it was delivered, the tires/wheels removed and the trailer block up. The tires, although about 12-15 years old, still look like new. They were taken to a tire shop and removed from rims, the rims then cleaned up with an acid bath, and repainted. and the tire put back on. This give us, four almost new tires, plus two spare tires on rims for the road trip to Iowa. the wheel bearings were checked and found bad, so these were also replace with new bearing and seals. Bearing buddys were also purchased and installed. So now I hope the boat/trailer is ready for the 500 mile road trip to Iowa, My brother has found a storage place, an old barn, to keep the boat for the winter

I also have two small outboard motors, a Mercury 10 hp and a Johnson 3 hp, both are mid 1960’s model, but run good. I dug them out of storage and checked them out and got them running. Drained old fuel out, replace with fresh fuel, replaced spark plugs, etc. It didn’t seem like the 10 hp was pumping water at idle speed so I found the impeller part on an internet site for old outboard motors and replaced water pump impeller on the 10 hp. It now pumps water well at idle speed. I also purchased some extra minor parts, ie spare prop nuts, washers, etc. Had to do some internet searching to find the parts for these older motors. Have been unable to find any spare props for the 3 hp, but already had a couple of spares for the 10 hp.

I also acquired two new props for the 50 hp and had the old one rebuilt. As I still had two big brass props for my inboard which I recently sold, I was able to trade these for two new props for the 50 hp as well as having the old prop rebuilt and some extra prop nuts, washers, and thrust washers. I built a second transom on the back of the pontoon boat to hold the 10 hp motor.

I then started acquiring some need items for the trip, hit some garage sales and flea markets and found a used small generator, a outboard fuel tank, a propane stove and lantern, some 5 gal gas and water containers, a 1000 watt inverter, and a small wagon. The wagon will be used for hauling fuel and supplies from stores if such cannot be found at shoreline marinas, etc. also gathered up a number of items I still had from my other boat, ie boat bumpers, ice chests, some heavy canvas for winter covers, several marine radios and antennas, 2 or 3 gps/chartplotter/ depth sounder units, several anchors and lines, life jackets, a 12 volt washdown pump, and numerous other boating items.

I also still had several old shrink wrap winter covers from my 30′ inboard, so I got them out. unfolded, and cut out several large panels to use as side curtain for use in evenings and to sit our summer storms. plan to purchase some clear vinyl for use as clear side curtains. The shrink wrap material is both light in weight but still strong.

I also purchase some lumber, 2×2’s, 2×3’s, and 1×3’s and started cutting some uprights and lateral parts to start the frame for the cabin area on the boat. The boat already has a aluminum canopy over part of the deck, To expand and lengthen his, I purchase some electrical conduit, 1/2″ EMT, and bent this to match the canopy shape. Most of the cabin ideas were taken from the blogs of the above mentioned trips.

One of the problems mentioned by the previous rafters was the splashing over of the waves generated by towboats and other boaters. Thus, they built a front splash guard to reduce this, although, it apparently did not solve it completely. As I hate wet feet, and having similar experience in perch fishing on Lake Erie where we anchor from the stern in 3-5 foot waves, such splash over can leave one pretty wet. I had solved this by building and installing such a splash guard on my inboard, which turned the splash back down rather than let it fly up in the air. and as I wanted to extend the deck forward over the portion of the pontoons that extended forward of the boat platform, as well as well as provide a mounting area in the front for the 3 hp motor. (Note, this 3 hp does not have a neutral or reverse, but does swivel 360 degrees, so to reverse, just swivel it around 180. or 90 to go sideways. ).

So I built a combination deck extension, motor mount, and 45 degree splash guard to mount on the front. and included a gangplank for use on sandbars. Hope it will work, but will have to see.

Finally, I checked the light systems on both boat and trailer, replaced some bulbs and wires, and added a fuse block and several electrical circuits for added electronics and other electrical items.

Next Page:: Where we will travel!!

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tom Haynie
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 00:21:02

    Looks as thought you have your priorities in order – I had a blast over the winter just doodling on the vessel. Have a small container of Cup-hooks available on the trip.

    Reply

  2. lkstan
    Sep 13, 2012 @ 02:01:10

    cup hooks — good idea, never thought of those, do have a number of larger hooks, ie garden tools, etc , also bungie cords, and other items. picked up a porta-pottie and some solar hot water bags this week all used.

    Reply

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