The other day, I received this story from fellow Woody Boater Bran Fair and written by Kelly Williamson. At first I thought, cool story and fantastic pictures, But where have I seen this before? BTW, this happens a lot these days with the need for content by us, the ACBS and Chris Craft Club. Not to mention the waste of content being done on Facebook. UGH. I better move on, cause thats a rabbit hole from hell.
ANYHOO! I asked Brian, and looked at the story on the ACBS site. And yes. It had been published. But? And here is the dilemma. It had been edited.. Like chopped up like a good film that’s been cut for TV. This is NOT a slight on the editing, but a point. We get the edit. People, as in you, reading this now, don’t read this much. Even I don’t read it all. There could be some sort of Easter egg in there, and no one would know. Or even care to be brutally honest. But for the one person, that does want the complete story, here it is, and always will be the way the author, the director would like you to see. So if you are still reading, why? Just kidding…sit back, sip your morning brew and bask in the complete version of Joy Ride to the Priest Lake Dry Rot Show.
In August, Jenni Medina and I had made a last minute decision to get to some ACBS shows in northern Idaho. With the help of the good people of the Inland Empire Chapter we were able to get in on the Coeur D’Alene Classic Boat Show. We had a great time there and very much enjoyed exploring the site of the 2020 Annual Meeting and International Boat Show. We are going to try hard to get back there for that. Located about an hour drive north of Coeur D’Alene is picturesque Priest Lake. The Priest Lake Dry Rot Show was conveniently scheduled the following Labor Day long weekend running Friday August 30th through Monday September 3rd. Dry Rot turned out to be the most fun we have had at a show yet.
Between the Couer D’Alene show and Dry Rot we spent a few days in Sandpoint touring Lake Pend Orielle with our 1954 Chris Craft Custom Sedan. A half hour drive from Sandpoint is Nordman, Idaho. We arrived at lunchtime the Thursday before Dry Rot. This was the closest town to the show venues and the location of the welcome reception and spaghetti dinner the following evening. There was a small group of buildings identified as Nordman from the highway. I almost missed it. There isn’t much civilization in that part of Idaho but this turned out to be the right place, the Nordman Resort. It was pretty rustic and quite interesting.
Jesuit priests escaping persecution in Europe settled the area in the 1840’s starting with the establishment of a base camp at Kalispell Bay. The lake was eventually named Priest Lake because of the Jesuit presence. The lake has two distinct parts. Lower Priest is 19 miles long and a maximum width of 4.4 miles. Upper Priest to the north, is much smaller and connected by a 2.5 mile Thoroughfare to Lower Priest. Upper Priest is within 15 miles of the Canada – USA border. The north Idaho panhandle is pretty convenient for Canadians to visit.
The Priest Lake Dry Rot show was organized by Kathy and Brian Fair. They were very kind about accepting my late registration and before the show sent out a good detailed agenda, well ahead of time. I thought Kathy and Brian put a huge amount of energy into organizing and coordinating the show. At the show they were very personable and did an excellent job of keeping everyone doing what they needed to do. Brian was a good public speaker and did a great job of emceeing the gatherings and presentations.
It was also impressive how much community involvement there was with this show. There were events at three different lakeside resorts. A large number of waterfront home owners helped out with the poker Run. There were many locals out on their docks for the Sunday boat parade. Through chatting with people, it was clear that there was a strong community spirit and the local community valued the show weekend. I expect coordinating and promoting this was a lot of work for Kathy and Brian.
On Saturday morning everyone gathered at Cavanaugh’s Resort at 8:30 am for breakfast before the Poker Run. I thought that the Poker Run was the best part of the weekend. This event started at 10:00 am. The boats departed at 2 minute intervals to negotiate the course. The event was timed and sealed envelopes were handed to you when you found the stops along the way. There were written instructions that gave clues to the locations of the cards and included a map of the lake. The speeds of travel were specified for each segment of the course.
There was a floating houseboat restaurant called the “Anchor” located somewhere on the lake. There was a bonus card there if you could find it and stop for a smoothie (without spending too much time away from the course).
There were trophies for best time (closest to specified) and best poker hand.
Later Saturday evening, there was a dinner and awards presentation for the poker run at the Werner’s cabin. Dinner at Werner’s cabin was a great opportunity to meet some of the other show participants and talk about the fun we had figuring out the course and discovering the lake. The First Place Poker Hand award was given to Ron and Jane Yandt who were out with Uncle Bob their 1963 20ft Yandt Utility. Jenni and I were fortunate enough to get the First Place Poker Run Time award. We were 34 seconds behind the target time of 1:11:02 hours. Since Joy Ride has no speedometer this grand accomplishment was pure luck. We couldn’t have done that if we had tried using a GPS or any other technology. The Poker Run trophies were really nice and we have proudly displayed ours at our Shuswap cabin. The trophy is a brushed steel outline of Priest Lake with engraving.
