is about a remote area in west central British Columbia, Canada
called the West Chilcotin. Surrounded by numerous glacial mountain
ranges, alpine lakes teeming with wild Rainbow Trout, and full
of wildlife. Living here goes from no running water or electricity
to spacious log homes with all the conveniences and without
Wilderness Adventures - Nov., Week Two/2011
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of the Day.
The Retro Boat
We ended up with a pretty cool gift from our neighbours
this summer and we've really been enjoying it. Particularly
Many years ago our neighbour and good friend, Lloyd
Wilson, inherited his Dad's boat. As far as I
know, Lloyd had it up here and used it from the time he
moved here in the mid 70's but I don't think he used it
at all in the past 20 years. Certainly not since I was
here in 1988. Obviously, once Lloyd died, everything on
the property was passed on to Ed and Marilyn.
For all of these years the boat was under a lean-to roof
with its covers on and never moved. When the engine blew
up on our big boat we were on the hunt for another motor
and one day as we were walking the dogs we swung
through the Wilsons' yard because Andy wanted to show
me this old boat. He said, Ed and Marilyn
are thinking of just stripping this old boat down and
using it for a dock. What do you think about us buying
it from them and see if the motor is any good. It's kind
of a neat old thing!
I took a long look at the black mold on the body
and covers and the healthy population of moss growing
on the body of the boat. It was hard to see in
that dark lean-to just what kind of shape the boat was
in but it looked pretty rough to me. I said I just didn't
think it would be worth it and if the boat was in that
kind of shape, what were the chances of the motor working?
And the last thing we needed was another boat without
a motor cluttering up the yard, and Andy agreed with me.
Ed and Marilyn came back up from the Okanagan for the
fall and one night around the campfire, I happened to
make the mistake of mentioning that Andy had been pretty
excited about the idea of buying the old boat from them
but that I had put the kibosh on the idea.
Really? Would you like the boat? they said.
"No, no, no, we do not need the boat, or any boat
without a motor that works, the old boat looked pretty
rough...." etc. etc.
Now Wilson minds work in weird and wondrous ways.
Nothing more was said but I was pulling down into their
driveway one day for one reason or another on my way back
from Nimpo, and lo and behold, here's Marilyn on the four
wheeler with this boat on a trailer with shiny new wheels,
pointed up the driveway. In fact, had I not pulled in
when I did, the boat was headed to our house.
Now I had to admit that once the boat was pulled out of
its dark home in which it had lived for the past twenty-five
or thirty-five years, it was a pretty cool looking boat.
It was a tri-hull but the indentations were so deep that
it almost had a Catamaran look and apparently was known
as a gull wing in its day.
There was no pointed bow on the front like most
boats have. Instead, it was flat across the front like
the front of a car and even had a car rear view mirror
inside. It sported a red and white paint job,
the back vinyl cover was red and white striped, and the
four seats inside were a cheery orange and white. This
thing was a classic!
Ed and Marilyn wanted the lean-to for storage so I ran
home to get Andy and told him he had better take a look
at this boat because I thought it might be coming to our
house, and yep, it did.
Now there's something about boat motors that seems
to attract men. First of all, I was not keen on
having another motorless boat sitting in our yard, no
matter how cool it looked, because another yard ornament
I don't need. So the first order of business was that
a motor had to be made to run, or we were going to have
to buy a motor for it if we were going to keep the boat.
Andy had acquired another 135 horse motor, same
vintage, same style, from yet another neighbour
who had intended to throw it away because there was some
unknown thing wrong with it.
Ed appeared with 'ear muffs', a contraption for keeping
water in the motor I guess when they ran a hose to it.
Our other neighbour appeared in the yard looking mightily
pleased that such a grand classic wasn't going to be scrapped
and used as a dock after all and he was eager to help
make a motor work. I think they all had my dire warnings
ringing in their ears. Motor no runnee, boaty no
For the next day or so the guys were back and forth with
pieces and tools and so on until suddenly I heard a great
throaty growl out in our driveway. Wow, what a sound!
