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Location: DownByTheRiver, Central Iowa, United States

Husband of the world's most wonderful wife, father of the world's four most brilliant children, grandfather to the world's eight most beautiful granddaughters and two handsomest grandsons

Friday, May 18, 2007

Grappling With Destiny

The RRR and Mrs. RRR are in Dallas. Someone loves this city. Perhaps they will comment on this blog. But I didn't start this posting to express my obvious disgust with the Hollywood of the South. First I wish to say that Midkid has had her surgery and came through it stunningly well. The growth removed seems benign, tests are in progress but the pathologist seems 99% certain. My daughter is brave and strong. Her husband is wonderful and supporting. The granddaughters are beautiful, loving, and intelligent. These things are all good.

Meantime I did the last minute shopping for the Big River Trip. I needed an ultralight tarp. So Son In Law and I went to REI, the yuppie equivalent of REI is known for $70 tarps. And there among them was a Chinese import that looked like exactly what I wanted for a whopping $3.50. I bought it on the spot. That left one more thing I needed... a grappling hook. They were originally used by pirates to snag the railings of ships they had caught to pull them together. The old wooden ship navy used them for the same thing. These days SWAT teams have them to toss on the roofs of buildings to ascend the walls. An investigation of Ebay showed the police type for a whopping $20 plus shipping and they were way too small... about 4" across (10 cm.). My Son In Law came up with a brilliant idea.

He purchased a couple pieces of rebar... concrete reinforcing rod a foot long (30 cm.) and 3/8" in diameter (about 10mm). We took them down to the end of his driveway at the apartment and bent them to shape using the the cast iron sewer grate for a vice and the handle of an adjustable wrench for a bending too. Naturally, it took two more trips to the hardware store but eventually with the help of both of our creativity, two 3/8" cable saddle clamps, and a 3/8" 8" long eye bolt, we completed it. Now I have a really for cool grappling hook which is the size I wanted for only about $7.

Now to answer everyone's burning question... what do I need with a grappling hook? It's because I'm floating down the river alone. I don't have a strong partner to hold the boat in one place while I tie off to the bank or stop when a hazard appears suddenly. The grappling hook will go on the end of the bow anchor chain. When I need to stop, I'll toss it into the woods on the bank of the river. It will catch on a limb, branch or tree trunk and I will come to a stop. When the trip is finished, I'll report how well it worked.

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Blogger Shamgar said...

Hi, the RRR angain... reading through his old blogs and found this one. The homemade grappling hook has worked great since this was written... and has save me from going over a dam at least once.

5:43 PM  

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