To: ALL Interested Parties
SMELLIN da ROSES, Part 1-a.
Sometime during the week of May 13, 2002 John and Judy Gill of Pennsway (PA) Squadron, aboard the TWO J's V and Howard and Maggie Daniels of Vero Beach (FL) Squadron, aboard the MARGE'S BARGE will begin the America's Great Loop Cruise - a dream we both have had for many years and have been planning for more than 5 years. The work and preparation gives new meaning to the United States Power Squadrons "Cruise Planning Course". You wouldn't believe the pile of paper charts, computer charts, cruising guides, tour guides, books, logs, articles by others, lists of things to do, and lists of things to take -- it is as the youngsters say: Awesome Man - Awesome!
For those not familiar with this boating adventure of a lifetime, the "Great Loop" as it is often referred to, is a circumnavigation around the Eastern half of the United States and Canada. The "Two J's" and "Marge's Barge" plan on three boating seasons to complete what end up being close to a 7,500 mile voyage. It can be shortened by 1000 to 2000 miles or so and done in about 8 to 12 months, but that doesn't leave enough time to see everything and "Smell da Roses" along the way!
This April, Howard and Maggie will leave Ft. Pierce, Florida and travel up the Intercoastal Waterway to the Chesapeake Bay and join up with John and Judy at the Sassafras Harbor Marina in Georgetown, Maryland. From the Chesapeake, the two boats will go North through the C&D Canal, across the Delaware Bay and up the New Jersey coast to New York, past the Statue of Liberty and up the Hudson River. We'll go all the way up the Hudson into Lake Champlain, North to the St. Lawrence River and up the river to Montreal, Quebec. From Montreal, we will go to Ottawa and then down the Rideau Waterway to Kingston on Lake Ontario. We plan to go a short way down the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Eisenhower Lock at Prescott before turning around and going West through the 1000 Islands to Lake Ontario and Trenton, Ontario -- the beginning, or the Southern end of the Trent-Severn Waterway.
Having vacationed (oops taken our Holidays) on the Trent-Severn on both the Karwatha Lake Region and the Huronia Lake Region (Sparrow Lake) the Two J's have convinced Marge's Barge to plan on spending a good deal of time on this beautiful waterway and plan to show Howard and Maggie all of their favorite places. Once we reach the Georgian Bay at Port Severn, we'll cruise up the Eastern side of the Georgian Bay and through its 30,000 Islands, visiting John's old stomping grounds around Sans Souci and Parry Sound, Ontario (his parents had a cottage on the Northern tip of Moon Island when he was a teenager - wow! how long ago was that?).
We're not sure, but we may go as far North as Killarney before turning South and down Lake Huron's Eastern shore to Port Huron and into Lake St. Clair and the Detroit, Michigan area. If we have time and the weather stays nice, the plan is to go on to the Lake Erie Islands (South Bass, Middle Bass, North Bass, Kelley's and Pelee) and possibly a side trip to Cedar Point and Cleveland and its "Flats" which is the old factory section of the city that has been revitalized ala Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Does anyone remember the Cuyahoga River catching on fire and burning for three days before they could put it out? We'll then go back to Lake St. Clair and over winter the two boats at the Gibraltar Boat Yard located just South of Wyandotte, Michigan where John's cousins live. If we're running late into the season, we'll do this leg of the trip the following Spring before going up and around the state of Michigan.
Briefly, the 2003 boating season will take us from Lake St. Clair up around the lower peninsula of Michigan, across Lake Huron to the North Channel of the Georgian Bay and into Lake Superior for a brief stay (we want to be able to say we've had our boats on all 5 of the Great Lakes). We will then return and go through the Macinaw Straights and head South down the Western side of Michigan with several ports-of-call along the way, and then right through downtown Chicago. Our trip will continue down the Illinois River to the Mississippi and up the Ohio River to the Cumberland River, with a side trip to Nashville, Tennessee (Grand Old Oprey), then back down to the Tennessee river and up it to the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (Tenn-Tom) and South to Mobile, Alabama. From Mobile, we plan another side trip West to Lake Pontchartrain and New Orleans, Louisiana for several days. We'll then cruise East to Florida's pan handle and follow the coast South to Ft. Meyers, Florida where we'll go across through the Okeechobee Waterway to Stuart and over winter on Florida's East coast.
During the 2003-04 Winter, the Two J's will no doubt be "snow birds" and fly or drive South to visit Howard and Maggie at their new home in Vero Beach, Florida and perhaps take a cruise down the ICW to Miami and the Keys. In the Spring of 2004, the Two J's will head back North up the Intercoastal Waterway to the Chesapeake Bay and their home port at the Sassafras Harbor Marina on the Sassafras River. The Daniels' plans for 2004 are up in the air at this time.
Once the America's Great Loop Cruise is completed, we will have earned the coveted "BaccaLOOPerate Degree" given by the America's Great Loop Cruisers Association.
As Jacki Gleason used to say: "HOW SWEET IT IS"!!!
TWO J's V -- John and Judy Gill
MARGE'S BARGE -- Howard and Maggie Daniels