I bought a boat!

In my continuing effort to find the best way to get out on the water, I added to my vehicle collection this week.

I have had my mighty blue kayak for 3 years, but it takes two people to launch because it’s so heavy.

I have had my inflatable kayak for one summer. I can take it out alone, but odds of getting very wet in it are fairly high, so it is summer-time only.

And now there is a boat.

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This little guy is a 12ft Gamefisher. My goal was to find something I could take out myself and launch/recover alone. I looked at several larger project boats, like an aluminum StarCraft that needed to be completely rebuilt, and a finned runabout that was rough. They both looked like a lot of work, and would not fit in our short garage.

This boat had caught my eye earlier in the summer because it looked like it was ready to go. Seats, shade cover, 2 motors, fish finder, oars – pretty much ready to launch and go. The trailer even looked like it was in good shape. So I went to check it out with an amount of cash in my pocket slightly less than he was asking. We came to a deal and I dragged it home.

Although I liked those other boats, they all looked HUGE in person, and like a bit of a handful. This boat is small, the trailer is small, and I can move it around by hand if necessary. And best of all, after Dave spent the evening organizing, it fit safely in the garage, so I didn’t have to worry about anyone picking it clean out in the driveway.

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It just squeezed in there!

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This boat has a tri-hull shape to it, which I’ve heard is very stable. I’m not going to be taking it anywhere crazy, just out onto the local lakes. It has a 30lb/thrust Electric motor, and a 5hp gas motor. The electric should be fine for my needs for now.

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It has a livewell which needs to be hooked up, or I guess it would function as underseat storage just fine. And it has an old fish finder, so that should be fun to learn about.

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It needs some cleaning up, and the trailer was missing a few lights and has some rusty spots that could use to be touched up, but for the most part, I think it is ready to go, and I’m happy with this catch – I hope I will have many happy catches in it on the water!


Horseshoe Lake (Woodland)


Dave and I packed some snacks, grabbed the kayak, and headed up to Horseshoe Lake in Woodland. We got going a little late, so we stopped and grabbed lunch to eat on the water. After we launched we paddled down past the fancy homes on the shore and found a peaceful shady spot to park and eat and have a little rest, watching the world go by.

Eventually we paddled over to the outside of the horseshoe bend and there were all these old tree stumps or dock pilings sticking up out of the water, so we tied the kayak to one and I enjoyed a little fishing while Dave worked on his script.


The pilings all had these otherworldly globs of something growing on them. They were cool but freaky looking.


I had my usual luck fishing…


A good time was had by all.

No pictures of the following weekend, but Dave launched me at Lacamas while he went to a theater event. My phone camera doesn’t work, so no pics, but I had a lovely time fishing with the help of my new anchor trolley. This allows me to anchor the kayak and move the anchor point to the bow or stern, so when I get the hang of it I should be able to point the kayak in the direction I want and keep it there, until the wind shifts anyway.

Also on that same adventure we got to Lacamas, unpacked, and realized we had forgotten the paddles! Luckily there is a vendor there renting kayaks, and they rented me a paddle for $5, which saved the day, because there was no time for Dave to go get the paddle and still make his theater event. When I got home I decided I would rig our new kayak cart n the garage to hold the paddles so we wouldn’t forget them again (they were hanging on the wall before), then I looked at the kayak and had a realization – and just set them inside the kayak – duh! We will have to move them to load it, so that should solve the problem.



Ashes Lake

We went out in search of bass at Ashes Lake. Ashes is down Hwy 14 almost to Stevenson. It is one of those lakes on the north side of Hwy 14, separated from the mighty Columbia by a berm with a little tunnel between them. I was told it had plentiful small and largemouth bass, as well as pikeminnows, and would be a great place to break my losing streak.

The road down to the lake, visible on Google Earth else I would never have believe it was a road, was an overgrown path between blackberry bushes that was not quite a Flex wide. So unfortunately I culd hear it scraping along the side of the car all the way down to the tiny parking area which only had room for three cars. Luckily there was only one car there when we arrived.

We parked and unpacked the kayak and walked it down the hill to the water. The road was very rough and I wasn’t sure I wanted to make the Flex try to climb back up that hill on loose gravel . Pretty soon we were paddling our way out into the lake.


It’s a big lake, and it was really pretty, and a perfect tempurature, blue sky day. But like it often is in the Columbia River Gorge, it was also windy. So paddling was a challenge, and unless we were both paddling, it felt like we weren’t making any headway during gusts.

