Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend celebrations

Memorial Day offers a moment to gather together, as a united nation, to give thanks for the blessed life we enjoy, in tribute to the men and women who bravely fought for the freedoms many of us now take for granted. On this day, I lament those that passed away, many of them far too young; including my dad and beloved uncles, who served during World War II. I also give thanks to living relatives and dear friends, men and women from every branch of service, who have dedicated their lives in every capacity imaginable to protect our country. Special thanks to David, Ray, Caryl, the Gill cousins, and all our dear friends, for your service.

“We must always remember that peace is a fragile thing that needs constant vigilance. “

President Ronald Reagan, 1986, Arlington National Cemetery

Thank you for keeping the peace.

Special Celebrations

Happy birthday Zach and Wyatt!!

On May 25, the Bernsteins celebrate their 45th anniversary! An early celebration included a truly special meal at the Islander, Ocean Reef.

Party goers included Rick and Mary, David and Gail, Tom and Faye, Roger and Connie.

Gail and David Bernstein
Sushi heaven
Decadent Dessert
Rick, Mary, Connie and Roger

Ocean Reef, Key Largo

Our sincere thanks to David and Gail Bernstein, who introduced us to their wonderful club in Key Largo. With heavy winds expected, we will be hanging out with Bert and EJ for a few days. It’s a beautiful life!

Ocean Reef

On board Connie and Roger’s dinghy, we explored the mangrove lined canals.

Ducking under two fixed bridges, a warm reminder of the beloved canals in Belmont Shore.

Hey Mo, Rick said thanks for sending the Bentley, if only it was the dark blue one.

Tonight we will enjoy fresh snapper, thanks to Capt Tom and Faye, Treble in Paradise, they caught 5 fish on the way to Key Largo.

Tom said this was the smallest fish …. No matter, with a little beer batter and Slap-Yo-Mama cajun seasoning, prepared perfectly by chef Capt Rick, it was absolutely yum-a-licious.

Now for a few fun boat names:

Hummingbird
VaMoose
In Conch-nito

When the weather allows, our next stop will be Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

A Moment in Marathon

Traversing from Marco River to Marathon, Exhale was underway for 10.5 hours, a distance of 91.3 nautical miles, with a max speed of 11.9 knots (whoooo hooo) she averaged 8.7 knots per hour. Thats super cruising!

In Marathon, we happily reunited with our newly retired friends Faye and Tom. Treble in Paradise, it feels so good!

Nice Yard, Sandy Cocoa Puff! Yes, that’s a beautiful North Pacific.

Fishing time

Docked next to Exhale, Capt Joe caught and released this little tarpon in less than five minutes.

A magnificent Sunrise over Marathon.

Dock mates, Tonto’s Reward and Yippee-Ki-Yea

Sending thoughts and prayers to Chris and Len.

Next stop – Ocean Reef in Key Largo.

Here we go!

Life is good for this boat dog. Captain Rick said Maddie is “Anticipating swimming with the piggies”.

May 20

Departed Fort Myers. Morning rendezvous with Tonto’s Reward at channel marker 73. Beautiful weather, gorgeous calm waters. Running together at 8 knots per hour. Bahamas here we come!!

A Bahama Adventure!

The well seasoned crew begins a new adventure on the 20th of May 2019 as Exhale departs Fort Myers, FL, destined to “loop” the Bahamas.

Along the way we plan to connect with beloved Gold Looper, Rejoice; North Pacific friends, Treble in Paradise; Fort Myers friends Tonto’s Reward, Janine Marie, Li’l Sum’n Sum’n, Yippee-Ki-Yea, Moonshadow, plus a few special guests.

We hope you will follow us.

Exhale Crosses her Wake in Ft. Myers, 11/11/2018

Major Bucket List Item Checked

There are numerous little places to explore in the Florida panhandle.  In fact, our early loop plans contemplated nearly a month meandering slowly down the west coast of Florida. #1 lesson learned on this journey: all plans are subject to change. 

ClearWater, Florida

Still fueled by the adrenalin rush of crossing the Gulf of Mexico, we realized we could reach Fort Myers in just two long days.  Unanimous vote by the crew, let’s go for it!

SunriseDeparture
Crew Member Dave Floyd ready to depart at day break.

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Sunrise over ClearWater.

Venice, Florida, November 10th

Thanks Capt Rick for arranging the most decadent of dinners at the Crows Nest in Venice.  When we docked at the restaurant, we were met by two of the most capable marina hands on our journey who tied us up, lick-it-ee split.  Thanks Brad and Aaron!

If you are in the area, the waterfront restaurant is a must visit.  Here’s the Crow’s Nest website (go ahead and click) so you can see why.

VeniceCrowsNest
Crows Nest, Venice, FL

And yes, 11/10 was definitely a happy 59.

CoronaPic
This Fish might have a small drinking problem. Opportunity for a SuperBowl commercial?

November 11, 2018 – Armistice Day / Veteran’s Day

Happy Veteran’s Day everyone.  Thank you for your service, Dave.

One Hundred Years Ago – on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918 an armistice or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I, then known as “the Great War.”  On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C. On the same day the previous year, unidentified soldiers were laid to rest at Westminster Abbey in London and at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. If you want to know more about Veteran’s Day, here’s a wonderful lesson from the History Channel. 

Happy Birthday, Miss Saucy Austy

Our niece, Austin Maurer, born on the 11th hour of the 11th month of the 11th year (November 11, 2011 at 11 am).

Austin11
Austin turns 7.

Today is the day Exhale will cross her wake.  In our final leg we celebrated a golden sunrise, for a gold looper day.

GoldenSunrise

Familiar Waters – the canals of Town & River

It was a little bittersweet as we entered our home canal.  The bucket list adventure was quickly coming to an end.  For some on board, the journey was ending too soon. One crew member was more decisive; Admiral Maddie Sue was eager to return to her grassy yard.

FamiliarWaters

Fort Myers Arrival – Crossing Her Wake

As the house came into view, we could see fellow boaters and land lubbers awaiting our return.  Thank you Steve Jones, friend extraordinaire, for orchestrating the warm homecoming!

SteveJonesHomeComing

Upholding a glorious mariner’s tradition, we were greeted by a Canon Salute!

CanonSalute
Fire in the Hole – Capt. Anders Liljequist. Former owner of Meanders, NPY’49

Friends at the dock included

Raising the Gold Flag

As Capt Rick has said, numerous times, the best part of this journey is the people we met.  We made many new friends along the way, friends for reasons, friends for seasons, and a special few, who we believe, will be friends for a life time.

FishShirtFinishesLoop
A proud and beloved fish shirt finishes the Loop!

Thank you everyone, for sharing in this journey.

LooperGold
Capt Rick, First Mate Mary, Admiral Maddie Sue, Lorrie Swink, Roger Swink, Dave Floyd, Capt Marty Liljequist, Donna Wallace, Capt Anders Liljequist

This is the PC Exhale, Gold Looper 2018, signing off for now.

FinalPicExhale

Great Loop Final Stats

Nautical Miles (NM): 4,908, Average speed: 6.30 knots, Fuel Consumption Per Hour: 3.46 gallons, NM per gallon: 1.82, Avg Nautical Miles per travel day: 35.3

Statute Miles (SM): 5,648, Average Speed: 7.25 MPH, SM per gallon: 2.096, Avg Statute Miles per travel day: 40.6

Engine Hours: 779

Total Days to complete Loop:  256, Travel Days/Stops along the way: 139

Total Locks completed = 150

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois & Ohio Rivers: 8 locks + 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway: 12

States and Provinces traversed on the water:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [5 – May, June, July, Sept, Oct] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, TN by train (with B & B), MS road trip from Orange Beach, Alabama to Fort Myers with Maddie, drove from Fort Myers to Orange Beach with Dave Floyd

Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

Boating can be spectacular – it can also be treacherous.  We cannot emphasize enough – Weather Advisories must be taken seriously – as Mother Nature has no pity for fools.  Be Smart.  Plan for the worst, establish a safety plan, and travel with a known boat buddy (someone you trust, and care about). When there is a weather window – Go, Go, Go!

