Thursday, November 4, 2010

We have been to plenty of reunions this is our first Rendezvous

Every year two times a year somewhere around 200 looper gather in either South Carolina or Joe Wheeler State Park in Alabama to share tales of friendship, hardship, excitement and anticipation.  This year Anna and I attended their AGLCA fall rendezvous at Joe Wheeler.  This is one of the more beautiful anchorages and marinas on the Tennessee river.  Who is Joe Wheeler?  I wish I could tell you but I was so busy talking with fellow loopers it never occurred to me to learn more about this state park that I was docked in.  We learned many things at the rendezvous, the two most common things we learned are that most loopers attend either Over eaters anonymous or AA when they are done, in many cases both.  This crowd knows how to party.  We spent our days trying to soak up as much information about the remaining half of our trip as possible.  I took a number of seminars given by fellow loopers who have done the trip numerous times and seem to have the inside track on the good bargains and things to avoid.  There were a couple of really interesting things that happened while we were at the park.  The first was our first Tornado scare.  No I did not see Dorothy clicking here heals, but I did hear the sirens at the park blare letting us know that one had touched down within 20 miles of us.  I thought to myself, should we run to the shelter?  A young dock attendant walked by me and said, "Do not worry about it, it is 20 miles away but if you hear it again grab your pet and run for the building."  I said to Anna, " We are not in Kansas anymore.  Or are we?"  I must say the wind did pick up for a good 15 minutes making me miss the strong winds of Nantucket which keep us on our toes with the frequent Nor'easter that blow through the island.  The other exciting event was me turning 37!!  Who better for me to celebrate this great day with than our friends the Yanceys and the Peters.  Bill Yancey said, "It is a shame that I had lived this long without being able to enjoy a true southern catfish dinner."  So with no backing out on my part a catfish dinner was planned.  At first sight a whole fried catfish seemed to resemble a whole Chinese cooked chicken minus the head.  After the first bite I quickly discovered why this meal has become a favorite in America's southern states.  If you ever have a chance to eat a true southern hush puppy do not pass it up.  My word they are good.  To finish off the night Anna made me a Jack Daniels birthday cake that she had gotten a recipe for from the Jack Daniel's website.  It involved almost 2 cups of my favorite drink.  It was delicious.  Despite many comments from other loopers about how young we were it was a great pleasure to meet with another young lopper couple the Parrents.  They are about 2 years younger than us and have just stared the loop in Michigan.  They are traveling with their 3 children whom they are home schooling along the way.  They are really an inspiration to see in action.  We had a few great nights hanging out with them and joking about how next year the rendezvous should have a kids table for us young loopers.  We also had fun joking about the most common questions we have been repeatedly asked by older loopers like- How is that you can pull this off?  We have compiled some of our favorite responses.  They are as follows- I won the lottery, I just got out of jail for insider trading, If I keep moving the bank can not find me, and I am scouting for a reality show.  With the rendezvous now over we are very excited to start the next phase of our travels.  We are headed down the Tenn-Tom waterway to Mobile Bay.  Salt water here we come.


Some of these ducks have the markings of a cow.  I have never seen a spotted duck before.


All the Loopers have arrived.



Those are some mean looking clowds.  A few moments later we got some unbelievable winds.  It was a bit of a reality check to see how quickly a powerful storm and brew in this part of the world.



It is amazing this cake didn't blow up with the amount of booze Anna put in it.  I had to warn the Craig and Danielle not to give it to the kids for fear they may like it.


On one of the nights they had a looper crawl where a number of loopers opened thier boats to be viewed by others.  I got a kick out of the fact that a guy asked me whose boat I was washing and who much I charged while I cleaned Blue.


Anna took a swim in the pool and got some crazy looks by people saying how can you swim it is so cold?  We didn't think it was so strange it was 78 and sunny.  I guess they could tell we where from the north.



The fall colors are in full swing here.



Once again we were given some great sunsets.


We were able to witness this river boat grounded on  a shoal in the channel. I later learned that a tow had snapped a cable trying to pull the old girl of the shoal.  It must have been a tough day for the Captain and reminded us that you can drop your guard on the rivers. 



Before

After!
Happy Halloween!

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