Thanks for all stopping by to our 5th Annual Virtual Holiday Party. It’s still warm out and Fellow Woody Boater Bruce Bildsten AKA “Rabbit” was sitting in an airport and wrote this down! Funny how time just waiting can be so empowering. Take it away Bruce.
In case you hadn’t noticed, most of the country has been experiencing a heat wave this winter. That was after experiencing what may have well been the most glorious fall in the history of falls. You see, I live in Minneapolis and keep my little Gar Wood Ensign at our cabin seventy miles north and west, in the God’s Country that is Wisconsin.
I can think of only a few weekends this fall, all the way to Thanksgiving, when I could’ve been boating if my boat wasn’t already “on the hard.” Here, in the land of ice fishing, there’s virtually no ice to be found. In fact, the last time we were at our cabin, just two weekends ago, two young women were waterskiing behind their Nautique, wearing only shorty wetsuits. And as I write this article I’m flying back from New York City where I hawked my company’s wool scarves, throws and blankets to people wearing shorts and flip flops, in record-breaking 65-degree weather. Insanity, that is.
So I’m now asking myself, “why do we wave the white flag so early every fall?” Think of it, Matt is already starting his countdown to Tavares when we could still be out there doing what we love so damn much: Living it instead of dreaming it.
Yes, yes, I know all about cracked engine blocks. I’m only partly a fool. But some of us have a choice, those of us blessed to have a honest-to-goodness boathouse.
My friend John Karlson and fellow BSLOLer has urged me to take some simple steps to dramatically extend my boating season since I first put my boat in the water five summers ago. You see, I just winterize my woody right in boathouse, where “Rabbit” lies for her long winter sleep. With an electric track system, our 1939-vintage boathouse, with cozy guest quarters above it, makes me feel lucky with a capital L.
JFK, as John signs his emails to me, has always urged me to find a safe and reliable heater, leave one (easily removed) section of dock in, and just run her until that first layer of ice almost begins to set in. I could easily extend my season by a month or, in years like this, much more. I honestly could have boated on Thanksgiving for the last three years in a row.
I already take advantage of the boathouse, come April or even late March, by closing the water chocks, hooking up the battery, giving it a careful going over, and backing her down the track to get a month or two of a jump start on most Wisota boaters. So why not stretch out the end of the season?I guess it’s just heredity and tradition. As you may have heard on “A Prairie Home Companion” we Minnesotan’s pride ourselves on being prepared for winter’s wrath. Here, where there’s one boat for every three people and a cabin seemingly in every other family bloodline, there’s this antiquated tradition still practiced by some of pulling out the docks on Labor Day Weekend, even when the temperatures are deep into the 90’s like they were this year. Absurd if not pathetic, that tradition, when September and October are without question the finest boating months of the year in our clime (as all who were at The Fete in Gull Lake this Fall can attest.)
So, with the Woody Boater community as my witness, and to finally appease JFK, I hereby vow to get that safe and reliable heater installed in the boathouse, maybe even add one of those low temp alarms like we have in the main cabin in case of a malfunction, and start enjoying the long season I so deeply deserve.
Go ahead talk me out of it.