Late yesterday afternoon, Travalon and I set out in our boat to explore Cherokee Marsh. We were very excited because this time there was a clear path cut through the lily pads, and when we came to a second row, there was another clear path, so we got through to the island with no problems. We went a little beyond the island and were planning to turn around soon when the motor conked out completely. Travalon tried and tried to get it to restart, but nothing worked. I said, “We’re just going to have to paddle,” so we each grabbed an oar and started paddling back downstream, but the wind was blowing against us much harder than the current was carrying us, and we didn’t make much progress.
Just then we saw a boat we had passed earlier coming back toward us. It was marked “Limnology” but the graduate student driving it said he was actually from Civil and Environmental Engineering, and they were just borrowing the boat from Limnology. The boat was full of baby reed plants that he and another graduate student were planting in the marsh. We asked if he knew anything about boat motors, and he did not, other than how to start the motor on the Limnology boat. However, he did tow us back most of the way home, and we chatted amiably and found out he had lived in Oconomowoc for a couple of years, so we knew a lot of the same places. We promised to make a donation in his honor to the Civil and Environmental Engineering department to make up for the time and gas wasted on our rescue, then we tried our motor again but it still refused to start, so we paddled the rest of the way home. At that point we weren’t too far away, but it was still a good half-hour of paddling, which should make up for my skipping UGGH Club tonight for Rodney’s Sweet Sixteenth birthday party. (Rich, my arms do feel like they’re going to fall off.)
This morning I found it was ridiculously easy to donate to Civil and Environmental Engineering, and they even had a space to comment on your donation. It’s like they expect grateful boaters to be thanking their grad students on a regular basis.