| June 29, 2020

It started off simple enough, just install this Atlas MicroJacker jackplate and move on. Now that the skiff is parked in front of the Airstream, somehow motivation is in high supply. 

Of course I had to spend about a day building my new (from scrap metal) hoist, which was made specifically for my boat motor. Welded and painted for good measure, it performed flawlessly on the little 30HP Mercury outboard. Not to say that it wasn’t touch-and-go a couple of times, but when I use it for the SECOND time, you can bet it will be easier to negotiate next time.

The thing you have to pay attention to when installing one of these jackplates is your original motor position at it’s lowest point. Now I know I may have my own problem because the lowest point – when the jackplate is set to its highest point? It’s still pretty high. With the series of bolt holes, and this unique motor mount (it has a third pressure point that forms a “C” over the top of the transom), I can only go so far down before some serious hacksaw “MODS” begin. So we will see if we can find some “calm” in the next couple of days and take the skiff out for fine trimming.


Not only is there this African dust to deal with – for a few days running – we also have a wind that is almost freakish at 15 minimum and gusts that must reach 30 on occasion. In town, there’s no real direction to those gusts. They just come in, twirl the trees and move on to be followed by more of that 15 sustained. Conditions on the flats are awful. And the water does not help either. We are about a foot high on Ray Roberts, and the dam is shut now that the official statistical rainy season has come to an end – a change from the epic releases the past two months. Apparently, the USACE is holding instead of folding now that the rainy season is over. The whole thing is puzzling.


The last few years since the drought have been just that – a moving puzzle of variables on the flats. Water too high, falling off too fast or way too high for too long. Temperatures are well within the non-puzzle – hot yes, normal yes and below normal sometimes. Crowds are still not a piece of the puzzle, especially since the virus has come along. There are always variables we don’t even know … we don’t know what we don’t know.

So the best we can do is keep trying the pieces we know we need for the puzzle, and hope that we can add some more puzzles that will be solved with the pieces we’ve used to solve in the past. Obviously my explorations – attempts to solve, or at least place a few pieces on different puzzles, were put on hold by my injury at Port O’Connor. 

BUT, that scar is healed now. All I have to do is get my propeller tattoo to go with the prop scar, and that chapter is closed … until somebody asks anyway!

Picking up where we left off may prove to be impossible. With the “wisdom” of our Governor, we are again facing an economic shutdown, and will the parks be shut down again in fear of July 4? Would that even be so bad? On its face, the shutdown of the Texas Parks system for peak holidays seems like a wise thing. Wise means, in our case, it (the closing) probably won’t happen. Again we citizens are stuck with not knowing what we do not know until we know it.

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Category: Body-Mind-Soul, Flats Boats, Life Observed, North Texas, Technical Poling Skiffs

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