Travel, meaning the physical act of getting to and from any given destination, is the worst part of this job. Even getting somewhere relatively close such as Lake Havasu City, Ariz., from my home in Northern California for an assignment takes the better part of an entire day.
From TSA to tiny seats, air travel is particularly heinous. There’s a reason that frequent business travelers are referred to as road warriors, because getting to and from anywhere can be a battle.
But soaking up the destination in question once I’m there? That is the very best part of this job, and it’s especially true when I arrive at places I’ve never been, such as Oshkosh, Wis. By the time you read this, I’ll be somewhere in the sky between here and there on my way to cover the ninth annual Four Horsemen Poker Run on Lake Winnebago.
On Saturday, I get to experience a poker run on Lake Winnebago, a waterway I’ve heard a lot about during the past 25 years of covering the high-performance marine world but never seen up close, much less touched. On Friday, I get to visit Mercury Racing and Mercury Marine in nearby Fond du Lac. Although neither of those visits will be a first-time experience I’ll get to see things that didn’t exist the last time I stopped by—to help build a Mercury Racing 300XS outboard engine for a Powerboat magazine feature—such as the new (and never been seen before by a marine industry journalist) V-8 outboard engine production line.
How cool is that?
Plus, I get to hang out with my tour guide and longtime friend, Rick Mackie, Mercury Racing’s senior marketing specialist, and the company’s new general manager, Stuart Halley, who I recently interviewed. I get to trade stories with Mercury Racing propeller ace Scott Reichow and product applications wizard Mike Griffiths, a couple of great guys I’m lucky to call friends.
How cool is that?
Related to the new 4.6-liter V-8 platform sweeping across Mercury Marine’s outboard engine lines, I bumped into my buddy and colleague Charles Pluddeman of Boating magazine a few months back. We were both in Orlando, Fla., for a top-secret reveal of those engines for media members a few months ago at Lake X near Orlando, Fla.
During the course of several cocktails the night before the press event, I told Charlie about my upcoming trip Lake Winnebago to cover the Four Horsemen happening. Being a native son of Wisconsin and a gearhead/cheesehead by nature, he was intrigued. Now, not only do I get to hang out with one of my favorite people and best writers in the marine world this weekend, he’s covering the poker run for Boating magazine.
How cool is that?
Come Sunday morning, I’ll be doing the part of the job I hate—the physical act of getting from one place to another via commercial aircraft. But at least I’ll be coming home, and I’ll be returning new experiences to try to capture in words.
Of course, words alone don’t cut it. That’s why photographer Pete Boden is joining me for the Mercury and Four Horsemen adventures.
And that, too, is pretty damn cool.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.