Vintage Boat Cross: Trip Essentials

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Bikes, cooler and gear loaded in the boat, it’s off across the lake for the trails that beckon on the other side. Photo by Seth DeDoes.

Even lunatic romps like our recent Vintage Boat Cross: Bikes in a Boat, where we took a vintage 1970 Chrysler Sport Fury boat and a pair of vintage small-bore Honda trail bikes for an offroad adventure take some prep, if only to make sure everything’s lookin’ good.

Just like turnips and tires, helmets have a useful shelf life, during which the foam and resins are at their best. So while motorcycle frames and engine parts might be good for centuries, before the Vintage Boat Cross trip my riding buddy JG and I went shopping for fresh vintage-style helmets, choosing the new Arai Classic-V open-face lids. They’re classically styled, and importantly for the right vintage look, their outer shells have compact old-school proportions thanks to their multi-density foam liner, which absorbs impact forces without undue bulk. The comfy Arai lids are both DOT and Snell certified. Go to

After years in a shed — and then a few more months outdoors in the dirt, sun and rain without a cover — the Chrysler Sport Fury needed cosmetic help badly. For the gel-coated fiberglass hull, we applied Meguiar’s Heavy Oxidation Scrub with a scuff pad to start the rejuvenation process. After rinsing, we then followed a three-step process with Meguiar’s Oxidation Remover, High Gloss Polish and Pure Wax. Big effort! Boats have major surface area compared to bikes, and so before next time, I’m getting a power buffer. And finally, after boating and trailering, Meguiar’s All Purpose Marine APC cleaned up exhaust streaks, mineral deposits and road grunge. Go to

Fretting over the prospect of towing an old boat over 1,300 miles of searing desert and winding mountain roads, I looked diligently for the right tires to replace its trailer’s old cracked rim protectors. The bias-ply 5.30-12 Carlisle USA Trail tires have a C load range rating for improved weight-carrying capacity compared to cheaper load-range B tires. Made in America, they helped the trailer tow effortlessly throughout our travels, and their tall profile added valuable ground clearance under the outboard’s lower unit on flagging pavement and dirt. Go to — John L. Stein

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