A day well spent.

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted something.  Things have been very busy lately.  So, i’ll take the liberty of a longer post today.

From the base of the Summit Trail.

We took today off, starting a much awaited and long overdue week or so of vacation.  The day was overcast and a tad chilly.  We set out into the Hill Country – destination Enchanted Rock.  This gigantic outcropping of granite rock was formed about a billion years ago.   It’s a stark contrast to the tree-covered, rough limestone hills that surround it.  The summit trail leads up the 425′ vertical climb to the top, which is 1825′ above sea level.  If you look at the picture above you can see a person approaching the top, and a few people along the way – which give a sense of the scale of the Rock.

Autumn in the Hill Country.

It was quite windy at the top.  But what great views!  We don’t get a lot of autumn color, so I really enjoyed seeing this patchwork of rust, gold and green from above.

The close up views were worth seeing as well.  The shot above is of the rust colored lichens that can be found covering the pink granite rocks.


On the way down I couldn’t resist taking this shot of a wind-beaten, twisted, dead oak tree against the sky.

Oh, deer.

After we made it back down we came across several deer, right on the edge of the parking lot.  This guy turned to say bye.

Barrel o fun!

On the way to the park we drove through Fredericksburg and stopped to walk through some of the shops.  We ate lunch at Der LindenBaum – home of awesome traditional German cooking.  On the way home, we couldn’t drive by Becker Vineyards without stopping in for a flight of wine tasting.

What a great day!

Welcome to the Dam tour. I am your Dam guide.

Longhorn sailors.

Joe suggested a cruise down the lake to see the Dam.  It’s rare to see the basin when the lake is so low – at 627.85′ today.   It’s really not a basin anymore.  Sometimes Islands are all the way out of the water, and connected to land, so, islands no more.   The original river channel winds all the way around them.  Windy Point looks more like Windy Acres.  And many of the marinas have scooted out to what would normally be the middle of the lake, but is now the edge of the shore.

Monte and I joined Ken and Joe on Prelude for a sail.   It was a beautiful day.   We had nice breezes on the way down.    The closest mile marker to our marina is mile marker 14, and the Mansfield Dam is at, well, mile marker 0.  So, round trip was close to about 30 miles.

As we passed the Austin Yacht Club we got to see several of their regattas underway.  The shot above is of some of the University of Texas Sailing Team’s Flying Juniors fleet.   The 2012 Nationals will be in Austin.  So they’re working hard to get ready.  Good luck Longhorns!

Here’s a sight we don’t see very often…

MM 1.

And, finally, we snugged up as close as we could to Mansfield Dam.  They have a string of bouys in front to keep people from getting too close – which foiled my plan to get a shot of myself touching the dam.

Upstream side of Mansfield Dam.

Construction of the Mansfield Dam (originally called Marshall Ford Dam) began in 1937 and was completed in 1941.   Mansfield Dam and Lake Travis are the only structures in the Highland Lakes chain specifically designed to contain floodwaters in the lower Colorado River basin. The lake can store as much as 260 billion gallons of water.   Some other factoids from the Lower Colorado River Authority website:

Elevation when full: 681 feet above mean sea level (msl)
Volume when full: 1,135,000 acre-feet
Historic high: 710.4 feet above msl on Dec. 25, 1991
Historic low: 614.2 feet above msl on Aug. 14, 1951
Normal operating range: at or below 681 feet above msl
Spillway elevation: 714 feet above msl
Top of dam: 750 feet above msl

The floodgates are at the bottom of the dam and are used to generate electricity and for flood control.  The spillway openings are on the right end of the dam in the picture above.   Water will start to spill over them at 714′, but it’s never happened… yet.  The highest I have seen the lake was 701.5′, which was over the July 4th weekend of 2007.  Hard to believe there was ever that much water in the lake.

We had a really lovely sail.  A nice Sunday adventure.

I shake my tiny fist at this drought!


Watching the sunrise.

