Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A query and a raft

On my way to work I had an epiphany.  Don't worry, I was driving slowly.

A few years ago I was exploring somewhere I might not should have been. (this is not uncommon for me) I found a large stash of old, ruined lumber.  I did a little research and discovered who owned it and approached him to see if I could have some.  He said ok.

I got some folks together and we loaded down my car and brought it home.

the pile started off significantly bigger than this

First I nailed a bunch onto the treehouse, finally giving it defensible walls.  Then I decided to build a raft.  I don't know why.  Sometimes I just get ideas.

2 of the 6 sections in progress
All six sections, ready to go

Guinea pig, Jason, trying out 2 of the 6 sections

The only purchase I needed to make was several 4x4s and some wood screws.  Everything else (steel rings and dowels to connect, styrofoam to stuff it with, rope) was either found or donated.

So after a couple of weekends of work, the raft was completed and proven water-worthy.  I decided to take it for an adventure.  I plotted a course.

I've obscured some location details here... I don't know why, it seemed like the thing to do.  But if you're intent on finding this location, it actually shouldn't be hard.

Finally the day came to take the trip!  I had someone drop off my truck at the halfway point.  We planned to stop there... Going all 20 miles on the raft's maiden voyage seemed excessive.

I'm not going to go into detail here about who went or what happened.  A lot of those people may still be trying to forget the entire ordeal.  I will tell you this: 
We brought way too many people.  
We started way too late in the day.
It took 9 hours  to get from Start to Halfway; 4 hours in the daylight, 5 after the sun had set.
I had to convince every person, one at a time, why taking off through the woods is search of salvation was a horrendous idea.  
It was 2 am by the time we arrived at the Halfway point.  
Law enforcement from three surrounding counties had assembled on the bridge to wait for us (assuming we had gone missing) and I was told that in half an hour, they were going to send out helicopters looking for us.

I've apologized to the concerned parties.  It was reckless. But I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.  At times it was scary as crap.  At times it was cold.  But even in those times it was fun and exciting.

The raft has since been used several times on a lake (but it's a monstrosity to try to paddle around on it).  Now it has been disassembled and I used the pieces to build a pen in the backyard for my dog.


The point is, I put a lot of effort into something random and unheard of.  It's not the first time.  And I hope I'm still leaping at crazy ideas when I'm old and decrepit.  Like writing a book.  Very few people make a living as authors.  It's kind of a leap of faith for anyone to devote time and effort toward it!

That said, I have about ten queries floating around in cyberspace right now.  That number should double by the end of the month.  I've gotten two rejections so far.  Luckily, I'm used to things not always going as planned.  For that reason, this is not nearly as nerve wracking for me as I expected it to be.

All I can do is hope for the best and plan for the worst.

Afterall, the worst thing that can happen is they all say "not interested".  It's not like I might get bitten by a venomous snake while lost on the river in the middle of the woods at midnight.


  1. I was the one who could have said "I told you so" in that situation. However, the experience would have been worth the fright, cold, search and rescue. In other words, I am kind of sad that I was on the sidelines for this adventure.

    1. Unless I'm mistaken, you were amongst the party waiting for us at the bridge. Don't feel too sad, there will be more adventures. I don't think they'll involve rafts and the middle of the night though!
      But I can't guarantee they won't. :)

  2. What a cool story, man. I had a very similar experience in which we left too late and did not plan accordingly. I remember being scared we were all going to drown, but we decided to take to the banks and get the H out of there.

    1. In our case the water was too shallow to drown. I think we were more worried about snakes or gars or freezing or stepping on something sharp... or that our destination simply ceased to be and we were somehow going in circles. (after several hours of trudging along in the dark, you start thinking weird)


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