Kentucky Houseboating

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Written by Gary Wonning

Some of the best vacations we took as a family when the kids were small were the simplest and least expensive.

In that list had to be the time spent on a houseboat on a Kentucky Lake. Living just a couple of hours away in southern Indiana, it was just a short ride on I-75 to Laurel or Cumberland Lake in south central Kentucky. What made it really nice was that my kids and their cousins were about the same age.

We would leave on a Saturday morning and would arrive at the lake by early afternoon, after checking out the boat, loading it with provisions, (including a few libations), it was off to parts unknown. Nice and quiet, peaceful, no phones ringing or horns blowing.  A whole week without TV or any of the other distractions of modern life.

Once the houseboat was parked, we normally didn’t move it very much. We did learn to start it and drive it a little occasionally, otherwise  flushing the toilet and having the lights on in the evening would run the battery down.

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My brother-in-law owned a bass boat, which was used all day, fishing in the early morning, and late evening and night.

 The days were spent water skiing, the bass boat motor really wasn’t powerful enough to ski behind, it worked fine for the kids, but us lard bottom adults had to sit on the side of the houseboat and let the boat pull us up from there. That fact alone helped ensure that no one ever fell off their skis, if you did your ride was over.


Plenty of steaks and hamburger were brought along just in case the fishing turned sour. Even when fishing was at its worst, there were several meals spent enjoying the local cuisine, including trout, catfish, bass, and crappie.

There is nothing better in the world than cooking a home caught meal over an open charcoal fire. Of course the activity is enjoyed even more in the company of a good cold beer.

The kids wore life jackets constantly, in case one of the varmints fell overboard, which never happened, but in case it would have, we had time to fish them out before anything serious could take place.

Comfortable beds were provided, however it didn’t take me long to realize the best place to sleep was on top of the boat, under the stars. It was beautiful. A million stars, and a full moon if we were lucky. Being isolated like we were, there were no lights from distant cities or automobiles to spoil our view of the celestial heavens.

All too quickly, the week would end, it would be time to pack up, and head back up the freeway and dream of next year.

The author has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,

Your comments are welcome

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the good old days

The doors were never locked

I grew up on a small dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, financially, times were hard. My dad and mom had purchased an extremely impoverished farm when I was three years old. We, along with my brother, who came along later, spent the next several years restoring it to a more productive state. The farm was so over grown with weeds that after living there for a while, dad had time to mow the weeds around the barn and lo and behold . He found a hog house no one knew was there.

The soil was totally depleted, the first year’s twelve acre corn crop yielded a whopping two hundred

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