We Took The Four-Twelve To Amelia Island, FLA

Woody Boater - 2 With the impending winter storm closing in on the Pacific Northwest last weekend, we decided to hit the road a few days early to ensure we would make it to Amelia Island, Florida in time to report on the big RM Amelia Island Auction – and also attend the Amelia Island Concours D’Elegance this weekend. Dave Bortner from Freedom Boat Service in Mound, Minnesota will be presenting “Edward II” a spectacular 1930 – 30′ Hacker Craft at the RM Auction on Saturday.

The winter storm extended deep into the northern midwest, so in an attempt to steer clear of the storm, we first traveled south through Montana & Idaho to northern Utah, then east through Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and finally arrived in Florida yesterday.

photo - Copy

For some reason I was having these terrible cravings for some small goey filled chocolate snack cake around Chattanooga, Tennessee – not sure why…

So the first question you are probably thinking is “Why drive and not fly?” Good question… The answer is easy – Winters are tough when you like to ride a motorcycle, and any excuse to ride in March is worth serious consideration (it’s a biker thing). When we attended the 2009 Sunnyland Wooden Boat Festival in Tavares (where we met Matt Smith for the first time in person) we flew directly in to Tampa and took a taxi to the Harley-Davidson dealership in Tampa and rented a bike for the week… An expensive option when you include the mandatory insurance, etc – but it was worth it vs a rental car… And the opportunity to tour around Florida in late March was fantastic. So good that we thought we would do it again, only this time without the high cost of a bike rental.

But this year, we have decided to stay in Florida for 3 weeks so we can take in the RM Amelia Island Auction & Concours, Daytona Bike Week the following week and then the Sunnyland Wooden Boat Festival the week after that. Spending 3 weeks in Florida stuck in a rental car was not something we were looking forward to, so this year we thought it would be nice to have a motorcycle to get around Florida. So we loaded up the old Harley in her enclosed trailer (sorry Jim Staib – he hates bike trailers) and headed south.

The journey across the country is not for the faint of heart, but the windshield time always feels good. If you are thinking about making the trip at a somewhat leisurely pace, we were able to do it in Four-Twelve Hour Days of steady 75 MPH driving. Stops for fuel only, no doddling and no mid day restauraunt dining. A total of 48 Hours of freeway driving.

I kept track of the daily mileage and fuel costs in case anyone asked. Total mileage was 2,862 miles, and the fuel costs added up to $902.40 which works out to approximately $18.80 per running hour @ 48 hours or approximately 257 gallons of gas @ $3.50 gal or around 11 miles per gallon. Not the greatest fuel mileage but a chipped 350HP V-8 at an average cruising speed of 75 MPH towing a trailer that has the aerodynamic’s of a Santa-Fe Boxcar can be rough on fuel. The winter storm to the north also created some very high winds from the south which definitely had an impact to fuel mileage.


Vintage Santa Fe Box Car

But we are here in Florida now and looking forward to spending some time at Amelia Island and also the RM Auction on Saturday. Dave Bortner and his crew have the big Hacker set up at the Ritz Carleton Hotel where the RM Auction will be held.


Edward II – RM Amelia Island Auction

And tomorrow we will post some information on how you can view a live video stream from the RM Auction on Saturday, and what time the 1930 Hacker will cross the block. You can also bid on the Hacker either by phone or internet if you contact RM Auctions in advance by Clicking Here.

Wayne Davis ©2013 Courtesy RM Auctions (3)

“Edward II” – 1930 30′ Hacker-Craft Triple Cockpit Runabout – Photo Courtesy Wayne Davis / RM Auctions

Dave also posted a great video on his Freedom Boat Service Facebook page of them firing up & testing the vintage 1930 250hp Sterling Petrel six cylinder in “Edward II” prior to leaving for Florida.  Check it our on Facebook by Clicking Here.

Stay tuned to Woody Boater for more updates from Amelia Island and Florida over the next few weeks.  We have lots of cool stuff planned.


27 replies
  1. Matt
    Matt says:

    We go to the ends of the earth to bring you the news. Now you know how we get there sometimes. Go Texx go!

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    You could have come through Michigan and said hello to all of your friends. It would have been great to see you.

  3. Ranger
    Ranger says:

    Welcome to Florida, Texx!

    We love Fernandina Beach, it’s one if my favorite Florida cities. Did you know that it is home to the largest collection of homes built in the 1880’s? The town has basically frozen in time thanks to Henry Flagler and his railroad. It was where the wealthy would first build their winter getaway homes but as Flagler pushed South the wealthy followed, so they were not there long enough for the families to do upgrades and remodel. It is a picturesque and beautiful place.

    Also, the oldest continually operating bar in Florida is there, The Palace Saloon…Stay thirsty, my friend.

    And Fort Clinch State Park is very cool.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Thanks Ranger – Based on this, we now have plans to go exploring in Fernandina Beach on Sunday after the Concours to check out the architecture, history, etc. Thanks for the info.

