July 1, 2013
When The Water Calls ... We Follow

June 20, 2013
New Adventures

May 31, 2013
Storing Our Shiny Red Tug

May 13, 2013
Viva La Difference

May 6, 2013
Swinging Free & Easy

April 15, 2013
In The Middle

March 29, 2013
On The Hook

March 18, 2013
Tinker Time

February 28, 2013
Jumping Into the Mix

February 15, 2013
Time Travel

February 6, 2013
Charlevoix - A Small Town With A World-Class Reputation

January 15, 2013
The Perfect Ending

January 1, 2013
Magical Weather & Mysterious Ports

December 15, 2012
Collins Inlet, Killarney, & Little Current

December 1, 2012
New Neighbors

November 16, 2012
What Makes a Perfect Anchorage?

November 1, 2012
Are We There Yet?

October 15, 2012

October 1, 2012
Womens Roundtable

September 15, 2012
Freedom to Discover a Southern Gem

September 1, 2012

August 15, 2012
Nice to Have Options

August 1, 2012
Go West!

July 15, 2012
The Perfect Boating Vacation Destination

July 1, 2012

June 15, 2012
Flagler’s Folly

June 1, 2012
Everglades Detour

May 15, 2012
Making New Friends

May 1, 2012
Something Old and Something New

April 15, 2012
Florida’s Wide Open West Coast

April 1, 2012
Life On the Water in a Trailerable Trawler

March 15, 2012
Becoming Second Nature

March 1, 2012
Last Dance

February 15, 2012
Call it Romance or Mystique

February 1, 2012
Natural Wonders Abound

January 15, 2012
Hardly a Care in the World

January 1, 2012
Wide-Eyed Anticipation

December 15, 2011
Winding Our Way to Lake Powell

December 1, 2011
On to New Cruising Grounds

November 15, 2011
Sharing the Love

November 1, 2011
On the Water Again

October 14, 2011
First Impressions

October 3, 2011
Possession is Nine-Tenths of the Fun

September 15, 2011
Getting the Show on the Road

September 1, 2011
Lets Dance!

August 15, 2011
Getting Our Ducks in a Row

August 1, 2011
Summer Without a Boat

July 15, 2011
The Water and The Boater Home

July 1, 2011
One Step Closer

June 15, 2011
Time Keeps on slippin’ Into the Future

June 1, 2011
Made in the USA

May 15, 2011
Making the Right Truck Choice

May 1, 2011
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

April 15, 2011
What Goes Around Comes Around

April 1, 2011
Wishing Star Interlude

March 15, 2011
Helping Hands

March 1, 2011

February 15, 2011
Weighing the Options

February 1, 2011
Making a List, Checking it Twice!

January 14, 2011
The Science of Towing

December 30, 2010
The Upside of Downsizing

December 15, 2010
The New Plan!

December 1, 2010
Homeward Bound-The Final Leg

November 15, 2010
Somethings In The Water

November 1, 2010
Our Turn to Relax & Smile

October 15, 2010
Gem in the Rough

October 1, 2010
Whats Your Favorite Place on the Loop?

September 15, 2010
Reflecting Pool

September 1, 2010
Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

August 15, 2010
Canadian Wonderland

August 1, 2010
"Low Bridge, Everybody Down"

July 15, 2010
One Day At A Time

July 1, 2010
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!

June 15, 2010
Lets All Do the Rendezvous

June 1, 2010
On the Hard

May 15, 2010
Falling in Love With Key West

May 1, 2010
Helping Women Get On Board

April 15, 2010
Key West - A Repeat Performance

April 1, 2010
Unexpected Pleasures

March 15, 2010
Mom Cruise

March 1, 2010
Okeechobee Bound

February 15, 2010
Chance Encounters

February 1, 2010
Three Nights in Paradise

January 15, 2010
New Frontiers

January 1, 2010
First Time Experiences

December 15, 2009
A Friend In Every Port

December 1, 2009
Dealing With A Temperamental Lady

November 18, 2009
You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

November 13, 2009
A Cult Following

October 15, 2009
Somewhere in Time

October 1, 2009
Unlocking Our Minds Eye

September 18, 2009
Its In My Nature

August 15, 2009
The RBS Antidote

August 1, 2009
Crab Crazy

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

July 15, 2009
Sights And Sounds Of The Bay

June 15, 2009
Our Last Leg North

June 1, 2009
Northern Migration

May 15, 2009

May 1, 2009
Hello Goodbye

April 15, 2009
Let The Sun Shine In!

April 1, 2009
Dont Worry, Be Happy

March 15, 2009
Bahama Bound

March 1, 2009
What Do You Do All Day?

