Thursday, March 14, 2013

An Old Fart and A Foolish Fart

Today you have a double post by Two Old Farts.
By Barry-
You know what Smacks OF Old Fart?  My six month fascination with Porta-Botes. I know we have mentioned the Porta-Bote before but now I am able to tell the whole SOOF version.  I first saw this Porta-Bote, which is a folding (to about the size of large surf board), polyurethane, 12 foot long and 5 feet wide boat. Since it folds I thought, the perfect boat (Bote) for RVing. You can look them up on the internet. Supposedly there are 90,000 of them out there. They are  lightweight, versatile, user friendly and unsinkable (they claim). 

Here is where the SOOF part begins. I just had to have one. Also I thought, if there are 90,000 of them out there, I should be able to find a used one. The first one I found on eBay was in California. Owner didn’t want to ship. Wouldn’t even return my calls or emails. Made me want one more. Found another in Florida. Guy agreed to ship if I paid all costs. I talked with him several times on the phone and found out we had a lot of similar interests. He was recently laid off from NASA. He was interesting to talk with. We agreed on I price and I stupidly (SOOF) sent him a check. I really wanted this Bote. A week went by & I never heard any more from this seller. I called and got his voice mail. I emailed and didn’t get any responses. I was starting to worry I had been scammed. Then Jan received a call for a man claiming to be the seller’s father and he told us his son was mentally ill, had already sold the Bote locally and he would send my check back. I thought I was doomed to lose that money. I quickly put a stop payment on the check which miraculously had not been cashed. Also miraculously the man did send the check back. You would think that this would sour me on the Bote idea. Not me. I found one in Flower Mound (right here in the metroplex). This was in November. Nice older guy that bought the Bote to use as a dingy on his sail boat. However, the Porta-Bote was too long or big to set up on his sail boat deck. He never used it. He also had a 6 HP outboard motor for the Bote. I had my Bote.

Shortly after getting the Bote home I recruited Phil Schneider, Michelle’s father in law who knows a lot more about boats than me, to help with the maiden voyage. We took the Bote out to Joe Pool Lake and put it together. All went well until we got maybe 20-30 yards out in the water and a game warden came up. No registration He didn’t give us a ticket but he did make us take the Bote out of the lake. At least I now knew the Bote didn’t leak. It took me another 3 weeks to get all the information together to register the Bote,pay taxes, get registration numbers on the sides, etc. Now it was too cold to try out again. Until this week.

Went camping to Inks Lake State Park in the Texas hill country. Put the Bote together and this time I recruited Jan to go along for a ride. For the first 10-15 minutes all went great. The Bote was performing well. We got out into a little choppy water in the middle of Ink’s Lake. I probably gave it a little  too much gas & tried to made a turn. You might have guessed what happened next. When I turned the  Bote the back end dipped a little too much. The speed was also too fast. The Bote starting taking on water. I tried to get the Bote to level off but it just kept taking on more water. We tried to bail out some water but it all happened too fast and we didn’t have a chance. No the Bote didn’t sink. It just filled with water & turned over. Jan & I went in the drink, so to speak. I was nervous about hypothermia but it really wan’t all that cold. I think this lake stays at a ;constant 66 degrees. Anyway Bote & motor upside down. Jan and I  hanging on. Luckily a fisherman saw us & came over and pulled us to shore. He said the spill looked very scary from his view. I’d say we were in the water about 10 minutes. Motor upside down in the water too. Jan actually took the incident very well. Other than saying she “would never, ever, I mean never get in that Porta-Bote ever again”. I really don’t blame her. Some men on shore helped me right the Bote & get the water out. Believe it or not the motor started on the 3rd or 4th pull. I felt it was better to run the engine for a while to prevent more damage.I drove the Bote back at a very slow speed, Jan walked back.
The next day I tried the Bote with a small trolling motor my buddy Jerry Berger gave me. It worked fine. If I had never used the outboard with too much power I think we would not have tipped over. Jan would still be On Board, so to speak. But alas, I think I now have the Porta-Bote fever out of my system. Any reasonable offer will be considered.

On the way home we passed this funeral home and tombstones were all ready for Old Farts!

-By Jan
These past few days we have been camping in the Texas Hill Country. Part of the trip was spent at Perdinales State Park where the Esparzas met up with us and had nothing to do with Old Farts. (more on that tomorrow) . 

The other part of the trip was at Inks Lake. If the word lake makes you think of the Porta-Bote than you are on the right track.  

Barry was anxious to try out the Porta-Bote now that he had it registered. As he was setting it up he garnered a lot of attention. 

That was good because he needed a little help getting it into the water. 

Then he tested it out. 

Since he seemed to be getting the hang of it, I decided to go for a ride.  

Everything was going pretty good, but as we got in choppy water in the middle of the lake and made a turn, the Bote began filling with water. Actually it tipped over about halfway, I almost fell out, then recovered, but by that time the Bote had too much water in it. Barry and I made a few vain attempts to bail the water out, but soon we just had to abandon Bote. I grabbed a paddle floating by and started swimming toward shore, but Barry started yelling "Stay with the boat. Always stay with the boat!" While I think that's good advice, I don't think Barry realized I was really hoping that the Bote would just sink to the bottom of the lake.  But, Porta-Botes don't sink. I think that is their one safety feature. 

A kind man fishing with his son had seen us going down, reeled in his lines, and got over to us as soon as he could. I think we really had scared him. He towed us to shore where two other men helped Barry turn the Bote back over and get it all set up again.  One of the men's wives said she had seen a Bote like that on Funniest Home Videos.  
That was the final straw for me.  Porta-Bote, you are dead to me.   

Since I wasn't getting back in the Bote, I left Barry to drive it back and walked to our campsite with what little dignity I had left.  Trust me, you don't have much dignity when you are a Porta-Bote owner.  


  1. I promise I will get your tombstones to say that, if y'all die in the porta bote. Just know that!!

  2. Well, I got a great chuckle out of your SOOF posts today...especially your version, Jan. I hope future expeditions in the Porta-Bote go better for Barry!

  3. Oh boy, oh boy, what a blog post treat today! I'm just glad you are both okay. I have to say Jan's post had me laughing! "I've seen a Bote like that on Funniest Home Videos"!!

  4. Hilariious. So glad we didn't have to be there for the Bote incident. I'm sure as you were taking on water Dad was thinking you "Now I'll never get Jan back in the vote."