Patterson Reunion June 29 - July 6, 2008


This page is a verbal and pictorial record of our ninth reunion, which was held this time in two houseboats on Lake Shasta near Redding.


There are about 80 photos and videos altogether. The photographers were Jeremy, Laura, Dave IV, Mike, Heather, Sue, Don, Pat, Grand Linda, Grand Dave, Great Lucie, and Great Dave.


Note that we have YouTube videos this time, thanks to Jeremy, and they' ll take a while to download. I identified them as a separate item below to make sure you have the bandwidth and time to watch them: VIDEO (although there is nothing in this link).




We met at Mike and Heather' s home to load up before heading north. Heather supplied the Texans with pillows and blankets, and hosted John and Julie who arrived the night before.  We briefly meet Dave Garnetti, Alissa' s boyfriend, who seems like a nice guy.  Before we arrived, Mike took them on a quick tour of San Francisco. The minivan going north was filled so that we have only room for 4 people, so Sue rented a car to take four more and the luggage.  Everyone had each other' s cell phone numbers, so we were all aware of where everyone was on their way to Lake Shasta.


We stopped in Redding to clean out Costco to provide the supplies for the week. Don and Pat drove all night and so arrived Saturday morning. They came down to transport a SUV full of food up to the lake. Sue, Paul, and Grand Dave returned the rental and then dropped by Winco to buy a cubic yard of ice and more food that we couldn' t find at Costco.


Laura and her boyfriend Jeremy met us at the Lake, as did Dave, Zack, and Owyn who were camping so that they didn' t have to worry about Owyn waking up and night and go off exploring on own her own. That gave us 15 people, with 12 sleeping on the two big houseboats (in the middle of this picture).


The Seven Crowns representative gave us a cursory introduction to the houseboats, leaving out incidentals like how you are supposed to anchor the houseboats. Fortunately, experienced house boaters took pity on us newbies and explained that there is no anchor. You just ram the shore (slowly), and keep the engine speed up while two others jump off the boat to drive stakes into the shore to which you attach two ropes so that the houseboat does not drift away. The water level dropped a foot a day, so you needed to back off and then tie up again at least once a day.




Many of us woke up with the sunrise close to 6 AM, and it was a beautiful day. Canada Geese acted as the welcoming committee. We each made our own breakfast and coffee and we picked up our speedboat.  Fortunately, Grand Dave took the opportunity to try to drive a 14-foot speedboat before he tried backing out and sailing a 52-foot houseboat. After Dave IV, Zack, and Owie joined us, we sent John and Paul ahead in the speedboat as scouts while the two houseboats headed out from the marina.


Don captained the H.M.S. Prudence, named after the Beatle' s song, and Dave captained the H.M.S. Folly. (Seven Crowns unimaginative names were 21 and 23). We didn' t hit anything backing up or going forward. Fortunately, Don and Pat brought walkie-talkies, so the two houseboats could coordinate.


We passed a tanker plane that was used to help put out the forest fires that were burning to the west of Lake Shasta. The 162,000-pound " flying boat"  was the Martin Mars, which is capable of dropping a 7,200-gallons water that saturates about 3 1/2 acres per dump.


John and Paul found us a spot on the west side of the McCloud River Arm of Lake Shasta. We successfully rammed the shore and stacked the two houseboats, arrived about 9:30 AM. Don climbed up the hill to roll down two logs to act as stepping-stones to get onto the clay shore. Paul and Jeremy help put the logs into place.


The water temperature was around 70 and the air temperature was in the low 90s. Almost immediately Dave IV turned on the water for the slide from the second deck and slid into the water. Soon both slides were operating and we were all cooled off from the warm temperatures. It took help from her grandfather to get her into the water, but once she was in, Owie seemed to stay in all day.


