Departing the Rendezvous

October 21

The realization that cruising in the Midwest in the fall means dealing with rain and chilly temperatures seemingly escaped me as I stood in my closet in Goshen wondering what to pack way back in August. We were thinking “south” and “warm” and “simplify.” A small boat does require making tough choices and economizing one’s space, but to have over-simplified was a miscalculation. Hence, we are woefully unprepared for fall: I with one pair of socks (now with a hole), one sweater, and no fleece, gloves, scarf…well, you get the picture. My foul weather gear is warm and dry, and, while not stylish, it is a godsend; and the quilt which I purchased for the boat and seemed like the silliest aesthetic of all during those 95-degree days in early October has made bedtime inviting and cozy.

Cruising in the rain
It’s cozy down here at the lower helm. The boat has 3 windshield wipers across, although defogging the inside of the window requires a cloth on a long handle. With the generator running, we have heat. Our only lack from the lower helm is autopilot, requiring that hands pretty much remain on the wheel. In this photo, you can also see our two electronic charts, one being an iPad. We can zoom in and see detail on one and zoom out and see the bigger picture on the other, but these are also different charts, each  with its unique assets. We also use a paper chart in a flip book.
Cold air and warm water…
make channel markers hard to find
The perfect antidote to cold mornings—baked oatmeal!

And why are we NOT in Florida by now? Well, first of all, it’s not November yet. Most Loopers’ boat insurance requires that they wait until the end of hurricane season to be within 100 of the Gulf here on the rivers. Second, we attended the AGLCA (American Great Loop Cruising Association) Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park in Northern Alabama, a 4-day conference for gathering information about the Loop and for socializing with other loopers. (One of the important pieces of information we were seeking was the availability of marine services along the coastline that Hurricane Michael hit.) And third, we decided to avoid the crush of loopers heading south and to enjoy a scenic side trip up the Tennessee River to Chattanooga. Fall color is just beginning, but we hope to catch it full on next week on our return to the main route. 

We are just now truly beginning the Looping lifestyle. Yesterday we and five other boats convoyed together from Joe Wheeler, enjoyed “docktails” and a pot luck on the dock of the marina at the end of our cruise, and departed this morning at “0 dark hundred” in order to lock through together at Guntersville. C4011270-F934-4F8B-AB6B-F9874E8198BFFrom there we scattered, as some have pressing time tables and we—finally and delightedly—do not. Up river another day’s journey we found dockage at Goose Pond Colony Marina in Scottsboro, Alabama. We spent a fun afternoon with new friends Mike and Brenda Finkenbinder from St. Paul, MN shopping at the Unclaimed Baggage Center, where lost and unclaimed items from airline travel end up. The operation stocks 7000 new items each day, everything from high end jewelry and electronics to books and unopened toiletry items. I’m pretty sure I saw some of Julia’s things there. 😉


On the dog front….Oliver is compliant and flexible, and with healing of his spinal compression fracture and the return of cool weather, his trotting, top-o’-the-world gait has returned. That said, it seems, perhaps, that the trauma of the introduction of the “turf-on-a-tray” afflicted his constitution, and we dealt with 4 days of diarrhea. The plus side was that the urgency of the matter required that he find someplace to go while underway, and he finally acquiesced to our designated spot. Returning to land for a few days, socializing with other dogs and sightings of real live squirrels seem to have done the trick….that, and a few doses of Imodium.

4 thoughts on “Departing the Rendezvous”

  1. So the unclaimed baggage is A STORE?! I lost my autobridge game awhile ago! Go back to find it!! (Hehe. Not) the photos of the fog are BEAUTIFUL. But if they hide the channel markers… Uh oh! I’d send you some Merino wool socks if I had an address…😎 Happy cruising!


    1. Yes, Unclaimed Baggage is a very classy Good Will! So sorry about your auto bridge game—would have looked for one! Yes, morning fog is magical and treacherous. We wait it out, but with less and less daylight hours, we are chopping at the bit to begin our days. Bought socks today in Chattanooga—YAY! Not wool, but I will gather some up at home. Thanks for the generous thought to send. Love you!!


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