St. John must be proud


We got up, left Amsterdam, cruised through some locks, it was beautiful, blah, blah, blah.  But that’s not what this post is about.

We docked at small, quiet, and sort of quirky St. Johnsville marina and popped into town.

St. Johnsville was founded in 1725 by one Jacob Zimmerman, who may or may not share a family tree with Steve Zimmerman, who provided great service work on Misty Pearl, and with Steve Zimmerman, whose daughter attended elementary school with Shannon.*

But that’s not what this post is about.

During some slow time, Doug flew the drone around town and then down to the dock.  And right into a real tree.

Rather than look at the track on the phone to see where said tree was located, the better plan seemed to be assuming the crash site was across the river, waking Brent (Second Wave) from his nap for help, jumping on the personal bicycles graciously offered up by the marina, and riding into the woods with no idea where to look.  Dumb plan.

The good news?  After looking at the flight path, it was obvious the tree in question was next to the marina.  That beautiful tree at the top of this post.  Even better news?  Eagle-eye Brent spotted a tiny red tail light.

The really bad news?  The red light was about sixty feet off the ground, in a completely unclimbable tree.  Time to panic, because it seemed very unlikely that Dana would authorize buying another drone during Doug’s lifetime.

But wait.  While walking through town earlier, we’d seen the Fire Department doors open and volunteers working a fundraiser.  Why not go up and ask for help?  Maybe they have a device specially made for retrieving drones after morons crash them way up high.  Off on the bicycle and back to town, only to find nobody around.  Oh crap.

The three guys sitting outside the market weren’t firemen and had no ideas about drone rescue.  One of them suggested calling it in as an emergency, because someone “probably would respond.”  That seemed a bit dramatic.  And potentially criminal.  The more helpful guy disclosed that down two streets, left on Washington, in the yellow house on the right, lives Chris Weaver, the Fire Chief.  He might be home.

Knock, knock.  Who’s there?  Dumbass.  Dumbass who?  Dumbass Doug.  Not only was Chief Weaver home, he already was down to his socks relaxing with his family.  One logically might’ve expected him to explain dismissively that a drone in a tree wasn’t really his problem.  Instead he immediately said he would put on shoes and come check out the situation.

Thirty minutes later the fire truck rolled up to the marina with an extension ladder, a chain saw, and a long pike.

After some discussion about strategy, up went the ladder and up went Chief Weaver.

 One slip and he’d be visiting St. John and Old Jacob Zimmerman immediately.


Thud.  Down came the drone, with only a smashed battery and broken propeller.  Down came Chief Weaver with nothing smashed or broken.  Amazing.

We left the Fire Department with a donation for their fundraiser and with our gratitude.  We won’t be forgetting the good folks of St. Johnsville, N.Y.

As for the drone video we recovered, here you go:


*Based on our experience, Jacob may be the only Zimmerman in history who isn’t named Steve.

6 thoughts on “St. John must be proud”

  1. Doug – when do you think you’ll be going through the Buffalo area? I’ll be up there for the 4th.

    1. Hi Scott. I’d love to show you the boat, but we are not going to Buffalo. We are ducking up the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario in the next few days, then across into Canada for a few weeks. I hope all is well.

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