Our Houseboat Adventure Was Both Heaven And Hell

I'd do it again, not so sure my family would join me

Jim Farina
7 min readJul 29


Kinsey houseboat rentals — author image

There wasn't time to react. It was one of those situations where all you can do is face the music. Pay the consequences. Any attempt to make the scene appear anything other than what it was — well, it was just too late.

It would be a blatant lie. Besides, I was just on that borderline — that brief space between amazingly content and officially drunk. One more rum and cola would tip that scale. I wonder if that's where they get the term "tipsy"?

The motorboat came out of nowhere — somewhere from behind us. It was likely in our wake for some time. There's no way to see him as the "house" section of the boat obscures our rearview.

My son is at the helm. He has both engines at full throttle. I pointed every so often to indicate a direction change.

In front of us — an endless expanse of Minnesota's open water rolls smoothly under our bow. Rays of sunlight bouncing sparkles off the sapphire surface, dancing around us like a Van Gogh experience.

I can do this for three nights. It's a great kickoff to our Northwoods vacation. We are about as far north in Minnesota as you can get. Much further would put us in Canada.

My wife and I are on the front patio of the houseboat, sitting in molded resin deck chairs, enjoying afternoon cocktails. They call it a houseboat. It's less a house and more a trailer boat. A very tiny trailer. It's a pop-up trailer on pontoons.

It was the smallest boat to rent in their fleet — 33 feet of abused, weather-worn living space. When the wind is right, you can smell fresh-lake wilderness. When it isn't, it's some combination of gasoline, propane, mildew, and fish entrails assaulting the senses.

Floorplan from rental website

It's a tight, claustrophobic space and just barely functional for the four of us. It's a cluttered mess when we fill it with our groceries, bedding, luggage, water floats, and travel gear.



Jim Farina

Serving only the freshest, organic content. Writing prepared with the best quality ingredients, easy to digest and shareable. jimfarina @att.net