I love the smell of two-stroke in the morning and there was no shortage of that when I showed up to Mcintyre Park to meet up with Chase and Chad for their Lower River Outboards 2019 Lower River Run. Boats of all different makes, shapes and sizes on the grass by the ramp for a meet and greet. Getting the boats in the water took some time with only 3 (fairly tight) lanes to launch from. Everyone then lined the small channel for a quick driver’s meeting laying out the general game plan for the day. We’d do a gas stop at Walter’s on our way to Fisher’s Landing at Martinez Lake, stopping at a large sandbar on the way down and back. With 25ish boats (more to group up along the way) and over 120 miles (round trip) to cover on a river you have to know how to read, the odds of something unexpected happening were small, right?
Cruising down river, all running in a single file line, swerving between sandbars, splitting bridge pylons, was an absolute blast. It was also pure entertainment to see Eric putting his Boston Whaler through its paces! I was taking pictures wherever I could between the switchbacks on the s-turns, but the line got pretty stretched out once we started moving. I was thinking how quickly the day was flying by, but then Chase had an air pump go south on his Hallett and, unfortunately, wouldn’t be able to carry on. I was riding with Landon, Chase’s cousin, and since he would be heading back with him, Chase introduced me to Blake and Tyler that were cool with taking me the rest of the way down to finish the run.
The group size about doubled by the time we reached the second Sandbar. We were now in the final stretch down to grab a bite at Martinez Lake Cantina. After lunch and some refueling, Blake noticed his jack plate had been slowly leaking so his engine was dipping lower by the minute. Off we went, earlier than the rest because we’d be moving slower with the extra drag. Well, we thought we had problems… Chad pulled up to the sandbar we were taking a breather at, waving his steering wheel in the air. He’d been driving with channel locks since his hub stripped out. Someone in the group, luckily, had some vice grips that would make the rest of the drive easier and we were all off again. Within the final mile to the ramp, after just being passed by the group, we ran out of gas and started floating back down river. The added drag from the jack plate wasn’t too friendly on the amount of gas we had left. We then see a boat coming up river… here comes that Boston Whaler bringing up the rear. Eric pulls up with gas cans in hand and we couldn’t be more thankful. Getting the boat out of the water just before sunset, it was definitely beer-thirty. Unfortunately, I still had a two hour drive ahead of me so I couldn’t stick around. Although, I was tempted by offers of a good dinner, some drinks, and everyone hanging out talking about the great day out on the water.
Chase and Chad did an awesome job of organizing this event. Every stop, people were all-smiles, just stoked to be out on the water with all their buddies. Don't think that a few mechanical issues prevented anyone from having a great day. I think everyone would dub it a great success. The camaraderie between these guys is tight, which makes runs like this even more enjoyable. It sounds like next year will be bigger and better, so you better believe I'll be there!
Story and photos by Austin Foley (FoleyLoadedMedia)
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