February 15, 2009
Slow Motion

February 1, 2009
On The Hook With A Million-Dollar View

January 15, 2009
High Anxiety

January 1, 2009
A String Of One-Night Stands

December 15, 2008
Pushing Into New Tennessee River, Upstream To Adventure

December 1, 2008
All Together Now

November 15, 2008
Kismet in the Aftermath of Hurricane Ike

October 31, 2008
Our Love Affair With The River

October 16, 2008
Big City Lights

October 1, 2008
The Adventure Begins

September 15, 2008
Prepping For The Loop

September 1, 2008
The Space Ship

August 15, 2008
Jumping Aboard In Seattle

August 1, 2008
If We Knew Then What We Know Now!

July 10, 2008
The Second Time Around

July 1, 2008
Our Turn For The Great American Loop


Jumping Into the Mix
By Kismet, Thursday, February 28, 2013

By Jim & Lisa Favors

We enjoy boating in our home waters of Michigan and Canada during the summer months, it’s one of the reasons we sold our bigger, 40-foot trawler and bought a trailerable boat, we wanted to have more flexibility in choosing where we spend our cruising time. After a full summer cruising in the Great Lakes, a few inland lakes and Canada’s North Channel, the first season we’ve had, in this area, over six years, we were ready to head out again with truck, trailer and boat. We drove to Kentucky to join the Looper procession currently in progress as many make their way south on the river system. After cruising the river system twice on both our “Loops,” we developed quite a fondness for the Tennessee River.

Cloverdale RV Park felt more like visiting a nice State Park than a typically crowded RV Park.

We decided to start the water part of our journey from Green Turtle Bay Resort and Marina in Grand Rivers, Kentucky. After two days and 700 miles trailering our boat from our hometown in Michigan, it would take just two days of driving, but would still be a piece-of-cake by comparison. The comparison I’m referring to are the logistics of how long it would take to cruise to Grand Rivers on our boat’s bottom, roughly a 897-mile cruise. We would have to boat down Lake Michigan, the Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, and Cumberland Rivers to Lake Barkley. Traveling at trawler speed, of say 8 mph, and when cruising 8 hours per day, it would take a minimum of 14 good travel days to make it to Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Because we’ve cruised these waters before, we didn’t feel we were cheating ourselves out of a new experience. By arriving in 2 days versus 14, we garnered a huge savings of time and money.

We tow our trailered boat with a Duramax Diesel powered GMC 2500 HD truck, which we’ve found has more than enough pulling power. Since choosing this mode of boating we’ve logged 25,000 miles on our truck, towing it through 19 states and parts of Ontario, Canada. While towing we’ve found our best highway fuel economy is between 60 and 65 MPH, where we get an average of 11.50 MPG. This is also the speed I feel gives us the best margin of safety for sudden stopping or for making potential emergency decisions, without putting us or our equipment in undue harms way. With that said, we typically cap our travel day, when towing our boat, to around 400 miles. On our first day out we were true to form and stopped for a little “Boater Homing” at an RV park in Cloverdale, Indiana, a distance of 427 miles from home.

It felt good to be back on the water. Kismet sat proudly at the launch dock preparing to head to her assigned slip at Green Turtle Marina.

Boater homing, the act of camping out on your boat in an RV park, can be a bit of a crapshoot. We research potential RV Parks from two apps we have on our iPad. Although the descriptive information is relatively accurate, often times we are surprised at what we find upon arrival. The surprises have been mostly positive with an occasional negative, but overall our stays have been good experiences. Pulling into Cloverdale RV Park, we could tell we were in for a pleasant night.

Heading around the fuel dock you can see the Commonwealth Yacht Club sitting high above the water, just one of the many amenities available at the marina to transient boaters.

Most of Indiana’s topography resembles a flat cookie pan, so when we arrived at the Cloverdale RV Park, our first surprise was the slight rolling hills that surrounded the area. The park had a small fishing lake (no swimming allowed) and the owners treated us like long lost friends. Because our combined truck, and trailered boat, measures 55 feet in length, we like the convenience and ease of pull-through campsites when entering and exiting a park. Cloverdale had generous and spacious pull throughs as well as a pleasant atmosphere; we were in hog heaven.

Green Turtle is only another 273-miles south of the RV park; even though it was a short driving day, we decided not to linger. Once we arrived at the marina we had to prepare Kismet for launching, unload the truck bed contents into the boat and set up house for our three-week cruise (we would spend another week at the AGLCA 2012 Fall Rendezvous in Alabama). The described preparation and chores are all part of the trailering experience – for a three week trip the initial set up takes about three hours. I mention this not as a negative but as a big positive because if we had cruised down from Michigan we’d still be on Lake Michigan!

The marina office is also a well-stocked ship’s store and boater’s lounge, a comfortable place for boaters to congregate.

