Pontoons, Baseball Tours, Anthony Bourdain Trail, Indiana Chinook Stocking Survey

Kevin Mulvaney watched with a blissful smile as some of us surveyed a high-end blue-themed pontoon at the Chicago Boat Show.

An orgy of three outdoor shows in less than 24 hours began for me. After almost three years interrupted by the effects of the Covid pandemic, I started with the Friday Night Boat Show at McCormick Place, then did the Chicago Travel & Show at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont and the Spring Lake Izaak Walton Outdoor Show in Hobart, Indiana.

I needed human contact, others hung around with common interests.

Years ago, big Go-Fast boats shone at the Boat Show, now pontoons dominate. They’ve changed remarkably, and for good reason.

Boatingindustry.com’s Ryan Kloppe observed: “In 2021, pontoon boats accounted for 22% of all naval units registered that year, surpassing others in the main powerboat segment.”

“We laughed today about how the pontoons used to be in the basement,” Mulvaney said. “Now the average pontoon isn’t going 40 to 50 miles an hour and they’re turning. It’s like a living room that goes fast. That’s why all the old performance guys started building pontoon boats.”

With the blue pontoon I could understand why. He said it can go 60 mph and does 53-58 consistently. The speaker system was designed by Roswell.

Mulvaney, who has the good looks of a beach bum who has weathered the decades, has worked with boats for 30 years.

Kevin Mulvaney works at the Munson Marine display at the Chicago Boat Show on Friday.  Credit: Dale Bowman

Kevin Mulvaney works at the Munson Marine display at the Chicago Boat Show on Friday.

Regarding working on the show, he said, “Better than being a greeter at Walmart.”

Human contact takes many forms.

  • My main goal at the Chicago Adventure & Travel Show was to learn about the Anthony Bourdain Food Trail in New Jersey.

But my biggest surprise came at the Premier Baseball Vacations booth. Doug Lawson, who has visited all current MLB stadiums except the Rangers’ new Globe Life Field, does baseball tours of good fields and good hotels. It’s smarter than I’d like to make cheap.

“People can knock out [up to] six stadia in one week,” said Lawson, who learned serious travel as a piano player on The Lettermen.

The Heartland Tour, for example, runs from Cincinnati to Toronto with stops in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Detroit. The Hall of Fame Tour includes the Yankees, Red Sox and Cooperstown.

Visit grandslambaseballtours.com for tour information.

I daydreamed at baseball before I flowed back into the crowd.

Human connections make life worth living.

Lori and Doug Lawson pose.  after some wonderful stories at the Premier Baseball Tours booth at the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show Saturday.  Credit: Dale Bowman

Lori and Doug Lawson pose. after some wonderful stories at the Premier Baseball Tours booth at the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show on Saturday.

Indiana Chinook Survey

The Indiana DNR’s Chinook Stockpiling Survey offers several options. The one that would eliminate stocking in East Chicago and split stocks between Trail Creek and Little Calumet has understandably upset anglers. Those who have had an Indiana fishing license in the past two years should receive an email with the survey (mine arrived Tuesday), otherwise it should be accessible this week at facebook.com/INdnr.

Stray cast

History will rate the Do-Nothing Worm far higher than the 2023-24 House of Representatives.

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