Stage 1: MN to FL Panhandle (Sandestin) Oct-Nov, 2002
The return trip of the Practice Run we made in April. Only this time, downstream in the Mississippi and Tenn-Tom Canal/Tombigbee and Mobile Rivers, hopefully without high water. Plus "perfect weather" is promised in Sandestin in Oct/Nov. Then we leave Souvenir and go home for the Holidays with the family.
Stage 2: Sandestin to Ft. Myers, FL Area Jan-Feb, 2003
Back to Souvenir and the Destin area with retired friends in Jan, before moving on across Gulf to the Boca Grande/Ft. Myers/Naples area to visit familiar vacation spots and more friends.
Stage 3: Ft. Myers to Keys to Ft. Lauderdale Feb-Mar
Time to explore The Keys and move on to the Atlantic seacoast.
Stage 4: Bahamas Mar
If timing, conditions, and circumstances are right, we can take this exciting side-trip.
Stage 5: Palm Beach to Chesapeake Bay Apr
Moving up the East Coast in the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) with a stop in Savannah, we'll spend some time exploring the Chesapeake and visiting family and friends in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Delaware.
Stage 6: Chesapeake Bay to NYC May
Moving up the Jersey Shore to the Hudson River, it'll be a much anticipated visit with our son in NYC.
Stage 7: NYC to Oswego, NY Jun
Traveling up the historic Hudson Valley to Troy, NY, near Albany, we enter the Erie Barge Canal and connect with the Oswego Canal to reach Oswego and on into Lake Ontario.
Stage 8: Lake Ontario & Welland Canal Jul
Then we'll run the length of Lake Ontario toward Niagara Falls and the Welland Canal to reach Lake Erie. Or there are many options to explore these Lakes, including the Trent-Severn Waterway, Georgian Bay, the North Channel, the Straits of Mackinac, the Sault Ste Marie locks, and possibly even St. Mary's River into Lake Superior.
Stage 9: Lake Erie & Lake Huron Aug
Depending on the ultimate route chosen, we may visit long-time friends in Buffalo, Cleveland, and the Detroit area.
Stage 10: Lake Michigan & Illinois Waterway Sep
Again, many options to explore coming down either shore of Lake Michigan to the Chicago area. Then due to the minimum height restrictions of fixed bridges, our route will take us through the Cal-Sag Bypass to the Illinois River. Then it's on to completing The Great Loop at the junction with the Mississippi. At that point, we'll have a big decision to make. Depending on how much "summer" is left, and our "nautical commitment" at that point, we could turn right and head home to MN, or turn left and start around again...to winter in FL.