Last year, while visiting a cousin in Sicamous,
British Columbia, in Canada, my husband bought a contest ticket for a
houseboat trip on Shuswap Lake in the North Okanagan
from Waterways and he was so pumped when he won! We boarded the houseboat,
along with our two adult sons, my youngest son’s girlfriend and an elderly
friend. This is a light-hearted tale of our trip, which we enjoyed immensely.
If you were going on a houseboat trip, what would you be
sure to take along? The answer varied amongst my family and friends. As
captain, my husband Randy made sure he had a map of the lake in front of him at
all times. Our eldest son, Jordan, ensured he had his CD’s and player since no
one else seems to share his taste in music. Our other son, Jonah, was content
as long as his girlfriend Kyla was close by and vise versa applied for Kyla.
Our family friend Nelda finally sat back and relaxed when we unpacked the coffee.
As for myself, I was thankful for my family and friends who finally made it onboard.
I say finally because we did take a shortcut on the way to
our destination, in an endeavor to shorten travel time on the trip from our
home in Kindersley, Saskatchewan,
to Sicamous, British Columbia. A friend had informed us
of a shortcut to Calgary, Alberta, that would save us an hour of
driving time. What we hadn’t anticipated was all the rain which had fallen and
transformed the short stretch of dirt road into a massive mud puddle. As our
two mud-coated vehicles approached pavement, Jonah pulled up beside us and
muttered “Nice shortcut, Dad!” and flicked a hunk of mud towards our open
Our group of voyageurs had to be patient as Waterways was a
wee bit behind schedule getting the boats cleaned and prepped for their new
clients. When the skies finally cleared, we were given permission to begin
loading our supplies. Perhaps we brought along too much. A half-ton box piled
high with essentials and a completely stuffed Ford Escape interior didn’t seem
like too much stuff until we had to haul it all into the houseboat.
While on the lake, this Saskatchewan girl truly did feel out of her
element. There I was surrounded by two commodities completely foreign to the
prairies—trees and water. Although the peace and quiet was appreciated, after a
while we were all scanning the horizon for signs of civilization and it came in
the form of a floating store. I was surprised to see the wide variety of
fireworks available since the brochure stated they were discouraged on the
lake. Nevertheless, Jonah walked out the door with a huge supply in tow.
No sooner had we pulled on to the beach for the evening when
the two-way radio began to hum with activity. A bunch of the boats had dubbed
themselves with code names and were making plans for the evening, “Zombie Donkey, this is Cheap Baloney, we’re pulling in for the
Sure enough, Cheap
Baloney pulled in beside us and shortly afterwards, Zombie Donkey followed.
“Water Dancer? Are
you by?” was the next message over the radio and soon afterwards Water Dancer pulled in beside its two
companions. So far they were all parked on our right and two lonely boats were
docked quite a distance from us to our left.
“Zombie Donkey to Party God. Are you pulling in for the
night?” came over the radio. And you guessed it, Party God pulled in snuggly on our left. They came complete with
music enough for all to share. If we had a theme song for this trip it would
have to be “Stuck in the Middle With You.”
Party God’s crew
consisted of wanna-be body builders sporting impressive tans and
not-so-impressive gold and silver Speedo swimming trunks (a fashion statement
which is rarely seen on the prairies). They all converged on the top deck and
made a big to-do of having a push-up competition.
“They’re doing girlie push-ups!” Jonah said, completely
disgusted as he watched the males rest on their knees while performing pushups.
I could tell he was tempted to go over and challenge the would-be body
builders, but he refrained.
The upside of it all was we were now surrounded by a captive
audience for the midnight fireworks display, which everyone agreed was quite
impressive for an amateur.
Although we played around with a few code names for our crew
(Donkey Baloney, Zombie Dancer, Fire God),
we never did settle on a name. It was a relief to know we wouldn’t have to tote
all our leftover food and firewood back home, but instead could sacrifice it
all to Party God.
We all agreed we would take another houseboat trip in a
heartbeat, provided we could enlist lots of our friends to come along. Our
houseboat vacation made us realize the excursion would be even more enjoyable
if we brought along our own Cheap
Baloney, Prairie Dancer and our very own Saskatchewan Party God.