Building home from the hull upTerry Hanson can remember exactly what her husband said the day their lives took a turn toward the sea.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
Terry Hanson can remember exactly what her husband said the day their lives took a turn toward the sea.
“We were sitting in the living room and he looked up at me and goes, ‘Um, how would you like to live on a boat?’” she said. “And we had a fishing boat so I thought, ‘Oh, that’s dandy. It’s my dream to live on a boat.’”
Little did Terry know, her husband Ronnie didn’t intend for the couple to pile their belongings into a fishing boat for the rest of their lives. He had something slightly bigger in mind.
More than a decade later, the two are sitting pretty on a 54-foot-10 ¾-inch watercraft along the banks of the Mississippi River. It’s a life they recently adjusted to after selling their home of nearly 40 years in Byron, Minn.
Even though it’s only been a few weeks since they started living on the water, the nautical lifestyle is one they settled into with ease.
“The scenery beats the heck out of a corn field,” Terry said.
“Boy, I tell you what — that’s a fact,” Ronnie agreed.
The boat — which the Hansons named Nickie Layne after their only daughter — is docked straight across the river from Red Wing in Hager City.
“There’s river towns south of here and there’s river towns north of here, but if you ask me, this is the best place,” Ronnie said. “We’ve always liked this area.”
A majority of their lives have been spent in Minnesota, but the Hansons have done an extensive amount of traveling as well. Now they can travel anywhere they’d like while remaining in the comfort of their own home the entire time.
What’s more, they aren’t limited to staying on rivers or lakes. Their boat was built to cruise on oceans and can withstand the harshest of conditions.
“This is a high latitude boat designed for severe weather,” Ronnie said, adding that it’s made out of steel.
He would know. After all, he built it himself.
“He’s a welder and a machinist, so he can do anything with metal,” said Terry, who also contributed to the building of the boat.
The couple has worked tirelessly since 2003 to construct the place they now call home. Complete with a living room, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, sun room and more, it’s no wonder the building process took so many years.
“If we knew then what we know now it would have only taken a year and a half,” Ronnie said. “It’s the fact that you’re learning as you go (that makes it take so long.)”
While there are still a few small areas of the boat to finish up, enough is complete that it can safely travel. The only question remains: Where will it travel to?
Ultimately, Terry said, she and Ronnie would like to reach the tip of South America on one of their excursions. Aside from that, their future on the boat and the places they go with it are completely up in the air, Ronnie added.
“Our plans are cast in Jell-O, and we’re gonna keep it that way,” he said.