We spent the night in Arky South cove.  We enjoyed more laughs, music and good company last night.  Mike and Kathy joined us on Soul Healer yesterday for a few hours, and Lori, Dave and Jake joined us this afternoon on Camelot.

Shortly after we woke up this morning, we were treated to a beautiful sunrise, coming up right behind the Commander’s Point lighthouse (well, water tower really).  A lovely sight.

Then, later in the morning a funky fog bank sunk over the lake for a while, but shortly lifted for a beautiful, sunny day.

Where did that lovely sun go?

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention… we have christened this and any future such auspicious gathering a Riff-Rafft-up.  For obvious reasons 🙂  In attendance this weekend were Wally & Kurt on Dancer, Joe on Prelude, Monte & Sheila on Cupholder, and Marty & Sue (and Koko) on Caribbean Hug.

Lazy Sunday.

Have a great week!

Keeping it simple.

Violet for vodka, red for rum.

We have another full-moon raftup this weekend, the Full-Hunter’s Moon.  It’s been several months since we rafted up on the lake, the last few have been marina-based “slip-ups.”

I have been wanting to make Jello Shots for some reason.  Kind of a fun treat for the lake, if I can just figure out how to get them there in tact.   I have been looking around for little 2 ounce plastic cups with lids, and couldn’t find them in grocery stores.   A few weeks ago we stopped by a restaurant supply company and found them – in bulk 🙂

So, this morning I googled conventional web-wisdom on jello shots and came up with the following:

Jello Shots

1 3-oz package of Jello
8 oz boiling water
2 oz cold water
6 oz rum or vodka or whatever

Pour the Jello powder in the boiling water, stir for a minute or two.   Then pour in the cold water & booze and stir.  Fill cups and refrigerate til set. 1 package ended up making about 12 of these 2 oz sized cups for me.   Note that if you put in more or higher octane alcohol, then you run the risk of them not setting properly.  With the mixture I used, the cups set fine in about 4 hours in the fridge.

I popped on the lids, and put in the ice chest for the lake, and they made it just fine.

Harvest Moon Slip-up.

La caja china.

It’s a full-moon weekend, which means another get together with our sailing friends.  We have taken to doing “slip-ups” lately, instead of raft-ups, because it’s getting a bit unwieldy to raft-up bunches of boats together in the shrinking coves.  So we party on the dock instead of at anchor.  This is the Harvest Moon full-moon weekend, and to celebrate we wanted to do something big.  So, Ramon graciously offered to roast a pig.  So… how do you do that on a dock at a marina?  Well, you use one of these things in the picture above – a caja china.   Robert and Ramon set up on the middle of the newly-extended F, A & B Dock.  The pig is inside the box on a rack, and the coals are above on a tray.

Cerdo asado.

It turned out delicious.  We had a TON of people, as Texas Sailing brought many of their boat owners over from Lakeway Marina who stayed in guest slips overnight.    Tasha would know for sure, but we think there were about 50 people or more there.

A good time was had by all.  iPod wars on Cupholder wrapped up about 3 or 4 AM.  And, oh by the way, Mike, Wally, Robert and David stayed up all night playing dominoes and generally making a racket all through the night on Allegro in her neighboring slip.  Crazy kids!

Up a creek with a paddle.

A fun Friday.

Today we hooked the trailer up, packed up my kayak and stopped by the marina to borrow another one from friends on b-dock.  We are headed to the San Marcos river, which we have tubed for many years, but this time are going to paddle.

The San Marcos is a spring-fed river, and even though we are in a severe drought, it continues to flow with crystal clear, cool water.  We put in at City Park here, and first paddled upstream as far as we could go.  Then we paddled down stream to the Lion’s Club take-out point and took our kayaks over the 3 rapids there and went a little farther downstream.

As we headed back we got a workout on a couple sections, and in carrying the kayaks back up the rocks around the 3 rapids.

