Austin, Texas - 2001

Do you have any more photos I can add?

by Warren Kodosky

We held the First Annual Austin Amphicar Swim-in this past weekend (April 21 & 22). We had planned to meet at the Lake Travis boat ramp at Volente Beach at 10:30 on Saturday. On my way there, I saw Al, Debra & Erik driving in Al's White Amphi (I have to say it that way because Debra has her own White Amphicar as well). After crossing Hwy 620 we both caught up with Dave and Sue in their red Amphi. We pulled into the Sundowner Grill parking area and talked about the plan… The winds were blowing around 10-15 MPH with gusts up to 25 MPH. We decided to enter the Lake anyway. When we arrived at the boat ramp there was an SUV with a boat trailer attached that was just sitting in the way. The boat owner had locked his keys in his car. It was a little tight but we were able to maneuver around him and enter the lake. Debra and Sue have taken some nice pictures that I will try to get posted on the website. The waves were crashing, the wind was blowing and the gray sky was filled with clouds. Once we were in the water, Al took the lead and headed for a small channel next to a marina. We putted into the channel and soaked up the scenery. Since the water was so rough, we couldn't swim on Lake Travis. We decided to head for Lake Austin, which is a constant level lake and is much narrower. We drove on the highway (Amphi hitting speeds of over 60 MPH) until we reached the ramp. We made several entries and exits. There was an out of town wedding party (the wedding was the next day) waiting for a pontoon boat for a trip up river. We, of course, had to offer them rides and most if not all accepted. Then there was the "question and answer" period. By now we were hungry. We made our way to the Hula Hut for some great Mexican food. A couple of hours later we were back in the water again. Al had to show off by getting as close as he could to the restaurant pier. He did, however, perform an invaluable service, a patron had let his check blow into the water. In one swooping motion, Al retrieved the check, turned his car and handed the person a wet, but readable check. After swimming with the Austin "Ducks" and other cruise boats the three of us crossed the lake and swam up a channel that had some very impressive homes and scenery. It took over a half-hour for the round trip. Once we reached the main lake again, we headed for the ramp. However, in the distance we noticed the "water police" docked by the ramp. Did I mention that Dave hadn't gotten his boat registration yet? Dave decided to go back into the channel and putter around by himself while Al and I headed for the ramp. The police boat pulled out and half-circled Al's car reading the numbers on the side. Lisa and I greeted the officers with a nod and a smile as they read our numbers. We swam to the ramp and exited the water. The police went down stream and bothered another boat that was on a family outing. I called Dave on his Cell Phone and we coordinated a plan. At the precise time, Dave was to exit the channel and head across the lake for the ramp, while Al and I would run "BLOCKER". It worked. The cops were finishing up with the family and looked like they were about to leave. Al and I sprung into action…We both started to pullout so the police boat would have to go way out into the lake if he was going after Dave. We kept looking back to see how close Dave was to the ramp. The police boat started to pull away…They turned and headed for the restaurant dock. Dave was safe… We swam back to shore and Lisa and I called it a day along with Dave and Sue. Al, Debra and Erik on the other hand, swam for another hour up to the second public ramp on Lake Austin. They were soaked with one huge wake from a speeding boat. On my way home I hit speeds over 65 MPH. Amphi was running great! Until I had to stop at the first light… The car stalled. It started up right away, but it stalled at idle. I managed to limp home and turned up the idle speed a little. That seemed to solve the problem. On Sunday, the problem returned. We all met at a parking lot to decide where we should go. Lake Austin at the 360 Bridge ramp was the agreed upon destination. As long as Amphi was in gear and moving I didn't have a problem. At every light it was the same thing…brake, stall, put the clutch in, put it in first, start the engine and rev the engine until the light turned green. Once I got to the ramp, it stalled upon water entry but I was determined to swim again. It started right up in the water and I was about to head out across the lake when Al came running up saying that Dave's car died. So I sputtered back to shore and attempted to give a helping hand. Dave's engine tried to jump out of his car when he put it in reverse. While doing so, a wire was pulled from the voltage regulator and his car died. Once he figured out where it needed to be attached, his car started again but reverse wasn't possible. Everything worked fine while moving in any forward gear. So Al and I (mostly Al) pushed Dave's car out of his parking space and he drove into the water. Al was next into the water. Since Amphi was acting up, Lisa and I decided to sit this one out. Our plan was to get a "land only" car and meet them at the ramp when they returned and head for lunch. We drove home stalling at every light… (Brake, stall, put the clutch in, put it in first, start the engine and rev the engine until the light turned green.) Dave and Al made it to a restaurant via the channel and called me to meet them. Lisa and I met them at The County Line BBQ and we had a great lunch. Al and Dave took their respective family & guests and cars into the lake and headed up the channel. I had a great time and I hope that we can do this on more that just an annual basis. We did talk about a "Classic Boat" show in Austin that is some time in June. I just hope it doesn't conflict with the show in Dallas on June 16th.

-- Warren '66 White "Floats"

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Last updated May 07, 2013