I used to be around back in the day of drag racing on
the streets in the early 70's and there were some pretty
hot motors around, but this sound beat all and I hadn't
heard it in years! It made the hair go up on the
back of your neck it was so beautiful!
It was decided that the boat would be taken for a test
run out on the lake and while Marilyn and I grabbed lawn
chairs and cameras and hightailed it down onto the lawn
along the shoreline, our neighbours Alex and Iris brought
their boat around. That way they could tow the retro
in if the motor died. Now keep in mind that no
one seemed to have checked the hull over all that closely
for holes so I made Andy wear a heavier life jacket than
he usually does and Ed bailed into the boat beside him
for the virgin run.
Wow!!! Did it go! And it stayed as flat as could be on
the turns which seemed really strange because I'm used
to boats going up on their sides when turning. Not this
thing. It looked like a car and appeared really stable.
Everyone headed for open water between us and the
island but it wasn't long before there was trouble. The
motor died, everyone was trying to restart it out on the
water and Marilyn and I could hear this high pitched sound
from shore. They finally got the motor running again but
it was overheating and the sound we heard was from the
overheated engine indicator, so Andy brought the boat
back in. Something needed work.
Still, I had seen enough of what that boat could
do that I decided she deserved to be cleaned up.
So while she sat in the driveway, motor in pieces, I started
taking vim, bleach, brushes, soapy water and SOS pads
to the vinyl finish. Ed had shown me a neat circle of
white in the grubbiness of the bow that he had made with
an SOS pad while the boat was out in his driveway, so
I had hope for the old girl. A few hours later, the exterior
of the boat was a bright, clean white again. I did the
same to the seats but the orange vinyl had been exposed
to the sun for so long that there was no way of restoring
the original bright orange. One of the seats had obviously
been removed and stored for a long period of time because
you could tell from its bright color what it looked like
when the boat was new.
All the seats could be removed by releasing two
pins from each seat and then they could be configured
in several different ways or left out of the boat altogether.
The wood had rotted out from under a bracket holding one
of the rear seats but Alex happened to be doing a fiberglass
project of his own and was quick to bring his kit over
and repair the hole. The brackets for that seat will have
to be moved but that's certainly not a problem. There's
lots of room. In fact the roominess of the boat is amazing
and it's really easy to get in and out of because it sits
so low in the water.
Andy had to wait for parts from Florida for the
scavenged motor so after a few days of peering
at the boat now proudly ensconced in my parking spot in
the driveway, I decided to devote a little more time to
her and cleaned up the topper that goes over the front
seats and that poor mold blackened vinyl cleaned right
up. It looked almost new.
A couple of weeks later the parts arrived and Andy, who
to the best of my knowledge has never done major work
on a large boat motor before, had parts changed out and
back together within a day or so. He started it
up and there was that lovely sexy growl again. The
boat was taken back down to the boat launch and all hands
were on deck to see the launching. Ed jumped in with Andy
and a couple of oars just in case, while Marilyn and I
again raced with chairs to the front of the house to enjoy
the spectacle, and some show it was! Fast and low in the
water, the boat gets up on plane and then doesn't sway
an inch. She goes around in circles staying as flat as
a car. In fact it feels like you're in a car when riding
in it and Andy says it's like driving one. You can even
cross your own waves and hardly know it, it's so smooth
Andy took me down to the other end of Nimpo one
day and the speedometer read 31mph which seemed
pretty impressive but we both figured that being so old
('64 or '65 Johnson/Evinrude Sweet 16') the speedometer
was no doubt reading higher than the boat was really going.
Not so. A few weeks later Andy took the boat out
for a run with his GPS. It read between 34 and 35mph.
We've been out fishing in the boat and it's actually much
more comfortable for Andy to steer from the back while
fishing than our other boat ever was. The only thing that
had to be replaced was the transom that holds one of our
smaller kickers that we use for trolling and the motor
parts, which with shipping totaled $81.70. That's a pretty
Apparently Outboard Marine Company owned Johnson
and Evinrude until the early 70's and produced several
of these unusual boats under both names. Unlike
now, the boats, trailers and propulsion system were all
sold as a complete package from either Johnson or Evinrude,
although in Canada, these boats were only sold under the
Johnson name. From what research we've done on the Internet,
they were a fast, deluxe boat for the day and actually
came with a pretty hefty price tag.