Finally we made our way to the sheltered west end of the lake, and it was very nice. There was a family of canadian geese floating around, we saw fish jumping, and every tree overhanging the lake seemed to make a shady spot for fish to hang out in the rocks.


I got several nibbles in this area, including one that grabbed my bait and took off, dragging the float behind him! But I was unable to hook up. I certainly had fun trying anyway!

We still don’t have an anchor on the kayak, so we tried drifting up against a log where I could cast towards he shore. The log seemed to be popular with tiny blue damselflies who were hanging around, landing on our paddles. Big dragonflies also zoomed overhead, with clear wings with black spots on them. Strangely enough, the majority of birds we saw were seagulls, and they seemed to be flying around high up in the fir trees around the lake in big flocks the whole time we were there. They looked spectacular, flashing white against the blue sky! We also saw a bald eagle at one point.


We came around a corner and found a secluded little beach, and went ashore. The kayak’s seats are made to come out and be used as beach chairs, so that’s just what we did.


We kicked back on our own private beach and had a snack and watched the world go by for a bit.


Since it was such a nice beach, I waded in and did a little fishing with a bobber and worm. Still no luck, even though I saw some big fish jumping not far off shore. They were not interested in what I was offering.

Finally we decided to head back. While out there we had seen a couple other kayaks and small boats join us, and when we got to the launch the 3 parking spots were full, plus one more truck which they had parked right in the middle of the beach where everyone was launching from, so everyone else had to walk around them! There was a guy there who had come in the truck, but it wasn’t his truck so he couldn’t move it, and there was some younger guy with him who looked completely wasted. So we just packed our stuff back up the hill, walking around them as they made no effort to move out of the way.

All around though, it was a great day, and I could have stayed out on the little beach all afternoon except we needed to get home to the doggies. No fish were caught, but I had some exciting close calls, learned some stuff, saw some things, and spent some great time alone with Dave to catch up on our week. Perfect.




Fishing at Mosquito Lake

We had a rare free weekend for a change, and I wanted to get out and do something fun, so I decided we would go up to Goose Lake, which I have heard has good trout fishing. We got up at 6am and drove up to Trout Lake, and stopped by the ranger’s station to ask about conditions. She asked what we planned to do at Goose Lake and I told her we brought our kayak to go paddling.

She said “This name is going to sound off-putting, but you might have more fun at Mosquito Lake, because Goose Lake is super popular in the summer.” Dave said later she probably took one look at us and went ‘oh, these aren’t Goose Lake people, I’d better send them to Mosquito Lake!’

So we zipped on up there, and almost blew right by the parking area, because it is so small. Just room for 4 cars, just off the PCT, but the lake looked glorious! Beautiful clear water reflecting the perfectly blue sky.



We put in at the beach by the parking area, and then had to weave our way around a little serpentine path to get out to the lake. Along the way we had to go over an old collapsed dock, and it was pretty shallow and narrow. But pretty soon we were out there, and I cast out a streamer on my sinking fly line and let it drift behind us as the breeze slowly blew us across the lake.


No need to paddle when you’ve got wind!


Dave is helpful for holding my rod while I tie a new streamer on after losing one in the reeds. We drifted halfway around the lake before I checked and discovered it was gone – doh!


We paddled back across the lake to the starting point, but we were really fighting the wind, which had picked up a bit. We could only make progress when we were both paddling hard together. Back at the parking lot end I spotted this little area in the reeds where we could park it for a bit and not have to fight the wind. I’ll be glad when the rest of my anchor parts show up – an anchor would have been really useful today!


The water was the clearest I’ve ever seen. You could see all the way to the bottom over most of the lake. There were lots of water lilly pads still under the water. I’ll bet this lake will be packed with them later in the summer.


Sitting in the reeds we could see some little trout – like 2-3 inches. I guess they were trout, they were shaped like trout and had spots. We had fun watching them, while just kicking back, discussing vacation plans, and enjoying the day. When we had enough, I cast out my streamer one more time and we paddled back to the parking area. I didn’t even get a bite, though I saw a lot of big fish jumping. Maybe next time.

The best part of this trip – no mosquitoes and NO people! Yes, we had this little lake all to ourselves. It was so quiet you could sit and just hear the wind blowing through the trees. Sometimes you could hear a car driving by on the forest road, but that was about it. As we were packing up to leave, another car drove up with 2 kayaks on top. Well now they could have the lake to themselves!

