After 14 years Minnesota man sets sail in homemade houseboat
(FOX 9) - After nearly a decade and a half of hard work, Don Gilliland is ready to set sail on his next big adventure.
"It's quite a relief. I can't wait to get out and enjoy it more," he told FOX 9.
Back in April, we first told you how Gilliland, who comes from a family of commercial fishermen and grew up on the Mississippi, decided to build his own houseboat because it was less expensive than trying to find a fixer-upper.
For 14 years, he spent nights and weekends turning his dream into a reality, out of marine grade plywood, fiberglass and primer paint, finishing a couple of weeks ago after retiring from 3M earlier this month.
"The hardest part was finding the drive to keep going on it, to finish it." he said. "That was the hardest part bar none."
With his wife Rochelle as his first mate, on the Sylvia C - named after his mother - Gilliland launched his labor of love on her maiden voyage last Friday.
He plans to take it on a few short overnight trips with his grandsons this summer and then travel to Mobile, Alabama, on it with his wife next year.
"I knew all along it was going to float. My main concern is a slow leak over a long period of time. Those are the ones that will get you, so I'm constantly on the lookout for those," he said.
With all the comforts of home, Gilliland says his houseboat will be the perfect place to relax and write a book about his childhood.
Now that his passion project is complete, he's ready to captain his own future.
"Over time I knew I could do it, so it's a great sense of satisfaction," he said. "There's a lot of things we want to do but this is a major part of it."