Gerardin Travels        

This side view looks pretty good!

Oh my, looking pretty beat up. Note the

railings all around.

View looking foreward. See the new 6m

section? Steel is smooth not bumpy.

The wheelhouse had been completed.

Wood covered an opening on the roof for

access inside. The previous owner used the

barge as a travelling machine shop and could

lower engines into the barge.

The inside with ships windows and our

markings of the layout.

View from foreward area to future salon and


Salon had 8 ships windows that were


Hauled out for survey

Though it looks like it's just plunked down in a

field, this was at a yard!

Our surveyor speaking with Joe.

The surveyor marked each side with metres.

Bow thruster just under "21".

"X" marks were where they ground and


Introducing JoLi' Folie

        Welcome! 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 France JoLi' Folie Intro Journey Pt. I Thanksgiving Journey Pt. II 2001 Net Result 1999-2000 Net Result

By the fall of 2000

Lisa had decided that having

a barge in France would be a

super idea!

We really enjoyed Europe

and its culture and wanted to

spend more time there.

We joined the Dutch Barge

Association and began

researching the idea. We

travelled from the very north

of Holland to central France

and back again many times,

following leads and looking at

barges that were for sale.

After many months of

searching and negotiating we decided on a partially

converted barge that was in a yard in Friesland, an area to

the northwest of Amsterdam. By purchasing an empty

barge not yet converted, we would be able to fit it out to

our likes. Our preferences were for fewer, larger cabins

within the barge. Many barges we had looked at seemed

to have too many small cabins so it could carry more


The barge we chose was a 23 metre (85ft) Luxemotor

built in 1921. She was a sight for sore eyes, that only a

mother could love... or, in our case, envision the potential.

The yard had bought the hull as a project to convert from

a working barge to a cruising one. The hull was cut in half

and 6 metres was added to the original length.

The "superstructure" (the exterior cabin top) with

ships windows was installed, as well as a drop-down

wheelhouse. A DAF 615 rebuilt bus engine and a bow

thruster had also been installed. It was there that the work

on the conversion stopped as the yard was sold to new

owners that were not interested in completing the project.

It was put up for sale but nobody was interested on taking

on such a project. The project sat unfinished in the yard

for 5 years.

We began negotiating for its purchase in January of

2001. We were concerned about why the barge had been

on the market for such a long time. After we spoke with a

few barge owners they said that it was probably too

overwhelming of a project for the average sane person to

want to take on. We hadn't realized just how massive the

project would be! At the end of August we returned home

to the U.S. to arrange financing, planning to return in time

for our haul out and survey scheduled for the... 11th of


We had chosen a name for her. It was to be JoLi'

Folie. When we told people of our latest adventure, they

either didn't understand exactly what we were doing or

thought us to be totally mad. We liked the combination of

our names: Joe and Lisa with JoLi' and Folie just fit

perfectly. Jolie in french means beautiful, Folie means

madness, folly. So, it could be a play on words "Beautiful

Madness" or JoLi' Folie -- Joe & Lisa's folly.

We returned to Koudum on the 9th of September. The

yard where the haul out and survey was to be performed

was about an hour away. We brought the barge there on

the 10th. On the 11th of September the surveyor we hired

inspected and made chalk marks on each side of the hull.

He made "X" marks on the hull where the yard would

grind the area so he could perform an ultrasound to check

the thickness of the steel. The hull must be a minimum

thickness under water for the buyers to complete the

purchase as insurance companies would not insure barges

under this standard. The seller needed to have plates

welded to result in the acceptable thickness. As the dutch

have a reputation of being excellent welders, we had the

existing side rails removed, new hand rails welded on the

cabin tops, a hatch into the foc'sle made, and the hole in

the forward cabin top welded over while the ship was in

the yard .

It was a long day for us and we were exhausted when

we returned to our hotel from the yard/survey. Joe turned

the TV on and we saw the of the replay of the attacks on

the Twin Towers. The day we took ownership of our barge

would never be forgotten.


Click on an image to super size or start a slide show


Visit our new site for 2013 to current