A collection of 35 short stories offering guidance, humor, and reflection from women who have traveled America’s Great Loop.
In 2017 Steve and I achieved an amazing accomplishment of completing the Great Loop on Gypsies Palace. Approximately 150 boats every year cross their wake by making an entire trip around the Great Loop. A friend and fellow Looper, Susan Costa, came up with the idea of gathering stories from women who have traveled the Great Loop. 35 women, including myself, volunteered to write a chapter in this e book. The stories are amazing and cover a wide range of topics. I am so proud to be part of this project.
Below is the part of the Chapter that I wrote called Cat Tales, Dog Tales and Docktails. At the end of my chapter I will provide a copy of the book and hope it will inspire others to accomplish their dream.
Cat Tales, Dog Tails & Docktails By Debbie Russell On Gypsies Palace. 47 Ft. Leopard Power Cat / 50 FT. Endeavour Power Cat Gold Looper 2017
Most people spend a lot of time in the Planning Mode to do the Great Loop. We went backwards – we decided to live aboard full time on a boat and go “All In” without even hearing about the Great Loop. We sold our house and bought this big (47 feet long) and wide (25 feet wide) power catamaran. We didn’t even talk about where we would go, but it would be somewhere fun. Our first task was to move our “stuff” onboard and make some modifications to cruise. One day I opened Passage Maker Magazine and there was this big ad for the Great Loop from this organization AGLCA. I joined it without telling my husband and began to read up on the Loop. It was fascinating. I couldn’t keep it a secret for long because I was getting so excited about all of the places along the Loop that we would see. Very soon I was a daily Forum reader and found much of the information was overwhelming. How could we ever do this? We bought the boat in October and by December my head was filled with Looper Lingo, including a Rendezvous that was taking place that Spring! My heart sank when I learned that we were too late to attend, but we would be on a wait list. I hoped that someone would cancel. It turned out that Kim Russo emailed me in February saying that we were in! Now we had to figure out how to get there in time!
I also wondered about our big and wide Catamaran. Could we really take it on the Loop? We didn’t have anyone to ask (no one had big catamarans then) so I started researching any restrictions on the Loop for width and height. Gypsies Palace is certainly a “Wide Body”. When she is coming at you all you see is width. I learned that we could not fit in the Trent Severn Waterway, but we could use the Welland Canal and go through Lake Erie to get to Canada. Great! One obstacle solved.
The second restriction is height. We had to fit under the Chicago Railroad Bridge of 19.7 ft. I cannot tell you how many times that we measured our air draft! We could fit if we took the satellite dish down and that would put us to 18.5 feet. But, this part of the trip was going to be a worry for me. What if we got there and had to turn around? What about getting under bridges in tight situations? The one thing I didn’t want to do is to be the one to go look at our roof and say, “Yeah, we can make it…..I think…..” So, what my husband did is that he created a pole that I could stand on the bow of our boat that would equal the height of our boat. If the pole touched the bridge we couldn’t make it. I will say that this really helped us on the Erie Canal because we were close for one of them! But, we never touched. Another worry got put away.Read More