Apalachicola, Florida

RawBar

But First, a scrumptious meal with Unfettered & Gypsy at Up the Creek Oyster Raw Bar.  Rick and I agreed, it was possibly the best shrimp we have ever eaten! We also said a tearful but happy “See Ya Later” to Gypsy. Don’t worry Susan and Jim, we will connect again (Jim, there’s still a Gin Smash in the fridge awaiting your return).

Gulf of Mexico Crossing Schedule

Departure:  Thursday, 11/8/2018. Time: 1100 hours

On Board: Flotilla commander – Captain Rick; First Mate – Mary; Seasoned Crew, Co-Pilot, Chef, and Bridge Measuring Tall Guy – David Floyd; Admiral, Safety Officer – Maddie Sue.

Float Plan:  Depart Apalachicola, FL at 1100 hours, Crossing the Gulf of Mexico.  Approximately 171 miles. Average Speed 7 knots.  Lead Boat is Exhale followed by Unfettered. Cavara to fall into rank en-route. Rendezvous with Bushranger roughly 1400 hrs (2 pm). Roll Call includes 1) Exhale, 2) Bushranger, 3) Unfettered, 4) Cavara. Destination: Clearwater, FL.  Estimated Travel Time – 24 hours.

Crew Shifts: 2.2.2

Over the period of 24 hours, Three crew member shifts, scheduled as follows:  2.2.2   Two hour nap, Two hour “on watch” in co-pilot seat, two hour as boat pilot, repeat. Subject to change, or as vetoed by the commander, of course.

Captain’s Log: Thursday, Nov 8, 1124 hours (11 am), Apalachicola

Departed with Buddy Boat, Unfettered.

UnfetteredRidingOnTop
Unfettered. Shoeless Corey, aka “on the threes”, running up top

Captain’s Log: 1404 hours (2 pm), somewhere near Carabelle (open water).

Rendezvous with Bushranger successful.  Package handoff completed.

Thursday204pmhandoff
Cookies transferred (not tossed). Boat Bread received.

Captain’s Log:  1414 hours, Flotilla roll call complete.

Thursday214pm

Captain’s Log 1500 hours.

All Looper’s in position. Water slight chop. Roll call and hourly report from Flotilla, all is well, more or less.

Thursday3pmFlotilla
Crew Report:  Nap in bow cabin failed attempt, water felt like a bucking bronco.

Crew Report 1600 hours  Commander at helm station, taking catnap.

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Safety Officer, Maddie Sue, on guard.

Crew Report:  1700 hours – Crockpot filled with beef stew, courtesy of Chef David.

By the way, thanks again Marty & Anders! We used this baby many, many times.

DinnerInTheSink

Captain’s Log: Thursday, 1730 hours (5:30 pm), sun setting on the Gulf of Mexico

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Photo by David Floyd

Captain’s Log: 1800 hours.

Running Lights are on. Flotilla is in position. Gentle Rolling Waves.  All is well.

Thursday610pm
Bushranger, Unfettered, Cavara

Friday, November 9, 2018

Crew Report: Friday, November 9, 0100 hours (1 am).  Commander sleeping. Dolphins observed playing starboard, alongside the pilot house cabin door, as if to say “hey”!

Captain’s Log, Friday, 0250 hours (2:50 am), no moon, 3 following, running lights strong.

Friday250am3lights
Bushranger, Cavara, Unfettered.  It’s really dark out here.

Captain’s Log, Friday, 5:56 am, calm waters, 2 following, running lights strong.

Bushranger set a course to Tarpon Springs.  Travel Safe Aussie’s

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Unfettered, Cavara

Captain’s Log: 5:58 am – Crack of Dawn

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Friday 5:58 am

Captain’s Log  6:10 am – Here Comes the Sun

Friday610am

6:51 am, Gulf of Mexico

Friday651am

6:53 am, Gulf of Mexico

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Arrival in Clearwater: Friday, November 9, 11:10 am. On Schedule (Yep, 24 hours!)

Clearwater1110amFriday

WE DID IT!

Thanks Commander Rick for the phenomenal planning, level headed guidance, exceptional buddy boat skills (adjusting speed for the turtle boat) and perfect timing for the weather window; it was a course well set for all! Thanks to everyone in the flotilla, the hourly check-ins by all boats kept everyone entertained and awake, thanks to Capt Rick (and watch dog Maddie Sue), we all arrived safe. And, thanks to David Floyd for making the 11 hour road trip to join us on the final leg.

Clearwater, Florida. Little Toot

ClearwaterLittleToot

Enjoying the timing of this little boat.  In my head: I think we can; I hope we can; I know we can; oh YES, we did!

Turtle Tribute

For all the Turtle Boats

ClearwaterTurtle

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gulf of Mexico Crossing, here’s our Nebo Log, complete with a map showing the route and speed intervals over a period of 24 hours.  Let’s be clear – crossing the gulf of Mexico in the dark of the night, with no land in sight, was a BIG deal!!

Click here for the NeboLog

Next up:  Crossing the Wake in Fort Myers on Sunday!

Invitation to our Fort Myers Neighbors:

Please join us at our house on Sunday, November 11 around 4 pm. Come around to the dock (backyard), watch us come in, and share in the champagne!

Don’t panic, just breathe, inhale, exhale, repeat…

Gulf crossing commences with smooth waters, Nov 8, 2018.

Breaking News: 24-hour gulf crossing in progress, November 8, 2018.

If the water is smooth, it should be approximately 24 hours. Yep, 24. From Scipio to Clearwater is 171 nautical miles. To save you the math, that means 7.125 knots per hour, on average. We left the dock at 11 am, so we plan to be in Clearwater by 11 am on November 9, 2018.

Breathe deep everyone, we got this! We are traveling with three buddy boats, Bushranger, Unfettered and Cavara.

Unfettered

First, Let’s Get Caught Up.

Orange Beach, Alabama

We left off in Orange Beach where we had an Aussie good time with Bushranger

Bushranger Orange Beach
Mark and Heather Rutherford in Orange Beach, Bushranger.

Utopia crosses its wake

Congrats to our fabulous dirt neighbors, Ann and Dale for crossing your wake!!

Utopia

Road Trip to Fort Myers, FL

Exhale was docked in Orange Beach while Rick flew to LA and Mary and Maddie drove to Fort Myers.

MaddieFortMyers
Maddie is happy to be in Fort Myers where couch patrol resumes.

It was a great time to catch up with friends (Hey, Donna!) and meet with nonprofit clients, including Southwest Florida Community Foundation, Wildlife Education Project and Eva’s Closet. 

Happy Halloween from the SWFL Yacht Club

JanAndKerry
Happy Halloween!

Halloween1965
Alaska style Halloween. Alice, Mary, and Frances. Notice the costumes over winter wear! ~ 1965

Hello to our yacht club friends.

Bolder Boards with Dan Pallotta

From an inspirational Long Beach CA TED Talk in 2013, to a personal meeting with Dan Pallotta.  Living a Dream.

BolderBoardDanPallotta
Meet Dan Pallotta. Charity Case. I’m possible. I am overhead. Thanks for listening, Sarah.

Working with my favorite nonprofit, SWFLCF – Dan Pallotta at the Collaboratory. (thanks, Sarah, Sydney and Erica. The Art of Thank You.)

Wildlife Education Project

WEPDotTrooper

Meet another nonprofit client, Dot and Trooper from WEP, taking care of business at Bank of America.

Eva’s Closet

Dear friend, and former colleague, Danielle Visone, strategy chat with Board member of Eva’s Closet.

DanielleVisone

Thanks for Voting!

For all of you who got out and voted, no matter what oval you filled in, THANKS!

 

MijaVoted
Te Amo, Mija.

Sunrise in Fort Myers

An early departure, Dave joined us for an 11 hour car ride with Maddie from Fort Myers to Orange Beach.

FortMyersSunrise

Traveling with Friends

Dave Floyd is back on board, he’s doing the crossing with us. Hooray! And, thanks.

DaveRick.JPG

Reunion with Gypsy – Welcome to Florida

It is great to travel with Gypsy. They inspired us to run from the Fly Bridge.  So awesome.

