Let me start of by saying that my “plan” is to take my Amalia on a 6,000 mile trip starting on or about September 22, 2015).
I know that is ambitious because there are a variety of obstacles in my way – not the least of which is $$$$ to make this trip. But that is not going to stop me if I can help it!
There will be much more detail about the planning and execution of this adventure in later posts, but let me fill you in on what is involved.
If you take a look at this map of The Great Loop, you’ll see that this trip is a circumnavigation of the Eastern half of the US.
- Muskegon to South Haven to Michigan City to Chicago and into the Chicago River.
- Down to the Illinois River and on to the Upper Mississippi river.
- Up the Ohio River to the Tennessee River
- Down the Tennessee to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway
- Into the Gulf of Mexico at Mobile Bay
- Around the West coast of Florida to either cut across the center through Lake Okeechobe to the East coast, or
- Down the remainder of the West coast down to Key West and up through the keys to the East Coast Intercoastal Waterway.
- Up the East cost ICW (with some sailing “outside” to New York City.
- Up the Hudson River to join the Erie Canal.
- Erie Canal to Buffalo and on to Lake Erie
- Lake Erie to Detroit River, Lake St. Clair, Lake Huron and eventually through the Straits of Mackinaw to Lake Michigan
- Down the West coast of Michigan to Amalia’s home port of Muskegon.
Probably the best introduction to what this trip is and what it entails can be found at this excellent site put together to capture the experiences and adventures of the thousands of boaters who’ve made this great voyage: America’s Great Loop.
If I am ready with the many upgrades I’m making to Amalia and feel that the financial situation will allow, I’ll begin the trip in early to mid-September.
Here is the tentative plan.
- Muskegon to South Haven to Michigan City Chicago. Since I’ll be solo, I didn’t think a night lake crossing across 14 shipping lanes would be a good idea.
- Go into the Chicago River lock and begin the river journey.
- Step the mast (put it up) in Mobile, do some repairs and winterizing and haul for yard storage while I go back home from about early December through mid-April.
- Return to Florida by Mid-April and continue to leisurely cruise for another two and one half months in Florida and maybe the Bahamas and haul and store again by about July 1.
- Implement whatever plan we can make if Vickie is available to join me. If not, come back to continue by January 2017.
Oh, did I mention that I’m doing this alone (at least part of or majority of the time)? Yup! It isn’t a matter of choice so much as practicality.
While I am retired – except for my Summer job at West Marine and Communications Consulting work here and there – Vickie is a mere child and won’t turn 62 until June 27, 2016. This is opposition to my (supposed) Geezer status of being nearly 68.
Even if she is able to retire next July 1, I don’t want to think that I could have health problems that may get in the way of this adventure and have decided to let her stay behind – except for a few weeks when she is able to join me in thrilling destinations, of course!
So, I’ll be alone. Unless you want to join me! See “Do You Really Want To Be Alone” post.