How far did YOU go to get a coveted boat?

I drove from Chicago to Dallas to purchase an Old Town Canadienne that I wanted for years. Put all 17 feet of it on foam blocks and then on top of a 15 foot long Honda Civic. Of course, it poured rain half the way back, soaked the straps and then our laps! Lot’s of laughs…I’d do it again!

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Yeah, I too learned the hard way that those “through the window” straps necessary with the foam block kits are powerful water wicks.

I wish car makers would go back to nice hefty steel rain gutters on all cars so we could more readily attach economical roof racks. My first rack arrangement was a set of 4 “Quick-n-Easy” clamps that was under $25 new and could be switched to any of my pre 1995 vehicles with adjustable length home-made treated wood bars. (I often wonder if Yakima and Thule have successfully lobbied against that.)

It does seem like trips with an element of disaster are the most memorable, especially if you have a healthy sense of humor and appreciation for the absurd.

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“Why, I remember the time,” A custom, custom, canoe was built for me, it was quite literally the only one in the world. I drove from Michigan to Wyoming, the boat was shipped from BC, Canada, and I met it at the shipping depot in Wyoming. It was built for rocks and white water. It did not survive the fork lift that loaded the truck. 5,000 dollars, crushed. So, I called the builder in BC. (The summer was booked and permitted for 1,300 miles and 3 months.)
The builder immediately began the replacement boat, and I made a ‘small’ side trip to BC, Canada, from Wyoming. I was back in Wyoming to launch with a barely cured canoe 7 days later. The canoe was exactly 3 days out of the mold when it hit the water. 2,300 mile ‘side trip’. Plus the drive from Michigan.

Couple of years ago drove 600 miles round trip to get my Old Town Loon 126 because there were none to be had anywhere closer.

From WestVirginia to Quebec above Montreal for a K-1.Took 8 days. Had a blast in the Laurentians, Rideau Canal, Presque Isle.

Bought a Seda Glider in CA about ~18 years ago (I think) which is about 13 hours one-way. Combined it with a vacation and picked it up on the way out of town. My lovely bride was very patient and understanding with the detour/extra time spent.

Another little story about picking up used boats. This had to be at least 14 years ago, but I found a good deal on a used boat north of Denver which is about 7 or 8 hours away. Asked my brother to tag along to make the drive go faster. When we arrived, the seller had 3 boats he was selling and my brother decided he’d buy one of them, so we were in for 2 of 3. The seller offered a crazy deal if I’d take all 3, so we packed all of them on the top of my '99 Chevy Blazer. We stopped at the REI store while in the area and a couple offered to by the 3rd kayak in the parking lot. Sold a boat I didn’t plan on buying that ended up paying for the whole trip. :slight_smile:


on land:
several years ago, travelled from Jacksonville up to Rock Hall, MD for a Tahe Greenland.

by sea:
Many years ago had an NDK Explorer shipped from Seattle (US) to Sydney (AUS) for a paddle there.
(I knew the Explorer was the best rough water handling seakayak for me, didn’t want to take a chance on some other, and, at the time - they were not available in Aus.)

I own your Silhouette! She still lives in Virginia Beach. Replaced the center strip (it was flaking off and damaged) and patched all the dings last year. The center strip is now fiberglass covered with black gelcoat. But it’s doing great. It’s not my primary kayak anymore but my girlfriend and I still enjoy paddling it. It’s a great kayak.

Happy you are still enjoying the Silhouette. I never got comfortable in it, till just before I sold it. The Jackson Sweet Cheeks seat, made a huge difference. It was a very fast kayak, for it’s class.

South central Missouri to Petersborough Ontario Canada
Approximately 2,500 mile round trip.
Went to pick up a 1965 Chestnut Pal that had been restored there.

Luckily, a friend had transported it there from Missouri for me. So we didn’t have to do 2 round trips.

Also luckily, there was a high exchange rate on US to Canadian currency when we got there. Saved 100 dollars due to high rate of exchange.

Extremely lucky in that my wife paid for the boat’s restoration.
Don’t know what she volunteered to do so, but I did NOT argue about it, and graciously accepted her generosity.We turned it into a mini vacation; the highlight of which was spending about 5 hours in the Canadian Canoe Museum(the old one). Really enjoyed that!

Photo shows restored canoe, and me with the restorer and his wife.
We still have the canoe. He did an outstanding job!


Picking up my restored Chestnut Pal in Canada|504x378

I only had to drive across the state of Florida a couple of times. Once for a Fenn Mako 6 and once for a Westside Wave Exceed.

My second longest trip was from south central Missouri, to Madison, Wisconsin. Approximately 975 miles, round trip.

Picked up 2 canoes at Rutabaga. Don’t know who owned them, but Craig gave me a hell of a deal on them. Both were/are in near pristine condition

Lotus Dandy LotusDandy signed by Mike Galt

The boats are pictured; A Blackhawk Covenant, and a Lotus Dandy, signed by builder, Mike Gault.
They were worth the trip.

10,000 miles over 43 days.

In 2004, living in Connecticut, I spec’ed and purchased by email and phone a custom made outrigger canoe from Huki Outriggers in Sacramento, California. I had never paddled nor even seen an outrigger canoe in person.

I drove 3,000 miles to pick it up, which took me about five days. But then I drove another 7,000 miles over six more weeks as I drove it back home on a circuitous paddling route via Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada lakes, Yosemite, northern California, the Pacific coast, Oregon, Yellowstone, the BWCA, Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Algonquin Park, and the Adirondacks. I slept in my van 37 of the 43 days, everywhere from campgrounds, to random woods, Walmart parking lots, truck stops, interstate rest stops, and church parking lots.

I’ve driven well over a thousand miles several other times to pick up canoes in Florida (twice, from NY), Tennessee, Virginia, Maine, Nevada (from California). I don’t believe I’ve ever traveled less than 200 miles to pick up any of my 15 boats except for the first one in San Jose, CA, when I lived there.

All of these long canoe pick-up trips were by myself, alone, and integrated into solo paddling adventures in new places. They remain among my most treasured paddling memories.


West Va to Charleston SC to pick up this Pygmy Osprey Standard. It paddles like a dream

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Drove from Michigan to Texas for a hard to find minicruiser sailboat.

Also drove to Minneapolis for a superlight kevlar kayak.

Road trips are a great adventure.


You folks are born adventurers or nutz!
Maybe in my next lifetime.

Nah… Just combine it with paddling or other road trip lookylooing.

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I’ve traveled from central Florida to Myrtle Beach, SC to pick up a boat purchased on Ebay. Lots of shorter trips.
Had a fellow come down from north central Pennsylvania to purchase a canoe I was selling, so he wins.
Not that coming from PA to FL in February is such a bad idea! Ran into he and his buddies a week later on the Rainbow River…they didn’t seem to want to go home very badly!

One of my kayak buying adventures, was to your house. About 6hours each way. My father bought the Heritage Expedition XL. Still have it, in the barn.