Tears shed: none
We’ve been home 5 days and nights, and it’s been wildly busy, a mixture of fun and work. Saturday, friends Jim and Phebe (who spent a week with us in the Keys) dropped by for coffee. Later son Ryan, his fiancée Jaime and 4 members of their extended family came to visit for a few hours. That night we had dinner with Bob’s sister Lynn and her husband David (who spent a week with us on the Tennessee River). But Bob still managed to unload 18 bins from the back of the truck into our workshop.
Sunday friend Hobie came for coffee, then daughter Mackenzie and son-in-law Matt arrived mid-day and stayed through dinner. We didn’t accomplish much work but had an awfully nice time.
Finally Monday and Tuesday we got a lot of stuff done: groceries, laundry, unpacking the rest of the truck, sorting items to put away, Cathryn starting our 2012 tax return and Bob pressure-washing our decks which looked really scuzzy after 15 months of neglect. Dinner Monday night at Jim and Phebe’s house with our group of 7 neighbors made us feel we really were settled in back home! It’s great to be here.
Our Loop by the Numbers:
Statute miles traveled: 6,282
Days on cruise: 304
Days boat moved: 166 (55%)
Days boat stayed in port: 138 (45%)
Distance moved on travel days, range: 0.3 – 174 miles
Typical distance moved on travel days: 20 – 60 miles
Average miles traveled on days moved: 38
Nights in marinas: 58%
Nights at anchor or on lock walls or free town walls: 42%
Gallons of fuel used: 3,949 (including 798 miles before and after our Loop)
Average Price Per Gallon: $4.25
The first 8 months of our Loop, from the time we left Fort Pierce, Florida until we left the boat in Mobile, Alabama to go home for six weeks over the holidays, we moved the boat more often and further. During that time, we were driven by the seasons, always needing to keep moving so we wouldn’t get stuck in Canada or the Great Lakes and have to leave the boat to winter over when the marinas and fuel docks close for the season in September. That’s a reality for all folks who plan to do the Loop in approximately one year.
The portion of the trip after the holidays, all in Florida, resulted in fewer and shorter days of travel for us, as it’s easy to be in that area from November to April before it’s time to move north again.
We would add that we don’t think there’s any such thing as a “normal” Loop trip, mirroring the experience of most Loopers. Each boat’s journey is unique, and statistics like those we’ve offered above would vary widely depending on whose stats you read. Some people travel at higher speeds, spend most nights in marinas (especially folks with dogs for whom anchoring out is more complicated), and make fewer stops, but stay in each place longer. Others travel more slowly, make more stops or take multiple years to complete their Loop, and anchor out much more often. Some people eat dinner at restaurants most nights, while others cook on board their boats most nights. Some people take lots of side trips off the main Loop route, others take none. That’s part of the beauty of doing the Loop: you can tailor it to fit your lifestyle, your boat, your budget and your schedule, and make it exactly the trip you want it to be! We have yet to meet a Looper who wasn’t pleased with the choices they made in all those categories.
Up next: Reflections on the Loop, promised sometime within the week . . . really!