I don’t know about you, but my seasonal definitions are a little different than the traditional calendar. For example, all of December is winter in my book. However, to make myself feel better about the tardiness of sharing, I’ll point out that technically we’re just finishing fall.
Before I jump to our fall highlights, let me set the stage. The overarching sentiment as I look back is that the last 3 months went almost nothing like we planned. (But wait, haven’t I used that line before?? Welcome to boatlife!)
With that in mind, let me rewind and give you a little fall recap.
Let’s just consider the start of fall being the day we left Knoxville heading for Fort Myers. We were exactly 1 day into our trip down the Tennessee River when Hurricane Ian made a dramatic turn. From a gorgeous anchorage, we watched in horror as the storm destroyed our dock and our friends’ homes.
I won’t rehash all of the details and emotions (you can read about it in my post, Hurricane Ian.) But the idea that overnight we went from going somewhere to having nowhere to go, gives you insight into how our fall came together.
Thankfully in our time of absolute shock a friend reached out and said “let’s make a new plan.” Together we began calling marinas and forming a new fall itinerary. Ultimately we decided to spend the month of October the same place we spent July- in Iuka, Mississippi.
An October Summary: Parties, Pumpkins, Friends and Food
Almost as quickly as we arrived in Iuka, we set out on a little road trip. (Side note: we’re asked about this so often. When I say “roadtrip,” I mean by way of car.)
Anyway, for months Brent loved telling everyone about our speaking engagement in Paris. Sounds big time, right? Well, to be more specific, our family was honored to be asked to speak at the AGLCA Fall Conference in Paris, Tennessee. It was a week full of reuniting with old friends, and making a ton of new ones.
After returning to Iuka we had a steady stream of Loopers coming through. Almost every night was filled with Docktails, dinners and tons of other boaters- including kids!
I managed to plan a Halloween gathering that included 7 kiddos and over 50 Loopers. We made chili and everyone else brought food to share. The kids got to trick or treat from boat to boat, and special memories were made all the way around.
As if throwing a huge Halloween party wasn’t enough, we kicked off November with a Friendsgiving (Thanksgiving meal!) The gathering was a fun last hurrah in Iuka before most of us went in several directions.
A November Recap: Rivers, Haul Outs, and Landlife
For as beautifully as October came together, November did the exact opposite. In the few short days we were on the river traveling to Mobile Bay, it sort of felt like everything went wrong at least twice. We had some untimely weather, our buddy boat ran aground, and several maintenance issues popped up on Light & Salty.
In hindsight, it was all fine. But that particular section of river isn’t the most fun place to have issues. For my non-boating friends who don’t know, it’s hundreds of miles of remote river. Thankfully there were Loop boats everywhere and we were able to comfortably navigate south.
Brent and I made the decision to address the repair issues and get the bottom of our boat painted (typical boat maintenance that was on our radar for this winter anyway.) As they hauled Light & Salty out, we thought we’d be back in the water within the week. 10 days felt like worst case scenario.
I know. All other boaters just read that and laughed. It’s amazing after 2.5 years how naive I can be.
Make that 4 weeks.
On a positive note, we spent lots of time with family and caught up on some much needed work and appointments. We even spent the last few days of the month on a mini-beach vacation while we waited patiently for our boat to go back in the water.
Alas, she floated again. And we got to sleep in our own beds for 2 nights…
December So Far: Emotional, Decorative and Memorable
So why only 2 nights? Remember how at the beginning of this post I shared that we were heading to Fort Myers? Well, Brent had booked some work travel pre-Ian and never changed his ticket. Technically he could have. And maybe after our unexpected November, he should have.
But our family needed to visit Fort Myers. *By car.
We spent a week with friends (minus the few days Brent flew to Boston.) Our family visited our beloved marina. And Mary Grace and I volunteered for a clean up day with Samaritan’s Purse. It was unexpectedly emotional to be back and see it all first hand.
After 2 more days back on the boat we loaded up once again. This particular trip was a combination of work and family holiday tour. We spent time in Charlotte, Walnut Cove, Knoxville and Valdosta. Besides sweet time with family, we also enjoyed a few nights at The Great Wolf Lodge.
And now we’re ready to celebrate Christmas and kick off 2023.
On an exciting note, we have some news to share…soon.
I needed to finish this fall recap for everyone who has been wondering where we’ve been before I jump into sharing what’s been keeping us so busy. Stay tuned on that one. And, as always thanks for following along with our crazy adventures!
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