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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Carefree, AZ and Lake Ozark, MO
    My Ride
    A trawler, a toon, a dinghy
    Age
    51
    Posts
    2,412
    Post Thanks / Like

    From LOTO to Looping -- sort of

    After 25 or 30 years of thinking "that would be fun to do someday", we are actually on an old boat full time and traveling The Great Loop (or most of it). Although this journey is not all Midwest, and is not always a party; I'll post some info here at Midwest Boat Party anyway. I think it still may be of interest to several of you who, like us, share a love of boating and being on the water.

    As a teenager in the 80's I got interested in The Great Loop. Many of you know it well, but for those who do not, it is basically a circumnavigation of the eastern third of the US by boat. We are now well into our loop adventure and I will share some information on our journey on this thread from time to time as we move along.

    I'll try to keep most posts short enough to enjoy. Maybe I'll start with the route itself for those who are not familiar with The Great Loop.

    Hopefully a few of you will enjoy riding along and maybe some boating posts will be good to help us all get through winter.
    Carefree/Scottsdale, AZ and 8MM at LOTO

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Posts
    37
    Post Thanks / Like
    Hell ya, subscribed!! Safe travels, thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Carefree, AZ and Lake Ozark, MO
    My Ride
    A trawler, a toon, a dinghy
    Age
    51
    Posts
    2,412
    Post Thanks / Like

    The Route of The Great Loop

    Here is a picture of the route and some text to explain it. Skip this part if you are already familiar, but for those of you who are not familiar, this is a look at The Great Loop.

    I will make an effort to keep other posts shorter than this one.

    It's a big loop. Depending on your side trips and route choices it is something like 5,200 to 6,500 miles. There are well over 100 locks. You spend time if 15+ states in the US and also some time in Canada. You can start anywhere along the loop and there are several variations on the route.

    Starting up north, it goes from The Great Lakes, through Chicago, to the Mississippi River heading south. South of St. Louis you connect from the Mississippi to the Ohio River and go upstream (east) on the Ohio before locking through to Kentucky Lake via the TN River, or Barkley via the Cumberland River. Kentucky Lake and Barkley are connected by a short canal on their northern ends, so you can lock into either lake. You take KY Lake, which is really the Tennessee River and you head upstream, which counter to what you probably just pictured is southbound. You stay on the beautiful Tennessee River and many of the lakes it forms until the Tenn-Tom Waterway connects the Tennessee River to the Tom Bigbee. This man-made canal makes this trip far more enjoyable (more on that later in another post). Using this wonderful waterway you end up in Mobile Bay and hit salt water for the next few thousand miles. Leaving the southeast corner of Mobile Bay, you go along the panhandle of FL, primarily using the Intra-Coastal Waterway. Most loopers do one overnight Gulf of Mexico crossing from approximately Carrabelle, FL to approximately Tarpon Springs on the west coast of Florida. In Florida one can head to the keys around the southern tip of FL, or you can cut across FL using the rivers and Lake Okeechobee to get to Florida's east coast. The Bahamas are a great side trip, but the loop goes up the east coast of the United States and there are several options and side trips we have to choose. Georgia, the Carolina's, Virginia, the Chesapeake Bay, and most loopers go outside on the coast of New Jersey. Eventually, most loopers end up going northbound from New York City, via the Hudson River, then head west in the Erie Canal until you can lock through to the Great Lakes. Exploring the Great Lakes offers several route options as well.

    So, that's the loop in a nutshell. We were willing to start wherever we found the right boat. Some people spend years looking for the right boat. We didn't have the time, patience, or money to look for that long. We certainly didn't jump on the first opportunity, but boat shopping, traveling, getting surveys done, taking time off work.... it all adds up and gets expensive and we are far, far from wealthy. It would be pretty easy to exhaust our budget for the entire trip on the boat search alone. We found what we thought would work well for us, and we bought it. So far, it's working out well and I'll give some more details in another post about our old trawler.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Carefree/Scottsdale, AZ and 8MM at LOTO

