||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
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
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.