The HaPike is a 1941 GarWood commuter named for Hazel and Pike Moon of Sandpoint. The Moons bought the boat new while Pike was mayor of Sandpoint and had it shipped by rail to the shores of Lake Pend Oreille. Pikes son Bud, who was fifteen at the time helped his dad pick out the impressive boat from brochures. Buds wife Susan recounts an often told family story below.
“Apparently after Bud and his dad decided which boat it was going to be, then they went to Grandma and said, well we can buy this nice fancy boat or we can buy this really nice two story home in the 400 District in town and it didn't take Hazel long to think about it and she said, I'm not that great a housekeeper, I'd rather have the boat and be outside.”
There are a number of other Moons still living in the Sandpoint area who vividly recall when the HaPike was the lady of the lake.
“We'd be up in the hay fields a mile and a half away from the boat house and putting up hay bales and stuff and we'd hear this big rumble going on down below and it was granddad starting the boat up …. And when we heard that everybody dropped whatever we were doing and made a bee-line for the boat house because we knew we were going to get another good ride.”
“It was just impressive. It was everything they wanted in a boat. It was the biggest, most beautiful boat on the lake and we were all so proud of it and it was so much fun. My granddad was mayor of Sandpoint in the '40's and he was contacted one time by Bing's publicist and Bing liked to fish. Well, granddad had that big boat and they lined up a fishing trip with Bing. When my granddad was at the end of his life somebody asked him what was the most exciting part of his life and he said taking Bing Crosby fishing.”
The HaPike spent many years cruising Lake Pend Oreille but it eventually fell victim to disuse and disrepair. It sat behind Bud Moon's barn for many years. Bud's son Brandon remembers what the boat was like in those days and then how it was completely refurbished years later by a collector.
“When I was growing up I never actually got to ride on the HaPike. It was parked up behind the barn at the family house out on Bottle Bay so I would spend hours playing in this boat, making engine noises Seeing the boat when it left here with missing hull planks and dusty and dirty, it left town and we didn't see it for a number of years. It just resurfaced completely restored and it is absolutely pristine. It is just literally as it was the day it came out of the box car at Hope.”
A boat collector from Hawaii bought the HaPike and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars bringing it back to life. It first returned to Idaho for the ACBS International boat show in Coeur d' Alene, less than an hour from where it had been delivered new in 1941.
“My dad is a lover of wooden boats and he and my mom discovered this boat 30 years ago in Sand Point, Idaho. It was my dad's dream to restore this boat to the grandeur and the proud lady that she once was. Unfortunately my dad had some medical issues that came up and he wasn't able to make it to this show. We did this for my dad because it was my dad's dream to have the boat in this particular boat show.”
One of the best boat restorers in the country took on the HaPike project for Michelle's dad. He understood how rare the boat is. Of the thirteen commuters originally built it's the only one in existence today and the only one that was delivered to a private individual. The rest were delivered to the military in 1941 and 1942.
“The owner is a fabulous man. This particular boat, when he found it he wanted to make sure it was going to be saved. He recognized right away it was a special piece and so he wanted to make darn sure that it got saved. The restoration of this boat was a very difficult project. It took us 18 months to complete. One of the nice things about that particular boat is that since the family was from Sandpoint, Idaho, they are still here, they have tremendous information on the boat and history and so we've been in contact with them through the whole project to get information on how we should do the boat properly. I have a lot of pride in this boat. It is one of the nicest ones we've ever done.”
The restoration of the HaPike was so well done that it took home the grand prize for the best boat of the entire international show. But for Susan, Brandon and other members of the Moon family the highlight of the weekend for them was getting a chance to cruise the lake in the flawlessly restored vessel.
“They took us out for a ride on the boat and that was something special having grown up with the engine in our garage all torn apart. It's actually pretty emotional, getting to see the boat in that condition whereas when I grew up it was old and dusty and dirty. It was just absolutely amazing.”
“It was pretty overwhelming because Bud had just passed away a few months before so he wasn't able to see the full restoration. He had seen pictures and parts of it but it was just like I could feel his spirit right there with me as we roared around Coeur d' Alene. It still gives me goose bumps to think about it because it was such a special boat for so many.”