As I go to bed tonight, we tick down past the 8-days-to-go mark. So, we’re just finishing up some fairly frantic last-minute planning and logistics, and are ready to move into see-what-happens mode.
Today, we dropped off the last pile of stuff at the freight company to be sent out to the boat. Since the boat had to go through Victoria, we couldn’t send any alcohol out on it, so instead we’re shipping out a few cases of wine and a case of northwest liquor (small batch stuff you can’t get in liquor stores out east). Combine that with a radar and chartplotter upgrade, throw in a folding dock cart, some art, and a few miscellaneous other things, and you have 460 lbs of shrink-wrapped boxes on their way out east to meet us. It’ll give me some fun projects to get started on from day 1!
Speaking of the chartplotter upgrade, we made the call to upgrade the main ancient Garmin 5012 chartplotter to a new 1242 Plus unit. I was looking into prices for getting all of the map cards we’d need to safely do the loop with the 5012, and it was getting up over 2000$. At the Seattle Boat Show, I talked to the Garmin rep and he said he actually knew a few people who had recently just done the Great Loop, entirely using the built-in G3 base map that comes with recent Garmin chartplotters. Given that I could get the new unit for essentially the same price as the map cards I was looking at, it seemed like a vastly superior answer. The reps at the Garmin booth don’t actually sell anything, and I’m sure the margin on hardware is lower than a mass-printed SD card, so it seemed like a genuine suggestion to save some money. But then I found a nice combo sale to upgrade our decade-old radar unit to a Fantom 24 at the same time, and suddenly everything got more expensive…
We also got news this week that our new couch was ready to ship, so it’ll head out east about the same time as our random-stuff pallet. We’re excited for the extra storage!
Lastly, we’ve started trying to look at what a timeline MIGHT look like for our loop. We currently only have 2 hard dates:
- March 7th, we have a celebration of life for my grandmother, who passed away earlier this year. We have plane tickets from West Palm Beach for the weekend, so we need to get ~100 miles north of Ft. Lauderdale up to PBI by then.
- November 1st, or so, the locks south of Chicago open from 4 months of maintenance closures, so we can start hauling ass down the Illinois to the Mississippi, away from what will, by then, be quite cold weather.
Outside of those two dates, pretty much anything goes, so I’ve been trying to add some constraints/odds to give people a rough idea when to come out and visit us. If we follow a roughly-72-to-75-degree-average high daily temperature for the first bit (colder than we want, but we get north earlier and can explore further northeast), we end up with the following vague-but-quite-aggressive schedule:
- Feb 28: Ft. Lauderdale, FL
- March 7: West Palm Beach, FL (100 miles)
- March 25: Jacksonville, FL (300 miles)
- April 15: Charleston, SC (300 miles)
- May 1: Wilmington, NC (250 miles)
- May 15: Norfolk, VA (300 miles)
- June 1: Washington DC (250 miles)
- June 10: Baltimore, MD (200 miles)
- June 25: NYC (250 miles)
- July 15: Providence, RI (250 miles)
- Aug 1: Portland, ME (250 miles)
- Aug 20: Back to NYC -> Enter Hudson River (500 miles)
- Sept 5: Montreal, QC (400 miles)
- Sept 15: Leave Lake Ontario into Trent-Severn (200 miles)
- Oct 1: Leave Trent-Severn onto Lake Huron (300 miles)
- Oct 15: Enter Lake Michigan (400 miles)
- Nov 1: Head south from Chicago, IL when the locks open (400 miles)
We, of course, have no idea if we’ll be able to hit that aggressive of a timeline, since we’re also going to be both working full time and trying to enjoy everything along the way. So, we might just skip everything east of NYC, enter the Hudson in late July, and hang out more in Canada. We’ll see!