Cloudy skies & sprinkles this morning but the wind did lay down. Easy cruise, entered narrow channel to Pebble Isle Marina around noon & hailed them on VHF for docking instructions. “Congratulations” the dockmaster greeted us, “I understand you are completing the Loop”! Who told? As we pulled up to the dock there were 8 Looper Boats with Loopers we knew from all over the place standing on the dock to greet us! How special is our Looper Organization? Pretty darn special! Some of these folks we haven’t seen since the Florida Gulf Coast last year! Plenty of help catching lines & plans made for 5pm cocktails & lots of catching up to do. We still didn’t get it! We walk into the Restaurant and it’s decorated with balloons & there’s all kinds of food! Is it somebody’s birthday? Thank you “Roy-El”! We suspect that you headed up the effort & isn’t it great that these Loopers love to celebrate, regardless of occasion! You have no idea how much it means to us. Thank you all! The celebration has begun! There is a gold burgee in our immediate future.
Pebble Isle does an excellent job of making Loopers feel welcome. They fix complimentary Cinnamon Rolls at 8:30 in the morning! Their restaurant is closed on Mondays so they are letting us use it for a Looper’s Pot Luck tonight. We had a lovely day, Linda & Pete “Where’s Linda” joined us in the Courtesy Van on a quick tour of Camden, TN. We visited the Birdsong Pearl Farm (the only freshwater pearl-culturing operation in the U.S. right here in TN) We watched an interesting film & got a short lecture from George, the owner. Also visited the memorial to Patsy Cline & the others who died on this site in a plane crash 1963. Made our usual Walmart run and came home to cook for the supper tonight. Some of the ladies used the restaurant rotisserie to cook chickens. I took Spinach & Feta pie! What a great group here with Roy-El, Final Decision, Potest Fier, Pollyanna, Where’s Linda, Early Out, Dream Manor, PatsyRay, Tug Hill Tug, Twice s Nice, Periwinkle, Hale Kai, Sterling Lady & more. The last 2 stops have been rich with Loopers. Boats are positioning to attend the Joe Wheeler Rendezvous on Oct 25th. Cool!
Weather not so great this morning! No rain, just cloudy, but forecast has some nasty storms in it. We hang around until 9am trying to figure out the pattern on all the weather websites that we consult. Seems like everything looks better to the south which happens to be the way we are headed, so we throw lines and our friends shove us out as we are tightly parallel parked. Another goodbye! It drizzled on us on & off for 5+ hours but we outran the really dark clouds. Pulled into Clifton Marina around 3 and jumped in their courtesy car to take a spin around the town! Had dinner aboard! At some point tomorrow we will officially cross our wake! Just as we get through the Pickwick Lock and at the top of the Tennesse-Tombigbee Waterway we will reach our milestone. We will be Veterans, Gold Burgee, “we did it”, Loopers and we will be celebrating at Grand Harbor Marina. How awesome is that? Thank you God for all your blessings and this fantastic opportunity to travel & experience all that we have in the last year.
The day dawned like many others, sun shining down on the water & blue skies above. Ah, but this is a special day! We traveled 52 miles and only one lock. But when we pulled out of the Pickwick lock chamber and motored ahead, there was this HUGE WAKE!!!!! Not just any wake, the “Salvage Crew” wake we made last year when we left on the loop and now--when we crossed it….we had closed “America’s Great Loop”! We popped a bottle of champagne, changed our burgee from white to gold & called Mary & Andy (Good News)! One year, 3 countries and 6,346 miles later, we have earned our BaccaLooperate Degree from the America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association! We pulled into Grand Harbor where several Looper Boats are docked and they blew their ship’s horns and Michele on Ithaka was even crying! I thought it would just be me (happiness through tears is my favorite emotion)!!! Enjoyed boat friends on the dock including Fred & Joan Myers! Dinner out to celebrate! Chip & Michele joined us for dinner at Freddy T’s! It was a good day here on the “Life is Good” tour!
Lazy morning! We sent Adagio & Ithaka up the river but we decided to stay & tour! First we visited the Tennessee River Museum in Savannah, TN. Great stop for an interesting museum & information on the whole area. Then we dropped by “The Cherry Mansion” on the banks of the TN where Grant set up his Union Headquarters. On to the battlefield, where it becomes so blatantly clear that in the Civil War, there were no winners. Everybody lost! A somber place, I guess we should all take time to study our history, so that we can avoid repeating our mistakes.(I’m pretty sure someone has said that better) One of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War, we lost 24,000 men (incl both sides) in 2 days. A national park, the museum & short movie they show gives good perspectives about the battle. Back at the marina, “Sterling Lady” was being towed in (got a line wrapped around their port prop) & Chip was diving to see if he could pull it off.
“Where’s Linda” limps in on 1 engine with Diesel Don on call for tomorrow AM.
We had gumbo, slaw & crusty bread for dinner on board & watched a movie. We want to move to Florence tomorrow but weather forecast seem a little grim tonight. Will get up early & check things out!
The forecast this morning had severe thunderstorm warnings for later in the morning for all the counties surrounding us in MS & TN. No Alabama counties were listed. Yikes! Let’s get out of here. We left at first light for Sweet Home Alabama! We wanted to make it to Florence (40mi) so we could pick up a car. Tomorrow morning we will drive 2 hours to Lake Guntersville Yacht Club for our Annual Business Meeting & Sat night Potluck. It will be great to see all the gang! So with high wind & flood warnings in our rear view mirror, we managed to make it to Florence Harbor Marina without a drop of rain! Not too long after we were secure, the winds & rains caught up with us. We enjoyed a rainy afternoon reading & napping (you guess who was doing what)! It cleared off about 5pm when Enterprise came to pick us up to go get the car. We ran by the store and then went to Dale’s Steakhouse. We had Dale’s in Birmingham for many years and it is still a wonderful dining experience with excellent steaks, impeccable service, & a nice romantic atmosphere! It still feels like a step back in time! Out early tomorrow! We will tour Florence when we get back from Guntersville.
Fun weekend with our friends at LGYC. The business meeting was taken care of in the morning. One of our new docks is ready (finally replaced after April’s storm swept away 2 of our covered docks) & “Salvage Crew” now has a slip to come home to. We visited & watched football games in the afternoon, had a wine tasting at 5pm & enjoyed wonderful food at the Potluck Dinner Saturday night! Microwave Dave & the Nukes (a popular blues band) was fantastic entertainment! We spent the night with the Gills onboard “Crack of Dawn”!