FloridaBridge
Florida State Line

WelcomeFlorida

Welcome Committee

DolphinEscort
Hello from the Florida girls.

Fort Walton Beach, FL with Gypsy

StandingProud

Standing Proud in the face of Hurricane Michael

PanamaBlueRoofs

Ever wonder where those tarps come from? Operation Blue Roof by the Corp of Engineers is well underway.

GypsyNov
Gypsy

Lighthouse, Panama City

LighthouseMarinaGypsy

North Star

It was tragic to see the 261 foot North Star run aground by Hurricane Michael. A freezer stern trawling vessel, she was destined for the Bering Sea, but did not leave soon enough. If you want to learn more, read here. 

NorthStar

Here we go – may the waters be smooth and the weather gods kind.

Traveling with Unfettered, Cavara and Bushranger. Flat waters so far. Taking turns staying awake!

HereWeGo

We just met Bushranger on the water! The exchange: boat baked bread from Heather for boat baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, packed in a water tight bag in case the handoff (in motion) gets soggy. Yum!

Handoff

Next up: Chill the Champagne, Exhale is about to Cross her wake in Fort Myers!

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Nautical miles traveled as of November 8 (before the gulf crossing): 4,609, fuel consumption: 2,543 gallons

Total Locks completed = 150

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 locks plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway: 12

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [5 – May, June, July, Sept, Oct] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, TN by train (with B & B), MS road trip from Orange Beach, Alabama to Fort Myers with Maddie

Broken Hearts for Pittsburgh, PA

The hateful synagogue massacre, killing 11 innocent people could not be ignored.

On this journey we have been greatly detached from the news. In some cases it is the lack of transmission, in other cases we have chosen to unplug. This week the hateful synagogue massacre, killing 11 innocent people could not be ignored.

This time, it’s personal

Many of you know, Rick was born in Pittsburg. His parents were born and raised in Squirrel Hill, the home of Tree Life Congregation. The synagogue is located “right up the street from Grandma’s house.” Yes, the Ginsburgs still have family in Squirrel Hill.

For a while Rick’s parents lived in Latrobe, PA, a city in Westmoreland County, part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. Think small town USA. In 2017 the population was ~7,900. Home of the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, Latrobe was also the residence of comedian Jackie Mason, iconic golfer Arnold Palmer and America’s beloved sweater wearing neighbor, Mr. Rogers.

Tree of Life Congregation, or L’Simcha, is where Rick’s parents were married, and where Rick went as a young child. The tragic news of a mass murder struck hard.

Life in a Small Town

Most big cities are really just a lot of little neighborhoods. So, just focus on your little block, your little corner of the world. In Latrobe, PA, a town where the Banana Split was created, for real, similar to small towns in Alaska, and in Squirrel Hill, everyone felt like extended family. Growing up in a small town gives you a sense of belonging, and of accountability.

Remember the Lost Souls

Perhaps it is easy to click off the news, on the radio and on the tv, to continue with your life as if nothing happened, again. Please, don’t. Don’t bury your head in the sand, and don’t forget the eleven who died:

David Rosenthal, 54; Cecil Rosenthal, 59; Richard Gottfried, 65; Jerry Rabinowitz, 66; Irving Younger, 69; Daniel Stein, 71; Joyce Fienberg, 75; Bernice Simon 84; Sylvan Simon, 86; Melvin Wax, 88; and Rose Mallinger, 97.

You can make a difference:

No matter what your religious beliefs or political persuasion – in our house we are a little of everything – we must stand together. We must have a zero tolerance for hatred and violence in all forms. We must treat all men and women with true equality AND we must honor the human rights of all the people on this fragile planet we call earth.

We can agree, or disagree on so many things, but violence cannot be tolerated.

What can you do?

  • Get Out and Vote. No excuses.
  • Volunteer in your community. Call your local community foundation, they love volunteers!  If you are in southwest Florida, click here for my recommendation.
  • Contact your elected officials, often.  Remind them of their fiduciary responsibility to the citizens who elected them. Demand they act on behalf of the families they represent, and that they take a stand. Hold them accountable.

A lesson from Mr. Rogers, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

So here’s a little challenge: If you don’t know your neighbors, go next door and say hello. You might make a new friend. And if you do know your neighbors, go check in. Form your own little neighborhood watch.

Just for fun, wear a sweater.

A message from Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld

Finally, in the words of my beloved rabbi Harry Rosenfeld (formerly from Congregation Beth Sholom in Anchorage, AK):

“We need to step out front and change our world for the better. Building a fortress and locking ourselves in does not make us safer. It lets the hate grow and ultimately win. Take positive actions. Voting, teaching kindness, and standing up for what is ethical is positive action.”

Next week we will continue with our journey on Exhale.

Meanwhile – try a little kindness.

Sing it with me now, “We will, we will LOCK you!”

Yeah baby, 150 locks completed! And then we found an Aussie stowaway.

Demopolis, Alabama

Demopolis is a well known holdover for the Fall Migration of boaters, eagerly waiting for hurricane season to officially end. Infamous for its unique customer service …

Demopolis
The legendary Ginger G.  All hippies welcome! 

Demopolis Lock and Dam, lock #149

Another early morning lock.

DemopolisDam

Bashi Creek – anchored out with Bushranger

Our new Aussie friends, Heather and Mark Rutherford on Bushranger, lead the way to Bashi Creek, another serene anchorage.

Bushranger
Who is driving this boat, perhaps another Koala bear?

Some logs are good …

We spend countless hours watching for – and avoiding – logs, since they can cause serious damage. Once in a while, logs in the river serve to be rather useful.

LogBashiCreek
A fallen tree served as a stern anchor, gently securing the boat. Nice job lassoing that log, Capt Rick.

Log patrol continues

NotALog
That’s not a log …

NotALog2
This one is for Heather.  Definitely, not a log

When the apparent “log” is traveling against the current, is more likely an alligator.

Bobby’s Fish Camp – tonight’s dinner special – fish

Although the dock is only long enough for two or three boats, the river is wide, making it easy to raft off.  We heard the record number was 17 boats! Generous, delicious portions of fresh fish are served Thursday through Sunday, so time your arrival.

BFishCamp

ChefBobby
Chef ‘lil Bobby

BobbysDinner
Exhale, Bushranger, kayaker Steve, 3rd Wish, and Recess – zoom for carcasses. 

CoffeeVille Lock and Dam

Drum roll  – we ROCKED the last lock of our loop, a total of 150 since March 1, 2018. Enjoying a little coffee in CoffeeVille, Royal Navy kayaker, Steve Chard hitched a ride. To learn more about Steve Chard “one man, his kayak and 6,000 miles of water” click here. 

CoffeeVilleLandD

CoffeeInCoffeevilleLock
Capt Rick delivers coffee to UK kayaker, Steve Chard, in CoffeeVille. 

Three Rivers – anchored out with Dirt Neighbors

Champagne was uncorked with Bushranger after our final lock.  It was a Double Celebration due to the reunion of Exhale and Utopia, our real life, same street, “dirt” neighbors from Fort Myers.

3RiversDaleAnn
Dale Morgan and Ann Hughes on Utopia

Thank you, Dale Morgan, for taking Capt. Rick and I to a Fort Myers, FL seminar about the loop, long before you guys bought your beautiful boat.  Utopia started their adventure on the Great Loop on May 1, 2018. Perhaps you heard of Ann, the Basket Lady, who handed out sweets and treats to smiling lock staff.  And now we have mutual friends on Gypsy (see you soon, Susan and Jim Merritt). It is a privilege to cruise with Utopia again, as we all share in the Dream Journey.

Mobile River

DollyPardonBridge
Locally known as Dolly’s Bridge, do you know why?

MobileIndustry
Heavy industry along the river.

Mobile Convention Center

We continued to travel with Bushranger, tying off at the wall of the convention center for two days, a strategic location for a “walk about” of Mobile.

MobileConventionCenter

MobileMuseumHeatherR
Touring with Heather Rutherford, Bushranger.

The Rutherford Collection

What a treat, to find the Rutherford Collection.  We didn’t know we were in the company of royalty when we met the Aussies.

RutherfordCollection1

Riding in Style.

