Island Time crossed her wake yesterday and arrived at the Cape Coral Yacht Basin to a crowd of family and friends. We were thrilled to see our family and friends standing at the dock to welcome us home. It has been the most incredible journey that we’ve ever taken. Many have described it as a “once in a lifetime trip” which we wholeheartedly agree. We’ve traveled 5,069 miles in 250 days since leaving Cape Coral on March 1, 2014, visiting 17 states and Canada. We’ve met the most wonderful people, fellow Loopers and local people in the towns and cities we visited.
As we reflect on our journey, it’s hard to pick out favorites. We enjoyed traveling the Atlantic ICW through the saltwater marshes and past the moss draped oaks in Georgia and the Carolinas. The Dismal Swamp was a favorite and traveling through the large ports of Charleston and Norfolk was a navigational challenge. Charleston is a great city and one that we would like to visit again. A real thrill was anchoring behind the Statue of Liberty and traveling the beautiful Hudson River to the Erie Canal.
Canada was a wonderful part of our trip from the quaint towns along the Trent Severn Waterway to the Peterborough Lock, and the Marine Railway. Then we entered the breathtaking Georgian Bay and the North Channel. Baie Fine was an incredible place. Mackinaw Island was fun and there’s something to be said for a place that doesn’t allow cars. Lake Michigan was an experience and we enjoyed the lovely towns along the eastern shore: Charlevoix, Leland, Manistee, Pentwater and Grand Haven.
A highlight for us in August was a visit by our daughter Tracy, and grandsons, Jackson and Ryan while we were in the Chicago area. The inland river system was interesting and posed some challenges as a result of flooding. But no Loop trip would be complete without a stop at Grafton, Hoppies, Green Turtle Bay and Bobby’s Fish Camp — although we could gladly skip dodging all the trees, logs and debris in the rivers and “making a lot of toothpicks” as one Looper described it.
Now it is the day after crossing our wake. We’re in the marina today cleaning up the boat and reflecting on the past eight months. We have real mixed feelings and it’s bittersweet. We’re happy to be home and want to spend time with our family and friends. But it feels a little strange that we’re not charting the next leg of a trip or checking the weather. We’re not sure where our next adventure will take us, but we feel blessed to have experienced The Great Loop and treasure the friendships and acquaintances that we’ve made along the way.
For anyone who is interested, here are a few stats:
Days: 250 days
Actual Travel Days: 119
Number of Locks: 103
% of Days in Marinas: 80%
% of Days Anchoring, Mooring Balls and Walls: 20%
Fuel (diesel): 1,998 gallons
Diesel Cost: Average $3.97/gal (highest in Canada $5.39/gal; cheapest Panama City $3.27/gal)