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   It’s been a cold and rainy winter here in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. I got started on the day with no plans to go "boat-boat". But around 10AM it was lookin' so purty, and heading towards 62 degrees down the mountain on lake Keowee in South Carolina, that I checked with Miss Debbie to see if it was OK to go play. She gave her blessing, but is still feeling kinda puny after her two-in-a-row colonoscopys and didn't want to tag along, so I wandered over to Old Codger and just managed to get out, "Hey old feller, do ya wanna........" By then he was bouncing up and down exclaiming, "YES-YES-YES....", so we proceeded to get packed up, loaded up, gassed up, and everything else up and headed out. By then it was 11:00. By 12:15 we were at the ramp. We went to the most convenient ramp, Fall Landing, in case ya wanna know. Doggone if there weren't a couple other old fellers there with another wooden boat! It was a Jeff Spira Texas Dory that one of them had built from plans. Naturally we had to compare. One anecdote led to another, then that led to a story, which reminded one of us of.....  We'll, you know how it goes. Even so, we got away from the dock by 12:45.

   It was warm with a slight breeze ruffling the water. We headed north, under the Hwy 11 bridge, towards the dam that keeps Lake Jocassee from dumping all of its water into Lake Keowee. Surprisingly, the lake was at full flood. We had expected the level to have been drawn down for winter. Maybe the record amounts of snow and rain that we've had lately had filled 'er up again. As we cruised along, we looked at all of the naked trees with their leaves gone, and the gaggle of million dollar homes, interspersed with multimillion dollar castles. One after another. Pretty boring for the most part. Once you’ve seen a couple of mega-houses and winter-dead trees, you’ve seen ‘em all. My mom used to say that the trees were all “dead-dead-dead”. The coves were more interesting. An unobstructed view back into the woods. Cute little ducks. Even some turkles catchin' a few rays. Sun rays, not stingerees. We checked out the dam. It looked just like the last time. We poked in and out of the coves. Ate a lunch of Vienna sausages and cheese crackers, followed by a pudding cup. Miss Debbie had heated me up some hot chocolate to take in my new insulated cup that a good friend had given me for Christmas, so I drank that instead of my usual Real Southern Sweet Tea or Fanta grape soda. This was all accomplished while cruising along at about 12 mph. We didn't even get in a fight with any docks!

   Old Codger was trying out his new steeper pitched prop. This is prop number 3. Each of the others had over revved Mr. Hatsu to the point that he cut out because of his rev limiter. This prop was much better. The motor didn't cut out this time. RPM maxed out at 6000, which is right at the maximum allowed. We never actually run wide open, so that will be fine. Top speed on the GPS was right at 24mph. Plenty fast for an old codger.

   By now, the wind had picked up to the point that the lake was covered with white caps. The Codger didn't like that and complained until I gave up and took him back to the dock. While loading up, doggone if another old guy didn't wander over asking about the boat. Seems like everyone wants to admire a real wooden boat. Old Codger is gonna get a swelled head if this keeps up. We talked for about 15 minutes or so, then we headed home. Old Codger never will talk to anyone else, so I have to keep these conversations going by myself. I guess he's just shy. No problem. I've been accused of talking too much anyway. We made it home a bit after 4:00. Just a nice afternoon "putz" on the lake. It was very pleasant and we're both looking forward to a couple of warm, dry, calm days in a row so we can do an over-nighter. I think winter is settling in for good, so it may be two or three month before we get a break in the weather to do that. So, until then, stay warm y'all, and dream about messing about in boats.

   For those of you that haven’t read of Old Codgers first adventure, I’ll explain that he’s home built from plans of the Jessy Skiff 15 by B&B Yacht Designs that I modified with a cabin. He’s intended for two or three day cruises on the mountain lakes in the Appalachian area, with an occasional cruise down on “real” water, salt water at the coast. He’s powered by a 20hp Tohatsu outboard motor. He’s built of Okoume marine plywood in the W.E.S.T. method, “stitch and glue”, and epoxy coated.

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