Friday – Nov 25
We left Panama City on Friday morning and traveled 65 miles to Appalachicola Florida. The ride down the GCICW was again a nice series of lakes connected via narrow canals.
After 4 months, we have now covered a significant portion of The Loop. If you have not yet used the GPS Tracker on the Welcome Page to see our location, here is a copy of our path & current location.
We arrived in Appalachicola, at Water Street Marina, about 2pm.
Appalachicola is one of the 2 ports the Loopers stay at, immediately prior to the Gulf Crossing.
Appalachicola is a town of about 2000 people, and seems to be a combination of ; active fishing town, tourist-hotels/inns/bed breakfast places, restaurants/bars/music clubs, knick-knack shops, art galleries, historic homes, & botanical gardens.
The town appears to have a lot to keep us occupied for a while.
And it appears that we may be stuck here for a while waiting for the next weather window to cross the Gulf of Mexico – We need Low Wind & Low Waves for a 2 day period (more about this topic later).
After check-in at The Water Street Marina, I washed the boat (heavy salt water film making my shiny boat dull, yuck), and then we went for a walk to scope out the town. Friday was some king of big Christmas event day, the town was all decked out in Christmas attire. The streets were lined with luminaries. Santa made appearances on both a Fishing Boat & the local Fire Truck.
We ate dinner at the Tap Room Pub within the Owl Cafe. During dinner we met, and had a nice 30 minute conversation, with locals Michael & Carol Seibert.
Saturday – Nov 25
On Saturday, I went for an early morning bike ride to get a larger scope of the city. I was searching a dinner place for later in the evening, when we would welcome friends from metro Detroit; Dominic & Lara Ronzello.
I made dinner reservations at the Gibson Inn (more on this later).
The Ronzello’s arrived about 2pm; Dominic, Lara, Josephine, & Jamieson.
I met Dom way back at the Jeep/Truck- Plymouth Road Engineering Complex about 20 years ago when we worked on the 2008 Ram Heavy Duty Trucks.
Some of you may recall that prior to The Loop, we had a nice pre-trip party at Dom/Lara’s 5600 sqft house in Richmond Michigan.
Dom has a great family, and has two of the best behaved children we know. We originally got to know Josephine (Jo-Jo/Josie) & Jamieson about 4-5 years ago during a boat ride down the Detroit River in the ole Four Winns. Below are photos of the kids a few years ago vs current.
After some greetings on the aft deck of Getting’ Looped, we went for a walk around town visiting the knick-knack shops & art galleries.
After walking the shops in town, we returned back to the boat/hotel (the Ronzellos had a very nice suite at the Water Street Hotel, connected to the marina we are in). We cleaned up, and then went to dinner at the Gibson Inn, that I had made reservations at earlier in the morning.
The Gibson Inn is an example of the Florida “Cracker” Architecture. This was the style of wood frame structure used widely in the 19th and early 20th century in Florida. Characterized by metal roofs, raised floors, high ceilings, center hallways, and large wrap around porches. Built in 1907 of native heart pine and black cypress, the inn soon became known as a first class luxury hotel and was the only one between Pensacola and Jacksonville heated entirely by steam.
It is now listed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places.
The Inn was decked out in Christmas colors & the dinner was great.
After the Gibson Inn, we visited a few pubs with low-key musicians , and played bag toss with the kids in the rear gardens of the club.
We ended the night with ice cream on Gettin’ Looped, and about 20 minutes of Tommy Boy (the humor is only apparent to me, Dom, and mutual pal Pat Gibbons).
Sunday – Nov 26
The Ronzellos were heading off to a week at Disney World, but we did have enough time for a breakfast @ Carolines on the River.
After the Ronzellos departed, Jonell & I went to one of the many historic houses in Appalachicola, a place called the Orman House.
Built in 1838 by Thomas Orman, this antebellum home overlooks the Apalachicola River, and was used for both business and social gatherings. Orman was a cotton merchant and businessman in Apalachicola from 1834 to the 1880s. He helped the tiny town become one of the Gulf Coast’s most important cotton exporting ports during the mid-19th century.
We then rode the bikes to the Botanical Gardens. A bit disappointing, there was a larger botanical assortment behind the pool at the hotel than in the Gardens with the big sign.
We also went to a memorial for the Vietnam War called The 3 Soldiers.
We ended the day with dinner @ Up the Creek restaurant.
Next Post / Coming Attractions
Now we sit and wait for “The Weather Window”, to cross the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf crossing will be about 175-200 miles.
Our plan is to cross from Appalachicola/Carabelle to Clearwater Florida.
The crossing will be done overnight at about 10mph, and take about 18-20 hours.
We need to wait for wave heights below 1.5 ft.
There is a guy within the AGLCA association (Eddy Johnsen) who volunteers his time and experience, to guide Loopers to when his weather metrics indicate that it is safe to cross.
Eddy sends out an Email to all the Loopers, every morning from November to February.
It is a thankless task (because if he is wrong everyone bitches), that all Loopers are greatful for.
Here is an example of the typical “Eddy’s Weather Wag” email that we get about 6am every morning.
Example – Thursday Nov 23rd
Gobble, Gobble Fellow Loopers!
Do not despair, for the dream is still alive!
Just when you think Mother Nature and King Neptune have conspired to make your life miserable, you catch a glimmer of hope. I’m hopeful once again that the Friday-night / Saturday weather-window will open in time for those of you needing an overnight crossing. If it doesn’t, just put up with leftover turkey for one more day and plan to cross on Saturday night instead!
Go-Fast Loopers should have good sea conditions for a daylight-only crossing on Saturday.
Brain Clutter: Turkey Day! There is no definitive proof that the bird we wait all year to eat was even offered to guests back in 1621. However, they did indulge in other interesting foods like lobster, seal, and swan.
Be well, keep safe, and enjoy the journey!
aboard Spiritus, Grand Banks 36 Classic