Ron & Eva Stob’s Great Loop Cruise
Eager for a change and deaf to the admonitions of their children, Ron & Eva Stob, non-boaters living on California’s Central Coast, take a year away from their jobs, purchase a forty-foot trawler, which they name Dream O’Genie, and cruise the 6300 miles and 145 locks of the Great Loop. They catch the excitement of visiting sea ports, the fear of plowing huge bodies of water, the thrill of moving through locks, and the delight of wandering down the inland rivers. When they did their Great Loop Cruise in 1994, there was not much information available about the cruise so they had to depend on their own resourcefulness. No one cruised with the Internet, blogs, cell phones or online banking back then.
Their eleven-month cruise begins one stormy February morning in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and nearly ends three days later in Cocoa where they begin the task of nursing their “magic carpet” back to health after serious problems were discovered. Three weeks and thousands of dollars later, they were back on the water where their adventure became a litany of humorous mishaps and heart-warming episodes.
Following spring along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway they arrived at the foot of the Statue of Liberty by Memorial Day. They caught the current up the Hudson to Albany and the New York Canal system to Lake Champlain and the Saint Lawrence Seaway and crossed the province of Ontario by way of two heritage canals, the Rideau Canal and the Trent-Severn Waterway. Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay and the 30,000 islands of the small craft channel presented some of their biggest challenges and fondest memories as they traversed into the North Channel. Dodging summer storms along Lake Huron and Lake Michigan they arrived in Chicago by Labor Day weekend. On the Illinois, Mississippi and Ohio Rivers the progress was speedy, then the pace slowed as they savored the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway to Mobile, Alabama.
After crossing the Gulf of Mexico to Florida’s Gulf Intracoastal, they cruised southern Florida on the Caloosahatchee River and the Okeechobee Waterway, closing the loop at Stuart and completing the trip by December 1st.
"Honey, Let's Get a Boat...": A Cruising Adventure of America’s Great Loop by Ron and Eva Stob
This is the definitive book that popularized the movement of cruising America’s Great Loop. First published in 1999, it is the story of a couple who encounter each other and a quirky boat as they discover America from the water's edge. Their nautical ineptitude is evident from the beginning, but pulling from their personal and collective strengths, Ron and Eva overcome doubt, a lack of experience and real and imagined horrors. The odyssey is told the way life hands out its portions--sometimes humorously, sometimes tragically, but always memorably.
The writing is light and appealing, but there is a serious strain running through the book for those who relish history and graphic descriptions of the landscape. Eva, astute and attentive to detail, chronicled the adventure and kept an accounting of expenses, equipment and charts. As a result, the appendix which is updated with each printing, is worth the price of the book for anyone interested in planning their own Great Loop Cruise. It contains information on the boat and equipment, costs of the cruise, recommended guidebooks and where to become educated about boating.
Raven Cove Publishing’s first book, it is presently in its seventh printing with over 20,000 copies having been sold. Both the authors are excellent photographers and the book is eye-catching with full color inserts and black and white photographs throughout. This award-winning Amazon.com bestseller is considered a “must read” for those planning to cruise America’s Great Loop.
Appendix/Guidebook is updated with each printing and includes:
Whether you are a hopeless romantic, vicarious traveler, or serious boater, you will find this book both instructive and entertaining.
What others say about “Honey, Let’s Get a Boat…”:
“Have you ever wanted to chuck it all – bills, meetings, deadlines, traffic—and try a more rewarding lifestyle? Ron and Eva Stob had the courage to do just that. The Stobs’ entertaining and honest account of (their) remarkable trip will leave you laughing, doubting, cheering — and perhaps inspired to try such a journey yourself.”
“It’s the story of a middle-aged couple who took a year’s leave from the regular world and cruised “America’s Great Loop.” The Stobs’ journey started in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and took them up the Intracoastal Waterway to New York and farther to Quebec, then west to the Great Lakes. They proceeded south through various rivers to the Gulf of Mexico and back to Florida, a total of 6,300 miles and 145 locks. What sets this book apart is their “potpourri of information” at the end, which includes everything from their itinerary to a cost analysis and a list of valuable resources. I highly recommend this book for anyone considering a trip on America’s Great Loop or even for someone who just wants a fun book about a long-term boat trip.”
