Getting Here from There
How did we get here? It all started about 16 years ago. Technically, it started on Match.com where Melinda and I first met, in the ether, as it were. But the conversation about travel started when we met in person for the first time at our once beloved Haiku restaurant on High St in Columbus OH. At that fateful meeting Melinda broached the subject of cruising the inland waterways in a vessel she could manage alone. That idea piqued my interest.
Melinda grew up on and along the Ohio river in Marietta Ohio. Her family regularly spent time on the water, in boats of various sizes and propulsion systems, up to cabin cruisers. Her big water event was the annual Stern Wheel Festival which has occurred in her home town for many years. That event eventually evolved into the annual family get together that we still attend today. Melinda's love of the water included competing from diving boards and platforms and rowing crew in high school.
I grew up on and in the water too, but on much smaller vessels, well, at least until I joined the US Coast Guard. My family grew up around the community pool at Forest Park in Springfield Massachusetts where we first took swimming lessons. My water excursions then expanded to canoes and Sunfish sailing with the Boy Scouts. I started lap swimming in college for exercise which later evolved into training for and participating in triathlons. Later I got into skin on frame kayaking and then hard shell kayaking just before I met Melinda. My love of water also extended to SCUBA (from as far north as Rhode Island to as far south at Cancun). Somewhere in there I did a bit of sail boarding as well.
Point being, we both love the water so at least on that front, we were a Match.com made in heaven!
To fast forward a bit, we married the year after we met, and raised kids and animals for ensuing years. After our eldest headed out on her own and the youngest was a year out from graduating college, the water travel subject reared its head, this time in the form of The Great Loop! Our appetites were whetted again and we started consuming Captain John's Great Loop website captainjohn.org.
Being of the frugal and minimalist mindset, we were drawn to John's hint at using a sailboat to do the the Loop! Sailboat? Yes! I'd always wanted to really learn to sail and sailing the loop is the most economical way to do it...
NEXT: Learning to Sail.