8/27/19: We finally did it! We had decent weather today and took TxAu, along with looper friends who have also been tied up in Hammond, up to Chicago to cross our wake. Today we celebrated coming full circle on the Great American Loop!!! We left September 5, 2018 and 356 adventure-filled days later we are right back where we started. Here is a photo of our wake as we returned to Chicago.
Looks the same as when we left huh? Tex was honking the horn as we pulled into 31st Street Harbor’s break wall. You can see our chart plotter with our travel tracks.
Our friend Bill came out to “catch our lines” and it was hugs all around. Bill was on our boat day one when we left on the loop, so it is very fitting that he be here when we return! Then there was champagne all around with a final bag of Dots pretzels before the traditional photos were taken with the gold flag. It’s official! we are GOLD Loopers now! It’s a good thing we had our friends along as the dock was quiet on a Wednesday.
We then had the honor of taking our looper friends on the Chicago river tour. It was an amazing slow ride right through the city with Greg and Nancy as docents. “There is the Miller Coors building, my favorite building,” says Tex.
We are proud and sad at the same time. Captain Greg has done an outstanding job. Blue ribbon! He is uniquely suited to all the challenges this trip brought. He can plan and navigate with the best of them, fix just about anything and make friends with any boater in under a minute. We have over 300 boat cards from looper friends!
Captain’s Log: This is truly the boating trip of a lifetime. Over 6000 miles of North America’s finest waterways and countless locks. We did it right! But the most incredible part of the journey was the fabulous people we encountered. The loopers and the locals are some of the best people you could ever meet. We now have some wonderful friends. We are proud to be American LOOPERS! See you down the ditch.
What’s next? We will see friends in Chicago for the next two weeks. Nancy will attend her friend Michael’s celebration of life. Michael lost the battle to cancer while we were on this trip. The last time we saw him was right before we left on the loop. He was laying on the bow with a cocktail laughing at the difference between how Greg neatly tied the line on the right and Nancy sort of humped up the line on the left. She had a lot to learn and quickly!
Greg has already completed the boat repairs while in Hammond and is looking forward to some golf. We will keep visiting with the Loopers coming through Chicago and maybe get to show some of them our city. In a couple weeks, we will head south. We agree we will never do Chicago winters again! We now have some good looper friends in Florida. There is a plan to be in the Florida Keys for New Years and then maybe the Bahamas in late March. Who’s going?
It has been our pleasure blogging – we are proud of our first blog – and hope you have enjoyed our ‘Looper Life’ stories as much as we have enjoyed writing them! Thank you for reading it! We are so fortunate to have been able to do this trip.
We are one of only about 150 boats that will complete the loop in 2019. The largest class of loopers ever! As we look back on our blog posts we are amazed and glad it is documented. The year went by so quickly. We will print it into a book so we never forget our looper year adventures!
Thanks to everyone, specifically the AGLCA, for the guidance and recommendations along the way. And grateful we’ll always be.
Greg and Nancy (AKA Tex and Tinsley) aboard TxAu
…. as we say on the radio “TexasGold out”