Several months ago Tom and Katie Bonn asked us if we would be interested in a houseboat trip. Laura Barry and Tom Rude had joined them two years ago and were enthusiastic about their experience except for the fact that a bigger boat was needed. If Tom B could come up with five couples to share costs, a 75 foot Excursion would be affordable especially at the end of the high season when rentals were half price. We agreed and the deal was made. Early in September I started making lists and planning the one evening meal that Dave and I were responsible for. Emails and texts between the participants flew as the September 21st gathering date neared. We packed up the little Buick with food and stuff and instruments and headed for Page AZ.
This is the view looking towards the Grand Canyon as we climbed the red rock mountain south of Page.
The chasm in the top middle of the photo is the Colorado River deep into the earth at this point of it’s journey south.
In Page we checked into the hotel and waited for the others to arrive. Tom R and Laura we’re already there and soon we heard Katie Bonn’s voice; then Martin and Carla Fewkes arrived and our company was almost in full force. Cheryl and Perry Shirley would join us the next day at the rental dock. Those of us wishing to fish walked to the local liquor and fish license store to buy our $40 licenses. Dinner at a great Mexican place with margaritas all around and back to the hotel to play some music in the courtyard and to bed.
We formed a convoy of vehicles with Tom B and his truck and fifth wheel in the lead. We parked temporarily at the unloading area of the Wahweap Marina boat rental and shortly a porter came by on a four wheeler pulling rolling bins into which we loaded our stuff. He had our reservation and the berth number of our boat so pretty soon we were unloading those onto our houseboat. Pretty luxurious looking accommodations! Big refrigerator and a pantry!
This is the dock for rentals. There were several houseboats of various sizes in the process of loading; people hauling stuff in carts, four wheelers lumbering along with carts in tow, porters loading and unloading, lots of excitement. Rental papers had to be signed; each of us signing our name, then a wait until someone from the rental company could accompany us to the boat and do an orientation.
The rental building, bathrooms and gift shop with a Starbucks coffee shop. The water was clear. We could see fish swimming.
Orientation finished, we gals put groceries away in the really big kitchen, divvied up the staterooms while the guys drove the cars to the parking lot. Perry and Cheryl arrived with their boat and Pandy, their elderly dog.
Our room had a decent queen sized bed was two steps down. Two drawers held our clothing with small shelves along one wall for small stuff and a small shelf on the wall above the bed with a fan plus reading lights and two windows that opened. Open areas under the bed held our suitcase and instruments. A closet down the hall held hanging clothes. Above our bed was another bed in the next room down the hall. That bed had two steps leading up to it with much the same arrangement as ours except that it had a door opening into one of the two bathrooms. The arrangement of rooms across the hall was exactly the same. At the end of the hall on the right was a master suite and to the left, closets for linens and hanging clothes.
The guys returned and we were under way out of the Marina with Perry’s boat tendered to the back of the houseboat.
Dave and Martin enjoy the scenery. Katie and Laura enjoy a snack. Cheryl and Dave seem content.
It was a beautiful sunny day for sitting in the shade but we do need to explore the boat a bit.
A view from the front of the boat.
Perry’s boat bouncing along behind.
The slide off the back. I didn’t get to go down as the weather was a bit chilly. I had my suit and swim noodle ready.
Dave sitting at the back on the top deck. The top deck looking towards the front. An eating and food prep area which included a sink, refrigerator and ice maker. A propane grill is nearby. Farther forward is the hot tub with padded seating, sunning area, a bridge for navigation and at the very front a covered horseshoe shaped table/seating area that could be made into a bed. Carla installed twinkly lights above the hot tub for ambience. Ahead of us is Castle Rock and Warm Creek Bay where we will dock on the sandy beach.
Castle Rock. The channel narrows and boats have to mind the channel markers.
The map at top shows the entire lake and the map below (red star) is where we docked the first night.
Music was played inside most of the time but sometimes on the front deck. Dave played the fiddle mostly but he, Laura and Martin took turns-playing guitar. Laura, Martin and Katie are fiddlers. Martin is a great back up guitar player. Carla is solid on the bass. Katie made it a priority to learn Dave’s new tunes. She and Dave worked on some twin fiddle tunes for contests this winter. Cheryl was an active listener and beginning fiddler. We all encouraged Martin and Carla to winter in the desert when they retire.
