Thursday, March 29, 2012

Boating Season Gets Underway

  Everyone who boats thinks that where they choose to partake in their favorite activity is the best place on the planet to do so. I believe that's true, in that they're all good. If you have read any of the older posts on this blog, you'll see that we've been able to scrape up a few grins just about wherever we've found a place to throw out the hook.
  The above picture is from the 4th of July a few years ago and is just an example of how it's done on the Alton Pool of the Mississippi. If you've done any traveling on the Mississippi, you'll find a distinct change in boating activity as you arrive in this area between locks 25 and 26 on the Big Muddy, basically where the Illinois River ends at Grafton.
  I would never lay claim that this area is the best place to boat though. We've had lots of fun on  a smaller river, the Meramec, which is a tributary to the Mississippi and ends its run just up from Hoppie's Marina in Kimmswick, MO. You Loopers know that stop for sure. The Lake of the Ozarks is a favorite boating destination in this part of the country and boaters come from all the adjoining States to partake in some heavy duty partying, and we've done our stints there as well but eventually tired of the weekly drive.
  The folks up in Peoria do a pretty good job too on the Illinois River. There's a nice beach area and the downtown Peoria waterfront is one that other towns would do well to emulate.
  From our experience, Put-In-Bay on Lake Erie may get the award for the best boaters party area around...from what I can remember.
  Our theory is that the closer you get to "big water", the boaters that congregate and hold the best parties are more spread out and therefore do not get the large raft ups and gatherings that the smaller places do. We intend to bust this theory wide open as we travel around the inland rivers and coastal areas of the U.S.
  Holding to our theory, Kentucky Lake has a loyal raftup population we are told. Some friends of ours that boat down there have posted some pictures and I believe those people down there know how to do it, dry county or not. We intend to be there before Memorial Day. They have been warned.
  Our friends that snowbird on the western coast of Florida near Cape Coral report a more spread out boating population and the large raft up parties that we are accustomed to are harder to find. This has become a mission for us when we get down there and we intend to not only find the party area, but also start one if we have to.
  Years ago when we took our little 24 foot Formula to Key West, we found some promise, but again on a smaller scale, and I don't mean on the streets but out on the hook. Can't wait to see what's changed down there.
  Admittedly, the younger people may have an edge in finding the boating parties. I don't think anyone can deny the attraction of just a couple of beautiful women in skimpy bikini's as party starting bait, but it's normally the older gang that provide the best party platforms as they generally have the bigger boats. Have you ever seen a stripper pole mounted on a bass boat? Ya got subwoofers on that Sea Doo? I didn't think so.
  We like a party and we know that as good as it is up here on the Alton Pool, we don't have the market cornered in the party department, and we also don't lose sight of the fact that a good party can be had with just a couple of boats and like minded folks. Reading this, a person can get the idea that to us, boating is largely a social activity, and they would not be wrong.
  It can't be too hard to see why we are so anxious to get on our way before complete senility sets in. It turns out that our delay from departing last fall has been for good reason, but as the obstacles fall away, the greater our enthusiasm grows in our aim to cast off.
  For Swing Set's part, she's getting a beauty treatment at the boatyard and won't dip her bottom back into the Mississippi again until next week some time. Then, we have some minor work to do in the engine room before we can get out on the hook and inflict ourselves on others for just a few more weekends up here on the Alton Pool.

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