Moody Blue (a 1973 Glastron Vagabond Camper) is the unofficial family boat, or was. My grandpa (god rest his soul) was a hardened Great Depression Survivor/WW2 veteran who had a huge heart and got mushy easily, as most of the males in my family do.
He bought this cabin cruiser in the 70’s and everyone enjoyed it. At one point in time my Dad became its steward until one fateful day.
Incidentally, this day holds the only memories I can recall of the boat from my childhood; feeling the spray from the bow seats as you fly over the water, visiting a quaint island for a picnic, oh, and breaking down.
About 17 years later (no I haven’t done the math or anything) it was entwined with blackberries when my Grandpa decided to give it to me. This was quite a surprise for not only me, but for all the others who had tried to purchase it from him in the past. Apparently, my wife (at the time) had said something to prompt this. Needless to say, I was thrilled to have the privilege of restoring it to the glory it once had known.
I immediately planned a trip to rescue Moody Blue. It was a quick turnaround trip, without any kids. I prearranged an appointment with Les Schwab on Saturday. The hope was that we could air up the tires, pull it out and (with enough fix-a-flat) make it 10 miles to the nearest “Schwabies” where all our worries could be solved before our 400 mile journey home.
The cracked tires were flat and the entire trailer was up to its axles in the soft soil. After applying air, I was able to pull it out of the blackberries with my ‘99 Chevy Tahoe. We were running behind schedule, the tires seemed to be holding, so we took off to Les Schwab on back roads, as we had no trailer lights or breaks.
The looks we received pulling in were a mix between amazement and disgust. “Did you pull that out of a lake?” were one of many comments received that day. We were 10 minutes late for our appointment, and they flat-out REFUSED to take a look at it. (This is unusual for Les Schwab whom pride themselves on customer service.) They did call their Albany office, who said they could fit us in. That is, if we could make it.
After getting the tires topped off, we headed on our way. The Albany guys fixed us up with 4 new tires & wheels, replaced all the bearings they had parts for and repacked the others. The brakes were a lost cause as the pads had been removed after they seized. My brother and I worked for hours, side-by-side with the “Schwabies” to get it wired for the trip. When it was finished, we headed home…
Now, I was a bit nervous towing a 4,500 pound, 21 foot long boat behind my Tahoe for 400 miles. It filled the ENTIRE lane with only inches to spare on either side, and I could barely see past it in my side mirrors. The 2 interstates and state highways didn’t bother me much. I’d drive slow, and others would drive around. (It turns out at 55 mph, my new boat wanted to fly, picking up the trailer and bobbing all over the lane.) I was most concerned, however with “The Pass.”
You see, we would have to traverse Meachum/CabbageHill, which any Trucker will warn you about. This thing has like 4 emergency sand-pit off-ramps for big-rigs. I have no trailer brakes, and the boat weighs more than my vehicle. In retrospect, it wasn’t one of my brighter moments, but I geared down and took it easy on the brakes.
We made it home late and parked it. The following day, we breathed new life into it by gutting the 1973 shag carpet in the cabin, and giving it a much-needed bath.