Captain Jackson's Blog

Stories from the Traveling Houseboat Sales Guy

Clean Houseboat Contest Winner – Vince Petrites!

Congratulations to our 2010 Clean Houseboat Contest Winner, Vince Petrites.  He took out our Royal Star in June and brought our classic houseboat back as clean as when it left our dock.  Next year, Vince and a group of his closest friends and/or family will be enjoying a nice upgrade, to our Odyssey on Lake Shasta.  Nice work Vince!

Clean Boat Contest

Clean Boat Contest

Don’t worry, to all who were entered into the Clean Houseboat Contest, you will soon be getting a special offer from us here at houseboats.com.  For those who weren’t quite clean enough, keep working on your cleaning skills.  It’ll pay off.  At least, my wife and my mom think so. 🙂

Past Shasta Lake Winners Include(Jones Valley):

2009-Teresa Stevenson

2008-Stacy Terway

2007-Lynn Hulette

Houseboat on stilts. How do you get a houseboat out of the marina?

So, for the past couple of weeks, we’ve been picking and choosing days when the weather has been cooperative, meaning limited wind and rain, to pull some of our houseboats out of the water, off the marinas and into winter storage areas so that we can prepare them for next season.  The process is quite impressive, from the precision of driving a houseboat onto a 50 foot trailer (houseboat hangs off by about 8 feet), to taking it down the windy roads, to mounting these majestic beasts onto 2x4s on our parking surfaces.  The pictures and video are worth watching.

Houseboat Trailer about to pull a Corinthian out of the water

Houseboat Trailer about to pull a Corinthian out of the water

First, a houseboat is pulled onto a custom trailer that can withstand the massive weight of a houseboat, which weighs about 36,000 pounds.

Then, the truck driver, Dave, our magician of the driving arts, hauls it down the windiest roads in the world (or so it seemed when I was on it)  I guess I didn’t even notice how windy the road was until this adventure.  He finds creative ways to maneuver around trees, light poles and even nearly missing drop offs and cliffs.  I almost lost my lunch a few times.

Truck Driver Dave of houseboats.com

Truck Driver Dave of houseboats.com

Finally, and maybe the most mind-boggling part, we lift the houseboat off the trailer and set it on ‘cribs,’ square 2x4s that are built to withstand the weight of the boat.  Metal crib caps hold the pontoons in place and allow the trailer to drive away.

Renaissance houseboat on 'cribs' at Jones Valley Resort

Renaissance houseboat on 'cribs' at Jones Valley Resort

Jumping Frog Jubilee, preparing for 2011 Calaveras County Fair

 

Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee

Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee

 

You’ve got to love a good ol’ fashioned frog jump! Calaveras County is near Lake New Melones and every year, they celebrate in a very unique fashion. Discovering, Training and Jumping World-Class frogs. That’s right! Its not until May, but if you are planning a truly unique family trip, the Jumping Frog Jubilee is for you. Oh, just in case that didn’t get you excited enough about the Calaveras County Fair, they also have a renowned arm-wrestling competition! Saddle up partner, let’s get to the Calaveras County Fair. I’m excited. Are you?

Getting houseboats off the water at Jones Valley Resort

Preparing for moving our houseboats off the water to our boat yard here at Jones Valley Resort. Pictures coming soon, but you have got to watch the magic of moving a 56 foot houseboat down a windy road, not to mention out of the water off the marina. Awesome. Props to the shop guys. I couldn’t do it. Pictures to come… http://amplify.com/u/ckte

How do you labor on the day named Labor?

Labor-Day- Take the Day Off!

Labor-Day- Take the Day Off!

Today is a fantastic day for not working.  Ironic, don’t you think.  We celebrate Labor Day by not working.  If you are out enjoying the sun, relaxing, making time for family, chances are you’re reading this on the day after Labor Day or perhaps a few days after that.  I love how our country adopted the Holiday and made sure that Labor Unions were respected and appreciated as a part of our nation’s fabric.  We fight for quality wages, support from our employers and the freedom to say when we aren’t happy with how companies treat their loyal laborers.  I pulled the following quote from a great site as I thought they were able to summarize better than I could.

“It represents an annual national tribute to the contributions we as laborers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The history of Labor Day in the United States dates back in September 5, 1882 in New York City in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. By 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday to celebrate Labor Day, as originally proposed by the union. Since then, the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date.”

