Article by Terry Rainwater: As promised, here is a short version of our 2004-2005 Great Loop Boat trip, the circumnavigation of the Eastern USA on our 39 ft. Mainship Trawler, A single Caterpillar diesel engine Trawler – 14 ft beam and a maximum cruise speed of about 10 knots (12 MPH) Our boat had a diesel generator, an electric cook stove and oven, two central air conditioners, GPS with all the necessary river charts, radar, two bedrooms, a head, shower, 300 gallon fuel tanks, 100 gallon fresh water tanks. With the canvas, we were totally contained inside in case of inclement weather. Inside the main cabin we had two Lazyboy recliners, TV, and all the comforts of home. We also carried an 11 ft hard bottom dinghy with a 15 HP outboard motor, so we could explore or go to shore while anchored.
In 2000, June and I purchased our Mainship in preparation for future retirement and spend a year or more doing the Americas Great loop Trip. We departed South Haven, Michigan the Wednesday after labor Day in early September, 2004. Our friends gave us a great send-off with a dock party and some really nice gifts.
We cruised the first day from South Haven to Chicago, at our speed, an all-day trip. From Chicago we entered the Illinois River to the Mississippi River. South on the Mississippi to the Ohio River and up the Ohio River to Paducah, KY where we entered the Tennessee River. From the Tennessee, we took a side trip up the Cumberland River to Nashville, TN where we docked downtown Nashville for a few days, then returned to the Tennessee to continue South where we met the Tombigbee waterway, a man-made canal system with locks that opened in the 1970’s for pleasure craft to bypass the Southern portion of the Mississippi. The Mississippi River is not very friendly for pleasure craft, due to lack of facilities and safe anchorages, so the Tombigbee was a much better choice. The Tombigbee takes you to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Our trip from South Haven to Mobile Bay took us almost three months. We stopped along the way many times for a week or more each time, anchoring many nights and sometimes tying up to shore or river barges at night. From Mobile, we entered the Intracoastal Waterway, protected waters from Mobile to Apalachicola, FL where the Intracoastal ended. From Apalachicola, we had to cross the Gulf to Tarpon Springs, FL where the Intracoastal Waterway would resume. The Gulf Crossing at our speed was an all night trip. We left Apalachicola just past noon on January 1, 2005. I set the auto pilot on a direct heading to Tarpon Springs and June and I took 3 hour shifts monitoring the radar for traffic, especially at night since visibility was zero in the dark out in the open Gulf Waters. We had a smooth crossing and were finally docked in Tarpon Springs about 10:00 A.M. on January 2, 2005
Our trip from Tarpon Springs followed the Intracoastal to Fort Meyers, FL where we turned left and took the Caloosahatchee River across the State through Lake Okeechobee to the East coast at Stuart, FL. From Stuart we travelled North on the Intracoastal all the way to Manasquan, NJ where the Intracoastal ends. Our trip from Tarpon Springs around Florida and up the East Coast was from January 2, 2005 to about May 20. During that time we spent many weeks docked in Tarpon Springs, Clearwater Beach, Ft. Meyers, Melbourne, St, Augustine, Jacksonville. Also Savannah, GA – Charleston, GA – Norfolk. We really enjoyed the many small towns in Chesapeake Bay, Delware Bay, and stopped at the casinos in Atlantic City.
From Manasquan, NJ where the Intracoastal ends to New York City, it’s about 25 miles cruising in the Atlantic Ocean until the entry into New York harbor and the Hudson River. It was really cool cruising into New York and past the Statue of Liberty. We stayed for 10 days at Liberty Landing marina in New Jersey and visited New York City almost every day with some good friends who came to New York with their sail boat where they lived in Rhode Island.
We left New York and travelled up the Hudson to the Erie Canal, then to the Oswego where we cruised to Oswego, NY.
From Oswego, we crossed Lake Ontario to Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Heading West from there we then entered the Trent-Severn waterway which took us to Georgian Bay in Northern Lake Huron. Along the way on the Trent, all of the little towns were fantastic, including Bobcaygeon where Stan McCormack now resides.
We followed a small craft route on Northern Georgian Bay to the North Channel of Lake Huron and eventually back to the USA at Mackinac Island. From Mackinac Back to South Haven, MI about Labor day, exactly one year after leaving.
We have many great memories and a daily log was kept of the entire trip so we can look back and see what we did every day of that fantastic year.
I took over 2000 photos, but lost them all except about 400 prints I had made. My computer crashed and I thought I had them all backed up, but somehow missed that file. I recovered everything except those pics.
This was the greatest year of travel we have ever done.
Stan Speaks: Terry did not just “settle” in FL. He became the President of the Betmar Shuffleboard Club, the Club that welcomed the First ISA World Singles Event in 2009. Here he is at the podium on Opening Day. He also played his guitar and sang later. It is evident that Terry and June have had a Full and Enjoyable Life. Stan 2018 09 03
Terry Speaks: In 2011 we purchased a motor home and drove to Alaska, and continued full time travelling until late 2015. ((Maybe they will tell us about their trip to Alaska next?? )) We are now settled in Ft Wayne, Indiana.
Terry & June Rainwater. Stan Speaks I want to thank Terry and June for submitting this comprehensive summary of their Adventure!! It certainly diminishes the “story line” that all Shufflers are in “Cruising Mode”. Stan McCormack. 2018 09 03