It is the journey – not the destination.
There is a 100 foot difference in elevation between the school and the dock where the road that joins them starts. Maybe 120. The distance to travel from one to the other is 200 to 250 yards. The trek uphill is approximately a 15 to 18 degree slope. The surface of the road is rolling scrabble-gravel and ruts. Bad footing. If one is going to the school, one is invariably carrying something even if it is just heavy weather clothing, lunch and a book or two. And it is often more. Going to school out here is a bit of a workout.
Going to the Quonset hut woodworking shop is a smidge easier topographically. It is about 30 feet lower in elevation than the school. But visitors to the Q-hut are usually carrying much more. Tools, building materials, lunch, fuel for the genset. Going to the Q-hut is every bit as much of a workout. And usually Q-hut visitors are much, much older than school visitors. I always arrive huffing and puffing.
Yesterday Sal and I delivered the new genset to the Q-hut. It weighed only about two hundred pounds, maybe a smidge less. But it was not easy.
I am not complaining. Not really. It is all part and parcel of living out here, isn’t it? Lifting. Carrying. Dragging. Hoping for a passing pick-up truck on an island with only about five of them? It’s what everyone does all the time – throughout the year – with just about anything and everything. This post is really about an ordinary event experienced and repeated daily by just about everyone out here. It’s called work.
The good part of this kind of schlepping? It is likely part of the reason my blood pressure is now 120/60 rather than the 140/100 it was eight years ago.
Anyway, we bought the new Honda EM 5000 in Campbell River and me and two burly mechanics lifted it into the back of the truck and, with it further filled to the brim with groceries and other miscellany, Sally and I drove home. At the end of the day, we were pretty tired. Too tired, in fact, to do the additional genset delivery to the Q-hut. So we left it in the truck and did it the next day.
Sally got her little 11 foot whaler (and two dogs, of course) and nosed up to the cobblestone beach early the next day. I came down from the parking lot and backed the truck right up to the bow of her boat. We put two 2×4’s down from the inside of the truck and slowly lowered the genset to the beach and then, reversing the boards, slowly lifted and pushed the precious load up onto the boat. Sal, Megan, Fiddich and the genset slowly headed out to sea. They were on their way to the community dock a mile or two away.
I drove the truck back up the hill, parked and then got into my own boat and zipped ahead to meet her. When she got to her destination, we used the boards and got the genset out of the boat and over to the dock ramp which, of course, was at a steep angle because the tide was out.
It is always out when you are doing heavy work.
The postmistress came out to lend a hand and the three of us managed to drag/pull/push the generator up the ramp. A friend, knowing of the task before us, had kindly placed his little ATV with a small trailer at the dock for us and we lifted it in. I drove the little Honda ATV with the Honda genset up the hard scrabble hill and we put the genset in the Q-hut.
Cost of genset: $3000. Delivery time: two days. Elapsed time from carpark to Q-hut: about an hour, maybe 90 minutes. Elevation difference (two locations) about two hundred feet. Distance covered (not counting the part done by truck) in total (land and sea) about 2.5 miles.
I really wish we could have used Mastercard. But this kind of thing is priceless.