Porta-Bote (or Fold-A-Boat)

Porta-bote in action

Porta-bote in action

The RV lifestyle is not going to work unless we can get out on the water. Problem is how to bring all the toys with you when hauling a fifth-wheel. We absolutely have to bring the Harley, and we absolutely have to have a boat. Bob is researching a swivel-trailer that hooks into the frame of the fifth-wheel so we can pull the motorcycle. But pulling a boat in addition to the Harley? Not going to work.

We remembered a funny little boat we saw a few years ago while we were camping in Florida. It is called a Porta-Bote, or Fold-A-Boat. It folds up flat and is the size of a surfboard. We watched the fellow unload and then unfold it. Within a very short time he had it ready to put in the water. We watched in disbelief as he pulled it to the water, put his motor on the mount and then head off down the water. The boat looked sturdy and was moving at an impressive pace. Wow, we thought. We need to check into that thing!

When the boat came back at the end of the day, Bob headed over and quizzed him as to what the heck it was. What a find. The fellow sang high praises. He said that it is made of high impact polypropylene which is an engineered resin originally developed for use in the aerospace field. It is so hard it is resistant to sharp rocks and/or collisions; impervious to sand, salt, and acid. He said it is virtually indestructible as well as being very light weight. He gave us the information we needed to do our research. We soon found that they don’t come on the resale market very often. We kept looking and were excited when we finally found one on Craig’s List last year. It belonged to a widow in Arkansas. She and her husband had only used it a couple of times before he passed away. It is 12’ foot long. (24” wide and 3” thick when folded).  Just what we had decided we wanted as the 8′ and the 10′ seemed to us to be a bit too small and the 14′ too long.

Indian Pass Sunset

Indian Pass Sunset

We took it with us last year to Indian Pass, Florida where we spent the winter. It worked perfectly. We were able to load it on the truck for transport when we had the motor home, but since buying the fifth-wheel we have been in a quandary wondering how the heck we were going to haul it.  The company sells RV mounts so one can put it on the side of the vehicle; or on the roof, but they are $329 (often on sale for $199). Bob was also reluctant to drill holes in the trailer, although if need be he would have done so. Some people load it on top, but even though it folds into the size of a surf board, we hated the idea of driving down the road, not being able to see it and wondering if it blew off or not. It is 12’ long, so we did not think we would be able to get it in the trailer, just because of angles. But…yeah! We were pleasantly surprised when we tried it as it fits easily and lays on the floor without being in the way at all. Problem solved.

Bob and Finnean fishing

Bob and Finnean fishing

It is a great little boat. Despite the flexible floor, it feels very sturdy. Even Finnean (our Westie) feels very safe and secure riding in it. We have a 6 hp motor on it, and although it works fine, we are thinking that a 9 hp would be better. It’s great for fishing. We are thinking about buying the bow ladder that the company sells so we can jump in when we want to go for a swim.

Unfolding it and getting it out on the water takes less than 20 minutes. Here’s how we do it:

Sold the Sea Breeze

We sold the Sea Breeze on E-Bay. We were pleasantly surprised at the number of calls we got. In fact, in the last seconds there was a bidding war and we ended up selling her for $12,000. We had used it for two years and sold it for a profit. Felt pretty good about that.

Pulled out the old carpet and installed bamboo hardwood floors.

Pulled out the old carpet and installed bamboo hardwood floors.

Bob found the Scenic Cruiser sitting in a RV Repair lot in Hot Springs, Arkansas (where we now live.) It had been for sale for over a year. It was pretty obvious when we looked at it why there was not a lot of interest. It had a leak under the sink and the floor had rotted out. Plus, it had sat for quite a while and the moldy smell was overwhelming. I started to run, but Bob was interested. He is very much the “handyman” and replacing the floor was not a concern to him. He was concerned with the motor and electronics. When he pushed the button for the slide to go out, we both could not believe our eyes as it looked like a dance hall compared to our old motorhome. He spent a lot of time looking it over and decided he could replace the floor and fix whatever was causing the problem under the sink. The rest of it was just a matter of scrubbing as the diesel engine, generator, refrigerator, freezer and electronics all were in good shape. He made a low-ball offer and the owners took it.

Finished floor.

Finished floor.

We spent the next couple of months pulling out the old carpet, fixing the leak under the sink (turned out to be the charcoal filter under the sink that had leaked, causing black, mucky stuff to ooze out and ruin the floor), and installed hardwood bamboo floors throughout the entire coach. We took the handles off all the cabinets, cleaned them up and sprayed them black. Also redid the light fixtures. It looked pretty darn nice when we got done and did not cost much money, just labor on our part.

We spent two months living in our “new” coach on the beach in Florida. We loved it and we met a lot of people who were either living full time in their rigs or living for several months in it. We left for home continuing the talk about whether we should try going twenty-four/seven or not. Seemed like the thing to do when we were in Florida, but kept kicking around the pros and cons all year.

Camped on the beach in Florida.

Camped on the beach in Florida.

We are just now returning from our second winter in Florida. This time we spent three months. Again, we loved it and the idea of going full time is a constant conversation. But, even though the Scenic Cruiser is roomy “people-wise”, it has no storage space. If we are going to go full-time, or on extended trips again, I need more storage space