I guess what's coolest of all is that Lloyd, who was very
important to both me and Andy, owned and used this boat
that carries his Mom's name, as did his Dad before him,
and even Ed remembers riding in it when he was a kid.
I think Lloyd is probably sitting up there in the
Happy Hunting grounds grinning from ear to ear every time
we take that boat out. I hope so, anyway.
So thank you Alex and Iris for your help with the boat
and a huge thank you to our friends and neighbours, Ed
and Marilyn for the help and for a very
Winter is REALLY Trying to Arrive!
Welcome to last winter. It looks like it's shaping up
to be that way already with little tiny skiffs of snow
nearly every night that in January and February of last
year, built up to well over five feet of snow.
Andy has been doing the deck shoveling which has actually
only required a few minutes because it really is
just a small amount of snow each time. I know,
because I did the front deck today and it didn't take
long to push the snow off. What takes longer is pushing
the water left behind off the deck with an oversized squeegee
to keep a thin layer of ice from forming on the Duradeck
The surface is just deadly when water freezes on it so
we go the extra mile that we never had to when the deck
was wood. Going for a skate off several feet of
deck or hitting the glass on the railing isn't my idea
of fun but it does become a bit of a pain clearing
it if you get snow after snow. Sure enough, we've gotten
yet another skiff tonight so back to the squeegee tomorrow.
Our temperature today was surprisingly warmer than predicted
by the weather forecasters. It was absolutely marvelous
the last couple of days with temps ranging around 5 and
7C during the day and only a little below freezing at
night. The warm front lasted longer than it was
supposed to and the arctic front due down from the north
yesterday still hasn't arrived, although it may tonight.
It's cleared off now and there's a cold moon peering down
on us now.
From the looks of the long range forecast, one big system
after another out in the Pacific is spinning one nasty
storm after another at the coast. Vancouver got
hit with some huge winds that we were supposed to get
but didn't, although there were some major whitecaps
out on the Main Arm of Nimpo yesterday, we're fairly well
protected from the west. Today we were supposed to get
high winds from the Northwest and got warm wind from the
south, hence, the higher temperatures. Which is all cool
with me. The wind finally switched around tonight and
we started getting cold air from the Northwest which is
probably why the abundance of snowflakes.
The lake is going to be hard pressed to freeze up
with all these fall winds. Every time the ice
starts growing out from shore, the wind crushes it up
again. There's still some ice in the back bay but only
where it's really protected and even today the waves were
lapping over top of it. If we get a north wind tonight
it may be gone tomorrow. That will make Mister Beaver
happy. We've had a beaver that's been building
a feed bin just off our shore in the back bay. Andy has
torn it out twice now so he seems to have found a new
place to hide it. Probably over under the docks again.
But at least once it freezes up solid in the back bay,
we won't have to worry about him stealing aspens from
our property. They've have certainly done a good job of
devastating Rainbow Lodge's property down the shore line
from us, knocking down huge, mature aspen over there.
There you go, it's 11:30 at night and the temperature
just jumped up a degree from -2.4C to -1.5C or
29F. A little wind has come up again out of the Southwest
so that must be bringing in warm air again.
We've wondered if there's been an inversion lately. We've
noticed that some of the snow has melted off of the mountains
and our temperatures have often been as warm or warmer
than the central Cariboo which is very unusual, but similar
to what we saw last year. Upper level temperature
inversions seem to be becoming more and more common in
the winter for the Chilcotin, and I would love to know
what's causing it.
Halloween Party on Chilcotin time can be found at November
The purpose of this web site is to draw attention to a
remote area of west central British Columbia. It is a
beautiful area that relies heavily on tourism. The search
engines don't know much about the West Chilcotin, Anahim
Lake, Nimpo Lake or any of the other small communities
in the region and I hope to change that! Even as large
as this site will eventually be, there just isn't enough
room or time in the day to fully describe this incredible
country but I am going to try scraping away at the tip
of the iceberg, so join me!
the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!