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Date: 1/28/03
From: Ricky
Email: 
Devotion time in the mornings are awesome! The Holy Spirit richly ministers to us as we prepare for each day. We pray for boating safety and most of all: love and good fellowship.

Date: 11/25/02
From: jennie
Email: corralnwa@aol.com 
hey mcdonnells! cool website! i looked at it with jessi! i wanna go to 
the river!
-jennie

Date: 11/13/02
From: Rick McDonnell
Email: rick_mcdonnell@yahoo.com
This is one of those "I forgot to put the plug in" stories...

We had just launched at Katheryn's Landing. Jannelle's Mom and Dad joined us for a fun time on Lake Mohave in our old boat. We were loaded down and the boat seemed very heavy, when we started out. I poured on the gas more and more and trimmed and trimmed but couldn't get the bow of the boat down. Finally it smooth out and we were barely cruising. A little embarrassed, I just kept looking forward, not really knowing how Grandma was doing by herself in the back. When I finally looked I saw poor Jean sitting in water, up to her ankles. I forgot to put the drain plug in! I quickly veered to the right and beached the boat, jumped in the water, and put the plug in. By this time, the whole back of the boat was socked in with gallons and gallons of water. It took the bilge pump almost an hour to get most of  the water out. What was really funny was Grandma's comment. She said she just sat back there, not saying anything because she thought this was normal. She was looking for a pail or something to start bailing out the water. 

 


Date: 11/13/02
From: Rick McDonnell
Email: rick_mcdonnell@yahoo.com
This is my account of that day we ventured down to Havasu and back, that I shared with Go Boating magazine.

This one takes place on the Colorado River in June of 2000. A bunch of us boaters cruised down to Havasu City from Laughlin. There were 3 boats including mine all packed with kids and adults. I was in a 1976 Starcraft Trihull fixed up with a newer 140hp Mercury outboard. The exciting part of the story is on our trip back but going there was also a mess. As anyone knows, rivers have sandbars and rockbars. We were blessed to have one of the boaters lead most of the way who knew the waters well. But I was in front at this point. I ended up running through rocks close to the surface of the water and literally clipped off half of one my prop blades and curled the other two. The leader who was wasn't leading at the time followed me right into the rocks and did the same. The other boater actually had trouble up river and had pulled over on a beach. He had blown a freeze plug. Here we were. All 3 boats decommissioned. This should have a been a sign to us to turn around. But being the handy boater mechanics we all were, we were on our way in no time. Replacing props and wrenching down a rubber plug. We proceeded. Had a wonderful time at Havasu in 100 plus degree weather. Had our shave-ice and headed back. This is no short trip mind you. Coming down, it can take 3 hours, if you play a little. Heading back it can take 4-5 hours without stopping to play, having to go against the current (at least in the boats we were in). We were leaving at 4pm. 

Has we entered the skinnier river waters through Lompoc Gorge we noticed thunder heads gathering. Here's a photo: http://www.nelles.com/family2k/Storm%20coming.JPG 
Not really concerned and having too much fun we stopped anyway to play a little in the water and cool off. The sun was getting closer to the horizon quickly. We left eventually and started the long haul up river. I was in the back not really able to keep up with the other two boats, and I noticed the dark clouds gaining on us going north. At one point the massive cloud had fingers that looked like they just wanted to grab us. It was dusk now and the winds started kicking up. Sand storm gusts would shoot across the river making it hard to see, specially have to wear sunglasses in the dark. Concerned a little I kept looking back behind me and with this incredible cloud gaining on us. I haven't had to run from anything too often but I tell you I was trying to get every MPH I could hitting the throttle down with my fist and trimming high. The Merc was screaming, but I prayed it would hang on. Now some of you know that it's not good to be skimming across the water as fast as you can go in a lightning storm, but here we were. I looked back once, as we crossed under some wires that went across the river. Looking up I saw static electricity bouncing between the wires! Guess where it came from? We might as well be a magnet to lightning. A tall metal antenna. I was close to panicking now but didn't want to scare everyone on the boat. The other two boats were way ahead and out of site. It got dark fast and the waters started getting rough. My wife yelled out a prayer Lord get us back safely and never, never will I make this trip again. I said, "ah, but honey...". 

As we got closer to Laughlin we could easily see the bright lights and felt relieved, but then all of a sudden we ran out of gas. We had filled it up in Havasu, 16 gals and used every ounce of fuel. We pulled out the spare gas can and sat on the back of the boat as it floated back down the river where we didn't want to go. The river was moving fast and it was choppy. Practically hanging off the rear of the boat, my oldest son, emptied the gas can and started up again, and boy did I punch it. Can you imagine, having to figure out where sand bars were in the dark? Its a miracle we didn't hit one. We were corning one of the last bends in the river when we came up on our other two friends. One of them had run out of gas also but didn't have extra fuel. We decided to take on more people in our boat to get the wifes and kids back to the hotel. The other guys stayed with the boat aftering mooring it on a private dock. As we transporting the women and children onto our boats I noticed none of us had life-jackets on. You've got to imagine the scene. The waters were really rough. The boats bobbing up and down, bouncing into each other and we moving people from one boat to another, going well over the normal people capicity. Really scary. I felt stupid too. Not having everyone but their vests on. We did so right away and we did make it back to the launch area near the Riverside Casino. I think it was 10pm. 

The story doesn't end. We got our boats out of the water. My other friends boat trim/hoist stopped working and we had to stick wood on top of the trailer under the boat so he wouldn't drag his motor up the ramp. By this time the moms and kids walked back to the hotel and it was just us guys. This was a relief and felt we could slow down now, but we still had a boat in the water tied up to a private dock in Bull Head. We disconnected a truck and drove to Bull Head on the other side of the river. Got gas and started driving through the neighborhoods where we thought our other friend was. It was incredible. The weather was crummy and it started raining a bit. We found them eventually and jumped over fences to get to their boat. Fortunately no one was home in the house. Our friend got his boat started and made it to the launch safely. It's not over yet. 

When we finally made it back to the hotel parking lot with our boats in tow, we heard bad news about one of our friend's 25 year old son back home was in the hospital in a coma. We were devastated, and you can imagine how the mom and dad felt so far away from home. The son has a terminal brain disease and has been in the hospital before with too much fluid in the brain. The wife or the son's mom was already packed and my friend didn't even turn off his truck motor. They both drove home and it was midnight. They made it back home and their boy survived. We've been boating a lot since then and to this day nothing as matched the horror we experienced that summer night. We do thank the Lord, God Almighty, for his protection over us. It could have been worse. Much worse. 

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