If you’re a serious bass angler, you may lament that you never got to experience the “good ol’ days” of Mexican bass fishing, the times when you could land fish after fish until your thumbs bled and all of your plastic worms were hanging on for dear life. If
you’re the cynical type, you might scoff at those legendary
tales of tying your boat to a single tree and getting a bite
on every cast until you grew bored (unlikely) or hungry
Lake Picachos may have the
world’s best bass fishing
BY PETE ROBBINS
A Taste Of
we all stared transfixed, I silently multiplied how much this
buzz kill was going to cost us in French francs. Finally, Mark
snagged something, and slowly … inched … up … the bike!
Massive cheering erupted.
“That must happen all the time,” Douglas laughed to the
lock keeper, who shook his head, refilled the lock, and said
something in French.
“I think he said ‘Never,’” Hannah whispered to Douglas
as we puttered onward. “That he’s worked here 10 years, and
this has never happened.” We were simultaneously giddy
with relief and mortified. Months later, I’d hear Hannah
describing to a friend her favorite parts of our French trip.
All of Paris, she said, and the melodrama of Uncle Douglas
dropping the bike into the lock.
On our last morning, we approached the piece de resistance, the splendid Briare Aqueduct, a turn-of-the-century
engineering masterpiece carrying the Canal Lateral over the
Loire River. We crossed the quarter-mile steel waterway in
awe, floating on 13 tons of water, looking down on the river
far below, our canal adventure reaching a dramatic end.
All voyages seem, when time passes, to become a few special moments strung together in memory. My string included watching Hannah, at first so shy about her French, blossoming as shopkeepers, waiters, and lock keepers encouraged
her on with friendly conversation. I smile thinking of cycling
over hill and dale with Douglas, exploring this magnificent
valley of castles and vineyards together, stopping for picnics
in places we seemed to have all to ourselves. I think of Gina,
so effortlessly stylish, showing the girls how to wear their
new scarves “the French way” before strolling into the market to search for a patisserie offering macarons, the colorful
merengues to which we’d all become addicted.
But the memory I savor most is how, late into almost
every night, my brother Mark and I were the last ones awake
on the top deck, talking under the stars, sharing where
we were in our lives. Being six years apart, our childhood
memories differed, so each of our recollections added fresh
perspective for the other. This was a gift we got from this
little barge – the peace of a stopped world, where for a time
we were at the center, listening to one another. It’s always
the way, isn’t it? The best memories have little to do with
the places we visit, and everything to do with being together
for the ride.
Editorial director of BoatU.S. Magazine, Bernadette and her
husband, Douglas, live in Rhode Island, and have a Seaway 24.
ALL VOYAGES SEEM, WHEN TIME PASSES,
TO BECOME A FEW SPECIAL MOMENTS
STRUNG TOGETHER IN MEMORY