Well, here we are, another year has gone by and I'm sitting here at the precipice of yet another boating season. Last year's experience with a semi-seasonal site up at the lake was a wonderful experience and it left me pondering why I didn't do it years prior. As of this writing, in the beginning of April, I still do not know if our name has gotten to the top of the list for the fully seasonal site yet, or whether I'll do the June to August thing again. Either way, I'm looking forward to it. But as is usual, there is always a few little bumps in the road, that have the potential to disrupt my ability to totally enjoy the season. First off, we have another year of aggressive softball playing, with Heather playing on 2 teams. And the other factor is the once again insane price of gasoline. Last year it was bad enough at $3.39/gallon (on land), and $4.79 on the water. This year it is just about at the $4/gallon mark (and still rising), I don't even want to contemplate what the on-water price will be this time. Most likely, I'll be filling the boat with 5 gallon cans again, since I need to save $$$ however I can. The good news is that the boat will start out the season with a full tank again.
Since it is so early in the season, there isn't much to say just yet. But this is a good time to recap the weather situation as it stands. I am always amazed how no two seasons are ever the same. 2 years ago we had more than our share of snow during the winter, followed by an early warm up. Last year had less snow, but it was colder and it stayed cold much longer. Spring was slow to warm up and it was very rainy. This year, we had a mild winter. Hardly any snow fell. Ironically, the biggest snowfall (5") we had came in October, long before snow had any business showing its face. The early snow led many people to believe that we were in for a brutal, snowy winter. But just as quickly as it came, the snow went back into hiding again, and we ended up with just 2 or 3 additional snowfalls total, at about 2 - 4" a piece. I used my snow blower once. Temperatures moderated, running in the 30's and 40's during the day. Very few really cold days showed up in January. In fact, Lake Wallenpaupack never froze over completely enough to venture out on. Many snowmobilers, and ATV'ers, not to mention ice fishermen, were pretty disappointed this year. They even had to cancel the annual "Ice Tee" ice golf contest, due to lack of safe ice. Of course, you won't hear a complaint from me if the winter is on the warm side. And the spring warmth also came early this year. Practically the whole month of March was well above normal with daytime temps into the 60's and even some high 70's. Of course, I knew this couldn't last, and by the beginning of April, the temps had slid back to more "normal" 50's and low 60's. Rainfall has been light as well, and that scares me. One thing I have learned is that the weather is a big balancing act. When we get lower than normal rainfall in the winter and spring (when we SHOULD get it), that tends to indicate that summer will end up a little higher on the rainfall scale. This would be bad news for outdoor summer recreational activities, whether that be softball games or boating trips. But, at this point, I can only hope and pray that rain doesn't ruin the summer.
And now for some really GOOD news. We were informed that a seasonal site became available up at the lake this year. Naturally, I am beside myself with excitement, but it also means that I have to get the trailer and the boat ready sooner than expected. This will be a tough thing to do with so many days taken up with softball, related activities, chores and other stuff. The plan is to set up the camp trailer the first weekend in May, with the boat following on Memorial Day. So far the trailer is "almost" ready. It just needs a coat of wax on the outside and for us to finish packing.
Wow, over a whole month has gone by since my last writing, and a lot of things have happened. The camper was set up at the beginning of May, as planned, in our new seasonal site. The site is in a good place, we have some decent neighbors, and we're in the process of adding little things to personalize our site.
The boat arrived over Memorial Day weekend as well. We decked out the boat slip with carpeting, rub rails and solar lamps on the posts.
We've gotten quite a bit of use out of the boat so far, and that's a good thing. So far the weather has been cooperating. Although it's been a bit on the cool side most of the times we've been up. For some more good news, the price of gas has also come back down a bit. While it's still way higher than it should be at $3.36 a gallon, it's better than the $4/gallon it was a few months back. At this point we're pretty much at the same price we were last year. Of course, it still needs to drop another buck a gallon, but thanks to the political situation we have now, I don't see it happening any time soon. up.
