Tag Archives: Pontoon

Pontooning Powers

At the start of the summer, we got a boat — a big deal for us — and we’ve tried to put it to as much use as possible these past few months. We’ve been doing a pretty darn good job, although we’ve done a bit of traveling and have had a little weird weather. Even Roo is getting in on the action, equipped with an pretty cool life jacket we got her (Trevor refused to get a pink one with little anchors all over it, citing “safety” and other blah blah blahs, so she’s got a super boring yellow one with a “high safety rating.” blah.)

And I don’t really have a lot to say about our pontooning adventures; they’re pretty low-key (although last weekend while hanging out with my friend Lisa and her family we went over a big wave and the front end dipped into the lake and we thought we were going to sink and possibly perish, but, of course, we did not). But here are some stories of the floatings we’ve had so far.

The Power family came out for the weekend in July, and we even got Rachel to come up from Florida. Florida! Along with the human Power family, we welcomed a new canine member of the family to the boat: Cheekah, a little gray Chihuahua who, unfortunately, didn’t get to meet Roo, but they probably would have been best friends and moved to New York together to get jobs as fashion magazine interns. Or as circus performers. Or pasta makers.

Fran and Cheekah

Fran and Cheekah, queens of the pontoon

During the Power Family Weekend, we also discovered that I’m no good at taking selfies. Now, this is something I’ve known, personally, for a long time. I really don’t take selfies unless I’m making a silly face to text to Trevor, and I pretty much look silly in 99% of the selfies I take. And sometimes, I’m not even present in the picture at all:

1/3 of my face made it into this one! Success!

1/3 of my face made it into this one! And everyone else looks fantastic! Success!

But being on our boat makes me take selfies. I don’t know what it is: the fresh lake air, the wind whipping through my hair, the afternoon boat beer…It’s a mystery. But I think I’m getting better at them.

Pretty good, right?

Pretty good, right?

I'm 100% happy with this one -- my entire head is in it, along with some of my neck!

I’m 100% happy with this one — my entire face is in it, along with some of my neck!

We had a great weekend all around, and it was so good to see Rachel. She left us on Monday to drive up to Door County to visit Grandma Madel, but we got to see her for dinner on her way back down and before she left for home. Hopefully Trevor and I will visit her in November for Thanksgiving like we did last year. Maybe this year we can convince her to help us steal a shuttle and take a quick trip to the moon. Or whatever; we can also just eat some space ice-cream. Or regular ice cream, I’m not picky.

Last weekend my friend Lisa, her husband James, and two of their three kids came over for some ‘toon time (yeah, I just used the phrase “‘toon time,” judge me if you will). We had a great time swimming around and eating snacks for a few hours.

Lisa Eli and Violet

Lisa and her two fish-monkeys

And Trevor might have asked for some help driving the boat.

Eli and TrevorViolet and Trevor

And he also made some a new friend (a friend who was wearing a matching outfit, so…destiny.):

Walking on Oak Street

Trevor and Eli: co-captains and new best friends

On Sunday, it was just Trevor, Roo, and me, and we tried out our new tube. Trevor got it primarily so Roo could take breaks while swimming, since Roo’s “swimming” technique involves a lot of water eating. Lifting her up into the tube is easier than lifting her up into the boat, and if she’s in the tube while we’re swimming, she’s a bit calmer than if she was watching us from the boat. A bit.

How cute are these two? CUTE!

She looks calm, right? Well. Trevor does, at least.

And those are our pontooning tales! Are they everything you’d hoped they would be? Even better?! Good.

Trevor will be doing a lot of traveling in late August and September for work; he’s going to Florida and then to China (China!? I know, right?!), and while he’s gone I’m hosting my amazing book club babes for a nautical book club adventure and some of my high school girlfriends for a Labor Day ladies’ pontooning party. So our adventures are not yet over, although, they will likely be just as “exciting” as these were. I’ll keep you up-to-date.

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The Gang Gets a Boat

Trevor and I moved out to Camp Crystal Lake three years ago — June 20, 2013 to be exact. Our first summer (a half-summer, really) we spent settling into the house and the neighborhood; the second and third, I’ve written about before, and this, our fourth summer, can now be called the Summer of the Boat! Because we got a boat! (I am not subtle, no.)

