By Ken Simpson - Fountain Hills, Arizona - USA

Hi Chuck,

While you were away others went on with their adventures too.

Yesterday was forecast to be great day for boating here in the desert area of Arizona, so I loaded my Toter into the pickup and headed for Lake Saguaro, about 14 miles from home. I arrived lakeside about 10 am, and quickly unloaded Toter, the 12 volt deep cycle battery, and a paddle. The lake, a man-made reservoir of about 2 square miles, was still, and only a few other boats were present, mostly fishermen. This was a good time to see just how fast I could get Toter in the water. I first lowered the front section onto the dovetail connectors of the main hull, seated it firmly, and twisted the locking clamps closed. I then did the same with the rear section. This took all of a minute. Next the battery was loaded in place, and the motor was flipped out into launching position. Another minute or two. Plugged in the motor to the battery socket, tested the motor to insure all connections were complete, and pushed Toter into the water. Four minutes max.

My goal for the day was to travel the periphery of the lake at full speed until the battery power was greatly diminished. How long would it last? Along the way, I encountered many ducks feeding on the lake surface. There must be something I could not see that keeps them nourished. They come here for the winter months from the cold north, and I enjoy their presence. I also brought my camera, so this kept me busy as the trip unfolded. About half way around the lake is an area with a beach, and camping grounds. I decided to head there out of curiosity. Still taking pictures, and not paying attention to the boats direction.

I should have been more observant, for just beneath the water was a rock ledge that caused the water to be ever so slightly disturbed. But I didn't see it till later, of course. A jarring thud and an abrupt halt in direction was the result. I just sat there for a moment, waiting for the water to start pouring into the boat from an imagined gash in the hull. The motor was back there churning away, so I turned it off. Still no water. Was luck on my side ? I dug out the paddle and began to push myself off the ledge. Stuck. Try again, then again. Finally we came free, and I paddled backwards until I could see what had caused this. There it was, barely visible, but very real. I leaned over the side to inspect for damage. Couldn't see anything, but still concerned.

The trip around the lake became a dash back to the launch ramp for detailed inspection. Twenty minutes or so later I was on dry land. Toter, as it turned out, had only minor scratches, a tribute to it's ruggedness, or luck. The day was not over. I went back out and continued the tour for another half hour. At this point, battery reserve, which was at full power the whole time, was beginning to wane, and the decline in forward momentum was noticeable. This was 2 hours into the test and it was time to head back and prepare for another day. Disassembly of the Toter was just as quick and effortless as assembly, and another memorable day on the lake was at an end.


Ken Simpson


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