We've really become the quintessential seasoned site holders. We broke down and bought a golf cart, so we can zip around the campsite and down to the dock. So another future project will be to "pimp" out the buggy. Yea, I could go nuts and put in a stereo, lift kit, fancy wheels, and what not, but I think I'll probably end up just doing lights, horn and maybe a few other accessories.
We also broke down and bought a new tube for the boat. It's a 2 seater that you can either ride sitting down, or kneeling, depending on which way you tow it. The girls got a chance to break it in on a couple of weekends in June. I was even out on it (hard to believe right?). The wife and I take turns doing our best to drag the tube through the roughest water, and whipping them into tight turns. I got a bunch of great photos and video of the carnage. But despite our best efforts to beat them up, they kept getting back on for more. Gluttons for punishment I say..... Overall, everyone gives the new tube the BIG thumbs up.
As June comes to a close, I am still biting my lip with respect to the weather. Rainfall has been way below normal, which is great for mountain vacationers. But I know that when things turn out dry, they tend to turn on a dime later in the summer, so I worry about August and September. Temperatures have not been all that hot either, which is also not all that bad, except for in-water activities. So for now, the fingers remain painfully crossed.
The summer is going by way too fast. Here it is July already! Things are still going well, but I got my first weather-related disappointment. Last year, we had a great time watching the 4th of July fireworks from the boat, out in the lake. So naturally, this year we planned on doing it again. Since the 4th fell on a Wednesday this year, we planned on going up the weekend before, and staying until Thursday the 5th, so that we could get back in time to get ready for Heather's last softball tournament. It was a good plan, and we had a great time all the way up until Tuesday. That day, the weather people were forecasting severe thunderstorms for Wednesday afternoon and evening. So the powers that be decided to move the fireworks show back until Thursday night, when the weather was supposed to be rain-free ( and when we would be long gone). Of course, Wednesday rolled around and it was another beautiful day until about 6:00, when a small shower moved through, and then it cleared out again. But it was too late, the show had been postponed and we couldn't stay another day. So CRAP!, I missed the fireworks this year. I am bummed. But hopefully I'll catch them next year.
August went by super fast. Between softball tryouts and rain, the month was over before you knew it. But the month was a good one, as some interesting things happened. First off, we upgraded to a larger and much nicer trailer for the campground.
Secondly, we managed to get Wally Lake Fest in this year without it getting drowned out in a hurricane like last year. It was a fun time for all who attended the various functions. I enjoyed anchoring and listening to the battle of the bands for a couple of hours.
We also had some more fun beating up on my daughter and her friends on the tube. You might thing we were being brutal, but the kids loved it.
The month of September is usually one of the nicest of the summer. The humidity drops off, the nights cool down, but the days are still plenty warm. Unfortunately, September also marks the beginning of school, and the fall softball season, so there weren't many opportunities for boat related activities this month. It was a darned shame too...... I snuck away to check on the trailer on the weekend of the 23rd. It was such a nice weekend that I took the boat out by myself for what ended up being the last ride of the season. I was a little disappointed that I could only get 45 MPH out of it with such a light load. But I figured it had to do with accumulated bottom crud (and I was right!).
I finally pulled the boat out on the 29th of the month. Since the boat was in the water longer than last year, the amount of bottom crud was far worse. I was cringing at the thought of having to clean this mess off, and of the massive amount of elbow grease it was bound to entail.....
But just when I was about to give up and tackle this mess at home where I'd have the pressure washer and other stuff to help clean it (and I could do it in small sections) when I saw another guy pulling out his boat, and spraying this stuff on the bottom and the crud literally melted right off. So I asked him what it was and he told me that the product's name was "Iron Out". He let me try it on my boat, and here's what it looked like with just a spray of this stuff:
Now granted, it didn't take everything off, and I still had to scrub the rest off with my trusty Krud Kutter spray, but it was a HECK of a lot easier. So next year, I'll be prepared. Looks like I have a bunch of paint bubbles on the outdrive to scrape off, sand and paint.
I finally put the boat to rest for the winter in the middle of October. So another one of my yearly boating journals is finished. So until next year........ Watch out for the snow!