From Historic Lake Iseo, Italy to Beautiful Priest Lake, Idaho – We Have You Covered This Week!


Tom and Joyce George’s 1938 21’ Chris-Craft Utility “Is-Zat-So” in front of the beautiful log building at Elkins Resort that was built about the same year as Tom’s boat.

We are certainly doing some globe trotting this week here at Woody Boater… Which started last Saturday at Bob Mishko’s engine shop in Tennessee… to Matt and his sputtering outboard in Virgina on Sunday… to Secret Island on the coast of Britsh Columbia, Canada with some big classic cruisers… then off to Chicago to welcome Cooper Durren into the world… and then over to Lake Iseo in Sarnico, Italy to celebrate Carlo Riva’s 90th birthday and a big Riva party for few days… then to Monaco with Hamster & the gang yesterday – and now we return back to the splendor and timeless beauty of Priest Lake, Idaho today… Wow – It’s a good thing computers don’t get tired from all that travel!

One of the most popular late summer outings for classic boaters in the entire Pacific Northwest is the annual Dry Rot Boat Show and Parade on Priest Lake, Idaho. I remember driving up there to attend the event a few years ago, and it was like discovering a pristine lake from back in the 1950’s that hasn’t really changed much over the years… Narrow unpaved roads that wind through the forest into the historic resorts, family cabins along the lakefront that looked like they were from an old post card… I also remember that the roads up to Priest Lake, in the most northern part of Idaho state, ended as you traveled north along the west shore of the lake.

Fellow Woody Boater and Editor of the Inland Empire Chapter ACBS newsletter “The Scuttlebutt” – Wes Yandt, shared this story with us today from Idaho.

The 2012 Dry Rot Boat Show and Parade in God’s Country
“Priest Lake Idaho”

Story & Photos by Wes Yandt

The annual Dry Rot Boat Show and Parade was held this last weekend up in Northern Idaho at Priest Lake.  The Columbia-Willamette Chapter of the ACBS along with some help from the Inland Empire Chapter of the ACBS put on yet another first class boat show/poker run/parade and all around good time. Dick and Louise Werner once again outdid themselves and put on a very enjoyable event that is a little bit boat show and a whole lot of boat’n fun.

Fred and Jan Anderson and grand kids out water skiing behind their 1961 19’ Century Sabre “Lu Lu III”. Check out the white caps. They are tough cookies!!

It all started out Friday evening with a welcome aboard dinner and party at Grandview Resort.

Saturday morning I was lucky enough to convince four skippers to get out of the sack early for a photo shoot on the water. When you have water like Priest Lake, a backdrop like the Selkirk Mountains, great morning light and beautiful WOODIES its hard to take a bad photo. What fun we had!!

Micheal and Anavel Boge’s 1964 17’ Century Resorter “Mi Amor”

Steve and Linda Zwarg’s very cool 1942 19’ Chris-Craft Custom Barrelback “Killer”…

Kent and Becky Wick’s 1949 18’ Chris-Craft Sportsman “Irish Song”

Saturday afternoon was the annual Dry Rot Poker Run and this year was the first in a million years that Hutch and Carol Hutchison did not put it together. This year Hutch decided he wanted to see it from the other side of the wheel and so Brian and Cathy Fair stepped up and gave us all a great tour of lake.

Poker Run El’ Capitan Brian Fair – Calling the Starting Times

“Mister Century” John Tyler with his beautiful 1966 21’ Century Coronado “Black Pearl” during the Poker Run with his dedicated crew Carl & Steve risking life and limb to get the Ace that they just knew was in that envelope.

The finish line was at Dick and Louise’s cabin where they put on a great dinner for all of the hungry navigators. Best time went to Tim and Deb Salt from Whitefish, Montana in the big Lyman “Morning Mist” borrowed from the Werners. Best poker hand was the crew of the Blackthorn skippered by Tom Horn.

Sunday morning the boat show was held at beautiful Elkins Resort.  Matt, as the great master Chef Emeril Lagasse says “I wish you all had Smell-o-vision” because you would love the sweet smell of varnish around Steve and Melanie Spahr’s 1955 20’ Century Coronado “Melanie May”.

Steve and Melanie Spahr’s 1955 20’ Century Coronado “Melanie May”

She was dropped in the water for the first time after a 3 year top notch restoration at Jim West’s shop – Westcoast Classic Boat Restoration down in Portland, Oregon on Friday. She truly was the Bell of this ball.

And you never know what you might run across up in Northern Idaho… Below is Dan and Pamela Mimmack’s 1985 20’ Homebuilt Pirate Ship “Wind Spirit”. The kids went bonkers over this boat. Dan and crew really played the part as well…

Jerry and Char Apple’s Lake Tahoe award winning 1952 21’ Stancraft Torpedo back “YP” was at the show with us this weekend as well. It was a hit with all the dock walkers and as they awarded the Apple’s with the 2012 Priest Lake Dry Rot Dock Walkers Award. Jerry continues to be plagued with the normal mechanical bugs that is associated with new restorations and could not get out for a photo shoot. I can’t wait for next year when we can get out and take some shots of this beautiful boat underway.

Jerry and Char Apple’s 1952 21’ Stancraft Torpedo back “YP” SORRY FOR THE DOCK SHOT MATT but it was either that or nothing.

