Boone Life: 'River rats' come out to play

Monday, May 4, 2009 | 5:00 p.m. CDT; updated 5:33 p.m. CDT, Monday, May 4, 2009
Wearing the expression of a stranded, hard-luck motorist, Chloe rests her jowls out the window while her owner Darren Crites replaces a length of fuel pump hose he borrowed from his old Ford to get a Jet Ski running at the Warren School Road river access near Easley on Sunday.

EASLEY – The expression on Chloe the dog's face is intriguing as she leans her head out the cab of the old Ford Bronco. What is she thinking?

The scene is humorous. There’s an unidentifiable person perched under the hood, ostensibly rearranging the truck's guts, presumably to get it running.


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With little imagination, Chloe, a pit bull, could be a lady in distress, broken down on her way to an important concern. Fortunately, a kind soul or a fellow traveler is there to lend a little technical know-how.

But look a smidgen closer and interesting details emerge. Why is the man wearing a life jacket? And why are his jeans wet all the way up beyond the knees? Chloe’s waiting in a land-loving truck, so how did a man such adorned come to be working under the hood of her vehicle?

Turns out that just beyond the truck is the what used to be the parking lot of the Warren School Road river access point just north of Easley, but this week it’s the Missouri River after several days of heavy spring showers.

The mechanic is Darren Crites of Millersburg, and Chloe is his much-loved pooch, forced to wait complacently in the cab while he and a friend work on and ride their Jet Skis.

“I didn’t want to let her out because she’d get all muddy,” Crites said while flinging an adoring glimpse her way.

Crites was digging under the hood to borrow a length of fuel pump hose from the truck’s engine for a quick repair on one of the old Jet Skis he had brought to the river Sunday to test out after a series of recent overhauls.

“We always go upstream when we test and tune them,” Crites said of the Jet Skis.

Crites and his friend Kelley Neal, self-described river rats, had already been out on the Jet Skis, thus the life jacket and wet jeans.

“Jet Skis are fast and fun,” Crites said of his passion for the crafts.

He also explained what Chloe must have been thinking — it’s boring being left out of the fun.

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