ACBS Glacier Lakes Chapter Members Defy Mother Nature to Storm the Milwaukee River.

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(“I pity the fool that messes with my stern pole!”)

Thanks to fellow Woody Boater John Baas for sending in this well, cool ish grey report from this weekend. And starting a fun filled week of how to beat the heat! Photos from John and Wil Vidal, Take it away John and Wil.

What do you on a Saturday when the heat index hits triple digits, fog shrouds the harbor like Donald Trump’s hair and severe thunderstorms are only hours away? If you are a group of (fool)hardy Glacier Lakes ACBS members, you go woody boating on the Milwaukee River. It’s an annual event headed up by Ken Bourgeois. The plan is simple; launch our boats at the South Shore Yacht Club, motor the two and a half miles north on Lake Michigan to the mouth of the harbor. Then, cruise up the Milwaukee River to see and be seen. We would also hit the Menomonee River and the Kinnickinnick River with comfort, beverage and food stops along the way. With clear skies everywhere west of the lakefront, we were a little (ok, more than a little) concerned when we arrived at the launch site to find fog so thick it made pea soup jealous.

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(The flotilla entering the Milwaukee River from Lake Michigan)

GPS, radar or both would have been nice, but we all knew that if we could keep the shoreline in view on our port side, we’d eventually hit the river opening. Opps, don’t say, “hit”.

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(Wil Vidal: “This thing says we should turn right.” Ken Bourgeois: “You’re crazy, the shoreline is on the left!”)

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(Fog? What fog? Tom and Diane Forecki enjoy the ride)

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(Cliff Muehlenberg at the helm of Don Emingholz’s 17’ Streblow. “Horizon!? What horizon?”)

Just a couple of hundred yards inland from the soupy lakefront, things cleared up nicely and the cruise was on. And you just never know what you’ll run into on one of these urban river cruises.

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No idea what’s going on here but at least it’s a woody canoe.

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Privately owned amphibious fire truck purchased from the City of Milwaukee and turned into a recreational water craft. Yes, the water cannons work. Yes, they drive it on the road. No, the tires are not on the bottom of the river. It is, at this moment, a fire boat.



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Brian Kramer and crew in his 19’ Century currently featured in a Pro Healthcare commercial  COMMERCIAL LINK HERE.

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That’s fellow Woodyboater Jim Staib from Fine Wood Boats and his posse all the way from Illinois in “Lucky 7”

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John and Erin Fischer with family in their sweet 1936 Chris Craft “Ann-Tiki”

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Yours truly with much better half Pam and our friend Robert in the “Ski-Daddler”, a 1955 Correct Craft Atom Skier

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Up the Menomonee River to the Twisted Fisherman Crab Shack for a comfort stop and quick group photo. About this time, everyone was watching the radar on their smart phones as a line of serious thunderstorms was closing in. The fog was still thick for the return trip to the South Shore Yacht Club and we had to remember to keep the shore on the RIGHT side going south.

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Our fearless leader Ken Bourgeois at the helm of Wil and Mary Vidal’s 1940 22’ Chris Craft, “In The Mood”.

Yeah, it was hot. The fog was a little scary and the storms held off until all boats were safely secured on their trailers. It is very strange how just a few hundred feet can mean the difference between clear skies and a fog so thick you can taste it. Thanks to all who braved the elements and especially Ken for organizing the urban woody boating adventure for the Glacier Lakes Chapter of ACBS.

Got a beat the heat story. Chop chop, this is your week. Can’t get it to rain in a small lake in a state near New York. HINT, Maybe we can make it rain here for you.

6 replies
  1. Roberta H
    Roberta H says:

    Great Coverage and Story, John!! Real sorry I missed it again. Previous commitments kept me away this year. Hopefully, next year.

  2. Mwillis
    Mwillis says:

    Great article! Glad you made it a great boat ride and returned safely. Next year..its on our calendar already.

  3. Dennis Mykols
    Dennis Mykols says:

    I think, and hope this river trip is on the agenda for the PRE events to next years ACBS International show in Racine, WI, in September, Wink, Wink…
    Since I have seen what this river has to offer, especially in the downtown section, as I visit my customers in the area, it has been on my Bucket List for some time.

    • Mwillis
      Mwillis says:

      Dennis – Yes! This river trip is on the agenda for PRE events for the 2017 Racine International Show. Along with a few other PRE event river trips.

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