My Most Expensive and Most Dangerous Photo Ever

Pedestrian ho-hum shot, eh?  I agree.

Why so expensive?  I’ll tell you.

Last September, my husband and I bought a Perception Pescador Pilot 12 pedal kayak on the spur-of-the-moment.  We liked it and knew we would both want to be out on the water at the same time, at times, so we ordered another.  The second arrived after the season for kayaking had ended.  It spent the winter in our back yard.  It finally made it out on the water a couple weeks ago on a day on which my husband and I both had the day off and we could go together, in our pickup truck, transporting the kayaks on a roof rack.

All well, and good..  But, you see, my husband and the pickup he drives are away from home 5 day per week.  I drive a Jeep Wrangler.  The roof on a Jeep Wrangler is great.  It’s easily removable – and light enough to remove and replace with just two people.  What it isn’t is capable of bearing the weight of that kayak.  So, last week, we bought a trailer so I can tow the kayak and thus be able to use it while my husband is away.

Being thus “in business,” on Wednesday, June 13, I hitched up the trailer with the kayak and headed to the Mission Dam, on a mission to photograph common loons.  Well, I achieved some ho-hum shots – nothing special.  But here’s what it cost:

Upon arriving at Mission Dam, I discovered that the “Pilot drive” – that is the pedal propeller apparatus – had apparently bounced/fallen off the trailer.  Yup, I fully acknowledge that this loss is entirely my fault and I’ve been beating myself bloody over it.

This is a stock product image, but illustrates what the apparatus looks like, except mine has an orange propeller.

I went out on the water Wednesday night anyway, using a paddle, but didn’t stay long, wanting to re-trace my route, hoping to find that Pilot drive.  But I stayed long enough to get totally common photos of a not-so-common-as-the-name-suggests common loon.

Now, since then, I’ve pulled out all the stops, cast a wide net and taken every long shot (and mixed every metaphor) trying to recover this equipment.

I’ve contacted a construction company that was working on the highway along my route.  I’ve contacted the road maintenance departments of the two counties I traveled in.  I’ve posted on my Facebook profile.  I’ve posted in classified ads.

So now you might be wondering where the “dangerous” part comes in.  Well, of course I’m not just “sitting back” and hoping someone else will find this for me.  Last night, Thursday June 14, I went looking.  I re-traced my route, again.  In my search, I was walking along a stretch of Mission Dam Road that has tall grass in the roadside ditch.  When I was on my second pass along that stretch of road, walking back to my Jeep, an albino pitbull came running across a field toward me.  It stopped and sat down and, for a minute or so, remained there.  I thought perhaps there was an invisible fence boundary which it couldn’t cross.  I was wrong.  It charged.  When I turned to face it, it stopped.  But as soon as I took another couple steps, it charged again, halving the distance between us. I remained still and facing it for a minute and then took a few more steps.  It charged again, again halving the distance between us.  “Charged” is definitely the word for it.  That sequence repeated until it was just a couple feet away from me, barking, snarling, growling, and giving me the red eye.  Yes, red eyes – remember I said albino.  Now, I’m a dog person.  I am not fearful of dogs.  I love dogs.  Under other circumstances, I might have been most interested in meeting an albino dog.  But I’m going to be honest and tell you that when a dog is menacing you with bared teeth, snarls, growls, barks and glaring red eyes, it’s intimidating.  I tried talking calmly “hey, buddy, we’re cool, it’s okay.”  It still threatened.  So, I was faced with a long walk back to the Jeep, walking backwards, because if I even turned sideways to check my footing (after all, falling down could be disastrous) it used that opportunity to move up on me – and it was plenty close enough!  How I wished the bear spray that was in the Jeep was in my hand!  I yelled “Go Home!” several times.  That would halt its approach momentarily, and I’d back off another several paces, but it would immediately close that gap again.  This went on for several minutes (seemed like an hour, but my watch said differently) before a young woman driving with a toddler on her lap drove up and honked and yelled at the dog, then, for which I am very grateful, drove her car between the menace and me, yelling “Go Home!” at the beast and allowing me to gain some distance.

Upon arriving at Mission Dam, I enjoyed the view and watching distant loons through my binoculars and wishing I had a kayak with me.  And thus it goes…
(iPhone photo – haven’t copied photos from the card that was in my “big” camera, yet)

So, now I have photos of a common loon, but it has cost a small fortune.  I’ll keep looking and hoping, but, for now, it’s lost.  Replacing the pedal drive any time soon is simply not in the cards and won’t likely happen this season.

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