RutherfordCollection2

RutherfordCollection3

The Wharf at Orange Beach, Alabama

Congratulations to Beverly Abel, Sea Trek. She’s now a Gold Looper.

BeverlyCrossesHerWake

Champagne at Orange Beach with Bruce and Beverly from Sea Trek. 

Where are we headed next:  Florida Panhandle, weather permitting.

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 150

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 locks plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway: 12

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, TN by train (with B & B)

 

Fall Colors on the Tenn-Tom

Fall is our favorite time of the year, surrounded by colorful trees and cool temperatures.

TTW3

The Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway is known locally as the “Tenn-Tom.” Why? Because it’s a lot easier to remember, especially for people of a certain silver age.

TTW

This week we opted to be “on the hook” with Sea Trek at four (4) locations along the Tenn-Tom.

 Whiten Lock – anchorage

SeaTrek

For us, anchoring out is akin to glamour camping, or “glamping.” since we eat under a star-filled sky, surrounded by the sounds of nature.

WhitenSunset

When you don’t have tv distractions, it’s a great time to play Train Dominoes.

TrainDominos

Thanks Marty and Anders for introducing us to this lively game. As you can see, Beverly won this round.

GloverWilkens

Glover Wilkens Dam – anchorage

Pipework4Sam
Pipe Work Southern Style for Sam.

Columbus, MS

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Rainbow at Columbus, it’s a good sign, MO.

Look, Trevor, at the marina in Columbus we found a North Pacific Sedan!

NPYSedan
Morgan and Marty Toland, Elizabeth

Locking with Loopers

We departed Columbus with a flotilla, six Loopers including us.

LockingTT6

Wondering if this is Clark Kent country … that might explain the strategic location of this phone booth.

PhoneBooth4Superman
A tribute to Superman.

Windham Landing – anchorage

We enjoyed yet another beautiful night with Sea Trek.

SunsetRick

White Cliffs, Alabama

Who exactly was “Tom Bigbee?”  As we approached the majestic White Cliffs, we had plenty of time to research the burning question.

WhiteCliff2

Expecting the answer to be a southern gentlemen or a politician influential enough to have his name on a 234-mile commercial channel with ten locks and dams, Wikipedia provided another American history lesson.

WhiteCliffAlabama

During the 17th century, the gentle winding river formed the eastern boundary of the Choctaw lands. In the 1830’s, President Andrew Jackson signed a forced migration of the Native Americans into law. Aptly named, Tombigbee is a Choctaw term meaning box maker or coffin maker, a somber reminder of the devastating Indian Removal.

Rattlesnake cutoff – anchorage

Thanks to Sea Trek, patrol for the night was a welcomed alien.

RattleSnake

Thanks for the ride to shore, Capt Bruce.  We enjoyed anchoring out with y’all.

MaddieTransit
Bruce Peck, ‘lil SeaTrek, another happy taxi ride for Maddie.

Unicorns are more than magical!

A special shout out to Maureen O, who provided this week’s trivia:  the unicorn is the official animal of Scotland! Now that’s a country that appreciates good libations. If you doubt the power of a unicorn – here’s the official word from National Geographic:

ScotlandUnicornDrinks
Of course, unicorns drink martinis!

Next up: finishing the Tennessee –Tombigbee Waterway 

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 146 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tenn-Tombigbee Waterway: 10

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, TN by train (with B & B)

Chattanooga Choo Choo

Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo Choo?
Track twenty nine …

Pickwick Landing Lock & Dam, Tennessee

Pickwick Landing Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the Tennessee River, one of nine dams owned and operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which built the dam in the 1930s as part of a New Deal-era initiative.  Thanks, FDR!

For all you boaters, the dam causes one heck of a current as you enter the lock!

Pickwick1

If you want to learn more about Pickwick Landing Dam, click here

Maddie found a new spot to hang out on the long voyages.

MaddieAgain

Road Trip!!

We docked Exhale for a week so we could take a side trip with Sea Trek to Chattanooga.

Battle of Shiloh, April 6 and 7, 1862

As we entered the national park, a rush of emotions overwhelmed us as we realized the battle fields extend as far as the eye can see.

ShilohFields

Monuments are positioned with respect for the lost souls from the Civil War, a battle fought Across Five Aprils (novel by Irene Hunt, published in 1964 and winner of the 1965 Newbery Honor)

ShilohMore

Neither Rick nor I have ever experienced such a gut wrenching sadness, felt deep in our hearts. The official loss: 23,746 casualties over the course of just two days.

ShilohMonument

The Civil War, fought from April 1861 until May 1865, engaged children as young as 10. Tragically, the war ripped the country apart – with many of the same fundamental issues we continue to face today.

ShilohSoldier

Cotton Fields

As we drove by acres and acres of cotton, I couldn’t help but think of the significant role the puffy white balls played in the shaping of our nation.

Cotton

Huntsville Rocket

On the drive we spotted the Saturn V rocket – the one from all the moon shots!

HuntsvilleRocket
photo by Beverly Abel

Chattanooga, Tennessee – by rail

Chatt3
Chattanooga Choo Choo

ForAlisha
for Alisha

Chatt2Station
Chattanooga Railway Station

SongBirds – Guitar Museum

While Capt Rick was on yet another conference call, I got to explore the SongBirds Museum with Bruce Peck and his beloved first mate, Beverly Abel from Sea Trek.

Guitars3

Guitars2
Autographed by Bo Diddley, for real.

Guitars1
Roy Orbison

Ruby Falls

If you visit Chattanooga, take the time to do real touristy stuff. Make your #1 stop Naturally Wonderful.

RubyFalls1

Always 60 degrees Fahrenheit; “below freezing” for Maureen. This 145-foot waterfall is located 260 feet below ground.

RubyFalls2

Lookout Mountain – Incline Railway

Another distinguished tourist destination, found one mile high, is both a National Historical and National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

InclineRail

72.7% incline, the steepest passenger railway in the world.

Switch

The switch. At the halfway point two cars pass alongside each other. Using a weight and pulley system.

InclineView

Rock City

Hey Susan Merritt, Gypsy, we recommend you See Rock City! Home of the mushroom rock, gnomes climbing rocks, and some rather stunning views.

MushroomRock
Rocks for Susan Merritt, Gypsy, closing the gap.

RockCity2
Gnomes for Jamie

CliffRidge

Overlooking the Tennessee Valley you can see seven states; binoculars provided for a quarter.

SevenStates

Missionary Ridge – a special train ride

Like most of the men I know who are young at heart, Bruce Peck, Sea Trek, loves trains! Thanks Beverly Abel, Sea Trek, for handling all the logistics for our journey by rail on the Tennessee Valley Rail Road.  We loved the trip to Missionary Ridge.

MinionRailforTyler
Minion Railway for our grandson, Tyler Hendry (fondly called Andy by his G’pa).

MissionRidge
Mission Ridge – TV Railroad

Maddie’s First Train Ride

MaddieTrain
Maddie got a window seat.

Iuka, Mississipi

After a wonderful road trip with B & B, we returned to Aqua Marina, where we were joined by Capt. Rick’s younger brother, Bobby G. (aka Bubba). Welcome Aboard – next time, please bring Katy!

BobbyG
Brotherly Love – Bubba and Rick.

Violets for Maureen

Look Mo, with consistent tender care, the violets from Canada bloomed again, reminding us of you. Notice the candle in the background 🙂

VioletsForMaureen
Violets for Maureen. BBF

Next up: South down the Tennessee Tom-Bigby Waterway aka the Tenn-Tom 

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 136 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 plus 2 dams (wickets thrown down)
  • Kentucky – Kentucky Lake Lock and Dam: 1
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama (18)

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario (2).

Side trips (via train, plane or automobile):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles, St. Louis, and Chattanooga (with B & B), Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge, Tennessee by train (with B & B)

 

Not all Turtles are Cute

Beware: swimming turtles are fast, and dangerous. Especially when it’s dinner time.

Paducah, Kentucky

The city marina in Paducah is one long wall, making it really easy to dock.

Paducah

In Paducah we met Jim and Kelly HoranS/V Jimmy Rigged.  So sad to hear about your sailboat tragedy going into the marina, so thankful you were quickly rescued and your three orange kitties are all okay.

