How To Move Old Iron From One Island To Another

| April/May 1991

R. R.  m, Box 830, North Haven, Maine 04853.

North Haven and Vinalhaven are sister islands twelve miles offshore in Maine's Penobscot Bay and are separated by a deep water passage only a quarter of a mile wide. If you want to take a vehicle from one island to the other, however, it means a ferry ride from your island to the mainland, then another ferry trip from the mainland out to the other island-and then you have to do the whole thing in reverse to get back to where you started from. Take into account the uncertainties of ferry schedules, reservations, weather, and we figured such a round trip could involve a week if nothing went right.

This is the problem that my friend Elliott Brown and I faced this fall when we planned to make a trip over to Vinalhaven to pick up a load of iron that we had acquired over a period of a year or two. We were beginning to worry about our treasures spending another Maine winter buried in snow and mud.

The cargo to be moved was as follows: a 1928 Farmall tractor on steel, a 3 HP Alamo engine, a Model A Ford station wagon frame, cowl, engine and front end, a hand-cranked flywheel drill press, and a pile of miscellaneous rusty Ford parts-including a Model T Snowmobile ski-to be dragged out of the woods.

Elliott and I talked about the trip for months, and time went by until the first, second and third frost had come and gone. We realized that if we did not go immediately, we would have to wait until next summer (Maine dirt roads 'out in the williwags' are generally impassable in spring-mud-time).

We had a talk with Foy Brown, who runs Brown's Boatyard on the North Haven side of the passage, and asked him if he thought we could transport a car trailer over to Vinalhaven on a small barge that he uses to haul boat moorings. We knew what the answer would be. Foy never refuses a request even when he knows it is foolish or even downright stupid. One way or another, he gets the job done.