Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lake Don Pedro in July

Tuesday July 2, 1991

The boys ski!! They all ski so good! Another hot day 100-105 degrees. We had a skunk in our trash bag last night. Gary flashed a light at him and he turned his backside so we left him alone. We all had a great ski ride early. No boats, no ripples. Gary, Frank and I. We spend most of the day in the water. Donna and Bob arrive in the afternoon. We sit in the water in our chairs. I have an umbrella over me.

We eat all day and have dinner earlier but it was so hot eating in the dining tent. Rosa is sick tonight--too much sun. We tried to tell her, but...

We retire early. The skunk comes back to rummage through the cans. We have tied the trash bags up high. Some neighbors party loud and late.

Mom was so patient with kids. She loved to teach them to ski. She would patiently get in the water behind them, hold the skis together and help them balance and keep their arms straight allowing the boat to pull them up. My dad was the boat driver when I was a kid. After she remarried her new husband Frank was the boat driver. They both did a great job. On this trip Justin and his cousin Joe are 10 and Joe's older brother Junior is 12. Rosa is my sister-in-law Maria's sister. At first the boys would ride behind the boat on a raft or a tube. In the photo above Justin is 7 years old and riding the torpedo behind the boat. You can see our primitive campsite in the background, with sleeping tents, dining tent, and living room shade. Later the boys learned to water ski. The best skiing was early morning. On this morning, with no other boats and no wind, the water was like a mirror reflecting the mountains around the shoreline. Cutting through the glass on a water ski was a thrill and it was a refreshing way to start the day before breakfast.

The July 4th trip to Lake Don Pedro was always a hot one. On this trip, even sitting in the shade was not enough to keep from baking, so everyone moved their sand chairs into the water. Everyone snacked and visited all day and I always gained 4-5 pounds.

Over the years we often had critters. On this trip there was a nightly skunk. On several trips we had a rattlesnake that one of the men killed. One time we even cooked the rattlesnake and had it for dinner. One year we had scorpions and mom got stung. It was very painful for her. Sometimes we even had cows grazing on the shore from a nearby ranch. We generally camped on the shore about 7 miles from the launch ramp at the Don Pedro Dam. It was a 30-40 minute boat ride from both the dam and from Mocassin Landing launch ramp at the north end of the lake. We always launched at the dam, a huge ramp with 7 lanes across. At least once or twice on our camping trips we all piled into the boats and went for a ride to the marina for ice cream cones. That was fun. Most trips we went for a ride up the Tuolumne River until we got to the "log jam" where the cold river water met the warm water of the lake. One year we camped in at Wreck Bay where there were large trees in the water off the shoreline. My brother Gary jumped off a tree and cut his head open. Mom used a butterfly bandage to close the wound without having to drive into Modesto for stitches. On another trip we had a forest fire up the hill. Everyone grabbed buckets, pots and wet blankets and towels and made trip after trip from the water's edge to the fire to douse it with water. The men used shovels and covered the dry burning grass with dirt. Fortunately, we were able to get it out before it got too big, and since we had lots of hands-on-deck we safely put the fire out.

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