On our way home we decided to go by Goose Lake just to take a look at it. Along the way we saw a sign for Natural Bridges and stopped there. The area was a collapsed lava tube.


Kind of hard to get the scale without a person in the shot.


I’m not sure that helps, but it was a really big tube, maybe 50 ft deep. And in places there were natural bridges where the tube had not collapsed fully, and you could cross over the culvert left by the tube.


It’s just really hard to photograph. Neat area though. I would like to come back here next time we are nearby and work on photographing it better. There is a lot of interesting lava in this part of the woods, and Goose Lake itself is right next to The Big Lava Flow, which looks very rugged, but we were too tired to explore today.

We continued past Goose Lake, and although the lake was pretty, it was full of partying people, and so not for us. We continued to Stevenson, where we stopped at our favorite lunch spot for post-Gorge activities, Big T’s Diner in Stevenson, Washington, with a spectacular view of the Columbia River Gorge and delicious Hawaiian Burgers. We enjoyed our well-earned lunch which watching wind-surfers playing on the river below. The perfect end to an unexpectedly perfect day.






First kayak outing of the year

Yesterday we got the kayak out for the first trip of the year.

It was a little windy, and so we paddled over to one of the little islands and parked in the reeds on the sheltered side and I played with my new sliding bobber rig and a jig, casting it out and watching the wind slowly drift it back towards us. It was very peaceful and relaxing. Dave was fine until his phone ran out of charge!

We headed back but stopped to fish a couple logs along the way, and I cast out between the logs, but I forgot I had put lighter line on the rod (first trip out since I did that), and I WAY overcast, and sent it flying into the bushes! So we paddled over there and with much wiggling got lucky and recovered the entire rig intact!

This was also the first time having the kayak on top of the new Flex. The rack easily transferred onto the new Flex, and the only problem we had was putting the kayak up on top, and it wouldn’t go for some reason. We puzzled over why the hullivators refused to fold then realized we were too far forward and the ‘yak was hitting the roof of the house! So we backed up a couple feet and everything went back to normal. Oops!

Lacamas Lake is so pretty. I don’t know if there’s many fish to catch in it, but it’s fun to go out there and hang out either way.

The Big Blue ‘Yak

I have been wanting to get out on the water for years.

For a brief time I had a boat I was trying to restore:

That’s a half-truth – I had two of them!

And honestly, if I had room at our new downsized house, I would have brought another one home by now. But they got swept away in the great depression, and that is how life goes sometimes.

Meanwhile, we’ve had a rubber raft for years which we have taken out to paddle around many times. It’s fun, but it’s not comfortable to use. It paddles hard and slow, but it has been fine. Still, I’ve had my eye on getting a nice kayak for a long time. Particularly a [particular brand that will remain unnamed] fishing kayak. They are supposed to be wide and stable, and really well designed. I’ve been keeping my eye on them for many years. So I was excited to actually find out the local kayak shop was having their free paddle weekend at the lake (I usually find out about it after it’s over!) On that Saturday morning I headed on down to Vancouver Lake bright and early to check it out.

Dave was at rehearsal, so I was on my own. Since I’m kind of shy, I just sort of walked up and down the beach, peeking at this and that and listening in on other people’s convos. I found a guy at the end talking a lot about fishing, he was the Jackson Kayak rep. I’d never heard of Jackson. He went through his whole schpeal and was moving on to another couple who had question when I thought I’d pipe up and ask some questions about their big tandem fishing kayak. He happily set me up, handed me a paddle and launched me off on my own to try it out.

I was immediately amazed at how confident I felt in it. My last kayak experience, when we’d rented kayaks on Lake River a couple years ago, had been scary, the kayak felt wobbly, and the current was working against us, and I had a miserable time. But this kayak was stable, and smooth, and I was jammin along in no time, paddling around the lake all by myself. I was in love!

I got back to shore and asked him how much they were, and he said $1800, and I immediately gave up any hope of having one. Why do they have to be so expensive?! My last car cost that much!

I wandered on down the beach and watched some water rescue demonstrations and took a short ‘How to paddle’ class, and eventually wandered back to the beach and found they had brought out a couple [unnamed brand I’d been pining for for years]! After all this time I finally had a chance to try one out!!

