After three weeks at home, it seems time to put a postscript on our Great Loop trip. The last 21 days have generated a lot of conflicting emotions in Peg and me, much more than we expected.
Togetherness – Seeing family and friends has been a joyous reunion. Visitors to Endeavor in the Bahamas and Charleston staved off the emptiness, but missing loved ones is a real thing. Social media and Skype help but are not a true substitute. The blog was a labor of love, but as our friend Shelly noted, it was mainly a one-way conversation outward. We missed a lot of the day to day happenings in people’s lives. Being back to hugs and handshakes was wonderful.
Longing – At the same time, we miss the dear new friends we made along the way. Some have completed their Loop and some continue. Either way, we are plotting ways to get together with them again.
Cuddly Comfort – Being in our bed at home, watching a huge flock of turkeys wander outside the back door, walking through our pastoral woods, all of these are creature comforts we’ve dreamed of for the last year. Oh, and long hot showers!
Exhaustion – Who knew that unpacking a house could be so tiring? We had stuffed our household into two densely packed rooms, along with critical-mass crowding in the workshop and pole barn. Trying to remember where we put stuff a year ago was futile. We ended up living on the few pieces of kitchenware from Endeavor until recently. As we unpack we are eliminating anything we don’t really need. Seriously. I mean, why do I still need 18 pairs of dress pants… I’m retired! On the other hand, each day brings an exciting new discovery of some important item, kind of like Christmas every day.
Sleeplessness – Although exhausted, we have both found sleep elusive. After a year of sleeping in a gently rocking boat, a motionless bed is strange.
Crabbiness – Somewhere around the end of the first week The Crabbies set in. Just the little nit-picking digs that a couple does when something is off-kilter. A couple of major arguments ensued, then we sat down and talked it out. We came to the conclusion that we were both feeling overwhelmed and aimless.
Overwhelmed – A looper told us “When at home, you have a million things to do every day, almost none mean a thing. When cruising, you usually have only a couple of things to accomplish each day (laundry, food, fuel, etc.) but those things are important.” Coming back to the million little things is an overwhelming experience.
Aimlessness – We are both goal-driven people. We were both unprepared for the feeling of suddenly being done with such a large project that has spanned years. We both get antsy without something to work toward, so we decided to up our schedule and start working on the next items on our bucket list immediately (see Prolog). Voila! Crabbies Gone!
Wanderlust – Lastly, we discovered that we suffer from wanderlust. Home is comfortable and familiar, but has been done. We want to continually balance home stays with new explorations. Whether by boat or travel trailer, show us that horizon!
Thankfulness – Lastly, we are thankful for the hard work, help from friends, planning, good luck, timing and freedom that allowed us to spend a year afloat. Every stop, and the travels between, showed us adventure. It was an amazing trip and one we highly recommend. Seeing this map and the number of places we touched still amazes me.
And so the next chapter begins. Within days of arriving home, Peg found an example of our proposed next adventure boat advertised locally. We had planned to wait until late Fall or Spring to start the hunt, but this boat turned out to be such a good deal that we bit early and now have a Winter project outfitting her. The previous owner was a maintenance nut and she is completely ready to float. We need only add our gear and make a few customizations. Shelly also sagely noted that Options is our first boat in decades that does not require extensive work before use.
Yup, we are crazy for buying another boat before even finding our silverware.
On her we plan to explore farther by trailering to a launch point. Some of the waterways on our list are shown here. Not sure she has the legs, fuel-wise, for the Bahamas, but New England, the Pacific Northwest and Nova Scotia are definite possibles. The inland waterways will be a piece of cake.
The new (used) boat will be renamed “Options”. It is our first motorboat in 25 years. More pictures here
We took her on the St. Croix River last Sunday for a maiden voyage to see the new interstate bridge at Stillwater.
She putters at 7 mph just above idle, planes with a sweet spot at 28 mph, and hit 37 before I chickened out and chopped the throttle. No idea on MPG yet, but I have a measuring tool in the works. Peg is learning CPR for when I see the results.
And thus we hang our heads in shame as we become gas guzzlers. Riding the wind is just too fun to ignore, so there will be some sort of sailing craft in the fleet soon as well.
We’ll be starting with a few short shakedown trips this Fall then head for the horizon next Spring.