We’re back from our lovely weekender at Put-In-Bay. This is the first time DH and I have gone away from the kids since they were born. It was tough leaving them, but I managed. (Snort.)
It helped knowing that Nana was staying with them. I’m not even sure they knew we had left, actually; they were having that much fun. Yeah, that’s it- we took this weekend for them.
Getting to the Lake Erie islands is easy. You drive north until you hit water. You go west until you get to Catawba Island (which is a cheater island, since it has a big bridge getting you to it). Then you do this:
I don’t know why I was so enthralled with the whole crossing-over thing. It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m from the landlocked armpit of my state, where the only water we see is the stuff that falls from the clouds. Getting on a boat to get somewhere is new for us. I am such a dork that I actually watched the GPS track us over water. Apparently, it doesn’t care if you’re on a road or not. I have no idea why that thought absolutely fascinates me. Oh, right – dork.
Hey, it’s all about the journey, right?
So of course I took a billion pictures of the darn boats.
The ferry guy probably thought I was casing their operation. I even took pictures of us, in the truck, on the boat.
I don’t get out much, okay?
To fully enjoy every moment of our trip, we got out of the truck and went up on the top deck. It was a beautiful sight. Here we are, leaving Catawba Island for Put-In-Bay.
And then, we really felt like we were on vacation when we saw this:
Of course, I had to look down and take a picture of our truck from above, because I’m geeky like that. Please don’t judge me.
After ten minutes or so, our island came into view. The first thing you notice is Perry’s Victory monument, which looks like a giant UFO parked on a roman column. It’s kind of funny, actually.
Finally, we reached the dock and prepared to debark the ship. Ha. I just wanted to say “debark”.
Ahhh. Let the weekending commence.
There is a special rhythm to island life. Here, people drive golf carts.
They also drive cars, scooters, rollerblades, mopeds, motorcycles, and buses on the island. I suppose it’s not really all that different from the mainland, after all. But my head was already on vacation. I wasn’t processing things well. I thought everything was just fascinating.
We stayed at a lovely little B&B called the Arbor Inn.
It took me a while to figure out why they called it that. Then I noticed this across the street:
Get it? Grapes? Arbor? Arbor Inn?
And, yeah, I thought about getting some of that wine, but then I noticed this at the end of the field:
Not very appealing, I’m afraid.
On Saturday morning, we got up early. And when I say early, I don’t mean like 10 AM. We were up early. 7:00. I had no intention of sleeping my vacation away. By 7:30, we were on our bikes and exploring. We did more between 7 and breakfast than we normally do in a whole day. But that’s vacation for you.
By noon, we were ready for a break.
We stopped in the middle of downtown for a quick energy boost.
There is a large park in the downtown commercial district. It’s a nice place to sit and people-watch. You can generally find things to amuse yourself if you just sit in a public place for a while. Personally, I like signs. They crack me up.
And my personal favorite:
(However, while you can toss lakes, you apparently must strain out the wildlife.)
Talking about your funny signs, we ate lunch at a joint called the Chicken Patio. No, really. I’m serious.
They call it that because you sit on the patio and eat chicken. Like, a half of a barbequed chicken.
And if you ask them, the guys who work there will tell you that the sauce is the boss.
After lunch, we did some more riding. We quickly discovered that our butts were not prepared for this onslaught of physical activity and were, in fact, rather sore. Ouch. But we pressed on. Our mission was to find a suitable launching point from which to get our kayaks into the lake. It was surprisingly hard to find one, considering we were on a fricking island, after all. Desperate times called for desperate measures. We went up in the Perry’s Victory monument to scope things out.
Unfortunately, it didn’t help. So we got our sore butts back on our torture-device bicycles, and rode around some more. And then we found the state park, which seemed like a nice place to sit and rest. So we did. And what did we see? We saw kayakers. In the water.
We also saw the Perry Nuclear Power plant. But that’s not important here.
The important thing is that the kayakers had to have had a place to put their boats into the water. And if they could get in, we should be able to, too. Right? Right. And then we saw it:
So now that we found a place to put the boats in, we decided to relax the rest of the day, and rest up so we could spend the next day kayaking. I decided to work on my knitting. In fact, I worked on knitting a lot this weekend. And in a lot of places. I had already knit several rows on the drive up. I also knit here:
I even knit on the ferry ride back:
but now I’m getting ahead of myself.
So, Sunday morning we again rose bright and early and prepared to stick our now-sore butts into our kayaks. We drove to the perfect put-in place and somehow managed to get the boats down off the truck without embarassing ourselves in front of the [mostly young, tan, lithe, slim] other patrons hanging out at the dock. That was a major victory for morale.
I then gathered our important supplies.
(That is what happens when I let my husband shop for the snacks.)
Now, at this point I opted to lock my camera in the truck and leave it on dry land. It had been, up until Sunday, nearly five years since I sat in my boat. And I’ve only ever taken it out on Lake Erie twice. And the last time I did, I dropped my binoculars into the water (where they still reside, to my knowledge). Taking the camera out on the boats did not seem prudent. Therefore there are no photos of our voyage. Alas.
Good news: my ass did not get stuck in the boat. In fact, the bike did far more damage than the boat could have ever hoped to do.
More good news: I did not tip my boat. I have never tipped it, at least not on accident, and I am proud to say that my perfect record and dignity are still intact.
Even more good news: while I am not exceptionally young, slim, lithe, tan OR athletic, we did look wicked in our kayaks. Everyone was watching us. All the kids stood by and watched as we pushed off. They marveled at our skill and prowess. They gazed in admiration as our paddles slipped effortlessly into the water. They coveted our snazzy PFDs and matching spray skirts. I haven’t felt that cool in a very, very, very long time. Perhaps ever.
After the kayaks, it was pretty much downhill. Nothing else was nearly that exciting, not even the discovery of the espresso bar downtown or the ice cream patio out by the airport. So we got up Monday, ate breakfast, and came home. And our girls were happy to see us.