Thursday, September 15, 2016

Thursday Thirteen 430: Don't Rock the Boat

Capitol Skyline, about an hour before sunset

Sunday evening, we had a work excursion -- a two-hour sunset cruise on Lake Mendota. The weather couldn't have been more perfect: a high of only 75F during the day, with a light wind and clear skies. It was a little cool out on the lake, and the water a bit choppy at times, but everyone played it smart in bringing a light jacket or sweatshirt. We left port an hour before sunset, and made a clockwise circuit of the lake, passing such notable local landmarks as the Governor's Mansion, Tenney Park Locks, The Boat House, The Red Gym, Memorial Union Terrace and Picnic Point. And, of course, there were magnificent views of the Capitol. We had a great time, and it brought to mind other occasions boats have played a role in my life.

1. When we were little, my dad owned a fishing boat, and would sometimes take my younger sister and I out with him. Not that we wanted to fish with him, it was just cool to go in the boat.

2. Some friend's of my parents owned a "cottage" on a private lake about an hour north of here. One summer when we were in high school, they invited my sisters and I, and some of our friends, up to camp on their land for a holiday weekend. This included use of the canoe, row boat and paddle boat.

3. The summer between my junior and senior years in HS, I was an exchange student to Norway. One night my host mother's brother borrowed a friend's fishing boat and took a couple of us out along the coast for a few hours. It was spectacular!

4. Almost a year later, friends and I were in Paris, France for spring break. The week's events included an evening Bateaux-Mouches cruise along the Seine, sailing past la Tour Eiffel, a replica of the Statue of Liberty, and other popular Paris destinations.

Sunset on Lake Mendota, Madison

5. One summer while I was in Canada, I was invited to spend a week in Canada with a friend's family. We stayed at a campground owned by her family, and spent a day whitewater canoeing. I'd been in a canoe many times before, but never over rapids before. It was a lot of fun, probably due to the fact they were gentle, easy rapids that weren't as strenuous or harrowing as some rapids can be. Alas, I never got the chance to try it again, and now a neck-injury would prevent me from participating.

6. My senior year in college, my sorority decided to do something a bit different for our spring formal. We had dinner at a nice restaurant, then held the dance portion on a Lake Michigan cruise ship. As it was early April, there were some pretty big swells out on the lake that made dancing a bit interesting at times, but it was one of the funnest dances ever!

7. A year or two after college, a friend and I spent a week in New Orleans, which included a two-hour Mississippi Riverboat cruise. Sure, it's touristy, but you learn some of the history of the city and it was a lot of fun. There are some great views from the boat!

8. A few years after college, a friend from out east visited for a week, and we made a day trip up to Wisconsin Dells for the Upper and Lower boat tours. We got to talking with another group visiting from out of state, who regaled us all with their rendition of Don't Rock the Boat, Baby -- or at least the chorus, over and over and over again. Ah, the memories...

9. A summer trip with friends a couple years later included multiple boats, beginning with the ferry to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse. The water was a bit choppy the day we went out, but it was well-worth it.

Terrace at Memorial Union

10. Another day and farther east, we visited Tahquamenon Falls State Park. We visited both the Upper and Lower Falls, and borrowed a rowboat at the Lower Falls to access a small and picturesque island. Yeah . . . guess who ended up doing the rowing? Unpronounceable, but definitely worth visiting if you're ever in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

11. Yet another day took us to Sault Ste Marie, where we enjoyed a cruise on the St Mary River with the Soo Lock Boat Tours. Again, really touristy, but a great way to hear a bit about the city and lock's history. We also visited the SS Valley Camp, a freighter that has been turned into a museum, and includes a memorial to the Edmund Fitzgerald.

12. The following year, friends and I traveled east to stay with a friend for a week. While there, another friend and her husband invited us out for a sunset cruise on the Chesapeake Bay in their boat. One of the highlights was passing by the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse, which is only accessible by boat, and a stop in Annapolis.

13. Another year, when my sister and brother-in-law were living in Natchitoches, LA, they invited me and a couple friends down to stay with them for a week in December to experience the town's annual Christmas festival. En route, we made stops in St. Louis, MO and Memphis, TN -- the latter of which included a morning Mississippi River cruise. It was actually fairly pleasant considering it was early December and there was snow on the ground back home.

Your turn: Do you like boats? Been on any cruises or interesting excursions?

LINKING TO: Thursday Thirteen

Picnic Point, Madison, at sunset


colleen said...

I can't believe I grew up on a MA peninsula and don't remember ever being in a boat until I was almost grown. Since then I've done the island boat tour, lighthouse tour and whale watch, among other boat trips.

CountryDew said...

Wow, you have done some traveling! I am impressed.

I haven't been on a boat in ages - and never one that actually went anywhere. Just a speed boat on a lake, I think. And maybe a raft on a pond.

mittens said...

Last time I was in a boat was a thunderous ride out to the Isles of Shoals in Portsmouth NH. what can kindly be called 'heavy swells" and I spent most of the trip down below, as near to the middle of the boat as I could get. uuuuup and downnnn uuuuup and dowwnnnn...I love boats, and the ocean,and water in general. So I married a man afraid of the water who likes to hike, and we live on top of a mountain. sigh.
I envy you that lovely water history, truly.

Heather said...

Colleen: You were never in a boat until you were a grown-up? That just seems wrong for where you grew up!

Anita: Alas, no traveling in some years now, but for a few years after college, friends and I tried to do as much as we could.

Mittens: Okay, I don't usually get seasick, but that trip of yours might have been close. I also love boats and water of any kind -- luckily, I live in a city surrounded by it, but with also plenty of walking trails.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

You are a water person! I enjoy boats, too. My favorite water memories are on beaches--at the ocean, Lake Michigan, or on calm lakes in floating devices. But canoeing, kayaking, and bigger boats are fun, too! What beautiful photos and memories in this post. :)

Alice Audrey said...

Was Julia ever really filming at the Capital Building?

That middle picture reminds me of the view on the lake early one winter morning. Only then the waves were frozen.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed cruising your T13 & esp loved the sunset photos! Thanks.

Zippi Kit said...

That was a very lovely. When we came back to San Diego, hubby is a native San Diegan, we very seriously looked into living on a sailboat and taking our,then, two girl family all over the world.

Heather said...

Beth: I am indeed a water person -- kind of goes hand in hand with being a Pisces. (VBG) Beaches and swimming are okay, but I sunburn far too easily to truly enjoy loafing along the shore.

Alice: They did actually film inside the Capitol building, and there's also a scene filmed on King Street looking towards the Capitol -- though most of the filming in Wis was at Devil's Lake. Of course, the most filming done in Madison was for the Rodney Dangerfield/Robert Downey Jr flick, Back to School.

Heather said...

Thanks, Ron!

Zippi Kit: Thanks for coming along on my virtual cruise. As much as I love boats, I don't know if I could live on one.