I waited in line for my turn to try on the [unnamed brand] pedal kayak (you sit up high and sit back and pedal like a bike), and I wobbled out to the lake, steering by way of a rudder, and…I HATED it! All this time I’d been waiting to try an [unnamed brand], and it was just not my thing. I pedaled it back to shore quickly and was relieved to get off it without dumping myself in the water!

I meandered around a bit more, and found another brand of fishing kayak that looked interesting – Eddyline. The sit-on-tops looked sleek and stable, and had all the goodies, including what looked like comfortable seats (one of my biggest complaints about the raft was that discomfort always forced us to call it a day quicker than I wanted to). So I took one of those for a spin.

It was ok, I liked it fine, but I didn’t feel super stable,. The guy manning the Eddyline booth was really helpful and directed me to another Eddyline sit-on-top to try out and I took it for a spin. It was better. I paddled it around a bit and considered if we were to get a kayak, would it be better to get a tandem (big and heavy), or two singles (lighter, but more expensive overall). Was it better to get a sit-on-top, or a sit-inside?

I brought it back in and went down to Jackson again. That Jackson Kilroy DT sure had paddled nice, and comfortable, and was adjustable to be tandem or single. It had a flat deck so you could even stand up in it. It was basically the Cadillac of fishing kayaks, and if you can only have one…

So I told Dave the bad news, and he said ‘you know, if you really want one, you can afford it, just make sure we’ll use it’! I did some research (I’d never heard of Jackson, and now that [unnamed brand] was off my list, I had some catching up to do). By mid-week I was down at Alder Creek Canoe and Kayak on my lunch break asking what they had in stock, how much was it, if I wanted one how long would it take to get it, and the end result was that by that weekend:


We were the proud owners of a beautiful Jackson Kilroy DT in the only color they had available – but it is actually the color I liked best anyway – black and blue! Since that bad boy weighs almost 100 lbs, I bit the bullet and went with the Thule Hullivator for the Flex. The Hullivator tips down along the side of the truck to load the kayak on, and then lifts back up into place with gas struts to help you lift it (though it is still VERY heavy), which makes loading the beast easier. What a pair, don’t you think?

We took it to Horseshoe Lake in Woodland for our initial paddle.


Paddlin’ and Fishin’! It’s so comfortable!


And back at home, it sits neatly on top of the Mustang. It’s 14ft long, which means it is as long as the Mustang!


We’ve taken it out three more times, each time to Lacamas Lake, which is much closer to home than Woodland (though I really like Horseshoe Lake, so I’m sure we’ll be back there again). The first time there was a church group of paddlers there, and we paddled quite a ways down the lake with them, then stopped to fish for a while.


Another day we took it out and hung out on the end of the lake near the bridge to Round Lake, and watched other paddlers sneaking under the bridge. We’ll wait for the water to go down a bit more before we try it!

Today we hung out on that end fishing for a bit, and then paddled over to the first pond full of water lillies, which had yellow blooms all over them. I fished there for a while, casting between the lilly pads and retrieving my lures, then my Rapala fish lure got stuck on a lilly pad and the line snapped! I told Dave ‘paddle over there so I can get it back, do you know how much those things cost?!’ so he paddled over there the whole time chiding me that all these lilly pads looked alike and there was no way I would find it. He paddled me over to where I said and there it was laying right on top of the leaf it had caught on 😀 Dave was amazed!

So that’s my new toy – I finally got my boat! It’s fun and comfortable and easy to paddle, and relaxing, and yet still good exercise. I’m really glad we finally took the plunge and got it. I think this is something we will be enjoying for a long time, taking on trips with our Airstream to try out new lakes farther from home, and generally exploring and fishing.




Moving day!

Moving day for the Mustang, anyway. For the first time since I brought my prize home, it has rolled back out of the garage (with Dave pushing it unfortunately), and will be stuck under a cover outdoors for the rest of the winter.

Meanwhile the boat has taken over the garage, and hopefully I will have it finished and ready to use by spring. Then it will get an outdoor cover and the Mustang will get to move back inside for it’s restoration.

When they’re done, they can probably both fit in the garage side by side, but for working on them, a double car garage is really only room enough for one (particularly a double car garage full of junk, as mine is!)

The Playmaster

I am not a ‘nautical’ person, but I bought this boat. I have an excuse though, it is possibly the most adorable classic boat ever seen by man! It has big freakin’ fins, for goodness sakes! Who could resist that? So there’s my project for the winter – a 1961 Glass Magic Playmaster. The mustang will be nudged aside while I work to get this little beauty ready to hit the water next spring.