I’m a solo boater making my way around The Great Loop. My boat is L.T. Looper, named for my kids Lize and Tommy, who mean everything to me. My First Sergeant used to call me LT, which is better than what he likely wanted to call me, so L.T. doesn’t exactly inspire images of boating into the sunset, but Lize, being the older, probably would have balked if I turned it around to T.L.
L.T. is a 2018 23 foot C-Dory Venture powered by a 140 hp Suzuki outboard. 23 feet is smallish by Looper standards, but having camped and rafted throughout the mountain west, I'm comfortable boating without many creature comforts. Twenty plus days on my raft in the Grand Canyon doesn’t leave much room for anything except food, tents, water and some stashed six packs.
No TV or air conditioning and the size of my refrigerator reminds of the ones we snuck into our dorms in college. But L.T. came with a nice Wallis diesel stove/heater and I found places to mount my bike and kayak and had a real, though not very private, head installed, so I have all the essentials. I call it my turn around boat because I don’t really go anywhere inside, I just turn around to get things done.
I can tow it reasonably well with my Toyota Tacoma and take full advantage of its ability to get into tight places and go fast if I need or want to get some quick miles behind me. It's safe in bigger water, but it's usually not much fun because the interior can get rearranged if everything is not stowed or tied down, sometimes even if it is. It planes at about 15 mph, can touch 30, maybe 32-33 with favorable current and wind, but has a sweet spot at 20-22. I often cruise at a traditional displacement hull speed of 6-8 mph to take in the scenery, especially in the canals, just like my friends on the trawlers. But my I have a lot more flexibility and seldom put in the long days at the helm that they do.
I have lived in Breckenridge, Colorado for the last 40+ years but was born and raised on the Chesapeake Bay where my family usually had some type of boat and boating was as natural as skiing became in Breckenridge. As a kid, I dreamed of boating other parts of the Intra Coastal Waterway. As I moved west, I added the Mississippi to the list. When I stumbled across the concept of the Great Loop, I knew I had found my dream retirement adventure.
My wife is both smart and not a boating person, so she is doing her thing at the Horse Rescue and remodeling the old log cabin she bought. I miss her, sometimes, and I like to think that she would appreciate my help with the cabin, sometimes. That’s what happens with two strong personalities, sometimes. It’s better than the bickering I occasionally see among couples who really aren’t on the same page.
I remember years ago reading John Steinbeck’s ‘Travels with Charley: In Search of America’ and thinking that would be pretty fun. That’s how I view my trip around the Loop: not so much boating, but a road trip on water exploring America. Before railroads started taking over travel shortly before the Civil War, American history followed the same Atlantic coast, rivers and canals I hope to explore.
Getting Here from There
Rivers & Waterways of the Midwest
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I enjoy both history and writing and have developed this website to share stories and pictures with my friends and family and anyone else who may be interested. But it’s dedicated to my yet to be conceived Grandchildren. I didn’t marry, much less think of kids until my mid-forties. Since my kids seem to be following a similar trajectory, my chances of knowing my Grandchildren is limited. I’d like them to know their Granddad as more than a tombstone or a slobbering old man wandering around in a nursing home.
I want them to enjoy life’s journey and to embrace wherever their interests and talents take them.