bunt sign

Thursday, November 23, 2000

When the alarm went off at 5:00 this morning, I thought, "Oh, no. I'm going to have to reset it. I wonder what made it go off just after I went to sleep."

Actually, I wasn't quite that articulate about it. It was more like, "What the --? Huh? Oh.. ..."

At some point in all this grunting and squinting, I remembered that I'd left myself just enough time to get ready and meet up with the rest of the family so that we could get on the road by six.

At the last minute, recalling an incident on Labor Day weekend that caused me to wear wet socks for a day and a half, I threw an extra pair in my bag. My camera batteries weren't fully charged, but I had no choice. They were better than the ones in the camera, which ran out after the first two pictures I took at the lake.

Attitude Adjustment at the marina

We were at the marina before noon, even with stops along the way for coffee, breakfast and gas. I never eat breakfast except when I'm on the road. Of course, I'm never up quite as early as I am when I travel.

It was a cool, gray day at Shasta Lake. The marina was like a ghost town, and the lake was nearly deserted as well. It's such a busy place in the summer that it's odd to see it this way. There was, however, another houseboat in the cove where we'd planned to tie up the first night. Still, this early in the rainy season we had plenty of coves and inlets to choose from.

getting the fire ready

We ended up at a place with a fairly steep, rocky beach. John, Eric and David walked around the near point and dragged back dead branches for the bonfire we would light later in the afternoon. Then we settled in to mellow out and rest up. The boys played cards and Suzanne baked cookies.

the burning man stick

I'm not usually at my best the first day out. Changes in routine mess with my body and my head, and I'm still trying to get through this cold. But I was glad to be here, even if I was a bit out of it.

But you know what brought me back? A little wine was all it took. Not the first glass, which was a pathetically sweet table wine that no one could drink. But two (or was it three?) glasses of fine voignier, and I was, if not the life of the party, at least a lively participant. We played one of those trivial pursuit-type games where the questions are either really, really simple or really, really stoopid. For some reason, I did well.

starting the fire

Dinner was a traditional feast, six of us around the table with a giant bird in the middle. I think the wonderfulness of it saved me from potential headaches tomorrow morning. It'll be an early night, but still a long day. I'm thankful for every minute of it.

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