Another Day, Another Boat 1

….or Building The Tenderly Dinghy, Episode 1

Rosie and me.

Some fellers accumulate guitars, others vintage cars, books, or salt and pepper shakers. I accumulate boats. If you were to ask me today why I think I need to build another boat, I’m not sure what my answer would be. Because I can? Because my brother got another one? (Which happens to be my old Westerly Centaur, but that’s another story for another day) Because I miss having a sail? Lance might say “It’s not a sailboat you need my dear, it’s a boat sale.” And he’s right so I will part with a perfectly good kayak so that I can squeeze yet another vessel into my fleet. It’s the only boat I own (excluding rubber boats) that I haven’t named so I’m not overly attached to that one, and hopefully Paddle Song is bound for a museum where she can live out her golden years. And in the boat nursery now: a partially completed Tenderly Dinghy.

The Tenderly Dinghy is one of Chesapeake Light Craft‘s latest kit offerings. She’s as cute as a button and can be rowed, sailed or motored. You can find the kit in their catalogue. This year they also offered a “Build your own Tenderly Dinghy” class at the Wooden Boat School in Maine. Win-win I said when I signed up. I have already built one of their stitch and glue boats, which you can read about in my fall 2014 and spring 2015 posts. You’d think I would have had enough of that for a lifetime given the time, effort, clamps, and shenanigans it took.  The chance to build in the same style but with benefit of skilled instruction was irresistible and the rest, as they say, (sorry, so cliché) is history. Maybe not so much history as a work in progress. Today’s blog entry is about getting there.

I’m not a real confident driver on unfamiliar roads. I’d rather sail to Ireland than find my way around in a strange city but the call of the Wooden Boat School was so seductive that I packed up my tools (as per provided list), hooked up my empty boat trailer, and set out for coastal parts unknown to me, namely Brooklin, Maine.

Afraid that I might lose the trailer and not even notice, I made a contraption so that I could see it in the rear-view mirror. It involved three driveway markers, a dollar store bouncy ball, and a few yards of duct tape. Looking a bit like a transponder for the school of silly, it quickly drew the attention of the official at the international border crossing but it was more out of curiosity than suspicion and when he learned I was on my way to build a boat he wished me well and waved me through. A couple of tire revolutions and I was in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

I don’t drive at night so I stayed at a roadside motel which was built back in the days of the great American Road trip. It hasn’t changed a whole lot from when it was built in 1955

Back in its heyday.

but for the addition of a lot more units. It still has the amenities it advertised on its original postcard: fireproof rooms, radiant heat, and ceramic tile showers but the terrazzo floors, if they are still there, are covered in wall to wall carpet, industrial grade. What’s a terrazzo floor Mommy?

Aah, don’t you just love vintage. Especially vintage wallboard.

The International Hotel didn’t have a dining room so I nipped next door to the local diner for supper. The long drive must have contributed to my momentarily taking leave of my senses for this is what I ordered. It was the daily special of pot roast with sides but I gave it another name.

The heart attack platter.

Oh me arteries. If that wasn’t enough punishment I went back for breakfast. The omelette was so large and grease laden that I could only eat a third. The rest traveled on with me. The road trip was uneventful for the most part. I was a little concerned when a fleet of bikers pulled into the motel parking lot but then relieved when I saw that they favoured the riverside suites, not close to me. At breakfast I discovered that they were not the kind of bikers that Hunter S Thompson wrote about but were a group of middle-aged couples with Harleys “doing the four corners of the state.”

The only other travel event, more awkward than nerve-wracking, was when I tried to buy gas in Ellesworth where I pulled up to the pumps and raced for the washroom. I tried three doors before I found one that opened and people looked at me kind of funny when I slithered in the out door while someone was exiting. People, entry doors should be on the front of a building! They looked at me funny again when I walked up to the pump and, like you would, inserted my card. The screen stayed black. I tried another card. Another pump. “They don’t work!”  I exclaimed. People at other pumps, ones that worked, shrugged. “It won’t work for me!” I said in a panic and a good Samaritan came over, looked at the pump, looked at me, gave his buddy a “this one’s totally kookoo” look and said “Try taking off your sunglasses.” Sheesh. Polarized lenses and video screens do not a good mix make. I won’t get into how it still didn’t work so I paid inside and pre-paid too much and on and on it went and I made five trips into that building, finding the proper door on the third. Pretty tame in the scheme of travel adventures, wouldn’t you say? All gassed up and a little frazzled, I soon arrived intact at my destination:


Here I would spend the next six days. More on those later. My accommodations, which were included in the tuition, were a bed and breakfast which was a heck of a lot older than the International Motel but outdid them in amenities.

And so it began. Stay tuned for my first day at boat school.

© Judy Parsons 2018

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