Don't Do This!

Picture retouched with GIMP (for linux)

Glub, Glub...

This picture shows the misadventures of Ramon, right smack in the middle of the Sinuk River, Alaska. About 25 miles northwest of Nome, and nowhere near any roads or trails. The machine is a 200 cc Honda 2-wheel drive ATV 1984 model. The river was too deep; the machine floated off the bottom and turned turtle, then drifted downstream until it touched bottom.

Way this started.... well, the rest of the gang was camping and having lunch, or at least something to eat. Myself and the dog skipper went looking for a place to cross the Sinuk river. Mike Hahn said that it was impossible. Well, like the saying goes, 'the difficult takes a while and the impossible a little longer.' So off I go. Getting to the riverbank, it looked pretty grim, what with the swift river raising rapids and swirls. So I cruised the riverbank a bit and found this spot that looked promising. What was needed was to go to mid stream, then upstream against the current following an underwater gravel bar, then turn north again to finish the crossing.

So, I left Skipper on the bank, and here I go charging into the river. All went fairly well until I faced the current. The machine just died because something in the engine got wet. I figured maybe I could jump off and drag it to the other side. I took my shoes, socks and pants off and jumped in the water. It was like a jolt of electricity! It was so cold, and the gravel was so sharp on my feet! So, I got on the machine. Wet. And now the mosquitoes were feasting on me. Man, i sure needed those clothes! But, alas, I wanted to wait until my body dried up so I would not have damp clothes.

Meantime, Skipper is barking his life away, and I am perched semi naked on top of the machine swatting mosquitoes. I yell at Skipper to go get help. He finally got the idea and off he goes in search of Margaret and the rest of the crew. Which he brought down to the river where they all had fun watching me wearing nothing but BVD's and swatting mosquitoes.

Well, at this point I got dressed. Mike, who has a big machine simply drove up to me and around me the way I had envisioned. But he had no rope. Next was Carl and Effie, who made it across with little trouble. Only Ramon was stuck! So I am jumping up and down and shouting to throw me the rope. Carl walks opposite me on the far riverbank and passes me a rope and after I fasten it to my machine starts pulling and towing.

Alas, I had not gone upstream enough, so the machine goes into the deep water and turns turtle, pinning me under the machine. There I am, in four feet of water with a machine on top of me. Lucky, it drifted off and I came up for air! But now I was truly soaked. Carl....he is impervious to hardship...just walked and waded over and helped get the machine righted and towed ashore.

In the picture, Carl Rock, my wife's nephew, is assisting me in turning it back upright prior to towing it out of the river. Once we did that, we had to drain the water from the engine, the carburator and make sure the engine ran properly. It was a wet experience, but on that particular day the temperature was in the 70's, so it was not that bad. Later on, we all laughed about it. In fact, although it does not show well on this internet picture, Carl is grinning like a Cheshire Cat. Wait 'til I get even with him!

Copyright 1999 Ramon Gandia. All rights reserved.