When we were bragging about our trip to Carlyle Lake, someone asked, “Why do you pull your boat 6 ½ hours to go sailing? You can sail in Madison, right?” Well, here’s our answer:
Yes, it is a long way to trailer a sailboat. But Wrinkles pulls easily and the ride to Caryle, Illinois is the first part of the adventure. Where else can you see miles and miles of flat land covered in corn? It’s very entertaining (Yes, that is sarcasm). Actually we prefer to pull at night and early in the morning. That way we miss the hottest part of the day. Mike sets the cruise control and Brenda sets the radio and away we go. We do our best planning on these types of long distance car rides. So, for us, the traveling to Carlyle is not an issue.
Carlyle Lake is a beautiful lake. Don’t get me wrong, we love the Madison lakes, but Carlyle Lake has several advantages over the Madison lakes: size, remoteness, and cleanliness. Carlyle Lake is about 10 miles long and about 5 miles across at the widest point. That gives us plenty of room to spread our sails and fly (when the wind cooperates). It is owned by the Army Corp of Engineers and there is no development along the shoreline. That really limits the number of boats that use the lake. You either stay in one of the two marinas, or you put your boat in and take it out every day. That suits us sailboaters just fine. Even on the weekend you can count the number of power boats on your two hands. When we duck into a cove to drop anchor and swim, we don’t have to worry about being tossed about by the wake of others. The water, although not Caribbean crystal blue, is weed free and nice to swim in.
Despite all of the above, the real reason we pack up and head south for a week is the people. This group of Com-Pac sailors has quickly become like family. Sitting on the dock telling tales at the end of a day filled with sailing and swimming makes the trip one of the highlights of our summer. We have met some people who will be friends for life and created memories that will last a lifetime.
If this is even close to what cruising is all about, sign us up! Our only concern - this has shown us how difficult it will be to leave certain cruising grounds after developing friendships in a short amount of time. It’s hard to leave Carlyle Lake and our friends, but we know we will return again.