When beaching the boat, four anchors have to be deployed and entrenched in the sand and affixed to cleats at the back of the boat so the boat is stable. Tom R, Martin and Perry were good at digging in the anchors and throwing the ropes up to the top deck to be caught, transported to the back and dangled down for Tom B to wind around the cleats. When that was done we were free to pursue other things.
Tom R casting for bass.
Canyon wrens greeted us. They seemed to think that treats would be on offer.
More music after a yummy dinner of pork tenderloin medallions. Tom B is playing guitar here. Carla is crocheting. I am reading a book. A big first day.
Tom is peering at water leaking from somewhere on the side. Those who slept on that side of the boat heard the noise of it all night. There is another problem which seems to be electrical. A call is made to the rental maintenance people and soon a Mr. Chee arrives in his cute fix-it boat.
Mr. Chee goes to work and has the problems sorted in no time.
In the meantime, Perry is working to fix a problem with his boat. Cheryl gets her kayak out and goes for a paddle taking Pandy with her. Pandy has her own life preserver.
Pandy was a good old girl. She was quiet and stayed on her bed by the door most of the time.
Another day goes by with enchilada dinner hosted by Tom and Katie. Everyone helps with cleanup and dishes. Cheryl has brought along her “snakebite” kit. Always good to try something new! The little partitioned shot glasses hold tequila and lime juice. Mouth puckering. Don’t try too many! Although, I must say Tom and Laura’s rhubarb vodka went down smoothly another night.
Tom B makes breakfast each morning and we all find something for lunch in our well stocked refrigerator and pantry.
Repositioning day today. Tom drives the houseboat and we will meet him at the next location. Dave, Laura and I ride in one boat driven by Shirley’s daughters friend and others follow in Perry’s boat.
Glen Canyon Dam and bridge over the river gorge near Page then around to Antelope Point. Amazing scenery that you can see no other way.
We stop at Antelope Point for a bathroom and a break from the choppiness of the small boat. It is a beautiful Marina with a restaurant and gift shop plus boat rental and boat storage docks. There are some incredibly huge houseboats here costing in the millions of dollars.
Carp and other fish have learned that handouts are sometimes available around the dock at Antelope Point. They surface greedily for chips.
Another location near Rock Creek Bay. More sandy beach. More music. Brisket dinner by the Shirley’s and a rousing game of “Left, Right, Center” complete with dimes for chips. Laura and Tom instruct us. The winner is the last one having a dime and gets all the dimes in the center of the table.
Carla has a crochet project to work on.
Tom works on Sudoku.
Lots of fun and even some fishing. Dave and I do beef burrito bowl one night and Carla and Martin furnish pulled pork and all the fixings. If you eat good you play good and more fine music was played.
The houseboat takes us all the way to Hanging Rope Marina and then back toward Page so we won’t have so far to travel on the last morning.
Dave even gets a shot at steering the boat. Lots more scenery. The houseboat can be driven from the upper deck on a beautiful day. The hot tub did get used. At one point in the tub were five women and Martin. Cheryl enjoyed the heated water after kayaking which she did almost every day.
All of us who bought fishing licenses did some fishing and everyone caught something. Perry and Tom went out in the small boat and caught he most of any of us. Perry cleaned and filleted them and Cheryl fried them for a delicious treat our last evening on the lake.
There was eve a rainy night and part of the next morning. The rock canyons were beautiful in the rain.
We did get off the boat to do some exploring but the sand and rocks didn’t make it easy.
The last morning, enjoying the sunrise.
A nice picture of our houseboat on the rocky beach the last day.
Perry and Tom navigate back to Wahweap Marina where we add fuel as required then dock and unload; reversing the process from a week ago.
Tom and Katie Bonn, Laura Barry and Tom Rude, Carla and Martin Fewkes, Dave and Mary Brinkman, Cheryl and Perry Shirley
Our 2017 cruise is done. Last goodbyes and hugs all around. Bonn’s and Fewkes back to Idaho, Tom and Laura to Tucson and then back to North Dakota, Shirley’s to Flagstaff , Dave and I back to Surprise. A fun trip!