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Anomaly's Spring Break by Sandra Leinweber

soar.JPG (18599 bytes) "Here's how this is going to work. I'm going to be in the boat and you are going to back us down into the water until I say stop. Then I'll start the motor and unhook the boat and go tie up on the dock. You park the car and trailer and come on down."

"Okay." I was trying to remember our last trip with the boat and how we had put it in the water that time. I must have helped. No--our son did and I just watched.

"Okay." We came around the corner and there was the ramp. It looked like those bridges I sometimes drive to the top of in dreams. Going up is hard because it is so steep and then you get to the top and the other side is like a sheer cliff.

"Whoa! Doesn't this seem like an awfully steep boat ramp?"


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"Piece of cake"And it was. Everyone else seemed to be heading in, loading up, and going home.The cold front hit (literally) just as we turned the boat and left the dock. The Devil's River canyon became a funnel for the wind which whipped up the waves, and we immediately started checking out the side canyons. A mile or two upriver we found one that looked good and headed in. The hills around us broke most of the wind, and we spent the first night snug.

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Next morning,. the wind was still howling through the canyon, but we thought we'd go upriver anyway. Beating upriver is a better description. Beating upriver and getting soaked and cold. It was beautiful. The water was deep blue-green and ran up to the cliffs on one side and low hills on the other. Lake Amistad covered up a bunch of what most people would call desert wasteland. I think it is my favorite kind of country. I can guarantee that the people who had built houses up on the bluff would have never done so without the lake being there.
After awhile, we both got cold and turned around and headed back down towards the main part of the lake. The night before, we had discovered all the things I forgot to pack. Minor stuff, like I put matches in a plastic bag, but they turned out to be the kind that would only strike on the box. And then there was no can opener. And no toothpaste. I like to think that the things I forget add spice to our trips. We thought we'd try the marina at the ramp and see what they had. I thought they might have the heater going and of course they did. The lady also had the weather forecast. Wind all day, 25-30 MPH and gusting to 40-45. Cold for the next day or two. roughcanyon.jpg (78981 bytes)
We decided to look for a nice quiet cove for lunch, so we motored up the arm next to the marina. We saw a little crook in the cliff that I thought was too small for the boat, but Chuck thought not, and he took us in perfectly and gently. I was supposed to lasso the big rock with the line, but I ended up jumping off onto the rock when I realized I couldn't lasso. We climbed up to the caves above--a goat skeleton and beer cans. 
coot.JPG (28958 bytes) I could have stayed there all afternoon, but Chuck was ansy to get up the lake. Our goal was Seminole Canyon, about 35 miles up. There are pictographs there, and to see them up close, you have to come in by boat.
The waves on the lake were about 4 feet, and coming straight at us. I tried all the distractions I know. I saw a bluff that looked like fossils and asked to go there. We did and there were, but they weren't great fossils. Then there was a tiny island covered with white pelicans and we took photos and Chuck lost his hat.

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flower.jpg (9501 bytes) Chuck was determined and headed for the I-90 bridge. It seemed to me like the water got rougher and rougher and that the boat was rocking dangerously from side to side. Chuck assured me that that is what boats do. I was not convinced and asked to head for calmer water. We took the next side canyon.

We decided we would see how things looked in the morning. That night the depth finder said fish were all over under the boat, but they were not biting. A little otter started swimming around, and the next morning as we left, we saw him head for the spot we had tied up at. He went under and didn't come back up and we decided we must have been on top of his underwater entrance. He was probably our "fish."

The wind was calmer that morning, but it was still cold, and the weather forecast was for mid-50's. We still had a long way to go. Our map showed a boat ramp up above Seminole Canyon, so we decided to take the boat out and just drive up there and put the boat back in. I was happy, but I felt really bad when we found out that the boat ramp was not useable because the lake was low.
At that point we decided that our boat was a warm weather boat and that we would just have to come back in a couple of months. We did the 7 mile hike to a spot where you can look at the pictographs across the canyon. The hike was nice, Seminole Canyon is awesome, and there was the little boat dock--across the canyon, with stairs up to the pictographs. Sigh. We are planning our trip back. seminole.jpg (72877 bytes)
me.JPG (51067 bytes) pelican.jpg (21420 bytes)Chuck hasn't read this yet, but I can already tell he will think I didn't say enough about the boat. I like our boat. This has surprised me, because all the time he was building it, I thought it was silly looking and way too big in some ways and too small in others. It is nice to motor along in and I like sleeping on the water. The bed is comfortable and the kitchen-which I had the most doubts about- is perfect. I sit in the middle, and the stove is right there, the food below the stove shelf, the ice chest a swivel to my left. The cockpit looked huge, but it is just right. I even like sitting out on the very front when it is my job to jump off and pull us up to shore.  People do stare at us sometimes and ask tactful questions, but even that is okay.

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