Monday, June 11, 2007

White Water Rafting with Car Keys?

Ahhh Technology!

Mogli lost his Prius keys yesterday... $250. (if it had been an "07 model... $375.)

Two weeks ago, a rafting client thought it would be safer to put their Mercedes CLS keys in their zippered shorts... $650... due to a swim and a failed zipper.

Last month, a client took their '06 Camry keys down the river, got the keys wet and fried the chip... $300.

Lesson: stash your keys in your car, get a hide-a-key, and do NOT take keys to your modern vehicle down the river outdoors. And if you do, make sure it's just a key... with no chip.

Back in the pre-historic days of W.E.T. River Trips, we had a '64 Dodge truck that started with an alligator clip and a toggle switch... oh, how we have progressed!

When the radiation storm shrouds our planet and every modern electronic device fails, I wish we still had that Dodge truck without electronic ignition, carburetor and no key. (don't get me wrong... something like the vice-grip window cranks, and the bungee cord holding the hood latch, I don't miss).

What's missing is the simplicity of our old vehicles... we could fix them. The good news is that the new vehicles rarely need fixing... but sometimes they do.

When a 2006 van failed to move forward while in drive after leaving the Middle Fork American put-in at the Oxbow Reservoir, we went through the motions: opened the hood, checked the fluid and let the engine cool down. The transmission is "electronic" and without a USB connected diagnostic CPU, we didn't have a chance.

Luckily, we switched the van out for another one with help from Bird and Mogli as well as cell phone technology. I had a two-hour drive in a tow truck from Mosquito Ridge Road back to home base. Our paddling clients were not delayed or ever placed at a disadvantage, and the replacement van was even the signature "white" of W.E.T. River Trips.

I still miss the ol' Dodge... until I grab the cell phone, crank up the A/C, plug in the i-Pod, adjust the electronic mirrors, and roll up the windows with a single button push.

Hey Big Poppa, none of us miss the ol' Dodge truck... we love the new vans with the killer stereo!

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