We’ve been talking about getting a boat since we moved in. That’s a big part of why we moved out here: we wanted a little lake house with a fireplace and a yard for Roo. And we use the heck out of our fireplace and pot-bellied stoves, and Roo uses the heck out of the yard (for running a course around at 1,000MPH, and also for her…other business…). But we’d not used our proximity to the lake to its full potential. Yes, we swim (even Roo, though she tries to drink all the water as she swims, which is weird and kind of gross) and we float around in tubes and on noodles. But we wanted to really use the lake. Like, use it up.

And how better to do that than with a boat? (A: there is no better way.)

So, after years of research (yes, I know I’m prone to hyperbole, but in this case I’m telling the truth [and if you know Trevor at all, then you know how truthful this is]), we got a 20 foot pontoon boat from a dealership in Volo, near the Chain O’Lakes.

As soon as we boarded, we knew it was the boat for us.

T in Captain's Seat

This feels right.

It even came with a bird. We couldn’t convince her to stay with us, though. She mentioned something about moving out West to San Diego. She has some friends out there with a nest-building business; she’s going to do inside sales for them. It sounded nice.

We almost convinced this bird to come with us, but she wanted a nice nest in San Diego instead.

Good luck, bird.

After doing the paperwork and getting the necessary registration and city stickers, we had five days until the boat would be delivered, and we needed a dock to park her. Our beach association has a pier, but boat owners are responsible for building and installing their own docks, so Trevor set to work to figure out how to do it.

He called his dad, the trusty and skilled carpenter, John Power, and secured his availability for the build and install. There was a yet-to-be-installed dock sitting on our beach, so Trevor took a look at that to get an idea of what he needed. He examined, measured, took pictures, drew schematics, and then bought his lumber (pressurized pine) and supplies (poles and augers to be screwed into the sandy lake bottom). And he and John set to work.

The Dock BuildingThere were two sections, each measuring ten feet: one that had an angled end and clipped directly to the pier, and a second section that connected to the first. The first day they measured, cut, and assembled; the second day they measured, cut, and assembled some more, and then they installed the dock in the water. They had to get it in before the boat was delivered at 3 p.m. on May 21, and they got it done with an hour to spare.

They are, in no uncertain terms, my heroes.

These men built and installed this dock.

These men built and installed this dock.

Power DockWith the dock good to go, we were ready for our boat, and it arrived right on time. We met Vince, our delivery guy, at the park district’s boat put-in area, and he unloaded it onto the lake. We picked John up at our dock and then drove around for a while so Vince could show us the ropes.

T Watches the Put In

Trevor and the very helpful Vince

Man and His Boat

A man and his boat

John, finally getting to relax after we worked him like a maniac for three days

John, finally getting to relax after we worked him like a maniac for three days

We could have driven around forever, but Vince wanted to go home so we unloaded him, and John finally had enough of us and headed back to Elgin and Fran. We tooled around for a bit longer, then finally headed in so Trevor could get some rest.

On Sunday we had perfect boat weather. My brother, Greg, was visiting a friend in our neighborhood, so he stopped by and we all went out in the morning. We included Roo, whose last adventures on a pontoon boat were two years ago in Door County — we tried to get her to swim, but she didn’t like it, and then she got very nervous to see everyone else swimming while she was on the boat. Trevor and I hoped she’d be better this second time, because it won’t be as fun this summer if she’s not hanging out with us. And she did very well — she only jumped on the bench once, she sniffed everything, she did a lot of looking out into the lake, and she split her time between the sun and the shade. I think she’s going to be just fine.

Roo Watches Water

Roo checks everything out

Roo and Engine

I’m going to teach her how to climb that ladder

T and Greg

Trevor and Greg

L and T on Boat

This is where I’m going to be all summer

T and Roo

They look very serious for people sitting on a pontoon boat — PONTOOOOOON

So now we’re boat people! I got us matching Camp Crystal Lake t-shirts at the Walker Stalker Convention this weekend (a post on that is forthcoming)…

Yes, we will wear these at the same time

Yes, we will wear these at the same time

…and we’re going to name the boat ( we have a short-list of choices, and we’ll let you know that soon enough [I wanted to name it the Mrs. Voorhees, but Trevor vetoed me]).

Now, the only thing left is to hold the lake’s biggest dance party!