NEW ORLEANS, LA. TO MEDICINE LAKE, MINNESOTA
My HydroStream Vamp was the first "go-fast" Boat I rode in. I liked it and I bought it. It had a stock 200hp 2.5 on it. Thru the years I met a lot of people in this sport and learned a great deal about the boats and motors. First thing I learned was that the Vamp wasn’t the preferred Stream to have if you wanted to go fast. I had some work done to the motor, which pushed the Vamp close to her limits in speed. Since then I wanted to put the motor on either a V-king or a Vector.
In January 2002 I started shopping for a Vector. After running across a few bogus deals on the East Coast, I finally found a Vector for sale in Minnesota. It looked and sounded like a real nice boat (1984 Vector – 1984 Evinrude 140hp) I thought to myself "Road Trip." I took a few days of vacation from work, borrowed my friend's 20’ Tandem Axle trailer and loaded up the Expedition. I envisioned a nice casual relaxed road trip. I invited my fiancé to take the ride.
The date was set we were to leave Thursday March 7, 2002. Planned to do a little sight seeing on the way North. Arrive in Minnesota Friday evening and check the Boat out Saturday morning March 9th and head South. Stopping in St. Louis for some sight seeing.
It didn’t go anything as planned. We left our house Thursday March 7th at 10:00am. I planned to drive until I got tired and then stop at a hotel. I made it into Wisconsin before I got tired, this was about 2:00 – 3:00 am Friday March 8th. I didn’t want to stop because the weather had gotten real bad and I was afraid of getting stranded. I drove thru the worst rainstorm I’ve ever seen. After daybreak I could finally see the roads and couldn’t believe what I had been driving on. The roads were slick with ice. I watched as 18-wheeler’s slid off the roads. That was a 1½ to a 2 hr traffic-jam. At this point I’m thinking to myself "I’m not having fun." We got into Minneapolis around 8:00 am March 8, 2002. I talked to the guy that had the boat to let him know I was in town. He was in a meeting and couldn’t get away until after lunch.
We toured around Minneapolis and had lunch while waiting. I suggested flying my fiancé home and flying a friend back to Minneapolis to help me with the drive back home. But, we got info from family back in New Orleans that another storm was forecasted to move thru Minneapolis by that afternoon. Knowing this, we would not have had enough time to make the flights.
I didn’t get to see the boat until 1:30pm. The boat and motor were in great shape. By then it was around 2:30pm and he was aware of the storm that was moving in the area also, (I think he didn’t warn me of the bad weather just to sell the boat.) I figured I’d load the boat/trailer on the trailer I pulled with me and park it in a safe place. Get a hotel and get some rest. He advised that we should get as far South as possible. If this Storm catches us we may be stranded for a few days. We left Minneapolis around 4:30pm. The roads were still wet with snow and ice. The weather was fine until we got into Wisconsin. There the icy rain started falling again. By then I was getting tired. I didn’t know what to expect from the weather if we were to stop, would the Storm catch us. So, I kept driving. We made it down to Illinois before I stopped at a Hotel. That was 39 hrs of driving.
Got back on the Road Saturday around 8:00 am. The wind was forecasted to be blowing 35 mph and gusting up-to 55 mph. We watched in 2 separate accidents, 18-wheelers get blown off the road. At this point the thought crossed my mind again, "I’m really not having fun." We eventually made it home Sunday March 10th at 3:30 am.
I finally got to take the boat out with the 140 Evinrude to see how it lived its past life. The best speed I got, was 55 mph on a GPS. When I got it back home I gutted the interior, steering, gauges and motor. The boat was in great shape other than the screw holes that were drilled in the floors were not silicone’d in. And as a result the floor in those areas was soft. I’m planning to rip the floor out at the end of this season and have it replaced.
I re-rigged it with my Merc 2.5. Removed the two front seats and moved one seat and the steering to the middle. Mounted my fuel cell and battery in the back. Added the Sea-Star Pro Hydraulic steering system. Sanded the top cap and cleared it.
My first outing with the Merc was a real rush. There were a few bugs I had to get worked out, nothing major. My second outing, I was able to "Air it out." The boat drove better than any I have ever driven. I started thinking to myself that the trip I made for this boat was a big mistake. Not anymore. I thought of buying several other performance hulls. But now, I am glad I didn’t.
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