Center Island a la cart

IMG_2997-1.JPGMaster builder, with freshly painted cart (soon to have wheels added). It’s a key cog in the Center Island transportation network.

IMG_7955LIVING ON OUR 176-ACRE ISLAND, our world has shrunk. No worries about gridlock. No horrible Seattle traffic. But we have our own transportation issues.

Center Island’s covenants prohibit use of privately owned internal-combustion vehicles on island roads, so most people scoot around on electric golf carts or something akin to that. One homeowner had a cool, funky old mini electric truck formerly used in a big warehouse somewhere, but it wasn’t designed to go up hills (we have one called “Cardiac Hill,” named by people who walk up it) so his tiny truck didn’t get him everywhere in quick fashion. It had a tendency to stall halfway up hills. (You might say it had cardiacs on Cardiac.)

Recently, our board of directors revisited the rules because more and more electric vehicles are coming into reality, and our narrow gravel lanes just aren’t suited to a Tesla or a Leaf. One thing we’ve learned on this island: “If you allow it, it will come.” (Big boats, big houses…what can I say, it’s the U.S.A.)

So to preserve our island’s character the board redefined what was allowed, in terms of size and horsepower, so full-size cars (other than our few community-owned pickups) won’t be zooming around here anytime soon. They also restated the island speed limit: 10 mph.

It’s not relevant to Barbara and me. So far we’ve resisted the golf-cart thing. We’ve never golfed, and we know walking is good for us on a small island where getting enough exercise can be a challenge. From The Nuthatch cabin to the community dock is .7 mile, just enough to stretch our legs.

But an exciting new item in our lives — and this shows you how living on a tiny island really changes your perspective on what’s exciting — is our dock cart.

There was an island-wide yard sale recently and we shelled out $10 for an old dock cart. The frame was pretty rusty and the plywood a bit rotting, but the wheels and axle were solid and heavy duty. It was just the thing to tote groceries or supplies across the island without having to bother with a pickup truck.

After a month I decided I’d spruce up our cart and brought home some fresh plywood and some Rustoleum paint. The problem was that as soon as I started disassembling the rusty frame I realized that, uh oh, the rust was all that was holding it together. The metal frame just fell apart.

I basically ended up building a whole new cart from spare lumber I had in our shed and a bunch of nuts and bolts my dad had collected over the decades. I knew I’d find a use for them someday! I reused the old cart’s handle and wheels.

Barbara convinced me the cart needed to be the same color as our 1957 runabout, so I got some turquoise spray paint and now it’s all done and looks spiffy.

One wag of a neighbor who occasionally sees me pushing my cart suggested I should paint flames on the side. I’m not sure. We only just got away from living life in the fast lane.

But if I find some orange paint, you never know. cropped-1-anchor.jpg

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