Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sailing, kayaking, and laughing at Atwood Lake, Ohio

We got together with friends Carl and Sandy of Lancaster, Ohio, in 2011 and have been wanting a repeat performance. It finally happened last weekend.

We met up at Atwood Lake Park in east central Ohio.  With eight campgrounds, a huge lake, hiking trails, marina, restaurant, cabins and more, there is lots to do. And, it's a beautiful place.

The big draw is the lake. People keep pontoon boats here and motor around while fishing or pulling kids on towable tubes. Others, like Carl and Sandy, have a sail boat at Atwood. It's a great sailing lake because it's big, fairly deep and has a 25 horsepower limit, meaning power boaters can't go screaming by. It's a great kayaking lake, too.

So we sailed, kayaked, ate, talked and laughed. A lot. Thanks, Carl and Sandy!  Hope to see you again soon.
Bev and Sandy.  We met as freshmen at Ohio State University and both of us met Carl that year, too.  Bev graduated from Ohio State; Sandy graduated from University of Wisconsin and Capital University Law School.
Dinner at Carl and Sandy's cabin.  Jim and I made stuffed chicken breast, veggie casserole, and S'mores.  Another night Sandy and Carl made prime rib, baked potatoes, and peach cobbler. A third night we ate at the very good park restaurant. We did not lack for food.
Jim and Carl.  Look closely at Jim's clothing -- he's soaked. He was helping Carl cast off the bow line (or in regular words, disconnecting the front of the boat from the dock) and fell in the water.  He said it happened just like you see in the movies: one foot is on the boat, one foot is on the dock, and as the boat moves away you have no choice but to jump in. He had his phone and electronic car keys in his pockets; after the dunking both still worked.
Atwood Lake as seen through the lens of Bev or Carl's cameras.  The lake is 15 miles from Zoar, home of a former communal society founded in 1817 by Germans who moved to America because of religious persecution.  Former Lutherans, they were pacifists who would not go to war nor observe traditional religious sacraments such as baptism or marriage. (A history of the Zoarites said couples wishing to get married "would just present themselves before witnesses.") In about 1922 the community was concerned that population growth would out pace their resources, so they "experimented with celibacy."  That last eight years.  In 1898 Zoarites decided to dissolve their society and divided their communal property among members. 
Carl covering his boat's sail at the lake's shore. Atwood Lake was created in 1936 (per an Internet site) or 1937 (per a hoodie Sandy bought me) and is operated by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.  The MWCD is part of an Ohio drainage system that covers  8,000 square miles -- almost the size of the state of New Jersey.
Jim manning the rudder.  He said you have to constantly pay attention and get the feel for it so you don't over correct.  He also said it was fun.
Carl took this photo of his boat at sunrise. So pretty. 
Bev holding her kayak so Sandy can give it a try. Later that day Sandy was thinking about buying one (yay!) and looking at them on line. 


  1. Great extended-weekend! Sandy and I could not have enjoyed visiting with you and Jim more!

    We both loved the pictures; I especially liked the one of “Captain Jim” at the helm, and of you and Sandy standing at the front of the cockpit. You both still look like freshman coeds to me. Those pictures are also pretty indicative of our sailing: Jim setting the sails, handling the lines, taking the helm; you and Sandy sitting below and talking. Your one duty, the one you failed at miserably, was to keep your husband hydrated. Perhaps your thinking was that Jim’s dip in the lake was hydration enough.

    Speaking of that dip. As I was on the deck at the time, and you were below with Sandy (see above), I think, in an admirable attempt to protect the journalistic integrity of your blog, I need to expand on your discussion of Jim’s casting-off. I think that it is your statement “that with no other options, Jim “jumped” into the lake” which perhaps does not paint the most precise word picture. Jim only “jumped” into the lake in the same since in which Wily Coyote “jumps” into the canyon after the Roadrunner lures him over the edge. I’m not saying that Jim was not in control at all times, it is just that his entry into the water made me think more of Sir Isaac Newton’s theories than Esther Williams grace. All this aside, as the owner of the boat, it was my responsibility to keep passengers and crew safe, and I regret that I did not do this. As I was watching the event unfold before my eyes, it seemed to be happening in slow motion. I certainly could have gotten to Jim in time to pull him back from the watery abyss. And, I would have; except that I was paralyzed with laughter. I know this was no excuse for my inaction, but in my own defense, it was really funny! Only after Jim was in the water did the thought occur to me, “I wonder if he can swim”. You can only imagine my relief when his bride came up to the deck yelling “Quick, Jim, save the phone”! It was later that I learned that Jim had life insurance and the phone did not, this may have clouded her priorities.

    Aside from Jim’s and your fellowship, what we find we miss most from the weekend, is the cabin’s smoke detector. The convenience of sitting on the porch knowing this miracle device would let us know when the meat was done cannot be emphasized enough. Sandy is still talking about getting a couple of kayaks. We so enjoyed our time with you and can’t wait until 2019 when we will surely meet up again.