Thursday, July 12, 2007

Off the lake and into the air to Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - There has been a lot of water under the keel since I last posted anything - and a lot of air miles, too.

Close readers will notice that this is being entered from Sacramento.

Sacramento? What the hell????

We received word a few days ago from Don Tiffin - former owner of Sabbatical, about to become owner of Sabbatical again - that he would be winging his way from Australia to San Francisco to take delivery of the ship early next week. And so, frequent-flier miles in hand, we bravely boarded a Southwest Airlines' flight from Buffalo, NY to Sacramento early Wednesday morning. Very early Wednesday morning.

And it went off without a hitch. I mean, the flight attendants were even, well, pleasant.


But before all that, we had lots of adventures and a few minor mishaps.

Spirit of Louise gets towed home
The Spirit of Louise gets towed home by cousin Roger

After days of fun - and about 18 gallons of gasoline - the now-named Spirit of Louise pontoon boat (named for Sylvia's mother) had its first serious hiccup, a burned-up waterpump in the engine. We were headed home after a day of touring the lake when suddenly some white steam started coming out of exhaust port where water is supposed to stream out. The Admiral spotted it before it became an issue and already the folks at Morgan Marine have fixed it so we can pick it up when we return in about a week. I burned up a lot of those pumps on Lake Chautaqua many years ago.

Spirit of Louise captain relaxes
Relaxing at the Bills' dock early in the day

We had plenty of wild boat times before that, with a good part of it spent down at Ruth and John Bill's dock. July 3 - arguably the nicest day on the water I've had in years, we swam off the dock and also watched cousin Roger pulling a three-person tube with his boat (that can go about 70 mph). I had the opportunity to jump into the tube and ride with Jen Bills and her friend Kristen, but decided that my slowly healing shoulders might not be able to stand the excitement. To show how conservative I am about these shoulders, the Admiral encouraged me to climb in the tube and I still opted out.

Carumba! What was I thinking?

Instead, Jen's cousin, Brett (Roger's son) hopped in the tube for a wild run around the bay. Only a single scream punctuated the air when they took one particularly sharp turn. I'm not sure if any of the three owned up to who let out the yelp.

When three is not a crowd
When three is definitely not a crowd

Jen & Kristen test the waters
Jen and Kristen test the waters before the tube ride

The adventures of early July included an old fashioned barn raising, except that there wasn't a barn, it was a dock. And instead of a legion of Amish farmers and women dressed like the 19th century, it was a lot of sunburned beer drinkers in bathing suits, adding a new piece onto the dock at the Bills, a dock that now will have nice shady deck for those broiling days.

A nautical barn raising
Karl, Jen & Michael pound nails

Nautical barn raising with Jen & Michael
Jen and Michael hammer away

As in any construction project, it's important to have the right tools and so when I arrived to work on the deck, I discovered that John Bills had made sure that the nailing crew would remain hydrated through the day by putting a cooler full of cold drinks on the end of the dock. We dipped into the cooler lightly early in the project - our fingers needed protection from poorly aimed hammers, after all - but by 3 p.m. when the deck was all but permanently tapped into place, we relaxed.

Right tools for the right job
Keeping hydrated is important

Although being back in Sacramento for a short time is fun, (like having lunch with daughter Anne today and getting to see grandaughter Samantha over the weekend and next week, too), my mind is already thinking about a proposed new stairway to the water at the Valois house, the three huge bonfires we are going to have with the debris from the beach cleanup, and getting back out on the Spirit of Louise with our dock-building mates and everyone else.

Captain Karl at the helm
Karl take a turn at the helm

But first there are some California adventures ahead, too, including going on a San Francisco Bay cruise with several hundred newspaper publishers tomorrow night - one of the Admiral's perks for being a California Newspaper Publishers Association consultant.

I'll try not to mention that I use Craig's List all the time and haven't bought - or even read - a classified advertisement in a newspaper in probably three or four years. If I do slip up and mention Craig's list, I'll make sure I am nowhere near the edge of the boat. Accidents happen when you mix smartass Journalism professors, free liquor and newspaper publishers who are watching their advertising revenues spiral down like water in a kitchen sink.

The SF Bay water is only about 59 degrees right now. Hell, that's colder than Seneca Lake.

No comments:

Post a Comment