We choose Green Turtle, as our starting point, because it sits on Lake Barkley – it’s just around the corner from MM 26 on the Tennessee River, this is were we would start when we left Green Turtle. Launching at Grand Rivers gave us maximum exposure to the charms of the Tennessee River as we made our way to our final destination, Joe Wheeler State Park Marina in Rogersville, Alabama. Although we are constantly in search of new and interesting places to visit, we choose Green Turtle Marina because it’s one of those places we enjoy returning to, this our third visit. Nice marina, town, not to mention friendly people and beautiful surroundings.

In 2005, while doing our first Loop, Green Turtle was the first marina we stopped at once we got off of the Mississippi River. It was a welcome sight after navigating the mighty and often unpredictable Mississippi and experiencing a few questionable anchorages for several days. We had been more than ready for a few days of downtime and rejuvenation once we locked through the Barkley Lock and Dam. We know this is how most Loopers feel by the time they get to Green Turtle, it seemed a great place to meet some of this years participants and hear their stories of their time on the big river. Green Turtle is a big draw because it is, as its full name implies, a “Resort and Marina.” A massive piece of real estate encompassing 450 boat slips for vessels, many large houseboats, up to 100’, a restaurant and bar, spa, pool, condo and boat rentals as well as a nice ship store – a boater’s paradise.

Settled into our slip, alongside Bruce’s sailboat, Tango, on the transient dock.

Because Green Turtle is a magnet each year for those boaters heading south, we expected to meet more than a few Loopers during our time there. As we pulled into the marina compound we saw the familiar American Great Loop Cruiser Association (AGLCA) burgees flying from no less than 20 boats docked in the transient section of the marina. We had barely begun to unload the contents stowed on our truck before a few Loopers stopped by to introduce themselves with friendly “hellos” and offers of assistance. Paul was whizzing by on a gulf cart when he stopped to introduce himself, making us feel right at home like we were long lost friends he had not seen in years. Our plans were to stay at Green Turtle a couple of days so we could get settled in, provision our boat and take time to get to acquaint ourselves with a few Loopers.

With the truck contents emptied into a chaotic looking jumble onto Kismet’s cockpit, we proceeded to quickly launch her. Once at dock it took us a while to get things sorted out and stored properly, it felt good knowing we were floating again, only two days removed from Northern Michigan. Among our immediate chores was to find a suitable place nearby to store our truck and trailer, the marina couldn’t provide a spot for us, but was able to suggest a place in town that might work. Jim made a few phone calls and before we knew it our storage problem was solved.

Paul (left), and his son John on Memsahib, our paths crossed several times as we both worked our way south on the Tennessee River.

After freshening up from our day’s busy schedule, we poured ourselves a glass of wine and proceeded to walk the docks. We ran into Paul again, and learned he was on the sailboat, Memsahib. He introduced us to his son John; they are doing the Great Loop boat trip together. We learned that John had taken a year off college to join his father on this father/son experience. They will certainly complete the 6,000-mile trip with more than mileage under their belts, they will gain a bank of memories of a time shared – closeness and time, as all parents of young adults know all too well, that may never happen again. When we met them they were five months into their trip and seemed to still be getting along quite well.

Continuing our walk down the dock we continued to meet more of this year’s participants in the Great Loop adventure. The lettering on boat sterns indicated people had arrived at Green Turtle from Wisconsin, Michigan, Connecticut, Minnesota, Florida, Alabama, Ontario, and one boat from New Zealand. Joel and Debby on Water Music were there; we first met them in Key West a few years ago when they were just in the planning stages of doing the Great Loop. It felt good to see a familiar face and know their dream had become reality.

A view of the marina, just up the hill from where Kismet was docked.

Docked next to us at Green Turtle was Bruce on his boat Tango. Bruce is from the St Johns River area south of Jacksonville, Florida. With a big smile and happy disposition, Bruce was easy to get to know. We started up a conversation from our respective cockpits and we didn’t notice at first that Bruce has an artificial leg. Bruce is doing the Loop singlehanded on a sailboat and this was not his first go round having completed the Loop boat trip once before. After getting to know him over the next few days, I thought to myself, here is a guy, living out his dream of doing the Great Loop and not letting his artificial limb hold him back, which is living proof that if you want something strong enough, it’s possible to accomplish whatever you desire. We found Bruce to be an inspiration and example of strength for everyone, boater or not.

The transient dock with many Looper boats, to the right of the houseboat, also present in the background is the marina’s full service repair yard and travel lifts (top of the photo).

At the end of the day we decided “Day One” of our Tennessee River cruise had been a big success. We accomplished all our goals and experienced another example of how flexible our current mode of boating can be. The ability to jump into the mix of boaters currently doing the Loop and relive some of that excitement through them was a thrill for us. Though we fully acknowledge the fact that we aren’t doing the Loop right now and we couldn’t possibly fit in with the current crowd entirely, we didn’t expect to. Just a taste of their excitement is what we craved and to gain a friend or two on the way would more than suffice and satisfy our passion to experience this “Loopy” lifestyle again during our three-week Tennessee River cruise.