As usual, I like to look for found objects.  I would have loved to have found my prescription raybans that I lost last summer on the rapids, but I didn’t.  We did however find a couple pairs of flip flops.   I found a matched pair of Corona flip flops, one upstream and one downstream, and Monte has claimed these (you can see the first one that I found in the picture above.  I hadn’t found its mate yet).  I also found a matched pair of little baby flip flops, which we gave to a woman and her baby that were playing in the water when we got back to City Park.

We took lots of pictures.  It’s funny that I’ve never noticed how many fish are in the river.  I guess all the times we have tubed we didn’t really notice because you aren’t looking down into the river when perched on your tube.

Here is a picture of a water bird striking an odd pose that we encountered along the way…

Odd bird.

Lazer Beam.

Bubble gun lazer.

About 10 days ago I was asked to jump in on handling a client situation which has pretty much consumed my time 24/7 since then.  Thankfully things are wrapping up so I can come out to play this weekend!

We are having a “slip-up” this weekend – that’s a term invented by B-dock to describe our overnight dock parties… kinda like a raft-up, but we don’t ever leave the slip!  The lake is pretty low, which makes anchoring lots of boats in the shrinking coves difficult.  And there is *no* wind expected for tonight, so it will make for a hot night.  Oh, and this is a full-moon slip-up, the Sturgeon Moon, so there will be no viewing of the Perseid meteor shower that’s also supposed to happen tonight.

Ace’s birthday was earlier this month, and we missed it, so we brought him a toy gun that blows bubbles and lights up.  This is a shot of it in action at night – you can’t see the bubbles but the light looks kinda cool, eh?

This picture reminds me of the song Lazer Beam by the Super Furry Animals.  That youtube link isn’t the version that I like the best, but it will do.  The recording I like is the one done in KUT Studios a couple years ago and featured as their song of the day, but the link on their archive page is broken, sadly.


Fun in the sun.

A float trip down the San Marcos – we do it at least once every summer after the temps hit 100, and today was the 39th day this year that qualified.

While googling for info on 100 degree days in Austin, I found an article from about this time last year that said it still hadn’t hit 100 yet.  Wow.  I don’t remember it being a (relatively) mild summer last year.  This summer has been a scorcher. No worries, though, we have many ways to beat the heat.

Toobers in attendance:  me, monte, lori, dave, jake, laura and dolia.  Even with the drought the San Marcos was flowing fine – the fact that it’s a spring-fed river has a lot to do with that, I think.

We stopped at the official take out point at the rapids, played a while, ate lunch and then continued on to our favorite take out point farther down the river.    At the portage point with the waterfall, we stopped and played for a while – squeezing our way in underneath the falls.

We definitely have to come out another time this summer. It’s always a great time. And this time, I’m happy to report, I didn’t lose anything in the river.

We saw many kayakers on the river today and a couple of SUPs, too. Maybe we’ll make one of our next trips with kayaks, and see how much more of the river we can explore.


A shot from the waterline.

We enjoyed a lazy Sunday at anchor.  One definition of limin’ is to relieve from attention or effort; relax.

We definitely had that down today.  Red Sky peeled off first thing in the morning, Va Bene left about lunch time.  This is a shot of the 5 boats that were left.  Joe joined us later on Prelude.

We floated for quite a while.  This is a shot of a family of what we think are swan geese that was hanging out with us.

We all eventually ended up in Ramon’s cabin, which is air conditioned, has satellite TV and a big flat screen to watch the US women’s soccer team lose the world championship to Japan 😦

We saw Sue, who had been out on B-Dock for several hours when we pulled back into our slip.

We only spent about 24 hours on the lake, but it seemed like 72 or so after schlepping all our stuff back up the ever-steepening walk from the dock to the parking lot.   We’ll do it again at the drop of a hat, though  🙂

We are the people your parents warned you about.

AK Bend at 646'.

Woooo-weee what a party!  Well, we will NOT be doing that every weekend!

After the beer can race yesterday everyone jumped in the water and stayed there for quite a while – me, monte, joe, kurt, wally, lori, dave, marty, sue, wiz, david (new guy on b-dock w/ Misguided), robert, and his friends who own Hakuna Matata on a-dock).  After last weekend’s very wake-y raftup spot in Cypress Creek, this weekend we’ve planned to have a party on B-dock and just sleep on our boats.