Happy Birthday Bruce

Celebrating 56 (strike, reverse that, Willy Wonka!).  Live Long and Prosper Sea Trek.

Bruce65

Green Turtle Bay, Kentucky

A popular destination for southern folks (Hello, Donna!), there were hundreds of turtles swimming around Green Turtle Bay.  Accustomed to people feeding them, the turtles climb on top of each other – forget about a “dog pile”, the aggressive little turtle piles were insane.

GreenTurtle2
Feed Me!

GreenTurtle1

Deer

GreenTurtleBay
Green Turtle Bay Marina

Patti’s 1880’s Settlement – worth the stop! Click here to learn more!

PattisSettlement

Dry Fork Bay Anchor, Land Between the Lake

Congrats to Forever Friday and HeartBeat – celebrating their FIRST day on the Loop.

NewLoopers
New Loopers – Heartbeat and Forever Friday. Day 1

DryForkAnchor
A dinghy ride to dry land for Maddie Sue.

LandBetweenTheLakes

AnchoredOutSeaTrek
Anchored out with Sea Trek

DinghySpeed
Speeding along on Inhale. This little boat goes 4 times faster than Exhale!!

Hello Tennessee

Bridge

Pebble Isle, Tennessee

Don’t ever underestimate the power of one.  One child, one woman, one man, one voice. Acorn

From just one small acorn, grows a mighty oak.

MightyOak

Savoring the Sunset

PebbleIsle
Red Sky at Night, Pebble Isle Marina

Dense Morning Fog – ARGH! Thanks, Garmin, for the navigational tools. And Thanks, Capt. Rick for keeping out a keen eye.  Well done, babe.

Foggy
Fog so thick you need a knife. Who ordered the Pea Soup, Capt Rick?

Tennessee

From a small seed to a dense forest. Walnut trees, so beautiful.

Bridge to no where

This reminded me of Sarah Palin – If you are from Alaska, you know why.

SarahPalin

SarahsTrainDepot

Beech Creek Island Anchor

Anchoring out with Sea Trek. Another perfect evening. Thanks for the Little Beers.

BeechCreek

Tennessee River Rocks

This is for Susan Merritt, we miss you Gypsy!

RockFormationsCave
photo by Beverly Abel, Sea Trek

Fall Migration

On the waters, “fall migration” is a busy season.  As leaves turn autumn red a virtual “convoy” heads south, filling up the anchorages and marinas along the way. By late November most loopers will be off the mighty rivers, headed to Texas, Florida, the Caribbean, and other warm waters.

So far, Exhale is on track to be in southwest Florida by late December.

FallMigration

RedLeaves

Next up:  Aqua Harbor, Mississippi

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 135 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet, Illinois and Ohio Rivers: 8 plus 2 dams
  • Tennessee – Pickwick Lock and Dam: 1

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept]), Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Charles and St. Louis by car (thanks, B and B)

Dog Days of Summer

For all the dogs in our lives. Priceless.

We left Exhale docked in Alton, Illinois to make another side trip to California. A visit with special friends and family began with Craig and Maureen (former and future Exhale crew members).

Moorpark, CA

Continuously vying for attention, Maddie and Murphy, a 95 lb young English Labrador Retriever, eventually found a balance.

First Class MoorparkThanks for the first class treatment, and, for the healthy diet plan. We’ll report back later on our progress.

Poolside in Moorpark
Poolside in Moorpark

Los Angeles – A CareGiver Lesson from Mija

Have you ever seen a dog running along the road, at risk of being hit by a car?  What did you do?  Would you watch closely to make sure it stays away from the traffic, until you pass by? Not if you are my daughter, Alisha.  First, pull ahead, jump out and try to catch the dog.  Now, what if you see someone else trying to do the same thing?  Would you let them take over and continue on to your original destiny?  No again.  Work together, position both cars farther ahead and try again, about 5 times, coax the dog towards you with some kind of food (cheese crackers).  Okay, what if that dog has bloody feet?  Engage volunteer car driver #2, and your mom; gently lift the dog into the back of your SUV and transport it to the nearest dog hospital.  But wait, what if the dog hospital says you can’t leave the dog there?  Ask for expert help to find the owner, noting it is wearing a tag.  When they identify the owner and dog, Kopi Tart, but can’t reach the family, you generously offer to pay to bandage up the dog (the hospital did it for free), and agree to transport the dog to its home, only a few blocks away.  If no one answers the door, do you leave the bandaged dog inside the fenced yard?  No, you take it to the nearby shelter, to make sure Kopi Tart is safe until the owners can retrieve the beautiful dog.  Sarah O, I know you are listening; I believe you would have done the same.

Rescue3
Rescued, one truly beautiful Akita German Sheppard.

PurplePassion

Rescue2

Rescue

Proud Mama, Thanks Mija

I firmly believe the dedication of roughly an hour of time by my daughter, Alisha, saved the life of Kopi Tart; Mija was given the chance to exit the task every step of the way, but she never gave up.  She was determined to make sure Kopi Tart was safe.  That’s how Alisha lives her life, every day; she goes the extra mile, with human kindness.  My baby cannot, and will not, be stopped, undeterred by any obstacle.  And by now, I am confident, Kopi Tart has been reunited with her family.  BTW, Alisha’s last infusion is Sept 24.  Take a permanent hike, Big C!   

Long Beach, and then there were three.

On our last day in CA we had a delicious new age Rosh Hashanah meal with Danielle, Sandra, Leo and Abby. Maddie had a play date with her high energy buddies, Garbanzo and ArtichokeAre you sure you want a third dog, Sandra?

Welcome to the world, Mason Casella

Congrats to grandparents, MaureenCraig; mom and dad, Alexis & Patrick; and siblings, Tyler & Reagan.

Little Mason was born on 9-18-18 at exactly 7 lbs.  Good start for the future numbers dude.

Life is Good – Man and his Dog

After another long plane ride, Maddie and Rick were happy to get back to the boat.

LifeIsGood

Alton, Illinois

Alton30

The numbers are growing! Forgive me if you are not listed, Loopers at Alton include – Back Row:  Exhale, SeaTrek, Antonia, Second Wave, and Sabbatical. Front Row: Let’s Go, Hayley Rose, Sea Jamm, Island Girl, Unfettered, Misty Pearl, and others (30 loopy loopers).

St. Louis

A shout out to Chelsea and Brad Bishop as we drifted past St. Louis. An early Happy Anniversary.

StLouisArch

StLouisBridge

StLouisWaterway

More Locks

Our final two locks on the Mississippi River were really easy.  This one is for you, Gypsy.  Nothing for the worry journal here :-).

SouthofAltonLock2

AltonLock1

Kimmswick, Missouri

An overnight at the legendary Hoppie’s Barge includes invaluable guidance from river experts Fern and her daughter (Get well soon Fern!).  It’s a MUST stop.

AnotherBargeAnotherTown

Hoppies

FallLeaves921
Fall is in the air. Our favorite season.

A Wall

This historic wall and gate, facing south, stands strong.

StandingTall

A closer look:  reveals the eastern wall is either gone, or invisible.

Fence1

Given the enchanted tower, you can decide if there is magic involved at this site,

Hoppie

or, if the gate is tightly locked to keep the Zombies out (they won’t go around…)

locked

Blue Owl – Home of the Levee High Apple Pie

If you ever make it to Kimmswick, Missouri, Blue Owl is infamous for its magnificent desserts.  Get there early, they only serve breakfast and lunch (close at 3). Here’s the website:  go ahead, take a look!

BlueOwl2

BlueOwl

Diet Tomorrow (sorry, Maureen, we will keep trying)

DietTomorrow

Brenda
My beloved BEST friend. Love you to the moon and back.

BelmontShoreHat
Ooops, almost left that priceless Belmont Shore hat behind.

Little Diversion, Missouri

After a 98 nautical mile run (114 statute miles), we stopped at a well known anchorage. Along the way, the banks of the Mississippi River fall colors began to show.

MissRiver

Celebrating the first day of fall.