Sunday was show day for the public. On show day the agenda included the morning show at Elkin’s Resort. At 11:30am there was the “Roar Off” which is the popular parade of boats around the lake. Then the boats reconvened at Hill’s Resort for another dock presentation and the “Gin Fizz” gathering hosted by the Priest Lake Yacht Club. At Hills resort the awards were handed out based on the ballots collected in the morning at Elkin’s Resort
The weather for the morning show at Elkin’s Resort couldn’t have been nicer. Elkin’s resort was originally built in the 1930’s by Ike Elkin after the original owners defaulted on a loan to build a hunting and fishing camp. It has charming modified versions of the original structures that retain the classic feel. At 8:00am Elkin’s had a wonderful breakfast buffet. It was the best food of the entire trip.
At the conclusion of the parade of boats, the group reassembled at the docks at Hill’s Resort. Here we had lunch with people from the Priest Lake Yacht Club “Gin Fizz” event. The public turn out at Hill’s Resort was impressive.
Awards from the balloting earlier in the day were announced. Again, Brian Fair did a great job of presenting. The Captain’s Choice Award went to Mollie, a 1932 18ft Garwood Runabout owned by Nevil Bryant. I voted for that boat and was very pleased to see it win. The Captain’s Choice award was a framed Priest Lake burge. The Dock Walker award went to Ithaca, a 1948 17ft Century Sea Maid owned by Riley Anderson. The Dock Walker award was a handmade dock line plaque. The last award presented was the Dry Rot award. It was presented to Michael and Carol Hutchison for their years of service running the Dry Rot event. The Dry Rot award was an oversized stainless steel flask. Congratulations to the very deserving recipients of these awards.
On the Labor Day holiday Monday there was a continental breakfast at Werner’s cabin from 8:30 to 9:30am with another opportunity to socialize. The remaining boats then gathered in front of the Werner’s cabin for a 10:00am departure to Upper Priest and the annual hot dog roast at Geisinger’s Campground. The trip took the boats though the narrow and shallow 2.5 mile Thoroughfare. Once at the wiener roast location, the boats were beached. The group was exceptionally good about helping each other safely park the boats and get out onto the beach. I know for sure that getting my sedan parked and exiting and reentering from the back side would have been extremely difficult without the help. A thoughtful person brought a step ladder that made the process much easier. I was very impressed with the team work.
As the hot dog roast began to wind down, some of the boats moved out for a tour of Upper Priest. Jenni and I decide to follow suit and take Joy Ride for a cruise. There was no visible development around the upper lake and the pristine beauty of the forest and mountains was spectacular. We had debated not staying for the last day and getting a head start towards home and I am very pleased with the decision stay for the trip to the upper lake. We very much enjoyed spending our last day here further exploring beautiful Priest Lake.
For accommodations we had rented a VRBO lake front cabin with a nice little dock. It was very nice to have the ability to boat back and forth to the show events and leave the boat in the water at the dock. Fortunately for us, the weather was great and it wasn’t necessary to trailer it for the entire weekend. I would rent a cabin like this again next time. It very much enhanced our Priest Lake experience. After the visit to Upper Priest we headed back south towards the lake front cabin. We were reluctant to see our adventure end so we spent an extra hour cruising around in Joy Ride. Jenni wanted to drive.
Jenni and I really enjoy the ACBS club activities at the chapter boat shows. So far, Jenni and I would agree that Priest Lake Dry Rot has been the most fun. The day we arrived we did some cruising about and got a big wave from Ron and Jane Yandt from their dock. The Poker Run was a very entertaining way to spend Saturday morning. I very much enjoy challenges and games. The dinner Saturday evening at Werner’s Cabin was very well done. The food was really good and Dick and Louise Werner were very entertaining to chat with. Show day Sunday was a great opportunity to meet some of the other boat owners and visitors at the docks. I love chatting about boats. The trip to Upper Priest and the cruise through the Thoroughfare and around the upper lake was very scenic and a great adventure. We were fortunate enough to meet some really great people. If you enjoy getting out, using your boat and having fun we highly recommend Priest Lake Dry Rot show.
Note: Story and photos submitted by Kelly Williamson, a member of the Okanagan and Pacific Northwest ACBS Chapters.