Last Night on the Water – 8/9/16

First of All –

  • First rebuild of trailer lights on the trip
  • First time towing an empty trailer

Namely Speaking-

  • Grand Rapids
  • Muskegon
  • Big Rapids

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Truck: 240
  • Total Truck Miles Driven to date: 2,691
  • Hours Underway: 5
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: NA
  • Wind Speed: light; Wind Direction:
  • Daily High Temperature: 85
  • Water Temperature: NA

DSCF6131Our friend fixes us a great breakfast, and I’m hoping I can quickly get the lights working, so we have time to drive back north and get the boat pulled yet today. Balky trailer lights stand stubbornly in the way of this great plan. When I check, I have a left turn signal, but nothing else. I go to work, cleaning up the posts on the trailer/truck plug fitting, but no joy. I then start testing wires. I have power to the truck outlet, I have power to the flat plug fitting on the trailer, but nothing further aft. I remove the right trailer light unit off, looking for a wire to test back there. I don’t find what I’m looking for, but I do find a great big, swarming ants’ nest. They’ve invaded inside the light housing and they’re not happy. I dump them out as best I can, but this just results in ants all over the grass where I’m trying to kneel. Ant bites reward my efforts from this point forward. Bad ground is the suspect. I disconnect the ground connection bolts, grind down to bright bare metal, and start poking holes in various wires with the sharp end of my test light. I get confusing, mixed, and inconsistent results. I get frustrated in trying to get a good ground, and run down to the local auto parts store where I buy a length of trailer wire. If I can’t get aDSCF6132 ground through the trailer frame, I’ll splice onto the ground wire up at the hitch and run a continuous ground wire back to the right trailer light. Before going to that extreme I give the ground bolts one more try, and this time I get a circuit back at the right turn signal. However, when I try to light up the tail light fixture, no light. I’ve got power there, but the light won’t work. The unit is sealed, so I am at a loss. Perhaps the ants somehow have messed it up. Back to the parts store I go, to buy a new light fixture. They don’t have the rectangular style I have on the boat, so I settle for a round unit. Back at the boat, the ground is no longer good, so I clean up the connections and tighten bolts once more. Finally, I have ground and power and a working turn signal, tail lights, and brake lights. Amazing what a good ground connection can do. Only problem is that it is now past noon, and plans for the day are seriously compromised.

Sandy gets into the rental car and I take the truck’s wheel. We say a final goodbye to our friends, and head off to the Muskegon Regional Airport, where we drop off the rental car and grab a late lunch. Finally, around 2pm we hit the highway, heading north and with empty trailer in tow. It’s a solid 4 hour drive back to Mackinaw City, and we’re tired and hungry when we get there. We have dinner at an Irish Pub, realizing that there’s no way we’ll get the boat onto it’s trailer this evening. We’ll spend one more night afloat in the boat, and use the remaining 2 hours of twilight to begin taking the boat apart and hauling gear out of her and loading into the truck. It’s tiring work, but by 10 pm we have the boat stripped down to bare mast, and all the heavy stuff (bicycles, gas cans, tubs of charts, dinghy, boom, etc., etc., etc., stowed in the truck. Time to turn in.

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