ROGERSVILLE — Don Burton said there is no better way to see the United States and Canada than by boat.
“There is just so much to see,” said Burton, of Ontario, Canada. “Seeing things from the river and waterways is a whole new perspective from being in a (recreational vehicle) or on a highway. It’s a way to see a part of the country that we would never experience before.”
Burton and his wife are part of the America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association. They and 55 other boats have been at Joe Wheeler State Park since Sunday during the group’s rendezvous.
“The rendezvous is for people who are on the loop, those who are considering going on the loop and those who have done the loop,” said Jim Favors, of Michigan, adding not all who attend the rendezvous are on boats. Some fly in for the event.
Favors and his wife have traveled the loop once, started it a second time and boated in from Kentucky to be a part of the rendezvous this week.
Kelly Ezell, manager of Joe Wheeler Lodge, said the rendezvous concluded Wednesday. She said the boaters will begin leaving today. She said the rendezvous has been held at Joe Wheeler Lodge since 2004.
“Every year there are a lot of new people,” Ezell said. “We look forward to the rendezvous every year.”
Janice Kromer and her husband, Stephen, of South Carolina, helped organize the rendezvous.
“There are 250 people here; they’re from all over,” Kromer said. “Everyone just loves it here. They love to come here. It’s perfect for the rendezvous.”
Ezell said the boaters were shuttled into Rogersville during the weekend for the town’s Fall Festival.
“And then (Tuesday night) there was a concert in town for them,” she said. “We get a lot that will come back just to stay in the lodge when they’re not on the loop.”
America’s Great Loop is a 5,000- to 7,500-mile journey — depending on the route taken — that wraps around the Atlantic Coast from Florida to Canada, then to the Great Lakes and through the Midwest before heading back to Florida.
“Being on the loop is such an unique experience,” Favors said. “The first time we did the loop, we spent 10½ months and traveled 6,000 miles and thought we had seen everything. We hadn’t. That’s why we started a second trip, which ended up with us living on the boat for five years.”
Kromer and her husband have traveled parts of the loop.
“It is fantastic; it’s just so relaxing,” she said. “There’s no schedule you have to keep. You’re at your own pace.”
Favors said participating in the loop is addictive.
“Being on the loop, you get to experience the excitement of seeing always changing territory,” Favors said. “You see new people, new things almost daily. It’s an adventure of a lifetime.”
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|