Raining Cats and Dogs on the Ohio River

That’s right, we made it to the Ohio River!  Since March 1, 2018 we have traveled 3,751 nautical miles (4,321 statute miles).  Total gallons of fuel burned:  2,081.

MissRain

Once again we are very thankful for our pilot house, with steady rain and wind.  We felt sincerely sorry for Unfettered, who is running from the fly bridge with only partial cover.  HOT drinks will be popular at the end of this day.

Meet Bear, boat dog from Unfettered

BearUnfettered

Say hello to Bear, Maddie’s newest friend, who we hope is staying dry in the cabin below.

Thanks, For the Dogs

For all of you who have dogs on your boats and in your homes, you know the extra work required to take care of the critters, and, you know the reward of never ending loyalty and affection. While they ask for very little, they never stop giving.

Next up:  Paducah, Kentucky

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 134 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet and Illinois River: 8 plus 2 dams

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [3 – April, May & Sept], Rick [4 – May, June, July, Sept] & Maddie [2 – May, Sept], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April]), St. Louis and St. Charles by car (thanks, B and B)

L’shana Tova – Happy Rosh Hashanah

May this new year, 5779, be filled with health and happiness.

Exploring the waters of Mark Twain

It seemed romantic to follow the routes of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, but with the river running higher than usual, it was not easy to dodge the mighty trees, swept down river by a strong current.

DriftwoodCover

Visible sections of this tree were more than 50 feet in length, but, like an iceberg, you have no way of knowing what is lurking just below the surface.

Driftwood2

The Illinois River

Beverly (Sea Trek), Bonnie (It’s Someday) and I agreed, this structure reminded us of a beloved Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale, Rapunzel.

Rapunzel2
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.

IllinoisRiver

May flies in September?!?

We celebrated Octoberfest in September, so perhaps we should not have been surprised when the may flies arrived out of season … Bonnie said the flies were wise, resting their weary wings, and hitching a little ride down the river.  The one who had to sweep the little carcasses off the boat wasn’t so altruistic about the invasion.

MayFlies

Grafton, Illinois

We all know Canadian Geese fly south for the winter, but did you ever wonder where the eagles go? Now you know, it’s Grafton, home of the wintering bald eagles.

GraftonBaldEagles

The river did not disappoint as we spotted numerous bald eagles along the way.

ProudEagle

Ciao for now, It’s Someday – we were sorry to break up the happy trio of boats.

ItsSomeday
It’s Someday broke ranks and ventured south on a solo adventure.

Hey, Susan Merritt (Gypsy), when we were in Grafton, we found an amazing display of rocks.

GraftonRocksForSusanM
Rocks for Susan Merritt, in case you need more for your Gypsy collection.

The river was so high in Grafton – How High, you ask?? Well, no one was brave enough to test the bike trail to know for sure.

BikeTrail

St. Charles aka Earth City

Thanks, Beverly and Bruce (Sea Trek) for the side trip to St. Charles, although we never found the chocolate covered bacon Beverly was craving, it was a beautiful little city.

StCharles

Home of Daniel Boone

DanielBoone

And the Lewis and Clark Expedition

LewisAndClarke

BandBStCharles

St. Louis, returning to The Hill

And, we got to visit one of our favorite St. Louis restaurants again.

TheHillStLouis

Zias

An early happy anniversary to Brad and Chelsea Bishop, a year ago October we ate at Zia’s the night before their St. Louis wedding. If you are EVER in the area, this restaurant is worth the stop.  Click here for their website. A warm shout out to Brenda and Mark – we love and miss you!

Alton, Illinois

We continued to travel with Sea Trek, docking in Alton for an extended respite.  The marina is lovely, with a refreshing cement pond, and LOTS of Loopers arriving daily.

As you can see, the Mississippi River bridge is spectacular at night.

Mississippi River Bridge

Whistle Signal Tips

For all you loopers who are finally entering the river, here are the official instructions from Waterway Guide to help you communicate with the tugs/tows:

WhistleSignals

Next up?  Another Side trip to LA for a little work and a cherished visit with friends and family.  Meanwhile, Exhale is docked in Alton, Illinois, under the watch of Sea Trek – Thanks Bruce and  Beverly! 

This little frog is for Morgan and Brad

FrogsRUrFriends
Frogs (and maybe toads) are your friends

Happy New Year

L’shana tova.  May the new year be sweet, and may your lives be filled with health and happiness.

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 132 plus 2 dams, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet and Illinois River: 6 plus 2 dams

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan, Indiana, Illinois

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [2 – April and May], Rick [3 – May, June and July] & Maddie [May], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April])

Rollin Down the River

Unlike Lake Michigan, the Calumet River sees heavy barge traffic, with very few pleasure crafts.

Industrial

Industrial2

Surrounded by industrial operations, scrap metal and sewage plants, it was surprising to see lovely green hillsides …

LilCalumetMethaneMound

Upon closer inspection, we realized they were massive land fills, with methane venting.

Little Calumet River Marine Services

We spent our first night on the river in a very small marina, surrounded by some of the nicest local boaters, celebrating life.

LittleCalumetRiverMS.JPG

MethaneFlame

But the flame across from our dock was from another land fill, a very unsettling experience that may have caused a rough night’s sleep filled with strange dreams.

Joliet City Wall

We reunited with Sea Trek in Joliet, tying up to the City Wall together, along with It’s Someday.

JolietCityLock

JolietCityWall

Ottawa – Heritage Harbor

As a storm continued to build, we found refuge at Heritage Harbor in Ottawa.

HeritageHarborStorm

OttawaStorm3

OttawaStorm

Henry – Lock Walls

Yet another unique experience, we tied off to the rock walls of a former lock.

HenryLockWall

Power was found about 5 feet off the ground, in anticipation of flooding.

PowerIncluded

Electrical expert, Dale Morgan, cringed at this photo!

Loopy Loopers

After securing our boats to the rocks, we gathered at Henry’s Lakeside Tavern.

HenryBraBar

None of the Looper ladies were willing to contribute to the decor.

HenryLoopers

Five Looper Boats (10 people) closed the bar at Henry’s after a highly competitive game of pool.

Peoria – Illinois Valley “Ivy” Club

PeoriaIvy

The invasion of loopers grew to more than a dozen boats at Peoria.

PeoriaSkyline
Peoria, Illinois

PeoriaBridge

AmericanQueenPeoria
The American Queen in front of the Mark Twain Hotel.

Havana – Tall Timbers

One of Rick’s Bucket List items is a visit to Havana.  Something about the romance of a certain spring holiday in 1957, his parents, on a beach, you get the idea. Although we have not made it to Cuba, yet; Havana, Illinois was a little slice of heaven.

HavanaWelcomeTo

HavanaTallTimbers2
Tall Timbers Marina

ExhaleSeaTrekItsSomeday
Exhale, Sea Trek and It’s Someday in Havana

Ladies

HavanaPolka
Polka, polka

HavanaHeaven
Steve and Bonnie from It’s Someday enjoying the polka festival Beer and Brats!

Beardstown, Logsdon Tug Service – Rafting to a Barge

It was a unique experience, tying off to a barge for the night.  At Mile 88 we stopped at Logsdon, along with Sea Trek and It’s Someday.  

Mile88LogsdonTug2

Mile88LogsdonTug

Although it was a little tricky getting on and off the boat, the guys were delighted to get a private tour of the engine room.  Yep, that’s a Cummins 1700hp – the tug has two of them. It’s just a little bigger than the 355hp in Exhale.

TugTourRick

Slang from the tugs and barges

Most of the seasoned tug operators seem to talk with a gruff voice and a unique slang, that can be entertaining:

Meet up on the one whistle – when two crafts encounter one another, each staying in their far right lane of traffic

On the twos – when two crafts stay in the far left lane of traffic (yes, it seems backwards, like going up the down staircase)

This one goes ’bout twice across – a double width barge

Knock the rust off it – getting close enough to a navigational buoy that you could scrape the rusted paint off it.

Com on o’er it – come on over closer

Throw Down the Dam! We had heard the tugs say repeatedly, “gotta wait for the lock cause “they done throw down the dam” ???   The marina said the Peoria lock and dam was closed for maintenance, as the “wickets were down”, but you could continue south on the Rivers by going “over” the dam.  The fear of going over a dam turned into a hearty chuckle for all of us when we learned the “wickets” were gates that had been dropped into the water, making the dam virtually undetectable.

