MemoryMaker closed the loop on Monday, August 15th…only a couple weeks past our original target timeline for arriving home. We had a wonderful adventure! We planned to do the loop during our summer vacation. We did it and would not trade the experience for anything! While it might have been nice to have had a little more time, we also really enjoyed having the speed to pick up and go. The bikes, that we had on the back of the boat, combined with the capability of traveling the water a little faster enabled us to do an incredible amount of exploring in the time that we had available.
We had a number of family, old friends and new acquaintances that followed our adventure. One couple, that plans to do the loop in the future, Mike & Becky, even charted our adventure on the Great Loop Map and added it to their website. Their website, Great Loop, is full of resources. The map showing our adventure is found at MemoryMaker Dates. Once the map is loaded, if you move your mouse over top of the map, a button pops up that will enable you to "Expand the map to regular size".
We managed to have stops in or around most of our family¾even got to have our 102 year old grandmother on the boat while we were in Grand Haven, Michigan. We enjoyed meeting some really wonderful people along the way. Some were other Loopers; others were just curious about our adventure.
Along the way, we saw some absolutely breathtaking scenery. We saw Mother Nature, both smiling and frowning. We experienced the remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy and Hurricane Dennis. We waited on the Tenn-Tom for them to go through and still ended up traveling the waterway when the waters were 30-40 feet above normal. We had some significant mechanical problems in Panama City Florida that didn't get fixed properly and stopped us for another week on the Caloosahatchee River near Ft. Myers for another major repair.
Originally, because of our time constraints, we didn't plan to go into Canada and do the Trent-Severn waterway. That turned out to be one of our highlights. We would love to go back there again. The experience with the Peterborough Lift lock, the Big Chute Railway Lock and the gorgeous scenery were awesome. Those were some of our favorite places along with:
Favorite Restaurants: Illinois RiverHouse Restaurant in Hardin, Illinois…Herbert's Fishery (little red school bus) in Killarney, Canada…Patti's Settlement, Grand River, Kentucky...and so many more.
Favorite Marinas: Twin Dolphin, Bradenton, Florida…Alton, Marina, Alton, Illinois…Diversity Harbor, Chicago
Favorite Ports of Call: Killarney, Canada…Chicago…Atlantic City… Baltimore…Kingston, Canada…Amsterdam, NY
It was hard to come up with a list of least favorites, but they would probably be:
Least Favorite Marina: Alligator River Marina, south of the Albemarle Sound in Columbia, NC… Eastern Shore Marina in Fair Hope, Alabama
Least Favorite Restaurant: Henri's Fish Camp, Sans Souci, Canada
Least Favorite Port of Call: Alligator River
We traveled over 5000 miles, bought 2,915 gallons of gas at an average price of $2.80 per gallon. We paid as much as $4.88 per gallon (not liter) at Henri's Fish Camp in Sans Souci, Canada and as little as $2.19 at Atlantic Yacht Basin in Norfolk, Virginia. We stayed at marinas 97 nights at an average cost of $32.42 per night; some nights were free. We anchored out one night and took a quick trip home for 5 nights while MemoryMaker was being repaired.