Sunday, July 24, 2011

Getting Ready for The Lake!

t-4 days until our annual vacation!  Every year we go down to The Lake of the Ozarks for one week of vacation with our family.  This event started about 23 years ago with my mom & dad, Mari & I, uncle Randy & aunt Nancy, their children Angie, Ryan, Marc & Kevin, and my aunt Ann and cousin Jason.  In total their were 12 of us in a tiny one-bedroom cabin.  We used to get out the air mattresses and sleeping bags (I had Scooby Doo) and we'd sleep where we could make room.  In the middle of the night you had to be careful not to step on people when you were going to the bathroom!

This was the new "upscaled" version of our family vacations at The Lake.  It all started on my parents' good friend's mother's old cabin on The Lake.  The cabin itself was dilapidated and not fit for anyone to stay in it.  So we would pitch tents on the front lawn and spend our days swimming off the dock, boating, and fishing.  One year it rained so much that the tent flooded and ruined everything inside of it.  Mom told dad she had had enough and she wasn't staying in a tent anymore.

So dad, ever the problem-solver, bought her a fifth-wheeler.  We got a boat as part of the deal too.  Of course we had to have a bigger truck to pull the fifth-wheeler with too (not sure dad did all of this just for mom!).  There were two fifth-wheeler fiascos that I can recall.  The first was about 100 feet from our driveway when we turned the corner and figured out that dad hadn't hooked the trailer all the way, it came out of the hitch and landed on the side of the new truck - crushing it.  The second incident was a year or so later - it was the rain again!  It rained so much that the fifth-wheeler got stuck and we couldn't pull it out.  It took two vehicles to pull it out of the mud.  So this time it was dad who said he'd had enough and he wasn't dealing with that damn fifth-wheeler anymore.

Next step?  They bought the cabin!  No more tents, no more fifth-wheeler, but still a place to go every weekend to enjoy The Lake.  I remember I was 10-yrs-old when we bought the cabin.  It was a very quiet and peaceful day when the realtor showed us the cabin.  The couple who had owned it previous to us had passed away.  It was the original cabin in the area called The Golden Acres.  One time, dad had to pull a wall out to fix the plumbing and you could actually still see the logs from the original log cabin - it's pretty neat.

A year or two after mom and dad bought the cabin is when Randy & Nancy started coming down.  For many years the 12 of us would vacation together for two weeks there - wonderful memories!  These days, all of us cousins have grown up, gotten married, and had kids of our own.  In total this year we will have 25 people down there for the week.  Some come and go ,but for the most part we all try to stay as long as we can - sweet memories are hard to let go of!  How do we all fit into the tiny little cabin?  We don't - mom and dad built a barn/garage for the boats a few years ago and added sleeping space above it. 

The lake is technically a reservoir of the Osage River.  There are two damns in the Osage river basin which create two lakes - The Lake of the Ozarks is created by Bagnell Damn and Truman Lake is created by Truman Damn.  The Lake of the Ozarks is 92 miles long, with mile marker 1 starting at Bagnell Damn and mile marker 92 ending at Truman Damn.  Our cabin is at the 78 mile marker, much closer to Truman than Bagnell.   We spend our days fishing, swimming, boating, 4-wheeling, hiking, and whatever else suits our fancy.  My particular favorite is floating on a raft in the cove - there is nothing better! 

No time to waste - The Lake is waiting!

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