Thursday, May 16, 2013

Old Town Canoe on sale !

Despite my thrifty nature, I don't always sell every single thing I find at the garage sales. Some stuff is just too good to re-sell. I've had more then my share of keepers like a Keurig coffee maker, tools, clothes, etc. A few years ago I came across a really big keeper. It was an Old Town canoe and get this....I found it in the trash! (In case you're wondering...yeah, it even floats!) Finding this incredible keeper was all about being in the right place at the right time!

The story began on a dark, cold winter evening. I was in full "Lazy Sunday" mode; loafing around the house and watching television. But the relaxation would soon end when Mrs. Dude returned from her weekly trip to the local Target store. As she carried in the first of many red and white Target bags, she casually remarked, "In case you're interested, I just saw a canoe out at the trash." This was huge! So huge in fact that I am amazed at how casually Mrs. Dude threw out this monumental news. In retrospect, maybe she was acting low-key in the hopes of keeping me calm? Mrs. Dude knows how crazy I get over a good trash pick, particularly when it's something as insane as a canoe! But it was about to get more insane when Mrs. Dude then added, "Oh by the way, it sort of looks like an Old Town canoe."

It takes a lot to move me off the couch on a cold Sunday evening, but this news hit me like a thunderbolt! I jumped up and sprang into action! If you're wondering why, it's because Old Town canoes are the Cadillacs of the lakes...the Harley Davidson of the streams...the Apple computer of....well, you get the idea. They're the very best canoe on the market. Oh yeah and one more thing....they cost a lot of money! 

So while Mrs. Dude was calm and non-chalant over the canoe...I was the complete opposite! With lots of lakes and creeks in my area, I knew a canoe was not going to stay out at the curb for very long. Jumping on one leg as I tried to slip a boot on the other, I told Mrs. Dude that we had to get that canoe right now! Mrs. Dude was not thrilled with the idea of joining me on this recovery mission. It was dark and cold outside with a few of inches of frozen snow on the ground. (The kind of depressing mid-winter night that causes people to Google Florida trips and Caribbean cruises.) Giving me one of those, "Do I really have to go?" looks, Mrs. Dude suggested I grab one of the kids and use my truck to retrieve the canoe. Imagining my canoe slipping away, I pleaded with her, "No, No, No...we don't have much time! It'll be gone by then!" Seeing that I was getting hysterical, Mrs. Dude let out a sigh and grabbed her keys. We headed out into the darkness, Mrs. Dude as the driver and me once again serving as ninja trash picker!

Although our destination was only a few minutes away, I worried that some like-minded picker would beat me to the canoe. Seeing another person pick up that canoe would have crushed me emotionally for weeks! But as we pulled up to the house, I was relieved when the canoe was still there resting in the snow. I instructed Mrs. Dude to pull up alongside the canoe, thereby establishing our rightful claim by reason of proximity. The house where the canoe was located was for sale. Jumping out of the van, I heard people talking in the garage. Quickly looking the canoe over, I confirmed it was definitely Old Town! Looking further, I noticed the bench seat was broken in half and the plastic bow cap was missing. Other then that, it looked darn good!

Still unable to wrap my head around the fact that an Old Town canoe was out in trash, I decided to check with the homeowner. The owners were busy in their garage packing moving boxes. The wife stood up to talk and I sputtered excitedly that I just happened to be driving by and was wondering if the canoe was being thrown away? She confirmed that it was, explaining they were ditching the canoe to avoid the hassle of moving it. Still thinking there had to be some kind of catch, I asked her if there was anything wrong with the canoe? She explained that although it floated, the canoe had been damaged after washing down a creek in a rainstorm. The extent of the damage? The broken bench and missing bow cap I'd spotted.

Great for family excursions and keeping firewood dry!
That's all I needed to hear. The "damage" was fixable as far as I was concerned. I thanked the lady and headed back down the driveway. Mrs. Dude was warm and cozy inside the minivan as I popped open the rear hatch and began folding down the back seats. The winter wind blew through the van and I detected some  incredulity in Mrs. Dude's voice when she realized what I was trying to do. Glaring up at the rear view mirror, she yelled back at me, "You're going to put that thing in here? It's not going to fit!" But it was too late, I was already inside the van pulling the canoe behind me. I must have had that crazy trash-picker look in my eye because Mrs. Dude then tried reason on me, "Hold on...let's go home and get your truck!"

Using my truck would have made more sense. After all, a truck has something called a "bed" which is designed to transport large items, like say....a canoe. But as I wrestled the 15 foot behemoth into narrow confines of the mini-van, I explained to Mrs. Dude there was no way in God's green earth I was leaving without the canoe. I knew that if I left it, even if it were for just a few minutes, I'd never lay eyes on that canoe again!