The speedboat was put to very good use. Sue brought her water toys with her in a large box, giving many people a chance to ride inner tubes, wakeboards, kneeboards, and water skis. The speedboat also gave late to transport Dave IV, Zack, and O back to their car at the marina.  Laura also brought rubber boats and other Greenlund water toys. John and Paul showed us how to inner tube, wakeboard and kneeboard, going side to side and over the wake of the boat like pros. Alissa did her first 360-degree turn on a wakeboard with her brother piloting the boat. Laura had a particularly spectacular spill, which Jeremy recorded on video. VIDEO. Here are other videos, with only John coming close to as spectacular an ending as Laura' s:

*         John tubing VIDEO

*         Sue tubing VIDEO

*         Pat tubing VIDEO

*         Don tubing VIDEO


Besides sliding into the lake whenever you got warm, people played the Settlers of Catan board game and chatted. Pat made enchiladas for dinner, and for drinks, Alissa made margaritas, and Grand Dave made sangria. We also transferred some beer between the boats using the Patterson chain gang. VIDEO. That night people played the Murder card game. Finally, all the senior Patterson women apparently secretly wished that they looked as good as Julie did in a bikini.




Alas, Owie continued her illness, and so she and Zack decided to hear home to see a doctor. Zackery graciously encouraged Dave to stay for a few more days with his family.


Alas, the generator died so we had to call for help. The mechanic was very helpful in both fixing the boat and giving advice that we probably should have been told when we got the boat. We moved the houseboats into a less muddy spot. Don piloted the second houseboat in perfectly so that they could be side-by-side, and we lashed them together so that we could more easily move between the two houseboats. This was a lot more fun than tromping through the red clay mud in the prior spot.


Pat decorated the two houseboats in a Hawaiian theme, giving leis to everyone so that we could properly welcome the newcomers: Grand Linda, Mike, Heather, Andrew, and Grace. We saluted their arrival with synchronized water sliding, and Laura put leis on the new arrivals as they came onboard.


Grace gave the water slide one try, but preferred to float in the lake and find clamshells. Andrew tried the slide, and then slid 10 more times before the day was done.


We also threw a surprise birthday party for Jeremy, as it was his 23rd birthday. The new gang made a special trip to get (and keep cold) his favorite chocolate mint ice cream, to go along with the 4th of July cake and candles.


We celebrated the 40th anniversary of our San Joaquin Delta houseboat trip by playing Bam. VIDEO (with color commentary and sound effects). As told repeatedly in family lore, Dave and Linda were married just 9 months when we went for our first houseboat vacation.  The seven of us played the card game which is basically a group solitaire, where opportunities to play (e.g., the 3 of Spades on the 2 of Spades) are settled by the first person to get the card on the stack. We had played this as a family of 6 many times, but this was the first time Linda played the game, so she wasn' t used to the frantic play. After her new husband beat her to the open stack four times in a row, she became so upset that Linda slugged her Dave in the arm. Linda was immediately mortified to have done it, but almost everyone stopped playing, stared, and then burst out laughing.  The exception was 10-year-old Sue, who kept playing cards because no one told her to stop.


The good news was that Great Dave was feeling so good that he set out on a walk-about up the steep hill into the woods. The bad news was that he slipped after a long hike, and needed some help getting back, which his grandson Paul and the speedboat provided.


That evening we got to watch Jeremy and Laura swing dance on the top deck, which looked good even in swimsuits and bare feet. Don showed down John how to fly fish, and John even caught a fish on his own.


We watched Indiana Jones 2 (Temple of Doom) in the evening and had quite a bit of conversation about the movie.



We more or less lived in swimsuits for the week, with our bathing consisting largely of jumping into the lake. Many of the women even shampooed their hair in the lake.


In the morning we took a few different group photos. The first photo required Dave IV to step between the second floors of the two houseboats, and the second photo required Dave slide into the water and pose before his 7-second camera timer took the shot.


Laura, John, Julie, and Jeremy returned home during the day, so that John and Julie could catch a flight. After we dropped them off and refueled the two houseboats, we moved further up the McCloud Arm to Ycotti Creek. It' s a smaller cove, which we all enjoyed, and we couldn' t hear the highway noises. Grand Linda and Grand Dave slept in the penthouse, which was surprisingly large and comfortable.