MaryC

Richard

Some of the tug names are very difficult to pronounce.  These two were familiar.

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 132 plus 1 dam, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44
  • Illinois – Calumet and Illinois River: 6 plus 1 dam

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan, Indiana, Illinois

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [2 – April and May], Rick [3 – May, June and July] & Maddie [May], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April])

Spiders in the Fog, Indiana Labor Day

You don’t realize how many spiders are on the boat until the webs are covered in mist. 

Holland, Michigan

It was great spending time with Jim and Susan Merritt, Meghan, Lexi and little Cooper. We were sad to part ways with Gypsy, she’s under repair – there was a water problem, discovered by Meghan who was looking for her chapstick when she found her shoes floating in the cabin … AND there was something about a good samaritan effort by Susan’s brother who bravely leaped on board a large sailboat that was drifting away from the neighboring dock in Frankfort while its absent minded captain was releasing a line from the shore. Unaware the boat was in gear, Chip fired up the little motor … and smashed into Gypsy, no good deed goes unpunished.

GypsyOnLand
Gypsy and ‘lil Tramp on Land.

Misty Spider Webs in Holland

We awoke to heavy fog.  The kind where you can barely see more than a few feet.  You don’t realize how many spiders are on the boat until the webs are covered in mist.

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MistyWeb2

Running in the Fog

There was a small window of opportunity to run the boat on smooth waters, but this time it was in dense fog.  While the fog is unsettling, with the right equipment it’s far more tolerable than rough waters.

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Fishing boats in the harbor

Smooth Waters On the Lake, Visibility??

8amDeparture
8 am departure. Zero visibility

Visibility at 9:45 am : Still Zero.

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Visibility at 11 am – Maybe a few feet

11am

The fog lifted sometime after noon.  By 1 pm there was a small parade headed to South Haven, including Sea Trek (one of the 3 not shown), Exhale, and  Miss Hattie.

NoonLoopers

South Haven

Arriving in South Haven, we met Pirates in the Black River.

BlackRiverSouthHaven

To celebrate our arrival, we joined the crew of Sea Trek, gold loopers, on their yacht. It’s always a treat to spend time with Bruce and Beverly (B and B).

RumDingThingAMaLing
Romulan drinks for Craig!

When you board Sea Trek, the proper Vulcan greeting is “Live Long and Prosper”

Memories of Popeye the Sailor – Wilhelm Baum

PopeyeWilhelmBaum
1923 steel tugboat

Lenore (Miss Hattie) and I enjoyed the flowers in South Haven.

SouthHavenBridge
Magnificent flowers line the bridge, a sweet community project.

Michigan City, Indiana

The 6-hour run to Michigan City along side Miss Hattie was relatively smooth.  Anticipated inclement weather, the Labor Day weekend, and our new friends motivated us to stay in Michigan City for four nights. It was a delightful respite! While we were there, we said hello to the little Pilgrim.  Penny and Mats, we hope you are having a fabulous time visiting family in Sweden.

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Rick and Maddie say hi to HMS Vagabond.

Bob told us, you know you are in Michigan City when you see the familiar stacks.

Power

Opened in 1950, the Michigan City Generating Station is a coal and natural gas-fired power plant located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Michigan City, Indiana. It is operated by Northern Indiana Public Service Company, owned by NiSource.

CoexistingWithPower

A dear friend from Long Beach, CA once told me, “we have friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for life.”  We have now been on the water more than six months.  If you ask either of us what has been the best part of the journey – without hesitation the answer is the friends who have joined us, and, fellow boaters we have met along the way.

MichiganCityLighthouse

A warm thanks to our new life friends, Bob and Lenore Bigsby, Miss Hattie. We truly enjoyed traveling with you from Manistee, MI.  Thanks for introducing us to your boating community on the 800 dock of your home port, what a feast!  We look forward to seeing you in Florida very soon.

Parting with Sorrow, Legendary Leadership

This week we lost two great American heroes: the Queen of Soul, Aretha Louise Franklin (1942-2018), and Senator John Sidney McCain III (1936-2018)Aretha and John taught us to demand RESPECT and fight for human dignity, without compromise.  Rest in Peace, although you are deeply missed already, your legend will live on. In the words of Meghan McCain, “Today we mourn the passing of American greatness, the real thing.  He was a great fire who burned bright. The America of John McCain is generous and welcoming and bold.  She’s resourceful, confident and secure.  She speaks quietly, because she’s strong.”

Next Up: Illinois River

By the end of today (Monday, September 3) we will waive goodbye to Lake Michigan. In Michigan we stopped in DeTour Village, Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Leland, Frankfort, Manistee, Ludington, Pentwater, Grand Haven, Holland (with a side trip to Saugatuck on the Vespa), and South Haven. Our first Indiana stop was in  Michigan City.

LakeMichigan

Next Guests – Not sure 🙂

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 126, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan, Indiana

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [2 – April and May], Rick [3 – May, June and July] & Maddie [May], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April])

Riding the Waves with Piper

The best first mate, to date, is our beloved former Belmont Shore neighbor, Piper Jackson. 

Born and raised in Long Beach, CA, Piper has been on the water most of her life.

PiperCookies
Thanks, Piper, for making Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Frankfort

The quaint little town of Frankfort was full of delightful surprises, well worth the stop!

Frankfort2
Frankfort Mineral Spring Water.

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Historic Frankfort

Monarch photo by Bill from Oregon
Photo by Bill, from Ohio.

We reunited with Gypsy for a delicious impromptu barbeque.  The best kind.

GypsyPicnic
Decadent potluck, fresh Michigan corn and caramel s’mores.

Another delightful surprise, a nice small world moment – Hello Carrie!

Carrie2

At the local grocery store, Rick realized he knew the lovely woman in front of him. Carrie Hessler-Radelet and her husband (Rick and Carrie met in California, of course), live in small town Frankfort during the summer.  Carrie’s father and two wonderful Michigan friends joined us on board Exhale for a relaxing glass of wine.

Manistee

The public docks are under renovation, after an aggressive storm surge. The marina building was spectacular, and the staff was delightful.

Manistee1

Manistee3

Manistee2
Downtown Manistee.

Crew Change – Introducing Matt & Piper

Matt and Piper Jackson joined us on Exhale in Manistee. By the way, we definitely missed you, Michele.

PiperInManistee

Piper and Maddie grew up together in California, and are very similar in age (Piper is 10).  Piper swims competitively, sails (solo) better than most men, and is a trained youth lifeguard.

Ludington

Matt, Piper, Capt. Rick and Maddie ran the boat from Manistee to Ludington (roughly 3.5 hours) while I got to drive Matt’s rental car along the country roads of Michigan.  Matt and Piper did a GREAT job without me on board 🙂

PiperInCharge

Ludington is home to S.S. Badger, the last coal-fired passenger steamship in operation in the United States.  If you want to learn more click here. 

Ludington

LudingtonBadger

It’s also home to Brenda’s Harbor Cafe. Adnerb, is this part of your retirement plan?

LudingtonForBrenda
This is for Brenda Marlow.

Pentwater

Well versed in nautical lingo, from Ludington to Pentwater (roughly 2 hours) Piper adeptly set the lines, handled the fenders, and kept the captain well informed as we were docking.

PiperInCharge2

Fenders

Pentwater Yacht Club

Piper made herself very comfortable, hanging out at the yacht club.

YachtClub2

YachtClub

Piper was the first to spot the familiar Long Beach Yacht Club burgee (Jacksons and grandparents Barry and Kathy May are longtime members).

Matt&Piper
Exhale crew, Matt and Piper Jackson.

And it was our first Burgee Exchange (Southwest Florida Yacht Club and PYC).  We miss you, Commodore Ron Austin!

BurgeeExchange

FloridaMichiganExchange
Burgee Exchange

Thanks for visiting, Matt and Piper

It was sad to see Matt and Piper drive away.  We heard she played the ukulele – pretty much nonstop – on their 4-hour drive to Chicago :-).  It turns out Piper is a VERY talented actress and musician, with an uncanny ability to recite LONG excerpts from Hamilton. It was very impressive.  We hope you come back again soon. Next time, bring mom and the grandparents!  

