Stories from the Great Loop
Life on the Loop
Go Boldly Forward
To explore strange new worlds.
To seek out new life and new civilizations.
To boldly go where no man has gone before.
I was never a Trekkie, but I enjoyed Star Trek. It was funny, sometimes irreverent, sometimes groundbreaking and made you think the human race could and should do better. The Great Loop is not exactly going boldly where no man has gone before, though the Deep South, New York City and Canada might well feel strange to the uninitiated. But the Loop can feel like a jump into the unknown, similar to another jump into the unknown you may have taken: parenting.
The preliminaries of parenting are a lot more fun and quitting the Loop may be easier, but both will change your life and gift you a slower heartbeat if you survive. The reality is that neither Loopers or Parents ever know everything about either and no matter how much you do know, you will still make mistakes.
Many people have asked why I wanted to do the Great Loop, even friends and family who are somewhat conditioned to my propensity for unusual adventures. For anyone considering the Loop, it’s an important question to answer.
The Great Loop is a long trip and big commitment. It becomes more a lifestyle than a vacation. That’s not always an easy adjustment. If you don’t understand what’s driving you to do it, there’s a good chance you won’t finish the Loop. Or you’ll finish it only because you don’t want to face those who questioned your sanity when you began. The Admiral* is an important part of that equation.
I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors and have camped extensively in the forests and deserts of the mountain west. To the consternation of my arthritic knees, I’m always curious about what’s around the next bend, over the next rise or if I can squeeze through that narrow place. I like to explore.
I also enjoy history. I might well have been a high school history teacher but for the low pay and straight jacket of how American history is expected to be taught – something you’ll hear me carp about again if you continue on this site. To me, the Great Loop was an alluring combination of adventure, exploring and history.
You’ll have your own reason. I just think it’s important to identify and own it. Some revel in a unique way to explore bigger cities and their museums, theaters and events. Others look forward to the warm hospitality and uniqueness of the countless small towns. Some view it as a culinary adventure. A few are excited about the fishing. Many think of it as a challenge. Some may just want to get off the treadmill for awhile. Experienced boaters probably view it more as an extra long cruise.
Few would think of meeting new and interesting people as a reason for doing the Loop, but many who complete it will say that was the best part. There’s a good chance you’ll make some new lifelong friends.
Embrace your reasons, and your expectations too. They will guide and enhance the journey. Go boldly forward on a firm deck.
*In recreational boating, Captain and Admiral refers to the husband and wife, or wife and husband, or partner and partner, which ever the case may be. The relationship may be a bit more hazy than in the Navy where the Captain is in command of the ship but the Admiral, who may be onboard, is in command of the fleet. But the principle is the same; everyone knows who's really in charge.