Travelogue -- Day Five, On the Lake
I was up and dressed before dawn on Wednesday and already sipping a cup of strong French Vanilla coffee. As soon as Chris was up, I cajoled her into going with me to take a paddleboat ride before our breakfast arrived at eight. The paddleboat came with our cottage and I had really been looking forward to using it. In fact I took the paddleboat out more than anyone during our visit at the lake.
That first morning on the lake at first light was the most peaceful time during the entire stay. There is something about floating out on the water silently at dawn that was very satisfying. I enjoyed that as much as anything we did.
When we got back, Jill was on the porch of the Bordeaux reading. As we climbed the hill toward our cottage, she waved. " Did you enjoy your paddle," she asked with a twinkle when we got closer. I think she said that after every paddleboat ride. Silly Jill.
Breakfast would only be pastry and fruit, and since Jill and Erik both liked bigger breakfasts on vacation, we had bought eggs and bacon for them. As Jill and Erik enjoyed their big breakfast, Chris and I were quite happy with the blueberry muffins and fruit cups delivered to our door promptly at eight by our gracious host.
None of us were in a hurry to go anywhere after we cleaned up the breakfast dishes. It was so pleasant just to hang around for a leisurely morning. Jill and Chris extended the dining table in the Chanticleer to its full size and began a jigsaw puzzle on one end that they would work on during the whole stay at the lake. They find it relaxing and enjoyable. Erik and I didn't put in one piece. Personally, I don't understand the attraction to puzzles, but they had fun doing it even though they wouldn't have time to complete it in our four days together.
Around ten or so we all piled into Jill's car and Erik drove us to the Bagnell Dam area. There was a place or two they had visited yesterday on their way in that they wanted us to see. We drove through Tan-Tar-A Resort and took pictures and checked out their boat rental fees since we were considering renting a motorboat that afternoon. A bunch of big carp noticed our presence and came up expecting a handout. The resort was a lovely place, but we were happy with our little cottages.
We visited historic Willmore Lodge, a beautiful mansion-sized log building with a visitors center and an interesting museum about the area. We learned about some of the history of Bagnell Dam and the beginning of the Lake of the Ozarks. At the Chamber of Commerce office that is housed in the lodge there was a lady who knew a lot about the area so we asked her where we might find the old swimming place in the State Park that Chris and I swam at over forty years ago. She seemed to know immediately the beach we were referring to and gave us a map, highlighting the route. She also told Chris that there were probably still some split rail fences in the State Park.
We drove back to the cottages well after noon and put together our enchiladas chicken dinner. It was a recipe Jill knew, and it tasted wonderful after our morning out and about. With it, we served Spanish rice made with some dried spices Erik picked up at Ozark Maid Candies. We also had Chili con queso, and guacamole that Chris and I made. We ate very well and had enough leftovers for another meal.
After our wonderful lunch and some research by Erik, we found a place nearby to rent a boat for a reasonable fee. It had an inboard motor that Erik was confident he could manage. If it had just been Chris and I, we would not have had the courage after our experience of almost sinking a motor boat in Arkansas a couple of years ago. But Erik knew what he was doing and we had a grand time. It was a beautiful warm day and we had the lake practically to ourselves so Erik went full speed a few times. He even turned the controls over to Chris a time or two, but wasn't far behind her in case she needed assistance. I was content to just ride and take pictures. We got to go much further and see so much more of the lake than we could from the paddleboat.
The lake had changed so much since we were kids. There are numerous swank resorts and hundreds of grand private homes built along the shoreline of the Lake of the Ozarks now. I wondered what it must be like to live so near the water. Then I remembered the rocky soil and reminded myself that gardening must be nearly impossible. Mostly it was just fun to feel the fresh air rushing by as we skimmed along the water on that nearly perfect day. It brought back many fond memories, though the boat we had as children was much smaller. The experience was well worth the twenty or so dollars we each contributed to the cause.
It was back to the cottages after the boat ride for some relaxation. We could have spent a good deal of time in the car going places that were further away and no doubt beautiful, but we didn't want half our vacation to be spent in the car.
Spaghetti was on the menu for supper. We had talked Chris out of making homemade sauce in favor of the quicker kind that comes in a jar, but she did make meatballs that were great with it. Work on the jigsaw puzzle and scrabble was the entertainment for the evening plus reviewing some of the pictures taken that day.
We had brought along some movie DVDs to watch on Chris's laptop, but we never got around to that. In fact the only time anyone watched anything was when Jill watched part of a ballgame on the cable TV at the dock area. There were no televisions or telephones at all in the cottages, but no one missed them. In fact it was rather nice to be sheltered from the constant stream of distressing news. I went to bed with the cares of the world far away, thinking only of the adventures of the day and those to come.