So we stayed put and with each yank and grunt, I slowly pulled the canoe into the van. It was a miracle I didn't throw my back out! I finally stopped pulling when my backside was up against the front dash of the mini van. It was a dicey situation to say the least. Had Mrs. Dude floored the gas, both me and the canoe could have flown right out the back! But it was a risk I was willing to take. After bracing myself and gripping the back of the canoe, I asked Mrs. Dude to begin the slow drive home. With my body jammed up against the front dash it was an uncomfortable ride for me. In fact, I am pretty sure my rear end changed the radio station every time we hit a bump! After a few minutes and a couple of station changes, we made it safely home.

Despite all the challenges involved, my trash picked canoe was well worth the effort. While the canoe had some minimal damage, it was remedied with some easy repairs. I tore out the busted seat and replaced it with a wood seat cut out of scrap wood. I then ordered a replacement bow cap from Old Town that snapped easily in place. After total repair costs of around $50 dollars the canoe looked great. I also saved a ton of money when compared to buying a new canoe. The exact 15 foot model I salvaged from the curb sells for $1500 dollars at LL Bean!  Not too shabby, right? Since making the repairs, the canoe has been on many family excursions down local creeks and lakes. Like I said, some finds are definitely worth keeping!

What kind of awesome "keepers" have you found? Tell us all about it in the comment section!

Pin It now!


  1. Yeah if you would have left it there, it surely would have been gone. I had this happen just today. I was walking with Ryker to the park with a wagon when I spotted two ice cream paylor chairs(not what they are called most likely but what you would see in an ice cream shop) sitting on the curb. I thought about putting them into the wagon but we were only 3 blocks away from the park and I figured I would get them on the way back. Well they were gone :-(

    1. Don't ya hate that? I've been burnt a few times like that too. When you see it-you have to grab it, that's a picker's golden rule-Ha!

      Thanks for sharing, hope you find another one....Dude!

  2. I still insist I'm above trash picking....however my husband is taking bets till when :)

  3. Go for it...embrace the trash can-Ha! ; ) ......Dude!

  4. I am most certainly not above picking from the curb. In fact, I have fond memories of going around during "trash week" in my town when I was little and the town lifted the curb trash restrictions so folks could clean out. Typically lined up with Spring Cleaning time. I remember finding bowling balls, odd electronics, and any other cool item I could find and carry while peddling around on my bicycle. The best keeper find was several Star Wars figures and toys from the 80s (of course, this was only around 1984 so they weren't the treasured collectables they are today. I carried as much as I possibly could on my bike before several other vultures noticed what I found and grabbed the rest.

    Much more recently, I happened upon what looked like a house cleanout sitting at the curb. Now, I won't dig through trash bags, but I did see one trash bag that was fully open and sitting right at the top was a Macy's gift card. No digging involved so I was happy to grab it and slide it into my pocket, knowing full well it was not anything. Turns out, there was a $25 balance on that card that my wife was happy to use at the store. The stuff some folks toss out!

    1. oh my goodness! a gift card!! woohoo that would make a trash picker out of me :D i should embrace it a substantial amount of my family are pickers lol

    2. Sean- That is awesome! Kudos to you for spotting a small gift card amongst all the trash! It really is amazing what folks toss. Like you, I shy away from those multiple trash bags at the curb when people are cleaning out. But I have to admit that my mind reels at the thought of what could be inside those bags...drives me crazy!

      Thanks for the great story...Dude!

  5. De-lurking to say someone threw out a couple of Pier1 nightstands at our neighborhood dumpster. I can see most of the front of the dumpster when I am leaving home and always look to see what's out there. Anyhow, I saw some sort of paper dangling from the bottom of the drawer. Pulled a quick Uturn and saw a $25 Barnes and Noble gift card still attached to the cardboard hanging thing sticking out! Called the # on the back of the card, it had its full value! Yay!

    Unfortunately it was raining or I may have taken those nightstands as well--but they were soaked.

    Love your blog, Dude! Have been reading you for a while!


    1. Dana- That's the second retrieval of a gift card from the trash story posted!! (See Sean above) This is starting to be a trend that I've missed out on-Ha! Great story, I am with you and would be checking that dumpster all the time.

      Thanks for liking the blog, Hope to get another story up soon. Little harder to sit down and write with so much to do outside. (That's why I enjoy the winter-no work outside!)

      Thanks for the great story and for following the blog...Dude!