The doubled-barreled squirt guns that you could load from the lake were very popular. All of us really enjoyed them, especially Andrew. When it warmed up, Andrew came aboard with a loaded squirt gun, which seemed suspicious to Sue, Alissa, and Grand Dave. Alas, we were not quick enough, as Andrew got his grandfather with a full load from both barrels. When asked why he did it, he said he was " trying to make his grandfather' s life more interesting."  And, oh, by the way, he would never forget the look on his grandfather' s face.


There were also quiet times, with people napping or reading books.


We showed two features in the evening: " 10,000 BC"  for the adults and " The Incredibles"  for the kids. Nine-year-old Grace turned her head away when people kiss on the screen, as it was too mushy for her (for now).



We recreated an event from out first houseboat ride in 1968 by eating watermelon on the upper deck and spitting seeds into the lake. Don captained the speedboat giving Dave IV a chance to show his inner tube prowess, which apparently was sharpened at the hand of the Staffords. Mike recaptured his youth by getting up on the water skis. Don seemed to really enjoy launching his brother into water from the inner tube.


During the day the Patterson women formed some kind of mystical water circle that magically caused a deer to visit our houseboat, which Gracie fed with little carrots.


Afterwards, Andrew saw his grandmother approaching and started a monologue: " Then he sees the beautiful princess entering."  Grand Linda posed like a princess in response. Andrew continues: " But he takes a closer and sees that princess was in the water too long, and that she was wrinkled."


We celebrated Linda and Dave' s 40th Anniversary at Tail O'  the Whale Restaurant. Great Lucie gave the state of the Pattersons, and the list included two graduations, two new boyfriends, one new job, an upcoming 15th wedding anniversary for Mike and Heather and an upcoming 30th wedding anniversary for Don and Pat.  Mike and Heather mentioned their plans to remodel their home, in part to give Andrew and Grace their own bedrooms. Grace volunteered that it was great to do this now " before Andrew reached puberty."


Seven people left-- Mike, Heather, Andrew, Grace, Dave IV, Alissa, and Paul--so we cut back to a single houseboat, which Pat and Sue cleaned, and returned by speedboat. That evening we played the card game Murder, which Grand Linda won.




Sue was once again the baby of the family, with no one under 50 left on the remaining houseboat.


Pat brought out her Independence Day decorations, so we became the only patriotic houseboat on Lake Shasta.


We played Murder again, and Linda won again, which was Karma' s way of making up for her problems with Bam in 1968.


In the afternoon we visited the Lake Shasta Caverns, which were discovered by locals in 19th century. Others tried to take credit, but the original discovers cleverly put their names in many places deep in the caverns since they expected latecomers to try to claim credit.


They were up the hill, so we could look back across the lake to see where old towns had been in the valley before the built Lake Shasta Dam. When the lake water gets low enough, you can see the steeple of the old church in Laird, one of the nine underwater cities. There were stalactites and stalagmites, which grow at the rate of one cubic inch per century. There are ribbon-like stalactites that are called draperies for obvious reasons. Some give you the feeling you' ve been swallowed by an alien. The most impressive were in the Cathedral Room, so named because they formed what looked like a large organ. The caves were interesting and certainly worth the boat trip, even though it was a long walk down.




Since we were running short of pilots, Sue drove the speedboat with Pat as her passenger to the harbor so that she could pick up the rental car while we slowly followed in the houseboat. (Sue had her maiden run Friday on the trip to the caverns.) Linda cleaned the houseboat and Don expertly docked the houseboat twice: once to unload, and once to return it to the fueling dock. When all the cars arrived, we divided up the excess supplies, said our goodbyes, and headed our various directions. Zackery and Dave IV housed Sue and the two Greats their home and backyard cottage that night.


The next day we fulfilled requests from Great Lucie and Sue by going to breakfast at Fat Apples for cheese puffs and having dim sum for lunch at the Asian Pearl in the nearby Pacific East Mall. In between the meals we played Gin, Murder, and Poker and worked on jigsaw puzzles at the Grands'  home in Kensington.


The reunion was another success. I don' t think it will be 40 years before we try it again, but we might wait until the lake is higher and the forest isn' t burning.


P.S. Below are links to online photos associated with the reunion, including some not here:

*         Dave IV' s

*         Mike and Heather' s

*         Sue' s

*         Laura' s

*         Jeremy' s