Florida Bound!839 Land Miles...Aurora, NC to Punta Gorda, FL...2.5 days
44.7 nautical miles...Punta Gorda, FL to Cape Coral, FL...5:40 hours
The crew of Lab Partners left home, traveled 839 miles in 3 days and arrived safely Jan 16th, in Punta Gorda, FL to resume our Great Loop. If all goes as planned we will "cross our wake" at Lady's Island SC; thus completing our Great Loop in late March or early April.
We did have the engine serviced before we left…here she is in the shop! We actually had the trailer serviced, too … right after we blew a tire in the water on a boat ramp. SO, 4 new tires and the bearings checked before we haul to FL!!
Trailering the boat, a Rosborough RF-246, behind our F150 isn't for the faint of heart.
So, Rip drove!!!
We stopped the first night in Hardeeville, SC.
The second night was Lakeland, FL.
Arrived in Punta Gorda, FL early enough to splash the boat, get her in a slip, get most stuff inside reorganized so we could sleep that night and stored the trailer. Three long days for Rip with lots of work, but safe, sound and back on the water.
We wanted to go back to the same marina, Laishley,
where we were staying last Dec/Jan, but they were booked. We opted for Burnt Store Marina. Very nice facility with great staff, heated pool, laundry and shower facilities nearby. But not near stuff like Laishley. However, with our truck it was easy to provision and go visiting! At the end of the stay here we will store the truck and continue cruising the Great Loop.
First few days were still organizing this smaller boat and
where everything can go so we don't have piles of stuff in the way. Also, learning how much fits in the smaller refrigerator.
Tuesday night was quite fun. Loopers Gil & Yvon, Canadians who stopped at our dock in NC as they were finishing their Loop, have a winter place in Fort Myers.
They came up to our marina and we all cooked out by the pool. Well, Yvon cooked the burgers!! What a blast to see them again. Lots of conversation and some tips for the area!! Marina has quite the set up for boaters with a covered area by the pool with grill, separate flat gas griddle, ice maker, refrigerator, tables, chairs, couch. Very comfy.
We extended our stay at Burnt Store Marina a few days due to weather. This allowed us time to go visit with friends,
Kit & Lynda Traverso; we haven't seen them in 20 years. Rip worked with Kit 30 years ago. We met them for an extended lunch at Rum Runners in Cape Coral. We each brought our dog as they have a pet friendly covered patio. It was a blast catching up with them.. just like old times. Though it sort of rocked our world to see a pic of their (now) 37 year old son. I swear we all aren't that old.
The last few days were busy re- provisioning the boat to start cruising and heading south.
Saturday, Jan 26, we left Burnt Store Marina and headed off to Cape Coral to visit more Loopers we met on the Loop off Lake Michigan.
They have a pier behind their home and have a great set up for visiting boaters. Probably too nice, it will be hard to leave tomorrow morning. Barb and Dave Reinken, MV Hallelujah, cooked dinner for us Saturday.
Barb, also, made an amazing Cherry Pie. We cooked ribs for dinner for them Sunday night. Well, Barb did most everything but it was her kitchen we needed to use to do ribs. We can't cook ribs on this boat.
Cally and I walked with Barb this afternoon around the neighborhood. They have Burrowing Owls, here. When they are nesting you cannot cut the grass around their ground holes and wooden perches are set so they can hang out. Evidentially they hang out in the early am, not when I was taking a photo.
The weather didn't allow us to leave today, Monday, Jan 28th. We are staying an extra night and will leave in the morning and head to Marco Island.
Another Loop boat is coming in this afternoon. Looking forward to meeting the folks aboard Lark.