Getting Ready to Howl

BY DAN ROGERS - DIAMOND LAKE, WASHINGTON - USA

It’s been half-a-month.  Kate had a routine hip replacement, that wasn’t at all routine.  My part of it has been to drive to and from hospitals; and be in hospitals.  Quite a bit.  There’s an old military saying, “Those who stand and wait, also serve.”  Anyhow, I got my liberty card this afternoon.  One of those “almost-not” times.  Afterall.  It was already noon, on Sunday.  A hot and calm day in the mid-nineties.  One of those days we northerners sort of endure, and hope for cooler temps soon.  Anyhow.

This coming weekend is the second annual Howl at the Moon Cruise on Priest Lake.  A good enough excuse to run up there and take a last minute looksee.  The 100-mile round trip started out pretty discouraging for a guy who has come to dislike crowds.  Traffic on the highway was heavy – at least for here.  I kept telling myself that homeward bound traffic far outnumbered the outbound folks.  Until I got to the Quagganazi Inspection Station.  Gridlock, I tellya.

Actually, stopping for the boat inspectors is kinda’ fun.  They always ask, “Where have you had your boat in the water in the past 30 days?”  I sort of break into a marinized version of Hank Snow’s classic “Winnemucca Road.”  You know the one where the chorus goes,

“I’ve been everywhere, man
I’ve been everywhere, man
Across the deserts bare, man
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man
Of travel I’ve had my share, man
I’ve been everywhere…”

They always roll their eyes and repeat, “OK.  Where are you headed?  Today?”  And, most times, I answer, “…ain’t quite sure.  Maybe I’ll turn left.  Maybe not.”  When you tow a one of a kind boat through the inspection station as often as I do, well, they sort of remember you.  And, I tell you.  That lineup there almost got me thinking about just giving it up and going back home.  Silly, I know.

A few miles farther up the road, traffic was much thinner.

A few more miles, and I was sort of feeling lonely.  I had the highway to myself.  This is a sample of the going-home traffic, on a sunny Sunday afternoon.  In Almostcanada.  Not all bad, eh?  But, as I was saying the Howl cruise is in just a few more days.  I decided to head to our “traditional” launch point at Granite Creek Marina.  And, yes, there were actual cars in the parking lot.  But, Jamie-the-sea-dog, Miss Kathleen, and I were the only sentient beings using the ramp.  And, I was worried about crowds.

Sooooo, without much further ado, we headed on up the lake a ways.  I did a few “crowd-samples,” and at one point could actually sight TEN boats underway on a section of lake with about a 10 mile fetch.

Crowded, ain’t it?  There’s a little spot that I like to go, sometimes.   It’s mostly made up of a serpentine deep water channel cutting narrowly between Eight-mile Island and the mainland.

A veritable Strait of Hormuz today!  Jamie and I anchored in a fathom of water, on a sandy bottom.  We cooked lunch, and took a nap.

That’s what we did, this sunny Sunday afternoon.  We hope that’s what you did, too.




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