You would think that cruising on a trawler would involve easily made transitions as we move from one area to another, but the last 10 days have been rather dramatic. As you can see from the photos, we moved from the beautiful open waters of Lake Michigan to the very congested, muddy and industrial waterways of Illinois. Our autopilot has seldom been used as we keep our hand on the wheel to navigate around huge TOWS, debris in the water, sharp bends and low bridges. To give you an idea of the difference in the water in this area, Mark Twain said “it is too thick to drink and too thin to plow”.

As most of the LOOPERS have finished the Lake Michigan section of the trip and funneled into the narrow river headed south, we have once again enjoyed the opportunities of cruising with each other in groups of 2 or 3 boats. Some of the friendships that we have made started back on the east coast, but many of the cruisers that we are now meeting are couples who are just starting their Loop adventure from their home ports in Canada, Wisconsin and Michigan. Just when you think you have met most of the people on this wonderful journey, more of them jump into the mix with new excitement and energy. One of the few sad things that we have experienced is traveling with couples who eventually finish their loop (officially called “crossing your wake”) and then having to say goodbye as they head home and take a break from the cruising life for a while. We have seen many couples celebrate the end of a wonderful experience, but not without shedding a few tears as they leave a very simple and satisfying lifestyle behind….at least for a while. Most of these couples have cruising in their blood and will be seen back on the waterways soon enough.

Stel and I continue to enjoy the challenges of each and every VERY different day. The challenges of weather, navigation, safe anchoring, finding healthy food, finding a convenient laundromat, dodging logs and TOWS, conserving power and fuel, dealing with mechanical issues, helping others and being helped by others, and maintaining good communication with family and friends keeps us very busy. Our marriage has never been better as we continue to pray, work and play together along this journey of a lifetime.