Well, my friends, I'm happy to report that we made it safely across the desert.
Take my advice:
Never drive to Vegas on four and a half hours of sleep.
I ended up drinking so much coffee that I discovered all the bathroom stops along the way.
So yesterday, after our trek across the wasteland, I dropped the family off at the hotel and made my way out to the launch ramp at Lake Las Vegas.
Once at the ramp, I removed everything from the trailer (which ammounted to four jackstands, a table, an old ice chest, and a big dockbox full of paints and supplies) - all of which had been lashed, tie-strapped and duct taped down. Because I am known to travel at speeds well above the posted limits, my gondolier in Newport, Steve Elkins, took his duct taping job seriously (Steve has had the misfortune of driving with me a time or two).
Fortunately we had no problems with things trying to rattle off the trailer and get run over by semi-trucks, but it wasn't easy gettin' it all off once I was there.
After the trailer was empty, I hauled the first gondola out.
My Manager in Lake Las Vegas, Sarah Longson, had left the boat at the ramp earlier in the day.
Everything went as planned, until I attempted to remove the trailer from the ball-hitch on the back of my truck.
It didn't want to come loose.
I tried all kinds of colorful language and that didn't help.
After some fighting with the above mentioned hardware, my wish came true: the tongue of the trailer released from the ball and the whole thing began to rise...
at an alarming rate of speed.
Yes,I had hauled out with the gondola too far back and the trailer was in the act of "popping a wheelie"!
By the grace of God, I had the sense to jump on it and prevent the truly horrible things that would have followed had the wheelie come to completion.
at least temporarily.
I was alone in the desert, middle of nowhere.
I had enough weight to hold the tongue down, but not quite enough to get it back on the ball.
I cursed myself for having recently lost some weight.
While weighing down the front of the trailer, I opened the back of my SUV and searched for something heavy, no dice.
I tried hooking the catch-chains from the trailer but they were too long.
finally, I found a smaller cable coming off the trailer tongue which had a hook on it. It was the perfect length.
"Thank God I paid extra for trailer brakes" I said to myself, because that cable was attached to the emergency braking system.
Once the wheelie-prone trailer tongue was secure, I ran and got two jackstands, and propped up the stern of the gondola.
I can't remember the last time I moved that fast.
Just as I was tightenning up the last stand, a security guard drove by.
Five minutes earlier and he would have been able to help me.
Of course, five minutes earlier and he probably would have fallen in the dirt laughing at me.
Ah yes my friends, this is what I call one of those "remember me this way" moments.