“Here’s the perfect gift book for your friends who always wanted to get a boat. Ron and Eva Stob write honestly and humorously of their nautical ineptitude and the long trail they take to becoming able boaters. Their story is filled with vital travel information, touching and often funny anecdotes, and insightful observations of the brave new cruising world into which they’ve launched. It’s a masterfully written tale that every first-time cruiser would appreciate.”
“It’s the pulling-no-punches sentiments that make Honey, Let’s Get a Boat… such a good read and a wealth of information.”
“Out of the Stobs’ experiences has come an excellent, national award-winning book called (what else) Honey, Let’s Get a Boat...”
Great Loop Side Trips:
The Great Loop is the “Interstate;” the intersecting waterways are the “Blue Highways” — the rivers, lakes and canals that flow into the main stream. Ron and Eva Stob’s latest book, Great Loop Side Trips: 20 Cruising Adventures on Eastern North America’s Waterways, is the sequel to their highly acclaimed book, “Honey, Let’s Get a Boat…”: A Cruising Adventure of America’s Great Loop.
Side Trips cruised are the St. Johns River, Potomac and Patuxent Rivers, Erie Canal, Little Triangle Loop, Lachine Canal, St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers, North Channel’s North Shore, Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula, Upper Mississippi River, Arkansas River, Ohio River and tributaries including the Monongahela, Allegheny and Great Kanawha Rivers, the Cumberland River, Tennessee River and tributaries, Upper Black Warrior River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Mobile to Mexico. Contributing writers include stories of passages on Lake Superior, Lake Michigan’s Inland Waterway, Seneca Lake off the Erie Canal and a whale-watching cruise on the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Written for the Great Loop cruiser and the trailerboater alike, the book includes information on charts, guidebooks, marinas and launch ramps needed to cruise each of 20 Side Trips. There is also an Appendix with information on Trailerboating, Electronic Charting, Cruising with Cats and an extensive Resource list. The book is illustrated with maps and photographs. Sixteen pages of full color photographs are inserted in the center of the book.
Many boaters dream of cruising America's Great Loop (A.K.A. Great Circle) and plan for the trip years in advance. The following maps are vital tools to use as a reference with the Great Loop books. A dry erase markermay be used to write dates and other information on the map, like when friends will visit the boat and a time schedulefor cruising the Loop. Members often leave a copy behind for friends and family so they can follow their loved ones on their year-long voyage. The maps can be framed and are excellent for planning the Great Loop trip.
America’s Great Loop Cruise Routes Map:
The map is produced in full color on 80# stock and matte-laminated for use with permanent or erasable markers. Originally produced in 2001, it has been updated 8 times.
NEW!! You asked for it. Now it's here. The above map is available in every way except size (12 x 14 inches) and price ($12 each). Unlike the image above, the routes are colored for the various seasons like the bigger map. Not yet sold on the website, call 865-856-7888 to order.
America’s Great Loop Topographic/Relief Map:
The cruise route is lightly outlined in grey. This product has not been updated since it was originally produced in 2004 so is for sale at a drastically reduced price.
PlaceMaps (Place Mats):
Bordering a small version of the original America’s Great Loop Cruise Routes map are eight scenes along the Great Loop. The edge is sealed for easy clean-up of spills. Get 4, 6 or 8 for daily use when dining aboard your boat or RV, or give as gifts to your boating friends and family.
After years of cruising and using various commercially available logbooks, none of which were quite right, we have created a format that works for us. We trust that it will work for you, too.
It is intended that one page be used for each day’s cruise and that the logbook be kept open at the helm. The binding makes it possible to fold back the side not being used. The small size is ideal for most helms since it does not use space needed for charts, coffee cups and bowls of nuts and candy. We use electronic charts as well as paper charts for navigation and, since most of our cruising is coastal and inland, we do not record a lot of detail such as course headings (compass readings) or latitude and longitude; therefore, we have not included columns for those. If you want to record this information, do so in the Navigation Notes column. Included is a simple pre-cruise check list with space for fluid levels or other information. See sample page at the back of the book for an example of possible usage.
