Saturday, October 19, 2013

(Mis)Adventures in Boating

Several weeks ago, a couple who attend the same church that I do invited me to visit them at their house on Oswego Lake and go for a boat ride. Here's a little lake history, back in the day it was called Sucker Lake (charming name, isn't it?). There are different stories about how it's a man-made lake but also was formed during the Missoula Flood. Perhaps the truth is a combination of the two. The lake is joined to the Willamette River by Sucker Creek, and there is also at least one canal joining it to the Tualatin River. In the late 1800's it was used to transport iron from the local iron mine down to the smelter, which was several miles away at what is now George Rogers Park. Now, it's a private lake owned and maintained by those who live around it. There is public swimming access, but if the idea is staying above the water, that's another story.

When Leon invited me to come take pictures, I jumped at the chance. After living in Lake Oswego for eight years, the closest I'd gotten to the lake was the "Duck Pond" in downtown. The view from their house was captivating enough, and I couldn't wait to go for a boat ride. However, the matter of a large bit of a canvas barrier that was part of the remodel next door getting caught in the boat's propeller, prop, blade, etc., caused a bit of a delay. While Leon was busy untangling the cloth, Sharon got out the paddle boards and gave me a quick lesson on how to ride one without taking a nose dive. Ever since I've seen groups of kids gliding along the surface of the water, I've wanted to try this. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, and after a few minutes I was headed off for a quick tour. I knew all those years riding skateboards when I was a kid would come in handy.

After about 20 minutes, Leon drove the boat out, free of its slimy canvas entanglements. We then headed off under the little bridge on North Shore Drive and out into the "big lake." And it was certainly bigger than I realized. As many times as I've run, walked, or driven around it, I never realized how vast it really was.
The sun was not in the ideal spot on the way out, but I wasn't complaining. Leon told me about the history of the homes as we went by and stopped to let me take pictures of anything interesting, which was about every five feet.

Things were going swimmingly (no pun intended), when all of a sudden there was silence instead of boat motor noise. After numerous attempts to get the engine started and attempting to flag down the only blind boater on the lake, Leon got out the oar and paddled us to the nearest dock. We tied the boat up and went up the stairs to find out who our new best friends would be. Of course, I had to take a picture because it was a really nice view. Unfortunately, no one was home at
either of those homes, so we trooped next door and down more stairs. The lady of the house let Leon use her phone to call the lake patrol. They are a group of off-duty firemen who help rescue boaters and patrol the lake to make sure everyone is following the rules. Of course, this particular day, no one was on duty. So, back to the boat and into the lake to try and flag down a good Samaritan.

This time we were more successful, and some very nice people towed us all the way back home. It was a much slower ride back, but it gave me more chances to enjoy the scenery.  The house below is also known as Casablanca, and for good reason. It was once occupied by Humphrey Bogart and his wife Mayo Methot, the wife before Lauren Bacall. We soon

 were safely back and thanked our rescuers, who happened to live right across the bay from Leon and Sharon. They were both so apologetic, but there was no reason to be. I'm now assured of more visits out there to make up for all the mishaps that happened on this one.

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