What started out as a $5 bet, turned into quite an experience for one man from East Lansing, MI.

It all happened on August 24th, back in 1969. Victor Jackson, now 83 years old, traveled from Ludington, MI to Manitowoc, Wisconsin in nothing more than a modified bathtub. The trip took him about 14-1/2 hours.

It was a simple bet -- cross Lake Michigan in a bathtub and collect $5. Someone dropped off a cast iron bathtub. A friend added some oil drums to the tub to make it float. (I'm shocked that they could even accomplish that! Those old cast iron bathtubs were heavy.) Another person loaned Jackson an outboard motor, and he was ready to go.

His first attempt did not go well. He tried his journey in July of 1969. A few hours into the trip, the weather started getting bad. He encountered 6 foot waves in his tub and ended up having to be rescued by the Coast Guard. According to Jackson, his father referred to him as "an ignoramus" for even trying to do this.

Vic Jackson in Bathtub
Photo: YouTube/
9&10 News

After trying a second time, on August 24th, 1969, Jackson successfully completed his journey and won the $5. He still has the $5 bill signed by the man who he made the bet with -- who just happened to be his boss at the time. (It took him ten years to collect on the bet.)  Jackson ended up getting a key to the city Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He also appeared on the TV game show "To Tell the Truth" and stumped the panel. He still has the key to the city, the radio and compass he used on the trip.

Book Cover: Crossing Lake Michigan in a Bathtub
Photos: Google Maps, Canva, YouTube/9&10 News

Jackson went on to write a book about his journey across the big lake. It is called "Crossing Lake Michigan in a Bathtub". (It's available on Amazon for $12.99. The book has many great reviews.)

Vic Jackson and Bike
Photo: Amazon.com

This was not the only crazy thing that Vic Jackson did. He also at one point in his life walked a one-day, 50 mile hike in below zero temperatures. Jackson is an active outdoorsman and bicyclist. He has ridden throughout the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii. He now resides in Okemos, MI with is wife, Karen.

Here is a video that 9 & 10 News did on Vic Jackson back in 2019 -- the 50th anniversary of his crossing of Lake Michigan...

If I'm going to go from Ludington to Manitowoc via Lake Michigan -- I'll stick to taking the S.S. Badger!

S.S. Badger
Photo: Scott Winters/Townsquare Media


QUIZ: Just How Michigan Are You?

More From 100.7 WITL