Depending on where one lives, the Great Loop route can vary. Our thirteen-month voyage carried us 8559 miles, on countless rivers, coastal waterways, and lakes, both small and large.
We left July 1, 2002, from Little Rock on the Arkansas River, headed for the Mighty Mississippi and New Orleans. After spending a short time on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, we headed up the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, destination Kentucky and Barkley Lakes. We spent hurricane season exploring the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, going east as far as Knoxville.
November had us back to the Gulf, working our way around the redneck Riviera and edging down the west coast of Florida. We were home briefly in January, then back to Florida and the Keys.
The rest of the winter was spent on Florida's Atlantic side, and in March 2003 we began heading up to Savannah, Beaufort, Hilton Head, and crab-rich Chesapeake Bay. So many historic places to see--Norfolk, Washington, Annapolis, and Baltimore, among others.
Our springtime cruising then took us north to Cape May, New York City, and the Hudson River. We explored the eastern half of the Erie Canal, then headed up the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario. Once in Canada, we cruised the scenic Trent-Severn Waterway, with its unique locks, exiting at Lake Huron's Georgian Bay. After cruising the North Channel, we crossed the Mackinac Straits and entered Lake Michigan. Summer found us following the shores of western Michigan, and then to Chicago.
Our final leg took us down the Illinois River and Old Man River again, until it was time to head west up the Arkansas and home. We arrived back in Maumelle on August 3, 2003, having gone through 142 locks and visiting 19 states and 1 Canadian province.