Amphibious Drive Train of the Ross Island Explorer
Last time out, I hadn't put the paddlewheel blades on yet, only the half-inch angle iron bases. The paddlewheel was a little high in the water, too. With no centerboard, my body as a sail on top of that tallbike, and a wind from downstream which was faster than the current, I ended up being blown off course to Hardtack Island.
Along with adding the blades, I turned the rear pontoons upside down so I could uncap them and take in some water, which lowered the paddlewheel. It is okay to open a old chemical drum in the river if you're over a toxic waste dump, just upstream of a Superfund site, and looking at a sewer pipe five feet in diameter, though.
The blades worked really well; I broke six spokes this year and the wheel is toast. This is unfortunate because I had to clamp and unclamp those damn vice grips 64 times just to tack them on.
Also new are the cables between the lower dropouts and the pontoon stays. These improved the handling on land, stopped the chains from getting knocked off when everything flexed, and reduced stress on the rear wheel.