Boat trailers are this morning’s topic as they were yesterday’s obsession.
I am a very “un-handy” person, wreaking damage on myself and my victims whenever I put a tool in my hands, something Cousin Pete finds very funny whenever he witnesses me employing a tool in a wrong-headed manner, e.g. whacking a screw like it was a nail with a wrench like it was a hammer.
Having resolved to be street-legal in the trailer department this year (after years of semi-renegade/scofflaw status with an expired license plate, and a broken light), I renewed my trailer registration so I could trailer the boat around Cape Cod this spring and launch in new and foreign waters for pure exploration purposes. Step one was a plate renewal, step two was lighting (which I accomplished to my great satisfaction yesterday in a world of slush and mud) and step three is getting a professional to replace the wheel bearings so I don’t suffer the ultimate in auto-nautical disasters, the loss of a trailer wheel due to a seized hub bearing.
As we once sang during one trailer wheel loss, to the tune of Kenny Roger’s Lucille:
“You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel …Over the shoulder, and into the field … You picked a fine time to leave me, loose wheel….”
Town Dock, Cotuit
I have seen massive trailer malfunctions on several occasions, typically involving Cotuit Skiffs, which only see a trailer twice a year — once when launched, and again when pulled — hence the trailers tend to be antiques known more for their flat tires and lack of license plates than anything else. One year someone lost a trailer wheel coming up Putnam Ave. near the cemetery with a 40-year old Skiff aboard, and just kept going, dragging the sucker another half-mile as the axle gouged a scar through the pavement which is still there today. When I was a kid the household’s skiff trailer was made out of an old car axle and homemade wooden frame. That lasted until the early 70s when it collapsed from corrosion. In the old days, some people put their boats on a wooden cradle and dragged them, wheel-free, down the street behind the Studebaker.
With visions of poking around the back waters of Barnstable Harbor, Pleasant and Waquoit Bays, and even launching up in Truro in the Pamet River, I am determined to get my trailer in obsessive-compulsive condition, so for once I can drive down Route 6 without a weird feeling in the back of my pants that utter disaster is about to befall me, or a state trooper will notice a registration sticker from the last century and write me up a big ticket.
Of such stuff are weekends in March spent, obsessing about life’s perpetual to-do list before better weather inclines me to be flaky.