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Best Day On The Water: All The Lovely Details

Old notebook illustration

Illustration: Gary Hovland

My wife and I were doing some fall cleanup when, in a hidden-away drawer, Sandy discovered a large shorthand spiral-bound writing tablet. It was a day-by-day diary of a 1980 Great Lakes boating vacation with our children, Scott and Tina, on our 25-foot aft-cabin trailerable 4's Enough.

We stopped what we were doing, sat close, and Sandy started reading from the 40 pages of that old notebook. We chuckled at the price of gasoline for our 1972 Oldsmobile station wagon, our trusty tow vehicle — only $1.13 a gallon!

We read of our nervous, excited preparations on the day of crossing Lake Michigan. There was the day-to-day weather, all our anchorages, even details on the types of bottoms we'd anchored in. True to our memories, we saw that we seldom if ever stayed overnight at docks and marinas, preferring to swing on the end of a hook, snuggled out in some remote cove.

As Sandy read the words she'd written almost a half-century ago, we realized that we remembered each and every boating detail as clearly as if it were yesterday. We kept reading, a few hours passed, and then somehow it was almost 2 a.m.!

"Let's stop,"said Sandy, "and wait for a cold winter day." I agreed, already looking forward to resuming our precious journey through a treasured past.


Cliff Steele

Contributor, BoatUS Magazine

Cliff Steele has been working since he was 15, served in the military, and had a 30-year career with Eastman Kodak.