And the road goes on forever...

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Wisconsin's Water World

Marc has been and gone again but we got so much accomplished this visit! He was able to get some personal fun time volunteering for the EVAA event and Model Airplane Association in Oshkosh. This is the nation’s, if not the world’s largest annual fly-in of anything “airplane” and lasts an entire week. So, I didn’t really see much of him his first two days and evenings but after a short rest the following day, he hit the deck running literally, building phase one of our front deck.
Construction materials have become outlandishly expensive of late; the framing lumber, posts, Trex deck and vinyl railing for this 10x10’ deck ran well over $2000. We already have skirting pieces of Trex (leftover commercial job pieces Marc scrounged) on hand but he just didn’t have time this trip to get them installed. After building a temporary set of steps and handrail out of lumber, with me now in the process of getting it painted white, we’re good to go through the winter. Even unfinished, it tremendously improved the exterior appearance of the house.
Next summer, he will build a lower level deck coming off the first, a few steps down, which will then only require a couple of steps to ground level. This will be a spot for our BBQ and will be eventually lined with planter boxes to pretty things up. That should finally take care of finishing up our home’s exterior—yay, finally! That only will have taken three years….

As we all know, all work no play makes Marc a dull boy, so in between swinging the hammer, we opened our anniversary surprise. I had done eons of time on research debating what type of fishing boat/kayak to buy so that we could easily take it along pulling the RV. Many kayaks were a little too long; would be hard to load overhead on a pickup rack; and frankly, possibly hard for Marc to get into and out of. With his two artificial knees, certain maneuvers are now beyond his capabilities, like overly bending the knee. 

In the end, I went back to a boat type I had initially discounted, an inflatable raft, aka like a Zodiac. Only of course, I found immediately that Zodiacs are way out of my price range, so I settled instead on a well rated boat made in Canada and only sold via a couple sources here in the states, a Saturn. The boat is rated for 1200 pounds of capacity; draws just four inches; can handle up to Class IV rapids; ocean use; and up to a 15 HP outboard. I debated between an 11 foot and 12 foot, finally deciding upon the 11. I figured we would need some power source as well, so also ordered a 40-pound thrust trolling motor and bought two comfy seats with backs. 

We excitedly hauled it into the basement for its first blow-up, using the hand pump provided, and then decided we definitely needed to buy an electric pump, ha! Marc fashioned a sliding apparatus out of wood to connect to the aluminum bench seats for our comfy seats and he bought two large batteries for the motor. We were ready for its maiden voyage!
We’re lucky here to be 12 minutes away from spring fed chain of lakes, which provide clear, beautiful waters upon which to recreate. Although Sunday dawned cloudy and cool, by noon it had cleared, and we had blazing sun. It felt so good to be out on the water again! These first pics on our initial run, including our launch beach,
were using one battery and the trolling motor. At 75% power, we had only traversed three of the lakes when we were already down 50% power. And it was S-L-O-W. Our boat was turning heads and inviting comments already though.
Becker Marine sits right on the water by where we had parked, and I know him because he is the kind soul who provides the shelter with one of his warehouses to use for our annual rummage sale. Marc told me to pull in so he could take a look at motors. Well, it wasn’t ten minutes later when he decided we’d try out the 6 HP Evinrude and ended up buying it for our little boat. Ah, that made things much nicer. Not as quiet, but more workable and with its three-gallon fuel tank, able to use and move the boat all day long on probably half that amount. What follows are some pictures of the lovely and often lively scenes we encountered boating around the lakes. These lakes are heavily used as they are surrounded by wonderful cabins and mansions, each with docks holding jet skis, pontoons, canoes and kayaks. They all flow into one another, often with shallow channel connections. Many of the lakes are no-wake, with four being go-fast for the skiers. From the comments we were receiving however, apparently no one had ever used a raft on them, but all thought it looked like so much fun. And it was!
We motored past lakeside restaurants with boat up dockage, all packed with people on this fine Sunday. We watched several raft-ups of pontoon boats and those parked on sand bars, sitting in the water or swimming. I got sunburned and after six hours we had exhausted ourselves. I backed the truck down the boat ramp and Marc tilted the raft on end and shoved it onto the truck bed railing and then secured it for the trip home. This worked out well so can be an additional way for it to travel, especially with the trailer in tow.
Rachael comes in a week and I look forward to us getting away to Devil’s Lake and the WI River Dells with our new toy. Since she lifts weights and works out all the time she should have enough muscle power to help me load everything and start the motor. Meanwhile, I’m volunteering, painting, doing yard work and processing apples. Our trees are just loaded this year.