|VAUGHN: Couple treks ‘Great Loop’
|Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 5:21 am
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Editor’s Note: The following article is the first of a two-part series.
Some folks have an adventuresome spirit; much more than I would ever attempt.
I’m thinking about Mike and Denniese Liles of Murfreesboro, special friends to me and my wife.
Mike and Denniese took the past 12 months to literally live on a boat and travel the loop from Florida following the Intracoastal Waterway along the Atlantic Ocean to points such as New York, into Canada, and back down on lakes and rivers to travel by Chicago, St. Louis, and parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama to Mobile, and then to their starting point in the Sunshine State.
All along the way, Mike and Denniese maintained an Internet blog where their family and friends could also share in the experience.
I personally followed their travels each day, trying to imagine what they saw and also wondering how their favorite passenger and pet dog, Maggie, was handling the trip.
Their first entry on the blog was Friday, April 29, 2011:
“After almost a year of planning, we are ready to close up the house in Murfreesboro and leave our friends and family for our Great Loop Adventure. We will leave in the morning and make our drive to our new home, Lifestyle II. But don’t expect a 26-year-old boat to be without problems. The drive to Stuart, Fla., will be long. Monday is when we’ll depart Stuart on Lifestyle II to begin our voyage of The Great Loop.”
I obviously cannot fit every entry from their blog into this article. But here are a few.
Tuesday, May 11, 2011: “As we headed out from St. Augustine, I heard Denniese call out that Maggie had jumped overboard. She apparently had seen some dolphins swimming and decided to join them. After we got her back into the boat, she promised to not swim again with dolphins. We assumed that would be enough excitement for the day, but about a mile later, we ran aground. Thankfully, a local oyster fisherman helped us off and told us the best way to go.”
Monday, May 30, 2011: “You need two things to be a long-term boater; duct tape and WD-40. Today it is duct tape. While changing a fuel filter, I broke a bleed screw. So, I did what any good sailor would do, I put duct tape on it and called a day.
Tuesday, May 31, 2011: “The engine stopped; air (is) in the fuel filter. Luckily, last night I had super-glued a broken part and replaced the duct tape that I had used to hold it together. After that, it was off again on the voyage.”
Tuesday, June 21, 2011: “New York, New York! We made it out of New Jersey and found a protected harbor in Great Kills, N.Y. Thanks to everyone who prayed for us to have smooth traveling on the Atlantic Ocean. We both agreed that if we had to end our trip today (but not planning on doing that) it was worth all the work getting here.”
Tuesday, August 30, 2011: “Monday was a great day on Lake Michigan. Come tomorrow morning, we plan to set out for crossing the big lake to the Windy City. We can see the skyline of Chicago already from 30 miles out. I then looked over my shoulder and saw a U.S. Customs boat with blue lights flashing. They don’t say pull over. You just kind of know when a military-type inflatable with three large outboard motors and people with guns. Well, they boarded our boat and asked if we had spent the night in Canada. Well yes, we spent a month there. After 30 minutes, they decided that we were not a threat to national security and let us go. Welcome to Chicago.”
I enjoyed following Mike and Denniese during the past year by way of the Internet.
I hope that they will someday publish a book about their trip.
It should make for good reading.
I have heard that everyone has a No. 1 song or a best-selling book in his or her head.
It just needs to be published.