Days 361 and 362 – Gold Loopers

Miles cruised today 50, total miles cruised on the Loop 6,381, total fuel purchased 6,397 gallons, slip fee $0, daily high temperature 72°f

“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” – Ursula K. Leguin

On Thursday we pulled into the fuel dock at McKinley Marina in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The slips are so far away from the marina office that you must stop at the fuel dock to check in. Inside the marina building we asked the fellow at the snack bar where we might find a good place to go for dinner. He immediately advised that the only place to go in all of Milwaukee was Pitch’s supper club. We would have to walk past 30 other restaurants to get there but it’s the best. It was a much longer walk than he advised but we finally arrived. There was only one other occupied table with two people, otherwise the restaurant was empty. No one else came in while we were there. We chatted up the waitress and she revealed that the guy at the marina snack bar is a family member of the owner. It was thirsty Thursday and all drinks were $2.00 off. It was fine, just a much longer walk than we expected.

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Pitch’s on the corner

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On Friday night we had our final visitors of our Loop trip. Andy’s brother Lonnie, his wife Connie and their son Derrick joined us for sundowners. They brought two cars and drove to us to the 3rd ward section of Milwaukee for dinner.

Lonnie, Connie and Derrick

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Today we are officially Gold Loopers. We crossed our wake in Waukegan, Illinois on Lake Michigan on Saturday, September 17 after cruising for 362 days. We cruised 6,381 miles and burned and 6,397 gallons of diesel. It safe to say we burned one gallon per mile. We were somewhat unusual because we cruised with two couples. We are aware of one only one other Looper boat cruising with two couples. We departed Waukegan on September 21, 2015. We were greeted at our slip by our family and friends with a wonderful welcome home party.

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We are now CLODs (cruisers living on dirt). We will turn in our AGLCA membership card and immediately join Weight Watchers and AA. It will be an interesting transition. For a year we lived in a world with a 24/7 water views and made instant Looper friendships wherever we docked and they were eager to socialize and help solve any problem boat related or otherwise.

There are always highlights in any journey. Here are a few of our Loop highlights but certainly not an all inclusive list.

Places – Key West, Bahamas, Annapolis/Naval Academy, Charleston, Savannah, Shiloh battlefield, Jamestown/Williamsburg, 911 Memorial, Statue of Liberty, West Point and Canada (Trent Severn Waterway, Georgian Bay and North Channel).

Experiences – getting to the know the locals in Key West at Grunt’s bar, head boat and deep sea fishing in Key West, swimming with the pigs in the Exumas, playing bingo at Captain Jack’s in Hopetown, Bahamas, threading our way through crab pots, crossing the Gulf of Mexico at night, crossing the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas for the first time, Big Chute Railway, encountering bears in Killarney and seeing the night sky in the north channel.

Culinary experiences – two inch thick pork chops at Patty’s in Green Turtle, the Culinary Institute of America, Aligator bites, City Hardware in Florence, Alabama, Chick and Ruth’s deli in Annapolis, Gumbo Shack in Fairhope, Alabama and Garbo’s food truck at Grunt’s in Key West.

Challenges – repairing the port transmission in Port St Joe, Florida which took 3 weeks and cost $15,000, getting a crab pot line on the propeller, swimming with the bull sharks at the marina in Bimini, bumping a sandbar on the AICW and having to clean out the raw water filters, losing the use of the generator on Georgian Bay

The next phase of our life includes selling Changing Latitudes. Hopefully another Looper will find her to be the ideal Looper boat just as we did.

Thank you to Carl Wooden for your inspirational quotes of the day and thank you our blog followers. We hope we kept you entertained while we were on our year long adventure. Perhaps our experience will inspire one or more of you to cast off your dock lines some day. The Loop is just a series of 30 mile day trips.

Bonus photo

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“Always be yourself unless you are a Looper, then always be a Looper.” Captain Father John
Carl (Chef) Wooden – quote of the day.

“Out of sight of land the sailor feels safe. It is the beach that worries him.”
– Charles G. Davis

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Charles G. Davis was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on July 22, 1870, and died in Manor Haven, Port Washington, N.Y. on January 22, 1959, aged 80. His father was clerk to Admiral David G. Farragut, Union Naval Commander during the Civil War. He began his love of boats and sailing at an early age; he is reputed to have sailed around Cape Horn in a square rigger at the age of thirteen. He and his older brother, William, built their own boat in 1884, cruising the Hudson and Western Long Island Sound in her before purchasing, refitting and racing an old sandbagger.