James Herman Buehner

My photo
Lubec, Maine
Jimmy likes compost and maritime history. Building stuff improves his humor and and he has found that dirt on his knees encourages the lettuce and garlic growing in his garden. Peanut butter and garlic toast and strong French Roast revive his spirits most mornings.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

In the Operating Room

Wandah - poor baby - is on the Clear Creek repair apron. The stench of burned rubber and piss permeate dear old Wandah. Renee needs gentle coaxing especially when dealing with stuff like the savage attack on the silverware drawer. The expression on her face tells it all.  Some corrections are in order from our previous post.  

The trailer brakes are electric and the wires are all intact.  The leaking brake fluid was in fact water dripping from the spangled water lines snarled in the axle.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clear Creek At Last

 Gothenburg, our Pony Implode Station.We limped to North Platte for a tire and wheel.

 Our furrow at the Gothenburg exit.
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October 27

We decided on an early start in the morning to make Buffalo before dark. From our campsite at the edge of  the Missouri River at Nebraska City, we tumbled into the black at 3:30 AM and headed north on State Highway 72. Hours into the interstate darkness and as we were nearing Gothenburg, the site of an historic Pony Express station, I had been thinking the morning sun would never catch us. As  dawn was appearing in the mirror, we shuddered on a whoosh of wind, the bow wave of a semi we were passing at seventy miles an hour.

Suddenly, the Duramax shifted into third and in the dragging confusion of air I canceled the cruise and we fell back. Sliding into the travel lane I blinked as I thought I saw snowflakes scurrying behind in Wandah’s wake.  I saw sparks and knew the rim was quickly losing circumference. Again, like in California last year, I had destroyed our port tire. This time,  perhaps because of the shockwave of wind, it didn't take a passing motorist to point first to a smoking tire and then to their eyes. The wheel, grinding smaller on the pavement, cut a furrow in the soft roadside grass at the exit.  Renee clawed  away the turf to place first one jack then another under the frame. We removed the chewed rim, which revealed the full extent of the damage to the head interior and frame. The exploding tire had stormed its way into Wandah’s vitals.  Looking up into a gaping hole,  I could see the toilet shrouded in blackened rubber dust. Just below at the axle the 30 amp electrical wire looked like lobster gear warped around a propellor shaft. With patient cutting Renee pried away the cable with a screwdriver. Wandah’s brake lines were dripping fluid. We still had truck brakes, of course, but could we go on without any lights for Wandah?

Renee was in despair. I cleared away the splintered wood and sharp sheet metal and bolted on the spare. We agreed to limp into the Gothenburg Pony Express station for a fresh horse and as Renee started the engine, I suggested we try the blinker.  I was beside myself with joy. She works, they work. A miracle.  Not minutes before,  Renee was ready to abandon ship. With blinkers and running lights, Wandah, wounded as she was, could thrash on into the notoriously vicious head and cross winds and the bowels of Wyoming. With renewed Hope I could look forward to parking Wandah in the shadow of Ned’s  Redwoods as we resurrected a new hillside hideaway.  We could, with a new wheel and spare, press on to the soothing sounds of Clear Creek and the magnificent Big Horns in our backyard.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On The Road With Wandah

It is Fall and Renee and I are traveling again from Colsons Boat Shop in Lubec, Maine to Buffalo, Wyoming and the cabin on Clear Creek at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains. Our Cape Dory 36 has been in Steve Newman's shop for over a year getting her hull, deck and topsides painted with Awlgrip.  Sailing will be in the picture next summer for sure.  Each year we never know what's going to happen next.  These past two winters I've always boasted I was going to be a ski lift operator at Jackson Hole.  Last year Renee bought Wandah, a sixteen foot travel trailer that took us to Florida, Texas, Arizona and California where we fell in love with the Redwoods in Jedidiah Smith State Park. As it turns out the lift operator thing may not pan out again this winter since my old friend Ned, who happens to live among some redwoods along the Albion River near Cape Mendocino, tore down his house except for his kitchen.  He then sent out an SOS for a skilled and happy carpenter, a known quantity.  So, it looks like Renee will hold down the fort on Clear Creek.  But she'll be busy making tons of her famous kelp  soap that tore off the shelves of the McCurdy Smokehouse's Muholland Market last summer. We'll save our legs for great powder skiing at Jackson Hole in the Spring.