While I was visiting Lake Pend Oreille on a family vacation I spotted this cool looking houseboat tied up to the lake. I ended up interviewing the couple for a story for Houseboat Magazine. The actual story will be published in a future issue of Houseboat.
After speaking with Larry and Janet I found out that their original plan was to have a large barge that friends and family could all layout on and enjoy the sun. "The word houseboat hadn't even come to mind" Larry states. He told a local contractor of his idea and he told Larry of this houseboat he knew of. When Larry went to see the boat, it was completely trashed and in terrible shape. He ended up deciding to buy it in the spring of 2004 for $40,000 and four antique bicycles valued at $10,000.
The Meltzer's have owned their houseboat now for eight years. They just finished with the last minute changes and renovation process a few weeks ago. Their houseboat was built in 1985 by John Deemers. The boat is 86' long and 24' wide and weighs over 90 tons. They don't take it out in the lake very often unless it's a calm day and Larry has help from his son, son in law or friends.
Larry and Janet have two kids Jason and Jamie and a son in law Dirk and two grandchildren Brody and Taylor. They enjoy houseboating with family and friends. Since they are not in a houseboating community (at a marina) I asked them if they mind and they said, "No, the community here all knows about the boat and are all intrigued by it. We've had so many boats pass asking what's for dinner? And if they could come in and see the boat."
Larry came up with the name the "Gullywhumper" from a show on Disney channel called David Crockett (King of the Wild Frontier). In a two-part episode David Crockett comes to the Mississippi River, to meet up with Mike Fink, who is king of the river to have a boat race. In the end Mike Fink's boat wins and his boat was named the Gullywhumper. "The name has become a verb," says their son, Jason. "We now say getting our whump on."
Larry and Janet don't have much boating experience except for their first 1969 Johnston tri-haul that they named "Pathetic". They had that for ten years and then bought their 27' Bayliner that they bought each other for their 25th wedding anniversary. They named that "Blew By You" and then got their houseboat that they absolutely love and adore. They have only boated on Lake Pend Orielle and absolutely love it. Whenever their daughter Jamie comes she always updates her Facebook status to "Going to the happiest place on earth."
Larry and Janet love being on the lake, and floating on the water. "It's magical to have a home with you, bathrooms, refrigerator, grills, and our dogs Kobe and Samson that can't get enough of it," says Larry.
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