Pentwater to Grandhaven

After closely monitoring the weather for days, it appeared there was a break in the storm. Only after Peter and Rick rode out into the swells in a dinghy to check on the sea conditions, we agreed to leave the dock with Peter and Jeannie on Tortuga, with an expectation that the water could be a little rough, but knowing it would be worse the following day.

calm waters

Departing Pentwater at 12:30 pm, unusually late for us, once we got away from the shore we had 42 miles of 2-3 foot following seas (think of it as a gentle push).  What a pleasant surprise.  Inspired by our discovery of calm waters, Gypsy and Miss Hattie braved the journey as well.  We arrived in Grand Haven around 7 pm, enough time to enjoy the sunset and a delightful evening cocktail with Lenore and Bob from Miss Hattie.

Grand Haven to Holland – No Photos, Please.

Let’s just get it out there, I wasn’t mad, I was just plain scared.  For me, the run from Grand Haven to Holland was my all-time worst 2 and a half hours on the water this yearRick said the waters might be a little rough, but we also knew it was a relatively short trip (only 12 miles). And, based on the previous day, I thought the waters would calm down, more or less. I was wrong. 

When the beam seas (water aggressively slamming you from the side of the boat) kicked in, the boat rocked enough that I put on a life jacket.  My mind was racing with fear, imagining how we might capsize.  When Rick realized the dog was shaking, and saw that tears were rolling down my face, he offered to go back.  Fear is irrational and hard to shake, but I trust Rick, and I knew the best answer was to proceed.  Of course, we all made it safe and sound, albeit a little rattled.

Holland

It was really exciting to visit De Zwaan – Dutch for the swan. The last windmill to leave the Netherlands, it’s still an active grain mill, grinding roughly 12,000 pounds of locally grown corn and wheat every year.  To learn more click here.  The miller is Ms. Alisa Crawford.

HollandWindMill
De Zwaan, Holland, MI

Holland3

Holland2
Amsterdam street organ, a thank you gift after World War II.

We enjoyed walking the grounds of Windmill Island Gardens, Holland MI.

Holland5

Holland4

Saugatuck

We left Exhale docked in Holland and took a short vespa ride (~ 8 miles) to reunite with Bruce and Beverly Peck, Sea Trek (they said hi, Craig!)

BandB
B and B enjoying a lemon drop martini.

RandM

Vespa Ride

We don’t use the Vespa often enough.  Even in a light rain, what a great way to visit nearby communities, especially when there is no Uber or Lyft nearby!

VespaPower

Happy Birthday Alisha, Happy Anniversary Danielle and Sandra

Flowers

Next Stops: Southeast Lake Michigan

Following the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, we are slowly headed to the Illinois River. So far, in Michigan, we have stopped in DeTour Village, Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Leland, Frankfort, Manistee, Ludington, Pentwater, Grand Haven, and Holland (with a side trip to Saugatuck on the Vespa).  Next up: South Haven, or thereabouts.

LakeMichigan

Next Guests – Not sure 🙂

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 126, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via auto or plane):

Los Angeles (MS [2 – April and May], Rick [3 – May, June and July] & Maddie [May], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April])

Michigan Blue – celebrating with super heroes.

The magnificent splendor of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island makes you feel as if you have stepped back, somewhere in time

Blue Waters of Michigan

You asked – “how blue are the waters, really?”  Well, Susie Q – the waters are sooo blue you can see the marina boulders, more than 15 feet down!

BlueWaters
Crystal clear marina water.

BlueWaters2
Blue sky and blue waters.

St. Ignace

Mike & Sue Gillespie drove from Cleveland to northern Michigan, joining us in Upper Peninsula (called Yooper). On their first night aboard, the sunset at St. Ignace was breathtaking.

StIgnace

MikeAndSue33

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

One of my favorite childhood stories was the tall tale of Paul Bunyan a giant lumberjack with superhuman strength. Big as a mountain and strong as a grizzly bear… his trusty companion was a legendary blue ox. His likeness is displayed in several statues across North America, including this one in Michigan.[7][8]

BabeTheBlueOx

There are multiple Paul Bunyan statues in Michigan, for more info click here.

Mackinac Island

You can only get to Mackinac (pronounced Mac-in-aw) by water or air.  When you arrive you feel like you stepped back in time.

MackinacIsland2

Thanks for the private cruise from St. Ignace to Mackinaw aboard Gypsy!

SomewhereInTime5
No cars are allowed on the island. Horse-drawn carriages are a common form of transit.

Giraffe
A little giraffe hello for Alisha.

LadyLiberty2

LadyLiberty

Grand Hotel

If you are looking for a decadent wedding destination: Grand Hotel (click here)

GrandHotel

We will never forget the spectacular views from a rocking chair overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, from the world’s longest porch.

GH2

GH3
Pure elegance.

Somewhere in Time

Grand Hotel is rich in history, a place where time moves slowly.  The perfect setting for a favorite romantic classic starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, “Somewhere in Time”. 

SomewhereInTime4
Oh, Superman …

SomewhereInTime2

SomewhereInTime

SomewhereInTime3

Happy Anniversary Mike & Sue – 33 and still counting.

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Brunch at the Grand Hotel.

To celebrate – we watched Somewhere in Time (of course you can buy the movie in the gift shop!!).  Actually, Sue and I watched the movie, Rick and Mike went to bed early.

Mackinac Straits Bridge

Straits
Mackinac Straits by boat. Another bucket list item checked.

TheBridge
The bridge is really, really green.

UnderTheBridge
Yep, we are under the bridge.

BeyondTheBridge
It’s the Mackinac Straits Bridge in the rearview camera!

Petoskey

It was a privilege to spend time with Tom & Nancy Rea (captains of Meanders), who live in Petoskey. Thanks again for introducing us to Charlevoix, where we joined Don & Barb Cavin (Cavara) for dinner, celebrating Barb’s birthday.

Petoskey
Petoskey Lighthouse. A very popular swimming spot.

Petoskey3

Petoskey4

Charlevoix

Although mushroom house architecture didn’t really “catch on”, it is a fun vacation concept. If you are looking for a unique rental opportunity, click here. Over the course of his fifty-year career, Architect Earl Young designed twenty-six residential houses and four commercial properties. His works are made mostly of stone, using limestone, fieldstone, and boulders that he found throughout Northern Michigan

CharlevoixMushroom
Mushroom House ~1911. Architect Earl Young. Photo by Sue Gillespie.

Leland

Leland, MI is a quaint little town reknowned for it’s smoked fish.

FishTownLeland
Gypsy docked in FishTown.

CarBoat
What was that?? A motor car in the marina?

CarBoat2
It felt like a moment from an Austin Powers movie.

LooksLike74
Mike G, taking a nap. Maddie keeping a close watch.

Next Stops: More of Lake Michigan

Exhale will continue to traverse south, following the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, heading to the Illinois River. So far we have stopped in Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, Petoskey, Charlevoix and Leland.  Next up: Frankfort and Manistee. After that, only Mother Nature really knows.

LakeMichigan

Next Guests – Matt & Piper Jackson 🙂

Where Have We Been So Far? Thanks for asking 🙂

Total Locks completed = 126, includes:

  • Florida – Lake Okeechobee area: 7
  • Virginia – Great Dismal Swamp: 2
  • New York – Troy & Champlain Canal: 12
  • CANADA – Chambly Canal/Quebec: 9
  • CANADA – Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway: 5
  • CANADA – Rideau Canal/Ontario: 47
  • CANADA – Trent-Severn Waterway: 44

States and Provinces traversed on the water, commencing March 1, 2018:

U.S (March 1- June 10). Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Vermont. (August 10 – tbd): Michigan

Canada Provinces (June 10 – August 9): Quebec, Ontario.

Side trips (via land or air):

Los Angeles (MS [2 – April and May], Rick [3 – May, June and July] & Maddie [May], Cleveland (RMG, MS & Maddie [2- April and July], Craig [April])