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    432
    Post Thanks / Like
    Looking forward to seeing more post and pics.
    Very Cool!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Lake St. Louis
    Age
    47
    Posts
    2,921
    Post Thanks / Like
    Post up some pics! I as well would like to do the Great Loop "someday"..... Curious, what do you do about work? Are you able to work remotely?
    This site give good insight: https://captainjohn.org/GL-2-Intro.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    42 MM Alcorn Hollow Cove
    My Ride
    American Curls
    Age
    51
    Posts
    6,506
    Post Thanks / Like
    This is a dream trip for me also.
    Whats next?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Illinois
    My Ride
    FORMULA FASTECH
    Age
    55
    Posts
    411
    Post Thanks / Like
    Great!
    I'll be tuned in also!
    I'd love to do it someday!
    The only folks I know that's done it, did it in a speed boat & he was in the throttles when possible because of sort of a time crunch.
    Just him & his wife... Can't remember how many weeks it took them.
    They only lost 1 prop in the journey, which sounded lucky to me that's the only problem they had!
    He always has wanted to do it again in a better suited boat, but to many things have stopped them.
    Good Luck - Be Safe!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa- 1MM Grand Glaize
    My Ride
    Formula 370SS
    Age
    56
    Posts
    9,444
    Post Thanks / Like
    Love it!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Carefree, AZ and Lake Ozark, MO
    My Ride
    A trawler, a toon, a dinghy
    Age
    51
    Posts
    2,412
    Post Thanks / Like
    Quote Originally Posted by Average Joe View Post
    Post up some pics! I as well would like to do the Great Loop "someday"..... Curious, what do you do about work? Are you able to work remotely?
    This site give good insight: https://captainjohn.org/GL-2-Intro.html
    Average Joe, your "someday" comment and follow up question of what we do for work are things we really struggled with. Neither of us have careers that allow us to work remotely. What's worse is that neither us have a job we could basically take an extended time off and the job would be waiting for us. That makes this harder, for sure.

    When we were looking for our looper boat we kept running into stories that went something like this:
    Us: "Why are you selling your boat?"
    Them: "Well, we bought it 3 years ago and were planning on doing the loop" (or whatever their dream was). "We worked on it for a couple of years getting it ready, but then he (or sometimes she) got really sick (or passed away)."

    I cannot tell you how many times we ran on to that same story. Their "someday" never came. They tried to wait until this trip made sense, but their health failed before that day came. We decided we were not going to let that happen if we could help it.

    So, right or wrong, smart or dumb, we are doing this now while we feel good enough to do it. It does mean we will have to work later to make up for this time off, but we both were willing to make that trade. We are not being completely irresponsible in this adventure. We are not borrowing money to do it, and we are not spending all that much to do it. We sold the house we were living in, so the boat is our home. We stayed well below our budget when we bought the boat. We do as much of the work as we can on the boat, We are being careful with our spending to the degree that makes sense for us. I'm not sure if that helps, or makes sense, but your comment/question was something we had to think a lot about before doing this.

    One more thought on this subject that I think is worth adding here. This is not easy. The work to get the boat ready and the work to keep the boat in good, safe, operating condition is not easy. I'm 51, and so far blessed with decent health, but some of this is still hard. At 61 or 71 I cannot imagine it would be easier. Having said that, we've met a few 80+ year old loopers who are loving it and it is so wonderful to see that! I hope we are blessed with that health 30 years from now. Knowing we may not see tomorrow, though, we decided to not put this trip off.
    Carefree/Scottsdale, AZ and 8MM at LOTO

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Solon,IA/Bristol Bay
    My Ride
    Chaparral 287 SSX
    Posts
    104
    Post Thanks / Like
    Safe travels and looking forward to hearing more about your travels.

    Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Wright City
    My Ride
    Challenger SV24 "RUSH HOUR"
    Posts
    429
    Post Thanks / Like
    Sounds awesome, looking forward to more updates!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    2MM BN / God Bless Texas
    Age
    55
    Posts
    4,164
    Post Thanks / Like
    I am really looking forward to the updates on this great adventure. Thanks for sharing it.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Papillion, NE
    My Ride
    32 Active Thunder
    Age
    52
    Posts
    6,621
    Post Thanks / Like
    Can't wait to hear more and see pics of your adventure.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    6mm LOTO
    Posts
    598
    Post Thanks / Like
    Livin' the dream! So true about doing it while you have the health.
    Craig and Gena

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    My Ride
    Wellcraft 32 Express Cruiser
    Posts
    70
    Post Thanks / Like
    Awesome.

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