This story was originally published on the Mini-Tug Association's website sponsored by Berkley Engineering where you canpurchase plans for the Mini-Tug and other boat models: http://www.berkeley-engineering.com/
My wife, Laura , and I just went through a wonderful experience and wanted to share it with you.
You will recall that long-time member John Bosier advertised his mini-tug, the Helen-L, for sale in “Little Bitts”. Well, I’ve had the plans to build my Mini-Tug for quite some time but just haven’t gotten around to starting the project (surely none of you have ever had that problem). When John offered his boat for sale, I leaped on it, sight unseen (but liking the picture of it a lot). I called John and explained to him that I wanted to buy his boat, but that I had a slight problem….he and the mini-tug were in Michigan and I was in Alabama. I wanted to buy, but didn’t want to pick up until pretty nice towing weather. That was in November as I recall. John agreed to a purchase with him keeping the boat in his garage until I could get there to pick it up.
Well, my wife and I kept tracking the Michigan weather. Stupid me thought we might be able to get up there in April (Springtime here). Good grief, they were still having snow! May was still “iffy” for travel up there. So finally, in June, we made the trip, stopping along the way to visit with my family in North Carolina , including my soon to be 95 year old mother. Leaving Raleigh , we headed out for our Michigan to Alabama adventure.
It was a great trip. John had given us great directions to find the Bosier home and, within a couple of minutes of our arrival, John and Helen had made us feel like family. What great people! Not only that, being able to see the mini-tug for the first time was super exciting. My first impression was that she was everything he had told me and more. John had done a great job building her and it was obvious from first sight that I had a second love (when you have a wife, you have to say “second”!).
We took pictures, looked at John’s photos of the mini-tug building process (plus other super boats John and his sons have built, wooden canoe, houseboat, etc), got a tour of John’s great workshop and had a wonderful time just talking.
We hooked the red, black and white mini-tug up to our red Ford F-150 truck with black trim and, though unplanned, that combination looked like the two had been made for each other. John walked to the end of his driveway to watch us depart. I hope that what I say now doesn’t embarrass him in any way because I’d feel the same way were I in his shoes. As we left the driveway, John waved good-bye to us and I think I might have seen him wipe his eyes. He had asked us to call him as soon as we got home to make sure we got there okay. When we did that, he “came clean” saying “ Thanks for calling, I just wanted to make sure that my baby made it there okay.” The drive back was great and I can’t tell you how many people fell in love with the little tug as we headed back to Alabama . We spent one night in Warren, Indiana, where people took pictures of the tug in the parking lot of the motel (including truckers), one guy wanted to buy it on the spot and everybody we talked to just said that the boat was “Too Cute.” In the Cullman, AL , area we got caught in a traffic jam. Creeping in the right hand lane, we noticed that a number of cars and trucks were hanging back for a period before passing us. We finally figured out that they were taking pictures of the mini-tug with cameras and their cell phones! At one point, a camper pulled up beside us; as traffic stopped, the door swung open and several guys got out and began asking questions about the boat, took pictures and gave another thumbs up as we drove away.
With the boat home now, I called John and let him know that we arrived safely, the trailer did fine and the boat was just fine too. Since then, I’ve done a few things to her and I’d like to think that John would approve of all of them. I put some white striping on her, made some hangers for the rope bumpers I’d bought for the boat I was going to build, put on new lines, touched up paint here and there, mounted a chrome horn on the top, mounted a teak flagstaff on the stern and also did something I hope he and Helen will understand too. I changed her name. Because so many people had said the same thing every time they had a chance to talk to us on the way back, the beautiful little boat, formally the “Helen L” is now named “Tu Quute”. Just maybe somehow that’s the same name because I'm sure that John will agree that Helen Bosier, for whom the boat was originally named, is "Tu Quute" too!
Many thanks to the Bosiers for their hospitality and for their “baby”. The adoption went well and we look forward to taking care of and enjoying the mini-tug for years to come.
Now, I’ve still got these plans to build an 11 foot mini-tug and I’m not exactly sure when I’ll get around to it; come to think of it, Laura and I might be out in the Mini-Tug so long that I might not have time to build it at all!