Doray, Tom and Judy joined us after the race and stayed til after sunset.   Teri and Jim showed up around 11pm.   We brought a blender, and lots of ice and margarita and pina colada fixins.   Staying in the slip has its advantages.   What a fun time.  Dave left about 9 or so, when his teenage son called my cellphone looking for his parents… heh, heh (isn’t that supposed to be the other way around?! 🙂 )

We pulled out the coleman stove and made a bazillion quesadillas.  Sue brought her legendary bean dip.  We played iPod wars into the wee hours.  There is a digital recording floating around somewhere of what may perhaps be the worst rendition of the happy birthday song ever.  (Happy birthday Mark!)   The security guard even stopped by about 2AM, wasn’t that nice of him?   I think it was about 4AM when everyone headed back to their boats for the night.

I’m so glad we started working on that first wooden boat 13 years ago or so.  We could never have known at the time that it would lead to us learning to sail, making a bigger sailboat, getting a slip at Yacht Harbor marina, landing on B-Dock, and meeting such fantastic people that are so easy to have fun with.

We packed up early this morning and got home about 10AM.   On the way home we took a short detour up to Vintage Villas to see if I could get a shot of the lake from up there.   This is a shot looking down on Arkansas Bend.  In the distance you can see Hurst Cove, where our marina is.

Check out the clouds.

Beer Can Regatta

To the victor goes the spoils.

Today we held the first Beer Can Regatta of the year, and had a great turnout – Spike, Voodoo, Dancer, Prelude, Camelot and Caribbean Hug. Monte and I each jumped on one of the Catalina 30’s. Robert finished first and took home a bottle of Buckeye Vodka. So smoooooth!  After the race a party ensued.  More on that later.

Mar 8, 2011

Happy 1st blogoversary!

Today is the 1 year anniversary of my starting this blog.   To mark the occasion, I made a collage using all 365 of the moments that I’ve posted here.

I can recall taking each one.   🙂

I started this in early March last year, in time to capture the signs of Spring, and into the Summer as things began to warm up and as we spend so much time on the lake… then through the changes in Fall and Winter when we spend more of our time on projects and playing with friends on land.  I’ve come full circle, and am looking forward all the moments from the coming year.

Happy Mardi Gras!   and  HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Lori and to Mary!

Mar 7, 2011

Day #365!!!

Today’s post makes the 365th moment that I have shared with you.  This is a shot of one of the geraniums I planted yesterday that I took today during a break between conference calls.

I’m very pleased that I have stuck with this post-a-photo-per-day-for-a-year project.  There were some days that I found it difficult to see something worth sharing.   But I have to say that most days I looked forward to toting my camera around with me, and was usually pleased to find a moment that was either a photo that I liked or at least made for a nice story to share.

Wow, a year.   365 moments.   It goes by fast.

I look forward to keeping my blog going.  I don’t know that I will be posting something every day, but I am definitely looking forward to posting more moments worth sharing.

A colleague of mine passed away over the weekend after a fight with cancer.  He was only 51.

I can only hope that you all have many more years left on this earth to share with your friends and family.   But since we never know when our time will be up, we have to take the time to enjoy and be thankful for each and every day that we get to spend with them.   I have done that for a year.   And I hope to from here on out…

Mar 5, 2011

In like a lion.

This is the first weekend in March and it’s WINDY!   We took a break from cleaning house and varnishing the boat to take the awesome pirate ship kite that Santa brought me out for its maiden voyage.   It’s about 2 feet high and 3 feet long, made by New Tech Kites, a company here in Austin.

Tomorrow is actually the Zilker Kite Festival, but ironically, the wind is predicted to be in the single digits tomorrow.  So today was our chance!

It turns out the kite is rated for 8-20 mph winds, and it was gusting in the 20s, so it actually ended up being a bit too windy for it.  But we did get her up in the air and flying!   AHOY!

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