It’s 4:30 AM and as we prepare this story on the porch of Dane Anderson’s cabin, you can hear the loons calling and the waves lapping up on the shore of Bay Lake, Minnesota.
For the next few days we will be touring around in the heart of Minnesota lakes country discovering some magnificent boat collections, some classic boating areas that have some amazing history, a tour on the St. Croix River and then on the weekend our travels will take us to the big 2013 Gull Lake Classic Boat Show at Bar Harbor, Minnesota – the site of the 2015 ACBS International Show.
Fellow Woody Boater and ace photographer Dane Anderson has offered to be our tour guide all week and he knows the area well having been in the Bay Lake area his entire life. Bay Lake is one of the many lake areas that folks have been coming to since the early 1900′s and has that special charm surrounded by family cabins and established resorts. Yesterday we went for a tour of Bay Lake and Dane pointed out three Chris-Craft 24′ Sportsman’s, one 1959 and two 1961′s, quite rare to see three limited production model Chris-Crafts all on the same lake, in fact two in one family.
We quickly discovered the huge range of classic boats on Bay Lake like this rare fiberglass beauty.
On Wednesday morning (yesterday) we were invited by Lee Anderson to tour his world class boat collection in nearby Nisswa, on the Gull Lake chain. Steve Lively is responsible for maintaining this spectacular private collection of wooden boats, and met us at the gate and we spent the next four hours learning the individual history of each of the 31 boats on the property.
The tour started on the two docks with 11 covered slips, all these boats are “turn key ready” to go, and not only did we get to see each boat up close and personal, but Steve offered to fire up the boats for us to experience the magnificent sound of the original period correct engines which all run of aviation fuel. Sterling Petrel, Liberty, Hall Scott, Scripps, Hispano-Suiza to name a few… They all ran perfectly, a testament to Steve’s hard work and dedication to the collection.
Then we moved from the docks up to the boat house that words cannot describe. Behind the five sets of automatically controlled doors, more “turn key ready” boats cab be launched directly into Nisswa Lake using the track system.
Each of the five boats fits into an opening in the unique raised wooden floor design that meets each boat at the water line. Inside the boat house on a rail system, were a rare Canadian made Matheson runabout “Miss Muskoka”, another Belle Isle Super Bearcat named “Sigrid”, “Tolka”, “Rebel” a rare 1925 33′ Hackercraft custom runabout “Rebel” (originally “Bonita”) c/w Hall Scott LM-6, and “Sea Wolf” a Liberty V-12 powered 33′ Baby Gar.
And if that wasn’t enough, Steve then took us over the Anderson Classic Boats Museum building which houses more boats, Lee’s amazing marine engine collection and also some classic cars.
Although we have seen photos of “Ethyl-Ruth IV” before, to see her in person was a real treat. Steve then said “Would you like to go for ride?” And minutes later we were backing out of the covered slip and headed out on the lake…
Special thanks to Lee Anderson and Steve Lively for sharing the outstanding collection with us, it’s an experience we will never forget. Although Mr. Anderson uses many high quality engine builders for his restoration projects, we should note that much of the vintage engine work is now being handled by Scott Boyes of Scott’s Machine Shop in nearby Brainerd, MN.
Stay tuned to Woody Boater for more daily updates from our Classic Minnesota tour and the 2013 Gull Lake Classic Boat Show from Bar Harbor, MN. Dane & I have some great stuff lined up over the next few days, and we will have our cameras in hand.