2011-05-29 Lake McSwain (the Gregor’s maiden voyage)

After owning my boat for more than a month, Jen and I finally had time to take it out for a spin. We chose Lake McSwain, which is about 1.5 hrs from Modesto. It’s a fishing-oriented lake set in the foothills of the Sierras and I chose it specifically for the low speed limit. I didn’t want the pressure of big speed boats zooming by and throwing their wakes at us while I was dialing in my new boat and my Grandpa’s motor, and this lake provided the perfect setting. It’s $7 to enter the area, $7 to launch a boat, and $4 to bring in a pet – not bad considering I had just paid $33 to do the same at Del Valle Reservoir with my Dad and his boat, but no pet!

It was crowded at the boat launch and campground, but the lake seemed fairly empty. Maybe it was the 30mph winds…Having helped my Dad launch his boat many times, the set up was quick and the launching was easy. Jen held the rope and the Gregor slid off the trailer into the water for it’s first time with zero hiccups. We put on Rosco’s new life jacket and hit the lake.

My Grandpa’s 1973 Evinrude fired up without hesitation and Jen and I celebrated with a couple of beers – we didn’t have to use the oars to get back to our car! I had recently rebuilt the lower unit’s water pump and oil seals and I was really happy that everything was working properly. Because of the wind, we decided to find a secluded spot on the lake where we could sit down, eat lunch, and let Rosco swim for a while. We found a really great spot about halfway down the lake and enjoyed a very scenic walk through the foothills.

We lazed around for a while snacking while Rosco swam and contently chewed on some sticks. We had the place to ourselves for an entire day!

With the hours ticking away and our stomachs starting to crave dinner, we packed up and headed back for the boat launch. Once again, the motor ran with no issues and I got a good feel for how the boat handles heading into a strong headwind.

I think this will become our “standby” lake for day trips because it’s close, quiet, and the fishing was pretty decent when we partied here for the 4th of July back in 2009…

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