The Silver Bullet Returns

I’ve done some things in my life that many people would consider adventurous, such as jumping out of a plane, climbing Mount Blanc or mountain biking in Moab. However, without question, the most adventurous thing I have ever done in my life is riding in the Silver Bullet with my family back in the 80’s.

You might think that the Silver Bullet was a supersonic plane or a Soviet era rocket, but the Silver Bullet was a 12 foot aluminum boat that my father had when my brother and I were kids. This boat was equipped with a 25 horsepower engine, which is probably just a couple horses less than a John Deere lawnmower, but make no mistake, this boat would put the fear of god into any Red Bull athlete alive today. It wasn’t so much that the boat was super fast or that it was poorly made that made it adventurous, it was the fact that my father drove this thing like we were being chased down by Jaws, Godzilla and the Loch Ness Monster.  I remember one day when we were flying through the inlet off the coast of Ocean City, MD, surrounded by boats that were the size of aircraft carriers. The fact that our boat was getting tossed by waves so violently that my brother, mom, and I were gripping the boat so hard that we were nearly ripping pieces of aluminum off didn’t seem to phase my father at all. I can remember looking up at a charter fishing boat with about 40 tourists looking down at us. To this day, I can still see the fear in the eyes of these people staring down – they were convinced we were gonna die in this little boat and they were gonna bear witness to a poor family’s demise. It would be the holiday they never forgot for all the wrong reasons. Amazingly, the powers that be, spared us that day and every other day that we took the silver bullet out into deadly waters.

I tell you this story, because I suffer from PTSD of these childhood events and I’m pretty sure the rest of my family does too (my father, however, is made of a constitution that is more akin to Wolverine, the X-Men character with adamantium bones).  Whenever I see an aluminum boat, my insides turn to macaroni.

Which brings me to today at Glacier National Park. While walking next to Lake McDonald, J sees a boat and says, “look we can rent one of those!”  I say, “sounds cool,” but inside I was saying, “SWEET JESUS NOOOOOOO, WE ARE GONNA DIE!”  However, because I’m more scared of my 4’11 wife than I am of dying, we proceeded to pile ourselves and our unknowing children into this metal death trap for a “nice” ride around the lake.  After an 18 year old kid gave me 5 seconds of instruction on how to operate the boat, which basically consisted of, “if you’re going too fast and think you’re gonna crash, push this red button,” we were off.

Then, something magical happened. We didn’t die. We actually had fun. Well, J and I had fun and the kids were literally along for the ride. I can’t say that I got over my PTSD, but I can say that I’m forever grateful for my father for instilling a sense of adventure in me that I hope to be able to pass along to my kids.  Life has been a little easier knowing that if I can survive the Silver Bullet, I can survive anything.  Or, maybe life just got easier when my dad sold that metal massacre machine. Whatever the case, I love you Dad.

This is what 8 horsepower feels like…

What I thought to be the last family portrait of us…

Ours was the sleek machine on the right…

History repeats itself as my kids imitate the exact face my brother and I used to make when my Dad would say, “hey kids let’s go out on the Silver Bullet today!”

Seriously though, we had a really good time…

3 thoughts on “The Silver Bullet Returns

  1. Mom

    For the 10s of 10s people that read this blog, Dad wants it on record that the Silver Bullet was 14 feet. He would never have endangered your lives or ours in a 12 foot vessel. Those were the days! Lucky E and Lil D…you are creating memories of a lifetime. Adventure away!


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