-from Labor Day History: How Did Labor Day Become a Holiday? -Dwight Hemmingway from the website worldcorrespondents.com.  Read the full article here:

Here’s some great shows of our Labor force having just a little bit of fun:

Orientator Brandon-representing Gatorade

Orientator Brandon-representing Gatorade

Rich Howe-General Manager and chef extraordinaire

Rich Howe-General Manager and chef extraordinaire

Gina-Making sure that the store is rockin'

Gina-Making sure that the store is rockin'

Orientator Mike-taking care of customers belongings with our Quad Squad service

Orientator Mike-taking care of customers belongings with our Quad Squad service

Labor Day Weekend on a Houseboat

I love Labor Day. The weather is nice, people are happy as they get the first vacation from school or work. Everyone wants one last shot at a warm weather vacation before the winter. Welcome to the world of houseboating. Today, we set a record for boats that went out on a single day. Thirty-three houseboats that were 56 feet in length or bigger left our marina within hours. The dock was wild and crazy with kids, pets, and boats all over the place. Amazing. I’ll keep posting pics from the weekend as the dock goes from full of boats to empty and then full again when they come back on Monday and Tuesday.

Amplify’d from www.facebook.com

TheCaptain Jackson
I wish I could have gotten a panoramic shot of this, but our pavilion was packed today!

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Boat of the week at Jones Valley Resort

Check out this slightly modified 2005 Malibu. Pretty sweet.

Boat of the Week-05' Malibu

Boat of the Week-05' Malibu

Boat of the week at Jones Valley Resort

Boat of the week

Boat of the week

Just a cool boat we saw on the docks this week. Its a hybrid ski boat-patio cruiser. I forgot to ask the owner what the make and model was, but I just thought it was cool.  If anyone knows the make or model of this boat, let me know.

P.S. If you think your boat is eligible for ‘Boat of the Week’, stop by Reservations on our dock and ask for the Captain.

A blanket made of stars – Majestic Shasta Nights (of course, I’m on a houseboat)

Shasta Night Sky from a houseboat on Jones Valley Resort

Shasta Night Sky from a houseboat on Jones Valley Resort

Every once in a while, something grabs me. I mean, really catches me off guard. Tonight, as I was on ‘my’ Escapade floating peacefully at Jones Valley Resort, tied up to the marina dock, I stepped outside to run back up the hill to my truck, when I caught a site I often overlook. The brightness of the sky with all the stars shining brightly with the three quarter moon low off the horizon was unreal. It reminded me of when I was a kid, going camping for the first time with my dad, looking up in wonder. Wonder of what was out there. Wonder of how it all worked. Wonder for the sake of wonder itself.
It was at that moment that a Dixie Chicks song ran through my head, hence the name of this post. The lyrics from the song, Cowboy Take Me Away, include a line that reads, “I wanna sleep on the hard ground, in the comfort of your arms, on a pillow of blue bonnets in a blanket made of stars…”

Dixie Chicks album cover "Wide Open Spaces"

Dixie Chicks album cover "Wide Open Spaces"

I realized that I often brush right past the moments I should have seen or experienced.  I bustle through life, missing these magical experiences.  Don’t miss out on the things that really matter.  Take a moment to remember the stars.

Why houseboating is better than sailing

I’ve spent a little time recently with a friend who is absolutely in love with sailing.  So, a few weeks ago we were talking about what is a better vacation, three days on a sailboat or three days on a houseboat.  In the spirit of both humor and a little sailor-bashing, here are Captain Jackson’s top 10 reasons that houseboating is better than sailing:

1. Sharks.  I saw “Open Water”.  No thanks.  For anyone older than 20, Jaws.

Jaws

Jaws

2. Engines are better than wind.  Forgive me for getting excited about a 350 V8 engine on a 56 foot boat, but knowing you can go in a straight line to your destination is awfully nice.

3. Waterfalls.  Show me a waterfall I can get to on a sailboat, I dare you.  (Okay, there is one in California at McWay Falls, but only one)

4. Sleeping quarters.  Getting into the galley on most sailboats requires spinal flexibility.  Ever try to stand up inside a sailboat?  No concussions for me, thanks.

