Cruisers Stop In Camden
On Friday, September 5, two large vessels cruised into Birdsong Creek off of the main river channel at the TRM (Tennessee River Mile Mile) marker 103.5. The Two Js V Hatboro, PA owned by John and Judy Gill, and Marges Barge, Willow Grove, PA owned by Margaret and Howard Daniels pulled in to the docks of Birdsong Resort, Marina and Campground with a story to tell. (PHOTO: CRUISING THE GREAT AMERICAN LOOP - Howard and Margaret Daniels of Marges Barges; and Judy and John Gill of the Two Js stop in Birdsong Marina for fuel and overnight accommodations along their long journey of the Great American Loop.)
The couples have been friends for over twenty years. Years have come and gone, the Daniels moved to Vero Beach, FL, but still they remain close. In their retirement years they became interested in boating together and with some research, joined the America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association (AGLCA). The AGLCA is an association of boaters who have cruised or dream of cruising any or all of America's Great Loop. PHOTO: A STORY TO TELL - Judy Gill sits where she feels most at home to share some of their intriguing tale.)
Americas Great Loop is the continuous waterway that circumnavigates the eastern portion of North America - along the Atlantic seaboard, across the Great Lakes, through the inland rivers, and around the Gulf of Mexico. It is sometimes also referred to as the Great Circle Route.
The Daniels began their route from their home in Vero Beach, FL in April of 2002. In May the Gills joined the Daniels in Chesapeake Bay to continue up along the Atlantic seaboard. Wintering the boats in Monroe, MI, the couples returned home with plans to meet in Monroe in the early spring. April of 2003, put them back in the loop and by their arrival at Birdsong Marina, Marges Barge had logged 5,132 hours of the journey, and the Two Js V had logged 4,032. By wintering time the couples plan to be in Vero Beach, FL completing the designated route. The Gills plan to complete the section of the route they missed this coming spring of 2004... and both couples say they will most assuredly do the route with different choices for their path - this time possibly cruising up into the Canadian waterways.
Tourists come in many forms to the Benton County area, our natural waterways prove to be a key attraction in one aspect or another. The Tennessee Rivers beautiful Kentucky Lake combined with a factor of promotion and advertisement prove to be a winning combination again and again. These particular visitors found Birdsong Marina through an advertisememt in Quimbys Cruising Guide, and then visited the website (www.BirdsongResort.com) for more information.
The purpose of the AGLCA is to provide information to boaters who are interested in cruising America's eastern waterways, including the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America's heartland. There are over 2,000 members of the AGLCA with over 700 making the loop this year.
Where do you start to plan a trip of this magnitude? Depends on where you are - location, age, health, financial assets, boating experience, to name a few variables. If you are an inexperienced boater, contact the United States Power Squadron and take the Public Boating Course. You'll meet a bunch of great people, learn a lot, and may save on your boat insurance when you do get that dreamboat. But don't stop there. USPS offers a variety of courses on all aspects of boating, including piloting and navigation, engine maintenance, sail, weather, and cruise planning, to name a few. The United States Coast Guard Auxiliary also offers boating courses. See their websites: www.usps.org or www.cgaux.org or phone 800-336-BOAT for information on boating courses near you. Then visit www.GreatLoop.com to join the AGLCA.