  4. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    1. Trailers are for BOATS!!
    2. Why didn’t you stop by and pick up mine?? It’s shivering in the corner.
    3. Last coat is on. Stripe the decks and add some hardware then head SOUTH!!
    4. See ya on the river.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Lucky 7 is looking great Jim. She is “lucky” to have such a caring owner… Looking forward to seeing it in Palatka.

  5. Rick
    Rick says:

    Texx just to keep the costs in perspective, if you were instead running a cruiser at lets say 25 kts, using 14 gal/hour at $4.50/gal that would be $63/hour, and if you had twins you’d really be twin screwed. So even a single for 48 hours is $3,024. So this trip is actually a real bargain. At least that’s how I present these things to my wife.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      Actually for that distance it would take over 114 hours for about $7212. See how much you saved? Now you can bid on that Hacker.

  6. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    I thought we were the only one varnishing this late for St Johns/Sunnyland Show. I’ll be installing the interior while traveling down I-75 while my friend drives. Staib, “please pass me the Frearson screw driver when you go by, I don’t need the Grey Poupon”.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Floyd – If a man with energy and a good sense of humor is required to finish this beauty in time for the Sunnyland show, you “are” the man for the job. Nice work.

  7. floyd r turbo
    floyd r turbo says:

    you missed out: http://www.littledebbie.com/ This is their “factory thrift store” outside of Collegedale, Tn, recognizable by the 3 silos of sugar to produce their products. They use students employees in the factory from Southern Adventist University there in town.

  8. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    Texx, you need an airplane. A nice beaver would make the trip in 20 hours and only burn 600 gallons of $5 fuel, but best of all, it doesn’t care how much snow is on the roads!

  9. Texx
    Texx says:

    Great idea m-fine… The de Havilland Beaver is my all-time favorite single prop utility aircraft.

    I had the pleasure of riding in a vintage 1949 Beaver float plane from / over Lake Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho a few years ago and it was a truly amazing experience, with her big radial engine belting out a tune. During the flight, I had to remove my head-set just to listen to the raw sound of engine.

    If Woody Boater continues to grow at this rate, we may need an Airline Division to get around the country…

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      Here’s another option ’36 Stinson Gullwing. This was my friends before he sold it and the Wright 350 hp R760E-2 will make you throw away your Viagra.

  10. Philip Andrew
    Philip Andrew says:

    Thats some drive Texx. I was exhausted after 1400 miles in 3 days. Is all the middle of America as dreary as Oklahoma?

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      Hi Philip – January through March is probably the worst time to drive cross country in terms of being drab & boring. Come summer, all these same states have their own beauty and interesting land forms, etc.

      This time for me it was the great state of Nebraska, I thought it was never going to end. Tennessee is always a great drive, and the people are very pleasant. And they have “Little Debbies” too…

      • Paul H.
        Paul H. says:

        Phil – I sent Matt a summary of my drive, he might put it up but no pictures makes for a boring report, as do no mishaps!.

        Anyway, Texx just stated to you about what I said in my report back to Mr. WB himself – this is the WORST time of the year for these drives. His nemesis was Nebraska, mine was South Dakota. I have driven all of these large north western states in all seasons. The worst in my experience are both Dakotas (south is THE worst) followed by Nebraska and much of Wyoming. South Dakota has a tiny sliver of contrast and topography around Rapid city and Sturgis, but otherwise is as desolate place as you can imagine. I drove home through Nebraska from this show 2 years ago and it was horrid as well. Wyoming has some beauty towards the northwest part of it (Yellowstone, anyone?), but the vast majority is brown, flat and treeless. North Dakota – same, as is most of eastern Montana. Stay away unless you have to at this time of the year, weather can be nasty and here is no pay off for enduring these bleak winter scapes. Southern Missouri and Arkansas and the Ozarks really interested me, can’t wait to get back through there on my BMW in the spring or summer some year. Beatiful country, though not really mountains as we are used to them in the Rockies but gorgeous in many other ways. The US and Canada are huge, and unless you drive them it is hard to appreciate the vastness. So many people fly now that many never give themselves the chance. I think Texx and I are making up for it!

        • Philip Andrew
          Philip Andrew says:

          Thanks Texx and Paul, The story we filmed as we did the drive is cut and graded now so as soon as the client approves it we will be putting it on youtube. I will let you know so you’ll be able to check it out.
          Have fun in the warm waters of Lake Dora. I have dear friends staying with me from Miami right now and they are finding it rather cool here as we dip down into autumn.

  11. Gary Visser
    Gary Visser says:

    Edward is one stunning boat on the trailer and running but nobody deserves more credit for that then Mike Hagen when he cared for the boat.

  12. Bob VandeVusse
    Bob VandeVusse says:

    Texx, don’t be talkin’ that Little Debbie smack down there. Chattanooga is Moon Pie country.

    • Texx
      Texx says:

      I was thinking about stopping by historic Honest Charlie’s in Chattanooga, but ran out of time that afternoon. Maybe on the way home…

      Honest is gone but his legend lives on in Chattanooga thanks to Corky Coker.

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