5. Food.  I prefer my grills and full kitchens to the mini kitchen any day of the week.

6. Terminology.  It takes nearly 10 minutes to learn all houseboating terms.  Galley. Helm. Hot tub. Waterslide.  It takes learning another language to sail a boat on the open ocean.

7. The boom.  When winds change and you aren’t paying attention, watch out for a nice concussion or trip into the water when the bar connected to the mast comes swinging across the deck.  Ouch.

Sailboat Boom

Sailboat Boom

8. Sailors don’t make videos like this: Houseboats.com

9. The Titan. I hate to brag, but the biggest houseboat rental boat in the country can draw the eye of almost anyone. The boat has 3 stories, 6 flat screen TVs, and a water slide tube. I’ve never seen a sailboat with a waterslide. It seems that it might be cool if you could add a diving board off the top of the mast.

3 Story Titan Houseboats Galley

3 Story Titan Houseboats Galley

10. This T-shirt.  Only a sailor would get this.

I sail like a Candle T-Shirt

I sail like a Candle T-Shirt

This post is designed to be a little bit humorous, so any comments outside the spirit of fun will be dismissed.

We miss summer already. Can’t wait for next year!

There is something about watching boats move to storage that makes you miss the summer.

Marine Recreation: State of the industry

As we speak, Mike Han, our COO is delivering the state of the industry report at MRA, the Marine Recreation Association’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Go Chief, knock them dead!

Amplify’d from www.marina.org
Topic 1:  State of the Marina Industry Presentation
Mike Han, Chief Operations Officer, Houseboats.com

See more at www.marina.org

 

Ahh, the power of nature

Over the weekend, here on Shasta Lake, the elements had a good time with our marina.  The lake level went up, trees fell down and a few boats took on a little bit of water.  (Small boats that were uncovered, not houseboats)  Hope everyone in Redding had a dry roof over your heads, it was crazy out here!

Mike and Rich – Representing Shasta Lakes only Clean Marina award

Great shot of two houseboating heavyweights, Rich Howe and Mike Han.

Just because I made coffee once, doesn’t mean I’ll make it every day!

Where's my coffee cup

So, this morning, Mike, ‘el jefe,’ walks into the administrative office kitchen and yells back into my office, “Ben, what’s up with the coffee.” Now, I made coffee the last four or five days in the office, out of the goodness in my heart (which is there, but is buried very deep).  But today I was up early, so I made it at home and it completely slipped my mind when I got to the office. “I thought Rich (our general manager) delegated all coffee duties to you!” Now, based on the tone of his second sentence, I realized he was joking as he through up his arms in the air and got more coffee filters from the storage room.  “Do we not have the right kind off coffee for you, you don’t do Folger’s?”  He continued, faking seriousness. “You need some specialty stuff?”  I realized I was in for a sarcastic rant, so I took mental notes, so the jokes now on him. 🙂  He continued by mocking my lack of outdoor savvy (I’m a city boy at heart) and went off onto a story about wild turkeys and how they play with his cat (which, although interesting, isn’t a part of this story).  It made me think about how often we make the assumption that just because people do something, doesn’t mean you should expect it forever.  I was actually thinking of how fantastic our staff is here and how I just expect them to be excellent, always, but sometimes, they show a little bit of their humanity.  It is at that very moment, when they look their worst, that I believe they need encouragement the most.  Okay, so you screwed up, but, most of the time, you do incredible work that matters.

In conclusion, the boss makes me laugh.  I’ll make your coffee, chief, then I’ll make you the object of my humor.  Then I’ll rant about life lessons.  That’s how my brain works.  Or doesn’t.  Now, do you want cream and sugar?

Houseboat Recipes.

I’m going to have to add a new one here, the generator Cordon Bleu. Wrapped in foil, throw a few chickens on the generator and/or the motor before moving or running it and 2-3 hours later, whaa-laa. Magical chicken.
Courtesy of Mike Han.

Captain Jackson’s Blog

Stories from the Traveling Houseboat Sales Guy

Houseboat Recipes. The best of the best.

I was playing blog-tag this morning (a technical term for giving someone advice through their own blog, I may have made that up), and thought that this question was worth re-posting.

Houseboats.com

See more at captainjackson.wordpress.com