Most folks know that two hours boating around out on the lake is not nearly enough to get your money's worth out on the water, but business is business.  Most Sundays the Party Pontoon hits Lake Belton for two hours.. this past Sunday was a marathon afternoon.

Deborah in the captain's seat with Lloyd there for support. Deborah is still gloating about Chip being towed by a "girl"!! Photo by Jamie Garrett

I received a call from Jerry (not that Jerry) Jones from Old School Boat Rentals.  He wanted to know how many from my family would be joining the Party Pontoon.  Jerry mentioned some mechanical trouble with our normal pontoon, and not being sure if it would be ready in time for Sunday, he wanted to make sure he had a boat big enough to handle everyone.  We've had as many as 13 people on the Party Pontoon in the past, but my family was out of town & everyone at work that would normally attended wouldn't be there, either.

The relatively small load of Lloyd, Deborah (the owners) and myself meant we were able to take out the wake board boat and move faster from location to location.  After some time spent handing out hats, shirts & coozies at Temple Lake Park we headed to a few more locations.  Lloyd asked me toward our normal ending-time of 3pm if I was in a hurry to get home.  I told him no, and thank goodness I wasn't in a hurry, because my day on the lake was just getting started.

That's not rain beating down on the windshield, that's the white caps swamping us. As wet as the windshield was, the three of us on board were just as wet. Photo by Jamie Garrett

After cruising until about 3:30 we stopped at Pier 36 to fill up the boat with gas.  I took the pit stop opportunity as a chance to stand in front of their window a/c, sucking up as much cold air as possible.  After a few minutes Lloyd had us gassed up and ready to move.  We loaded up only to find the battery wasn't in the mood to cooperate.  After borrowing the jump-box from the folks at Pier 36 and finding it didn't have enough juice to get that 454 engine going, we made the call to Chip.  Chip hopped in the boat normally used to tow other boats in distress back to the marina and came to the rescue.  Little did we know the roles would soon be reversed.

Lloyd, Deborah and I used the time to talk about our lives, hopes & dreams.  I learned all about Lloyd's Army years, and they learned about.... whatever it was I was babbling about at the time.  Chip's arrival was met with optimism, and after another unsuccessful attempt at a jump-box jump, Chip fired us up with a boat-to-boat jump.  We were ready to roll!!  As we pulled out of Pier 36 Lloyd challenged Chip to a race back to Frank's Marina, a challenge happily accepted by Chip.

"Turn around and look at us, Chip!!" Chip wasn't in a social mood when the clouds moved in. He didn't have a cover to keep out the rain. Photo by Jamie Garrett

The trip back to Frank's should have realistically taken 20 minutes, but just five or so minutes into the return trip I notice the "rescue" boat being driven by Chip was losing the race.  That would normally be a great thing, but I knew Chip wouldn't let up that easy.  I mentioned to Lloyd that Chip appeared to be stopped, and Lloyd did his best doughnut and headed back.

I don't pretend to know anything about motors, boat or otherwise.  I'll spare you the boring details, but the bottom line is that boat wasn't getting back to dock without help.  That's an easy fix.  I've been on boats being pulled back to shore, and I've been on boats doing the pulling.  I've never been on a boat pulling the rescue boat that had come to rescue it, but there's a first time for everything.  At this point in time Deborah took over the driving, for no other reason than to be able to taunt Chip without mercy for being towed back to shore by a "girl".  I have no shame in receiving help from a "girl", but that's apparently not the case for Chip... he seemed somewhat ashamed.

To add a little more of a "splash" of humor on a fine Sunday afternoon marathon boating session on Lake Belton, a nice little thunderstorm blossomed.  While rain was never unleashed on us, the white cap waves combined with Deborah's decision to keep our speed at a turtle's pace sent waves of water crashing over the boat's windshield and onto me, my (case-protected) phone & my (unprotected) Bose speaker.  We spent the next 20 minutes experiencing what I can best compare to a never-ending trip on the log ride at Six Flags.  You weren't just getting hit with a little splash, you were getting overrun with water.

If you ask Lloyd or Deborah I'm sure they'd tell you it was just another Sunday on the lake, but if you ask me it was quite an adventure out on the lake.  That's why I've always said it's better to rent a boat from Old School Boat Rentals than buying one for tens-of-thousands of dollars... let the experts handle the dirty work.  Dock to dock.  That's the only way to boat.