“Did you know that less people complete the Great Loop than climb Mount Rushmore?”
During our presentation last week at Looperpalooza, Brent posed that question to the 300 person audience. It was met with a few enthusiastic nods, and a lot of confused expressions. I considered just letting it go, but I was afraid that some people weren’t going to get past it.
I leaned over to the microphone and said, “he means Mount Everest.”
My announcement was met with some “ahhs” and quite a bit of laughter. Thus, beginning the biggest inside joke of the week. Several other speakers made reference to climbing Mount Rushmore in their own presentations. And poor Brent did not live down his mistake all week!
If you’re wondering what exactly Looperpalooza is, let me try to explain. It is a place where people come together with 1 major common interest: The Great Loop. Some, like us, have completed the journey. We return as gold loopers to celebrate with our friends and encourage others. While other attendees are still planning or dreaming of their loop. They come to learn, be inspired and connect.
This year the event took place in Fort Myers, Florida again. Although, the circumstances and logistics looked a little different than past years. Originally we would have been attending by boat, but this year we came by car. Unfortunately, most people were left with this same option.
While it was certainly different not having full marinas of Loop boats, I loved seeing the community support from the AGLCA. The Luminary Hotel and Caloosahatchee Convention Center are perfect hosts for such an event!
Highlights From The Week
It probably goes without saying, but time with friends was a hands down highlight for our family. Our best friends, The Stein Family, opened their home for one giant week-long sleepover. We enjoyed lots of late nights, delicious meals, fun walks, and even a trip to the pool. Best of all, the park we drooled over for 2 years finally opened. Don’t anyone argue that 15-year olds are too old for a good playground!
Beyond all of the Loop friends we got to spend time with, here are our individual highlights from the week:
Brent: Brent worked the event all week as a new boat broker for Curtis Stokes. I use the term “worked” lightly because in reality Brent absolutely loved every second. He gets to talk to a bunch of people about their dream boats, and help them shop (or sell.) Not a terrible gig! As anyone who knows Brent might imagine, he’s absolutely thriving and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
Mary Grace: She serves as the AGLCA Intern so this was a work week for her too. She also thrives in her role, and loves talking to everyone. We saw several boaters that we met on our Loop who hadn’t seen her in 2 years. It was fun to hear everyone comment on how much she’s grown up. She enjoys being an “expert” on things, so answering questions from future Loopers is her highlight.
Miller: Miller reports that the best part of the whole conference was when the microphone was in his hand. Kiddo loves being on a stage with a captive audience! His stories earned him a few laughs, and a ton of compliments. There were also quite a few offers from people wanting to adopt him as their honorary grandchild when they do the Loop.
Sarah: My favorite part of the week was the roundtables. I was asked to lead the “Social Media and Blogging” roundtable. Connecting with people in a smaller group setting is right up my alley (although my table was standing room only for all 3 sessions!) I shared tips and answered questions about everything from Starlink to SEO to instagram reels.
Our Stomping Ground
Perhaps the hardest part of the week was being back “home” without really being home. After living in Fort Myers for the better part of the last 2 years, it felt completely natural to be there. I did my early morning walks, shopped at my regular grocery store, and ate my favorite pizza. It was easy to forget that we were just visiting.
I picked up some mail at our marina and the gate code is still the same. I could walk around the buildings with my eyes closed, it’s so familiar. But then everything is different. Looking out into the marina, it’s shocking to see an empty harbor with just a handful of sunken boats remaining.
Another disappointment to the week was not being able to connect with any friends from outside the boating community. When I say we stayed busy with Looperpalooza 24/7, I mean it! But we love our church and baseball friends dearly, and we will be back soon with more time to connect.
We’re back to our temporary marina home in the Panhandle. Fortunately, we have great friends with us and there seems to be a never ending supply of Loopers passing through. Brent officially hung his listing sign on a boat today (yay!) And he’s working with several buyers. We are beyond thankful for all the support from so many awesome friends!
Mary Grace’s biggest dilemma right now is choosing between 2 churches we love. It’s not a bad problem to have! But we want to make sure she really likes the Youth Group so we are leaving the decision up to her. Miller starts baseball and golf next week.
The next big Looper event is in Norfolk, VA in early May. We’re counting down the minutes until we can catch up with everyone again! I don’t think the registration link is up yet, but I will keep an eye out because it always sells out quickly. If you aren’t already an AGLCA member and you’re interested in coming to one of these crazy, fun events now is a good time to join! (Here)
Brent promises to brush up on his geography between now and then! And for what it’s worth, climbing Mount Rushmore is strictly prohibited…so we certainly aren’t endorsing it!
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