PORT OF ILWACO - From the time Stan Anderson was 10 years old and built a mini-skiff powered by a make-shift washing machine motor to 2001 when he completed work on a 24-foot by 70-foot barge with an eight-person Jacuzzi, complete kitchen and full bath with shower, Anderson has been "into boats."
Anderson, wife Colleen and Yorki-pooh dog, Maybe, are currently in the midst of a three-year hiatus that will see them make a cruise of a lifetime all around the United States on their 49-foot catamaran. While their catamaran is being repaired in Canada, they have taken time out to return to Willapa Bay and to donate their barge to the Port of Ilwaco "as part of a tax write-off" according to Anderson.
"I called my barge Vision 1 because I had a dream one night that it would be useful in making trips around Willapa Bay. I have taken mobile homes to Tokeland and up some of the sloughs on the bay with my guests on overnight cruises. I purchased property on the bay sight unseen and now I love it here," Anderson states.
Anderson built his fortune with a foundation drill business in Lakeside, Calif., which is about 20 miles from San Diego. "My dream now is to spend time on my catamaran with my wife and my children and 22 grandchildren. I want to spend summers on the Willamette and Columbia River."
As for the next two years he wants to complete the loop from Florida where he began his excursion around the United States to finish in Washington state.
"We traveled from Florida to the Bahamas and then north to New York. We entered the Erie Canal, then Lake Ontario and are currently in Canada. From there we plan to go down the Chicago River to the Mississippi and eventually through the Panama Canal and then up the West Coast," Anderson says of his odyssey.
As for the Vision 1, he has taken it up the Columbia River 465 miles to Lewiston, Idaho and back to pick up the bronze sculpture of Clark's Tree with Dale Jacobson, then mayor of Long Beach. The barge, powered by twin 230-horse power diesel engines, has taken motor homes, is capable of carrying full-size truck and trailer rigs, and has had up to 55 people on board as they enjoyed an open fire on deck while touring all around Willapa Bay.
Jim Neva, manager of Port of Ilwaco said, "We are very happy to be selected to receive such a valuable barge. We see the potential for its many uses and it will be a nice addition to our equipment here at the port. It has taken over a year to complete the legal transfer, but I believe this will be a good deal for both of us."
The Port of Ilwaco will have a world-class barge at its service and Anderson will have the peace of mind to enjoy his U.S. trip and many more with his family in and around the Pacific Northwest.