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Paddling along at Cedar Bluff





CEDAR BLUFF RESERVOIR -- It's not hard finding Mel and Sharon Klein either paddling or pedaling all over Cedar Bluff State Park.

But only during the week. Almost never on weekends.

The Bison couple is a regular at Cedar Bluff, pulling a camper out and setting up not far from where they like to fish.

Or actually, where Mel Klein likes to fish. Sharon spends her time on the water doing crossword puzzles, as she helps power a two-person paddle boat -- tiny in comparison to some of the boats roaring across the water -- along stands of trees and a fish attractor.

"We come up every week," Mel Klein said as he tethered his paddle boat to the shore, a south wind ensuring it wouldn't go far. "Leave by the weekend, so people will have a spot."

He remembers a time when he worked and would venture to the lake for the weekend, struggling to find a spot to park a camper.

He's also given up the motorized boat option, opting instead for the paddle boat.

"It costs us nothing to run our boat," Mel Klein said.

Given the size of Cedar Bluff and the intensity of the winds frequently creating white caps, the Kleins don't push their luck on the water.

"We try to be very careful," he said. "We don't go very far out."

But Mel Klein most often is in search of crappie, so it's not necessary for them to head out too far on the open water.

Fishing was relatively slow when they talked about paddling out on the water, and the wind was picking up, pushing slight white caps to the shore.

"This is the limit," he said of the wind. "Once you start seeing the white caps, you don't go out."

But for them, the paddle boat is manageable. The Kleins back up to the water, pull the craft out and take off into the water.

It's easy to tie it up to a rock as well when they want to take a break.

"I normally put it in the pickup by myself," he said.

Sharon Klein enjoys getting out on the water, and she doesn't mind helping paddle the boat.

Just don't ask her if she wants to fish. That's not her thing.

"It's like baseball," she said. "Five minutes of excitement crammed into four hours. I like the lake. I don't like to fish."

And it's not all just about paddling the boat around the shoreline of the lake.

They also pedal around.

"When we're up here, we have a bicycle built for two," Mel Klein said. "So we pedal or paddle when we're here."