Okay, I understand. You don’t get it. The title, that is. It’s a poor play on the title of an old TV serial named after a genius prepubescent doctor, Doogie Howser (played by a very young Neil Patrick Harris). Some of you may remember Doogie, but if you don’t, Google does. Thanks to iMDB for the stock photo.
But this blog ain’t about the doc. It’s about The Boat. Brother-in-law Jeff’s boat. He lives in San Diego part time, and on Orcas Island part time. He already has a small power boat, fondly referred to in our family as “The Stripper” for reasons we won’t discuss here, but he caught another case of Boat Fever and got a hankering for a larger boat more suitable to his needs. His shopping led to a Craigslist posting for a 25 foot Parker outboard located in Tacoma Washington, but he was in San Diego at the time. Being boat people (and in his mind therefore experts), we offered to pop down on our day off and take a look and some photos for him. That quick look turned into a flight up and back for him, another “pop on down” to Tacoma for me, a purchase, and The Adventure. All of which happened in the space of 2 weeks.
The boat is a real peach. Nice lines, very spacious with a 9 foot beam (width for all you landlubbers), a super sturdy shrimp pot puller, and a trolling motor with autopilot! We like it a lot, enough to offer up our services to transport it up to Orcas. We didn’t truly appreciate at the time that being 9 feet wide is a real big difference from being 8’6” wide, like our old boat. It’s a big difference to both the Washington Department of Transportation (highways) and the Washington State Ferry System.
I’m going to interrupt and make a connection to that TV series, because it has an impact on the end of The Adventure. For reasons unknown, the first owner named the boat “Doogie”, after the good doctor. The next 2 owners sincerely wanted to change it, but they weren’t able to shake the moniker fast enough to ditch it. The name not only stuck to the boat, it immediately stuck to whoever owned it. Horrified by the potential of this happening to him, before Jeff even made plans to relocate the boat to Orcas, he was making plans to rename it. This wasn’t helped by me gleefully telling virtually everyone I know (including total strangers and this blog) about the name, hoping it would gain stickiness to the point where he couldn’t shed it. I’m that way.
Back to the adventure, aka The Plan, to relocate Doogie to the new home port, Orcas Island. The total transit covers 119 miles of highway from the Tacoma Narrows Marina to the boat launch at Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes. And 18 more miles by sea.
The Original Plan was to motor the boat up Puget Sound, past Seattle, through Deception Pass, and across Rosario Strait to the San Juans. This starts to become an all-day ride, and a big bill at the gas pump. And a return trip to fetch the trailer. So we scaled back to a towing option. That plan, initially pretty simple, evolved rapidly, influenced heavily by that 6” difference in beam. At 8’6” wide, this boat on a trailer would cost $350 for a ferry ride to Orcas. But at 9’0” wide, the fare doubles to $700 as an over-wide load. And it isn’t even legal to tow a 9’ wide trailer on Washington highways without an Oversize/Overweight Load Permit.
The New Plan took form, and was executed over the weekend of July 7-9. The trailer had a heavy duty hitch with electric brakes, all compatible with my truck. The purchase was complete, an Oversize permit was issued, a WIDE LOAD banner was acquired, all that was needed was a “grab and go”, involving a drive to Tacoma, a quick hitch, and the drive to Anacortes. We overcame the massive ferry cost by opting to launch the wide part of the load, Doogie, on the mainland at the Cap Sante Marina launch, and motoring the 18 miles over to the new slip in West Sound Marina.
That left the narrow part of the load, the trailer, back on the mainland, so we ginned up a plan to return in Mary’s red Jeep to retrieve the trailer and ferry it back to Orcas. This plan worked like a charm! Wendy and I took an afternoon ferry back from Orcas to Anacortes in the Jeep, swapped the trailer from the truck, and put the whole rig right back in line for the next ferry to Orcas. Jeff walked onto the next ferry from Orcas, and walked off it in Anacortes just in time to get in the driver’s seat of the Jeep and drive it back onto the ferry. A big bonus: the towed rig was now narrower and much shorter than the original load, so the ferry bill dropped to just a little over $200. Win Win Win! We saved an easy $500. Our plan worked so well, he was easily able to find it. You can too! It’s the red jeep in the picture.
During all of this, the discussion continued on about shedding the name Doogie for something better (sorry Neil). Mary and Jeff had a large group scheduled to visit their compound on the Island, so they decided a contest was in order. The list of about 30 folks received an email detailing the rules: the contest would run until August 6; only one entry per contestant; each entry must be accompanied by the logic or story behind the suggested name; the fabulous prize would be announced along with the winner after the conclusion of the contest; duplicate entry winners would be decided by a Mudd wrestling contest (with the choice of which Mudd would wrestle the contestants to be decided by the Contest Committee, which, in the interest being unbiased and totally transparent, will remain Confidential).
I’m going to enter, of course. And I’m going to let you all in on my entry, which is really a dual entry. Remember Jeff’s old boat, The Stripper? It doesn’t yet have a formal name. To remedy this, I’m going to reach back to other early days of TV for my suggestion. Some of you must remember Gilligan’s Island. If you don’t, Google does. This TV sitcom cleverly projected a simple, powerful message across too many episodes to count: Be Rich. No matter the circumstances, no matter the dilemma, the Millionaire (played by Jim Backus) always came out on top. This message found its way into my young, pliable mind, and remains to this day.
There were two young costars, the naïve girl-next-door Mary Ann (played by Dawn Wells), and the movie starlet Ginger (Tina Louise). They lent just enough sexiness to the show to spawn a now decades old debate that rages to this day: Which do you prefer, Ginger or Mary Ann?
Well, Jeff no longer has to choose. He can have both! I propose to re-christen the new boat Mary Anne, and the other Ginger. I added the final “e” because his wife, my sister, is aptly named Mary Anne, and it seems like a good opportunity to gain a bonus point or two. Also to the point: he claims to have purchased the boat for her birthday. But I say, Phooey! Let’s put it right out front. Which do you prefer?
As always, Tippy chimes in: