Houseboat heaven

Sooner or later, you, a leisure-oriented, fun-loving Western American with a reasonable amount of disposable income, will be asked to be part of a house-boating vacation. Having just been on such an excursion, I can advise you to go for it.

Well, hold on. This recommendation may be wrong for you. If you’re looking for an elegant, sophisticated vacation, for example, ixnay on the ouseboat-hay, which is basically a floating doublewide with a crummy fridge and a toilet that will provide more drama than Shakespeare. You can bring lots of gourmet food and fine wine in an attempt to elevate the epicurean factor, but the chances are good that you’ll end up preparing your dream dinner while stuck in a brackish inlet surrounded by cottonwood snags, dragonflies and bats.

On the other hand, a houseboat is for you if you can embrace the idea of being a kid again. And when I say kid, I mean a barefootin', burger-eatin', booger-rollin’ smart aleck who seriously avoids the shower. That’s because the pleasures that dominate your houseboat time are the simple fundamentals of summertime kid stuff. These pleasures include jumping into the water, diving into the water, sliding into water (if your boat is cool enough to have a slide), swimming in the water, goofing around in the water (squirt guns, camel fights, Marco Polo, etc.), water-skiing (The houseboat must tow a zippy little motorboat. This is not an option.), riding a tube behind the motorboat (in case you’re a dork who can’t get up on skis), and jumping off the roof of the houseboat into the water. For the most fun with this last stunt, it’s best to stand on the sign on the roof that reminds you that jumping off the roof is forbidden.

From the above list, you can see that houseboat vaykays simply are not suited for places where the water is cold enough to induce sudden scrotal shrinkage, which explains why Lake Tahoe has remained houseboat-free for lo these many recreational eons.

Another factor that brings about a great deal of pleasure on a houseboat trip is food. Yes, fine food is excellent and has a place on every houseboat journey, but make sure you have plenty of the four basic houseboat food groups on board. These are burgers, wieners, chips and beer. Soda and water, of course, can be used interchangeably with beer, within reason. As long as you have these four main groups to fall back on, you’re never far from a houseboat super scarf. Please note how this Big Four of Houseboat Chow will further facilitate you not only getting in touch with your inner child, but encourage that little punk to run totally amok.

The houseboat rental company will attempt to sell you some rip-off insurance. Bite the bullet and buy it. Believe me, it’s comforting to remember you have the insurance while you’re being introduced to the brain-seizing panic that grips you when you realize a houseboat doesn’t have brakes.