In addition to being a valuable record in case of an accident on the water, a logbook is fun to read and useful for recalling the highlights of your cruises. It often settles arguments about who, what, when, or where. If cruising the same area again, the logbook can provide valuable information to make subsequent cruises to that area easier. Names and phone numbers can be recorded, if desired, for future use.
Clear and concise, this log contains more useable log sheets then most (if not all) of the available logs on the market. Cruising four or five days a week, it should last around six months on an extended cruise like the Great Loop so you only need two logbooks for the entire cruise.
What to Expect Cruising the Great Loop:
Excerpt from a review by Ron Stob, as published in the AGLCA newsletter, The Great Loop Link:
Jack Gusler said to me once that he needed to know more about the Great Loop and wanted to motor the whole thing. I wanted to say, “No, Jack. Don’t take all the elements of surprise and discovery away from yourself. Buy the boat, drop the lines and be amazed.”
But I never communicated that to Jack and he and Nancy got in the car and looped the Loop. They were the first to go through the locks of the Trent-Severn Waterway in a car. We can only imagine their experience trying to get on the Marine Railway in their Pontiac.
Then I got a hold of Bob Duthie’s CD on cruising the Great Loop. Now I would recommend to Jack and Nancy that they buy this CD instead of driving the whole thing.
The CD is a virtual tour of the Great Loop. Their tour of towns, narration of historic places and descriptions and photographs of select tourist attractions give the viewer a delicious offering of the Great Loop Cruise. You can even print any of the images or maps that appear. Do you have questions for them? Click the contact button. Want to search the CD for a place or a word? Use the Search Button to go through the 50,000 word document. Want to see where Bob says, “Catch that line, Mavis, or we’ll be dead!”? Write in the words and see Bob in a sweat. About the only thing you can’t do in this CD is get wet.
I wonder if these kinds of presentations quell the hungry mind and quiet the spirit of adventure, and I still argue with myself about that. Bob himself makes the disclaimer, “If you’re the kind of traveler who insists on surprise and loathes planning then this program may not be for you. This CD is satisfying in detail and coverage but leaves you wanting more. If you wonder about the cruising conditions youre going to find on the Great Loop and want a smorgasbord of views and experiences, this cant be beat, and if you think watching anyones show adequately or fully depicts the variety of cruising that you will experience, you havent been boating. The vagaries of cruising cannot be predicted so theres still plenty of thrills and spills left for you out there.
Note: This CD-ROM will no longer work on Apple Computers. Contact Bob Duthie for details.
A Cat Called Canoe:
A Cat Called Canoe is a love story between a man and his cat, and his wife and the cat – a story that describes a relationship of adulation and affection offset by feline behaviors and events that addle the wits.
Designed for the general adult reader and older youth, this humorous tale (pun intended) may be just what the therapist ordered for those of us who are upset and unsettled with world events.
In this book Ron Stob brings to life what comic strip characters do daily in newspapers across the nation, giving readers a glimpse into a cat's psyche and life with his human benefactors. Canoe, a black and white longhaired domestic with amber eyes, is a museful, narcissistic, hell-bound sleuth and an unplanned blessing in his owners' lives.
2004 Fort Dodge/ Responsible Healthcare for Pets Award (Fort Dodge Animal Health, a division of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals), Cat Writers’ Association Special Award.
“This was truly one of the best cat stories I have ever read. The author consistently showed great feline behavior insight while exhibiting tremendous compassion for life and understanding the needs of cats both medically and psychologically. Stobs’ gift of writing was able to capture the companionship and love a cat can give us and above all he was able to demystify the cat and showed how important animals are in our lives.”
What others say about "A Cat Called Canoe":
“This entertaining, lighthearted book by Ron and Eva Stob about their personal experiences ultimately offers instructive tips about all cats, their humans, and the relationships that develop among them. Artistic photographs capture Canoe in assorted aspects of cat-ness and are wholly charming to anyone who appreciates the feline mystique.”
“This is one book that is so good it is impossible to cat-egorize. It is life imitating art. The real-life adventure of living with a new cat in this book rings so true it is a primer for new cat owners. It reads like enjoyable fiction; it teaches the way a fine cat book should. It is as comical, charming and touching as any kitten taking over our life. And the photos are wonderfully sweet.”
© 2009 Raven Cove Publishing