A huge thanks to Bruce “Rabbit” Bildsten for sending in his Last Last Gasp from up north, to get us all in the mood for our 10th annual Last Gasping this week! Take it away Bruce!
There’s nothing better than a last gasp after you thought you already had your last gasp. I guess you’d call it a “last gasp after the last gasp.” Or “last last gasp”, something like that.
So here’s the story. I live in Minneapolis and “Rabbit”, our 1947 Gar Wood Ensign, lives in a boathouse at our cabin, 70 miles north on Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. Winter comes early here, unfortunately. And because we had a busy travel schedule later this fall, I made the painful decision in mid October to throw in the towel and told the local marina to come pull the dock and winterize the boat. (You see, I have no mechanical skills and I’m a bit lazy.) Fortunately, Rabbit can just spend the long winter sleep right in the boathouse. And I’m doubly fortunate that a seasoned mechanic at the marina loves woodies and takes care of a handful of us on the lake with winterizing. So I truly thought that my season was over.
Fast forward to last Friday. It had been ten days since I had raised the white flag with the marina. It was 80 degrees on the third weekend of October: 80 degrees. I headed to the cabin to do some mountain biking and a few winter prep chores. I had just arrived at the cabin -just me and the dogs as my wife Mary was with girlfriends for the weekend- and sunset was about a half hour away. As I unloaded, I glanced at the lake. What was that, my dock? And in the water? I ran down the forty steps to the boathouse. There it was: The brand new oil filter was sitting on the driver’s seat of Rabbit. With the warm weather the marina had not yet accomplished their tasks. I grabbed a cold IPA and went for what turned out to be the best boatride of the year.
The colors were a touch past peak, but still stunning. The melodic thrum of my flathead was the only sound. I witnessed a glorious sunset and boated in the moonlight. Two hours later I returned and toasted my good fortune with another IPA. Thank you woody gods.
Last Gasp week is brought to you from Hagerty Marine Insurance. Make sure you are insured over the winter. Half of all claims happen this time of year.