Monday, July 11, 2011

Bikes, trains, automobiles, and the boat

This last weekend was full of boating, camping, biking, and the beach. On Friday Dave, Noelle, my Mom, Scott, Jane, Lori, and myself met early in the morning at the boat. We took it down the lake 10 miles to Pepin, WI, and docked at the Marina, where we had lunch at the Habor Veiw Cafe. The food was outstanding. We did try and sail some on the way back, but with no wind that is hard to do. Dave let Scott be the helmsman, and no one died. After returning back to our marina, my mom and Scott took off to meet some friends of their's, and we headed off for the campsite to meet up with Ed and Beck. Dave, Ed, and myself all had our motorcycles so we could do some riding. Ed was our cook for the weekend, and, as always, did a fabulous job of planning and preparing our meals.

After dinner and the day on the boat all of us were really tired. None of us got much sleep at the campsite. We were supposed to camp at the state park, but currently our state government can't get their stuff together, so the park was closed. We found another campground in Lake City. It was in a nice grassy area with some big shade trees, which were very much appreciated this weekend. One of the things about being located in a river valley is many times there are trains on either side of Lake Pepin. There are two main lines that the trains run on about every ten minutes. Being that we were in Lake City, and there was five rail road crossings in the city, the train laid on its horn for a couple of minutes about every ten minutes. That, combined with the hot temperatures, made for less than desirable sleeping conditions.

After Ed got breakfast made for all of us on Saturday, we made our way down to the boat because there was wind projected for the day. And did we have wind. We ended up with some gusts over 20 miles per hour. At times, the boat was traveling almost 8.5 miles an hour. While that may not sound fast, it's basically as fast as a sail boat will travel. I think both Dave and I enjoyed the wind and maneuvering the boat. Our passengers may not have all shared in our enjoyment, as things slid from one side of the boat to the other. I made the mistake of putting our sandwiches into the cooler that had lots of melted ice in it. So after sliding around for a while, we ended up with soggy sandwiches for lunch.

After we finished up our lunch, we started to head back to the marina and we tried to sail wing and wing, where the sails are on opposite sides of the boat. It is somewhat of a dangerous maneuver because if you have shifting winds (and we did) the boat can accidentally jibe. The boom was almost fully extended on the port side, a little shift in the wind, and swung hard over to starboard. Dave was trying to pull the main sheet in to slow it down a little bit, but luckily ducked and the boom missed his head. We found out later that one of the shackles got bent from this maneuver. With still heavy winds, we got back to the marina, which is normally completely still because of the burms around it. This time I'm at the helm, I tried to come in very slow, and about half way in to the slip, the wind started pushing me towards another boat. So I ended up reversing out, backing up-wind, and then coming back into the slip. I came in a lot better, but a touch too fast, and ended up kissing the dock with the bow of the boat.

We headed back to the campground where Dave, Ed, and I took off South on motorcycles around the lake through Wabasha into Wisconsin North up into Red Wing and back to the camp. Beck stayed at the campsite to hold down the fort, while Lori and Jane went to a movie in an air conditioned theater. Later in the evening Ed cooked up another meal for us, and had a fire and some popcorn and roasted marshmellows and everyone was off to bed, but not necessarily sleeping. It was still, humid, and in the 80s at 10:00 pm. So Jane, Lori, and myself had a hard time getting to sleep.

Despite the trains, we did get more sleep, until the rain came at around 6 a.m.  It started out pretty light, and then got heavier and lasted over a couple of hours. So breakfast was served in our pop-up camper that we pull behind the motorcycle--5 adults and one child. The rain cleared off. Dave headed back to the boat to get some work done. Lori, Jane, and Beck headed to the beach for a quick swim. Ed and myself held down the chairs in the campsite, until the girls returned. Mid-day we packed up and headed home. It was another long tiring weekend, but had a great time.

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