Houseboating on Lake Shasta

Last Sunday through Thursday I went house boating with Laura and her extended maternal family.

Saturday night I crashed at Laura’s house in Redondo Beach so we could take one car from Redondo (25 miles closer to Shasta). Sunday morning we were up at 6am and left the house by 7 to start. We chose the 101 over the 5 because it’s prettier and so we could stop in Paso Robles and visit the A&W Restaurant with carhop service. We got to Paso Robles around 1pm and slowly cruised down “main street” looking for the restaurant. Unable to find it, we scoured the web with my iPhone and found that they tore it down to build a bank. Boo! So we stopped at a Tastee Freeze for burgers and ice cream. Then we headed back on the road. As we approached Gilroy and highway 152 (which we used to get from the 101 to the 5) we ran into an unusual amount of traffic. Turned out to be an auction house/yard sale thingy. Once we passed that it was smooth sailing. As we turned the corner from the 101 to the 152, we stopped at a fruit stand and picked up some fresh fruit to share with the boatloads of people. Around dinner time we stopped in Corning at The Olive Pit. Laura loves olives. She got a huge jar of black olives from her grandma one Christmas and watched Saturday morning cartoons with a cereal bowl full of them. That was lots of fun. After dinner we were about an hour away from the lake so we plugged on through. When we were almost there, it wasn’t very smoky…aside from the crashed, exploded car on the other side of the road. When we got to the lake we drove down the really long boat ramp (the lake’s water level was dropping all week) and successfully located our houseboats. So then instead of unloading the car at the bottom of the ramp (we were unsure of the legality of parking where we were) we drove the car up the ramp to a permanent parking spot and grabbed all our stuff (amusing pictures carrying EVERYTHING) and slowly but surely made our way down the ramp (with only a few pratfalls and dropped items). We dropped our stuff off on one of the boats and started the introductions. Laura has 2 married uncles, 1 married aunt, 9 cousins, 3 second-cousins, etc which break down into the California Patterson’s (Dave, Lucie, Dave, Lynda, Dave, Zach, Owyn, Mike, Heather, Andrew, Grace), the Idaho Patterson’s (Don and Pat) and the Texas Patterson’s (Sue, Jon, Julia, Alisa and Paul). We stayed in the dock the first night (so nobody got left behind) and enjoyed the gentle rolling of the boats. Laura and I ended up “owning” the penthouse (a 3 foot tall padded room on the upper deck of the boat) for the few days we were there which was lots of fun.

Monday morning we rented a ski-boat which the Texas Patterson’s took out ahead of us to find a nice spot to land the boats. Uncle Don took charge of the first boat (named Prudence) and Uncle Dave took charge of the second boat (named Folly a.k.a. Monkey – yes Owyn was on our boat). After the Texas Patterson’s had picked out a decent spot, we took the boats and headed out into the depleted lake. When we arrived, we parked the boats about 20 feet apart and secured them to the shore with stakes and ropes (finally! Boy Scout training pays off! I used a taut line hitch). It was a nice pocket of the lake, but our landing spot was especially muddy. Don had landed a few minutes before us and had set out around our pocket to a log that was halfway up the bank which he proceeded to push down into the lake, which we used as a stepping stone for Prudence. We also found a smaller log that we wedged in under the Folly. These logs came in handy the next day. After the logs were put into place we changed into swimsuits, slathered on the SPF 50 and went swimming in the lake. The most fun was the water slides off the back of the boats. You turned on a timer on the lower deck and it pumped lake water up to the slide (which ended about 4 feet above the water). Cousin Davey probably used the slide the most. The Texas Patterson’s took the ski boat out and went inner tubing for about an hour then came back at which point Laura and I decided to join Aunt Sue, Uncle Don, Aunt Pat and Cousin John for the next round of inner tubing. It was the first time I’d ever done it and I…might have been a little cocky about it. John and Don recommended that I lie on my stomach and hang on because it would be easier to hang on that way, but I wound up sitting in the inner tube. According to Laura, John actually got frustrated trying to wipe me out (he finally got me the way everybody wipes out – by doing doughnuts). When I wiped out – it hurt so bad! I mean it quickly faded, but I just kind of floated their exaggerating and milking it. As I’m floating their saying “OW!”, Aunt Pat tried to get into the inner tube and ended up in the water. Now came the fun part of trying to get back in the boat. There are 3 TIIIINY little steps near the top edge of the ski boat, but that’s still a good several inches out of the water. It took forever to get up out of the water…but we finally got Aunt Pat and I back in the boat.

Tuesday: birthday surprise, raft floating, Murder, Bam!, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Wednesday: pack up, head back to dock, drop people off, say goodbye, drive to Oakland Airport with John and Julie (drive past 505 to Jack in the Box and gas, drive past again to get on it), head back towards Emeryville, miss, pay toll over Bay Bridge, free ride over Golden Gate and Richmond/San Rafael Bridges, arrive in Emeryville, find Pixar, take pictures, find Taco Bell, get food, get lectured by schizophrenic black lady, get to a mailbox, start driving South, start crashing when we see wildfires to the west of us, notify parents about crashing in a hotel, find Best Western in Madonna (?), crash.

Thursday: finish the drive down the 101

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