Vermillion, Frigid Boat Building Classes

It was so cold at one class in South Dakota that there was no open water within 100 miles so we debated where we could launch the finished boat. We had to settle for a heated swimming pool in the nearby town of Vermillion. The seven students, all men, crammed themselves into the 12-foot dinghy wearing the local Stetsons and paddled around in tight circles because there wasn’t that much room. They were gratified that the boat they had been building for the last six days barely leaked a drop.

The noise from riveting in a confined space forced me to step outside the confines of the workshop -- but not for long or my ears would begin to freeze.

I had thought that summer might have been a better time for a class until I talked with one of the students, a local farmer. He told me that the previous July it had got so hot that he routinely doused his hogs with a fire hose to prevent them from cooking.