Monday, October 25, 2010
clampetts storm lake powell, day four
Day four brought more rain and a zillion waterfalls. It was pretty cool to see, actually. Wanting to see some sights downriver, and hoping that heading south would bring warmer weather and sunshine, we made a decision.
"Load 'em up and head 'em out!"
Everyone packed up as soon as possible. Boy, did we look like quite the crew. Towels, blankets, and sleeping bags hanging from every possible nook and cranny, tents set up on top, and kids galore!
Grandpa was a little nervous to turn the houseboat around and get out of the narrow canyon. We hushed the kids and all awaited in silence, hoping to give him a little peace and quiet so he could concentrate on the task at hand. With Courtney and AJ standing nearby to shout directions, he started the 'ol boat up. He backed up just a bit and then started using the forward/reverse controls to try to turn her around. We all held our breath and watched as the back end of the boat spun around, narrowly missing the wall. There just wasn't a lot of room to work with! Just as we were feeling a touch of relief, we looked out to see ourselves facing the way we came. Then back around, around and around. Pretty soon it became obvious that we were spinning in circles, just missing the walls each time. We were all half smiling (trying not to laugh), and half crossing our fingers that we wouldn't crash into the wall.
Grandpa called out, "How do I control this thing?"
Just then, AJ noticed Grandpa was only using the hand levers, not the steering wheel. "Try using the steering wheel," he yelled back as a suggestion.
We all started laughing as Grandpa blurted out with relief, "Oh!!!! I forgot I had one of those!"
In just the knick of time, we pulled out of our turn and headed straight. We laughed about that for days.
To help pass the miles, we sat the kids down and forced a little homework time. They had all missed a week of school. Despite many a promise that "We'll do it!", it just hadn't been happening. After all, who wants to worry about multiplication when you have cousins to hang out with?
The main channel of Lake Powell is about 150 miles long, and we were only going about 30 miles downriver. Still, a houseboat doesn't move very fast! We needed to stop at the marina for water and gas, but about five miles away we heard a weather warning over the radio. Ping pong size hail, more rain, and a tornado warning.
Before long, the torrential rain turned into rain. Ping pong size for real! AJ and Ronnie watched nervously out at their boats tagging along, waiting for the windshields to break. Luckily, the wind wasn't blowing and so the waves didn't come into the boats. It was a crazy, crazy storm! Once we reached the marina, they had to untie the smaller boats while they refueled. That meant that Daniel and AJ had to drive around in circles in the pouring rain for quite some time. Meanwhile, Courtney, Grandpa, and Ronnie got soaked trying to get everything done at the dock.
The rest of us sat inside with blankets and hot chocolate. But believe you me, we felt really, really sorry for those poor guys.
Once we were all filled up, we continued our journey south. Our trek ended up being an all day event and we were forced to pull into a cove on the main channel to spend the night. We would have to find a campsite in the morning. Fortunately, we had plenty of food, warm clothing, and games to entertain everyone.
To top it off, we had each other. Really, what more could we want?