Are These Guys The Original Woody Boaters?

One of the best parts about going on a summer road trip is the folks you meet along the way. This year I decided to ride the old Harley-Davidson down to the Lake Tahoe Concours in California, a 1,300 mile journey each way. Whenever possible, I always try to avoid riding on Interstate Highways because I feel that riding along the back roads of America is much more enjoyable on a motorcycle and enhances the experience of the journey…

Riding across the high plains of Oregon is a wonderful experience, you can ride for miles and miles without seeing another car on the road, or anything for that matter. I came across a roadside hotel that looked interesting, and with the next hotel well down the road, I thought I would check it out… The Shaniko Hotel.

I parked my ride by the old hitchin’ post and as I was about to enter the hotel I noticed a couple old fellows sitting on a bench along the boardwalk… I immediately noticed the Hagerty Marine Insurance bag and I overheard them talking about what else – Old Wooden Boats! They were talking about restoring an old Chris-Craft cruiser they found…

I walked over and introduced myself and the first thought that popped into my melon was, “Could these guys be some of the old original Woody Boaters we read about?” Once they learned that I was interested in wooden boats, they began to tell me stories from back in the day when they first began working on wooden boats in the mid-west. They were very friendly like most Woody Boaters, and we spent hours just sitting on the bench talkin’ boats. It was great…

I’m not sure what the deal was, and don’t really care – but I have to tell you, these two old guys looked like they were made from wood, or spent too much time varnishing boats or something…

They told me about their early days in the boat building business when they worked for the Ramaley Boat Company in Minnesota… the company that designed and built “Miss Liberty IV” in 1938.

Then one of the old fellows asked me with a crooked look on his face, “Hey Texx, I remember meeting a fellow back then who was one of the most knowledgeable guys we ever spoke to about building and fixing old wooden boats… (back then the word restoration did not yet apply to wooden boats) He wrote a book a few years ago… His name was… It will come to me in a minute” he said as he scratched his head trying to remember the mans name.

I said “Are you thinking about Don Danenberg from Danenburg Boatworks in Michigan?” He jumped up and shouted “That’s the guy! – We first met Don D. back in the late 1930’s and still refer to his book today when we get stumped.”

After a while they invited me over to their shop because they wanted to show me an old photo they had saved of “Miss Liberty IV” fresh from the Ramaley Boat Company work shop in Lake Minnetonka. They were proud of that boat.

I asked them what wooden boat they were planning to restore next, and they said “Come with us Texx”… And there it was, an old Chris-Craft Cruiser they had found and were planning to restore as a retirement project… when they retired some day.

I’m not sure if they were the original Woody Boaters, but they certainly rank up there somewhere… Two cool dudes for sure.

Stories from the road, this is why I prefer to ride the back roads and secondary highways through the magnificent countryside of the Western United States.

We Will Never Forget September 11th, 2001

Photo Courtesy of Miracle Photography


16 replies
  1. Rick
    Rick says:

    Texx I love you stories and updates but just maybe it’s time for a mode of transportation that will keep the sun off of you more. LOL Lucky you didn’t meet a girl there also, might have gotten some splinters. OUCH!

  2. Texx
    Texx says:

    Well – I can say that it was “Hotter Than A Biscuit” on the bike that day and I was feeling a bit dehydrated, but….

  3. Alex
    Alex says:

    Texx, interesting experience. I must warn you though. If you are ever off a main road, and fancy stopping at another motel, if it has the name Bates, keep riding.

    Even if it has a wooden boat next to it. Think of that as the purple glow of a bug light.

  4. Robert Miracle
    Robert Miracle says:

    I am sitting here reading the great post of todays woodyboater. We are getting ready to go back and get some more pictures of the Charlotte Boat show. It has been another great show.
    They made a callander with our photo’s and it looks great. We have posted pictures on our web site of the show. The are some great shot,s from Pat Cruise,s boat shop. we will finish up on this show tomorrow.
    Bob Miracle

  5. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:


    Great story, but I want to focus on the last picture. I hope all of our yacht ensigns will be proudly flying on Sunday Sept. 11.


  6. Texx
    Texx says:

    Greg, Rick, Alex, River Rat, Jim, Matt Fine and everyone else here – Send us a photo of your stern flag with your name and or boat name and we will try to post in on Woody Boater on Sunday to commemorate 9/11. Any stern flag shot you have.

    Please Send them to

  7. Steve Franchini
    Steve Franchini says:

    I’ve talked to those same two guys many times. But Shaniko is not REALLY hitting the back roads. You should have turned at Shaniko and toured Antelope. Now that’s back roads.
    Great story.

  8. Allen Lee
    Allen Lee says:

    These dude’s must be the one’s that took the Indian maiden for a Woody Boater ride and broke ole Kaw-liga’s wooden heart.

  9. Carla
    Carla says:

    Texx, love your stories – “On the Road with Texx”…AND to think you were able to incorporate the pic of the Hagerty bag! Don D is truly a legend!! BTW, love your bike…spent a great deal of time on a Harley Road King for 5 years!! Miss it..

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