The locals have grown accustomed to sitting out on their docks and watch the parade of classic boats which commenced at preciously about noon. Nothing in Northern Idaho is ever really rushed and therefore we get the parade going when we get the parade going.

The start of the Parade. This is always such an overwhelming sight.

The parade ended with a stop at Hills Resort where the Priest Lake Yacht Club put on a huge barbeque and Gin Fizz. Awards were handed out and everyone had a great time relaxing in the sand and sun.

Monday morning brought the treat of the weekend. Everyone gathered at Werner’s (they fed us yet again) and we ran up to Upper Priest Lake. Upper Priest Lake is connected to Priest Lake by a 2.5 mile natural thorofare. About a dozen boats gather on a sandy beach and were treated to a good old fashioned weenie roast supplied by Michael and Anavel Boge.

Running up the lake to Upper Priest Lake

It’s not uncommon to spot some wildlife up here in Northern Idaho… Like the odd black bear searching for berries (or a classic boat ride)…

“Hey where are you guys going? Can I go?”

We also spotted some other wildlife during our journey through the narrows en route to Upper Priest Lake, a rare sighting in these parts… A Sons of Varnish member… Who is that and where did he get that tee shirt!

Is this where they grow those black canvas Hagerty Bags? – In the back woods of Idaho?

Shameless Hagerty Plug… Caption by Wes

The traditional group photo from Upper Priest Lake, a great shot of some really great people just enjoying life. (You can click on these photos to enlarge them, this one works good – Texx)

The Motley Crew of Woody Boaters – 2012 Dry Rot

This is truly the way that you are supposed to enjoy these old classic boats, by using them. We put close to 10 hours on the “The Uncle Bob” this weekend. Priest Lake will be the location for some of the pre-events for the 2013 International ACBS Show and Meetings in Coeur d’Alene, so if any of this sounds or looks like fun, make sure that you save some time for Priest Lake next year.

Wes Yandt
Inland Empire Chapter ACBS

Ron & Jane Yandt with “The Uncle Bob” – their 1963 20′ Yandt Craft 20′ Utility

Thanks Wes for sharing your story with us here at Woody Boater today… Come to think of it, we did see some amazing Riva’s and a few wild Sons of Varnish members in Italy, but we didn’t see any wild bears…

Nice work.


17 replies
  1. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    I wish Idaho wasn’t so damn far from Michigan. It look’s like next years national may be a fun event.

    • Paul H.
      Paul H. says:

      Greg- it’s a long way, but worth it. The first boat show we ever attended was the 2008 International, and we participated in all the pre-events. Weather was perfect, we were isolated from the ecnomic calamity that was occurring during that week and the boating and people were fantastic. It got us hooked. The lakes and topography are stuning and I would highly recommend it. Easy drive across Minnesota, N.Dakota, Montana and just ease into north Idaho. We did the Dry rot last year and it was lovely, weather appears to have been great again this year.

      I kind of like the road trips (leaving next week for Table Rock with the trusty Sea Skiff), and I like getting out to see different boating venues and waters. I think many will find that the boating up in this neck of the woods compares well with any freshwater boating anywhere. We really need to get Matt Smith up here into Idaho, Montana and BC to check it all out.

  2. Dick Dow
    Dick Dow says:

    Unfortunately we had to miss it this year, but this is hands down one of the best events of the hobby! Unrivaled environment, people and boats – and it’s darn fun! We’ll be there next year for certain.

    Thanks for the great report.

  3. Alex
    Alex says:

    “This is truly the way that you are supposed to enjoy these old classic boats, by using them.”

    Amen to that. Not only is it the right way, it’s the only way, else they become unloved relics — hardly the stuff kids will want to inherit and maintain.

    Thanks so much Wes. Nice story and fine photos, including the dock shots.

  4. Alex
    Alex says:

    Towing a boat from Hessel all the way there, or to Sunnyland, is daunting and $. Anyone know of a classic inflatable boat? Light, and that fits in the trunk? A vintage Avon or Zodiac, perhaps?

    Vintage water wings?

  5. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    I hauled my U-22 from Illinois to Idaho about 10 years ago. Absolutely beautiful boating. I was going through Montana just driving along, passing some cars and being passed by others when I looked down and realized i was doing just over 90mph. Such open country it don’t feel fast. Nice people and stunning lakes. I plan on returning as soon as fuel goes back to $1.29gal.

  6. RiverRat
    RiverRat says:

    Alex try old Flotbot with wood frame. Goes in a duffel but you have to bring qa paddle. Or wood kayak or canoe on top of car. Again you have to bring a paddle. There are some nice wood ones out there.

  7. Texx
    Texx says:

    Wes – Did someone forget that black Sons of Varnish shirts don’t go in the wash with the white load & bleach?

    Or were you shooting into the sun that day…

    • Wes
      Wes says:

      Oh….. it was nice and sunny. Kind of makes that fine shirt look grey doesnt it?

      Light is everything!! (besides wood, water and varnish of coarse.)

  8. 'Bone Daddy' Deems
    'Bone Daddy' Deems says:

    Awsome Pics again Wes…Having been up to Dick’s and the Dry Rot for the last 12 years, I can certainly attest to the completly stunning scenery, but the best part is seeing all of the friendly folks (my friends) who come out for this. Whether it was 2009 with 120 people, or 2002 with 30 boaters, the love for “Ole Woodies” is apparent. Also the local resorts do thier very best to help us have an awesome time….See Ya Up There…”Bone Daddy”

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