It’s the middle of October and when you live in The Land of Lakes that means its Last Gasp time again. Why is it that my best boat rides always seem to be in October? Don’t get me wrong, I love Summer. And those boat rides in April and May, ideally just hours after the ice out are wonderful. But October? That’s perfection.


First, the obvious: The color. The last two weekends at my cabin on Balsam Lake, Wisconsin, have been spectacular. I’ve always believed any view on the lake is better when framed in mahogany. But when those orange leaves, practically blend right into the varnish, that’s a picture that should be framed and hung over the fireplace. Second, the crowds. As in, there are none. Our lake is primarily a pontoon and wake boat lake. Nine out of ten docks, have a pontoon. The wake boats have largely hung it up by now, but on my two-hour cruise last weekend, I saw just a handful of other boats on the water. I love to turn around and watch the ensign fly, with nothing but water (and those leaves) as a background. And the sound. When all you can hear is the music from that flathead six, does it get any better?


But the thing that makes October boat rides so amazing is that every day is like a bonus. Every day is a free day… a gift. At least in The North. I get weeks more boating than the “pull the docks in, it’s football season” crowd. Think about that as the countdown to Dora begins. Did you get the most out of last season? Over the last two weekends I took four two-hour cruises. And that was on a relatively small 2,000-acre lake. I just couldn’t stop.


On Sunday, after those long days of perfect October boating, I finally did it. I winterized Rabbit in my boathouse for her long winter sleep. I would’ve waited another week or two, as the boathouse gives me a cushion against freezing temps here in the north. But my wife has been away for a few weeks caring for a family member, and after so long away from home she’ll want to be at our home, in Minneapolis. Otherwise, I might have gone another week or two, again, thanks to the boathouse.
May, June, July, August, and September: I really, really like you. But October, I love
you.

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11 Responses to ““Why Is My Last Gasp Always The Best Boat Ride Of The Year”? – Rabbit”
  1. Greg Lewandowski

    Rabbit, you really have it all figured out. Keep enjoying what’s important. Thanks for sharing!

    BTW, I’m envious of you guys that have a boat house.

  2. Steve Anderson from Michigan

    Perfectly said, I love October for all same reasons. Golfing in October is also beautiful, the course is at its lushest, the colors, no crowds. But boating is the best, by far.

    By the way, after winterizing my 1990 Chris craft for 30+ years, I am really appreciating how simple it is to winterize the 1956 version. Just pull 5 plugs and change the oil, done!

  3. first53Resorter

    Shush! The mosquitoes are terrible here in Wisconsin, WiFi is practically non-existent and the snow makes winter unbearable. Everyone stay where you are.

  4. Troy in ANE

    Nice Rabbit!!

    I was going to say that we are not Last Gasping this year, but I guess technically we already did back in September when we pulled Melody for a few months on the hard in Belhaven, NC where she awaits our return in January for an early First Gasp.

    See you in Dora!! Reservations made.

  5. JFKarlson

    Well said Rabbit. I only wish that the last gasp conditions on Lake Okoboji last weekend were as favorable as those on Balsam.

  6. Rabbit

    JFK: In all fairness, I wrote this story last week but Matt wisely held it until it was officially Last Gasp Week. It was nasty on Balsam Lake last weekend, which made me thankful that Rabbit was tucked away for her long winter nap.

  7. tparsons56

    In northern lower Michigan we went from 70 last week to upper 30’s this week. Now its gale force winds from the north with whitecaps on inland lakes.

    Life around here comes at you fast!

  8. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P)

    Great story Rabbit. As I said yesterday, We finished winterizing boats, took the dock out, and closed the cabin down. We did have time for a last gasp boat ride. Just couldn’t pass up rare 67 degree October day in the U P. Your story reminded me of all that. Every year when it’s all over ,and I shut the gate for the last time. I always remember the sign on the front of the old Drive ins CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. But what a good season it was!

  9. Jim (the Lurker)

    Rabbits post is perfect and could be like a traditional “poem” that Matt could post every Fall to remind us all to be thankful for the season just ended and hopeful for next year….I don’t own a boat but I’m staring at a 71 Oldsmobile and a container of Sta-Bil and share your feelings!!!