The Great American Loop #1
Dave Bernheisel
Dave Bernheisel
and his crew are piloting a 1980 Mainship 34-I (powerboat, slow, single diesel) named Going There (as opposed to all those folks who have "been there") around the Great American Loop.

Click on the link above for more information.

Basically, Dave says, they're boating up the coast to NY, then up the Hudson to Troy, across the Erie Canal, through the Great Lakes, by Chicago, down the Mississippi, around Florida and home. No small journey, eh?

Posted 06.28.02
On the Great American Loop


{EDITOR'S NOTE: Dave and I were in the American Military Dependent's School back in 1948 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Our fathers were with the US occupation forces. I haven't seen him since 1951 but, through the wonders of e-mail, we re-connected a while back. Actually, I got together with his older brother, Frank, for a few hours last summer in Hyde Park, Vermont, where his youngest son lived. Shrinking world these days...Dave files e-mailed reports and we'll post them regularly so you can follow the adventures of Going There.

Aboard the Going There


Even though we are doing the Great Loop, we often said the trip starts in Troy, NY. We're in Troy! So, Going There (the boat's name) is ready to live up to her name.

We left Indian River Marina -- about 20 miles south of Lewes after lunch on Friday (5/17). The day was pleasant but a bit choppy as we crossed to Cape May inlet and started to run up the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). Despite an ominous sky it was an uneventful ride up to Avalon.

Saturday morning we started in light rain which steadily increased to downpours with strong, gusty winds. Not a day for the ocean so we stayed in the ICW. Picking our way through fishermen who crowded the narrow channel, it was just a sleepy ride.

In Atlantic City we were delayed over an hour. First by a drawbridge that wouldn't open because there was an accident on it. Then, by a railroad drawbridge that wouldn't respond to radio calls until he had a train coming so he could tell us we had to wait...not much good to say about New Jersey.

There was, however, a bright spot in the New Jersey leg. We spent the second night in Forked River and had dinner with the Timm's. They are owners of a Mainship 34 (like Going There). In addition to a delightful dinner with new friends, I picked up lots of hints on how to keep a 22-year-old Mainship happy and purring.

The next day it was still pretty breezy in the morning so we ran inside up to Manasquan Inlet where you have to go out in the ocean to continue north. By the time we got there the breeze had moderated considerably and the ocean passage was very nice, complete with a show put on by a school of dolphins.

New York harbor is one of the great ones in the world with the Verazano Narrows and the bridge as a gateway. The skyline is just not the same without the towers. Still, it is spectacular.

We anchored Sunday night right behind the Statue of Liberty. It's a beautiful anchorage and very well protected. As the sun was setting, Going There swung on her anchor through a 45 degree arc, giving us a panorama from the Statue to an interesting set of new apartments on the Jersey side.

The arc included the lower part of the harbor with the ferryboats going to and from Staten Island, Fort Hamilton (where we spent three days in 1948 waiting to get a ship to Germany), the Bridge with the lights coming on and other wonders too numerous to mention.

Monday morning had us back out in the harbor and heading up the Hudson. The wind was stiff out of the north, a four knot current and the harbor was wall to wall ferryboats running commuters to work... struggled. Well before the George Washington Bridge the traffic died out, but we fought the wind and current 80 percent of the day.

The Hudson is a pretty river with lots of notable sites. At Ossining is Sing Sing prison, which looks as grim as its reputation.

West Point looks like a European castle on a hill. We had hoped to stop for a tour but were informed that visiting boats now require a week advance notice so they can do a security check -- a result of 9/11. At Verplank was the Half Moon, the replica of Henry Hudson's ship.

Our overnight was at Marlboro. It is a little town that nobody ever heard of, but we had a great dinner at the Raccoon Saloon. Our table was at the window with a long view across the river. The real spectacular sight was the short view. The restaurant sat on the side of a cliff with a strong waterfall that dropped 100 feet in a half dozen steps and landed in a big pool. To the locals, it was old hat, but we couldn't take our eyes off it.

That night was our coldest yet. In the morning the boat was covered with heavy frost, and we saw snow on the Catskills as we came north. The good thing about the day was that the current pushed us most of the time.

The arrival in Troy was the end of the beginning. In four and a half days we covered 300 miles and Going There seems to keep saying, "Let's go." Tomorrow we go through the Federal Lock to start the Erie Canal. That will end tides and salt water for six months.

Let us hear about your adventures.

More later

Dave & Mary