The Joy Of A Surprise Last Last Gasp! By Bruce Bildsten

, ,

Paradise by the horizon light!

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!

Rabbit ready!

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.

Sunsets at 6?

Sadness by the dashboard light!

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.

When you’ve finally had your last gasp you build a fire and read Powder, because it’s now officially ski season.

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.

11 replies
  1. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Love the photo of the navigation lights reflected in the varnish & dockline! High of 46 here in northern KY this weekend. So the boats were put away and garage Tetris won last weekend. But the Aristocraft is near the door, in hopes of water testing the new solenoid during next weekend’s return to 65-70 degree temps.

    • Kentucky Wonder
      Kentucky Wonder says:

      Kelly, I blasted past you with our Greavette on the way to Cinci on Thursday. Took the boat to Antique Boat Center, where they taught me how to winterize the engine. We had our first official freeze of the season last night, so the winterization was just in time. Now the task of getting all the seats recovered during the winter begins….

      • Kelly Wittenauer
        Kelly Wittenauer says:

        Where in KY? I’m on Craig’s Creek Lake, with access to the Ohio River. Several other woodys here as well.

          • Ronald
            Ronald says:

            Actually Kentucky Wonder there are 2 running wood boats in Bowling Green 70 miles south of you and at least 3 junk ones that I know of all west of I65 in Kentucky. Both have been to the Bluegrass chapter Lake Cumberland show with you and your Grevette.

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:

      oops…That was 63 in the house…It was 49 outside on the car thermometer ….Now that is cold for this time of year in Florida

  2. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    A different kind of last gasp for me this morning. The last bag of summer bacon is getting fried up. The good news is the first batch of winter bacon is in the freezer getting ready for the meat slicer.

  3. Alex
    Alex says:

    Hi Rabbit. Nice story. I totally get it. Those are the best boat rides of the year. Though you mentioned only 1 IPA. That’s where you lost me. Mike Mayer shamed me, when he visited Hessel, to always pack a cooler before setting out. You’d have been on the water much longer – trust me – and therefore would have returned with an even greater sense of accomplishment.

    I’ve done some of those rides til 2 am. Though not with Mayer.

    The last one was a totally black night, and I had only Navionics to guide me home. Heavenly.

Comments are closed.