Ladies of the Six and Twenty Club met Friday afternoon, Jan. 20 at the First Christian Church with Mary Driscoll serving as hostess and program leader. President Patti Cook called the meeting to order with members answering roll call with quotations. Secretary Mary Ann Raizk read the minutes from the previous meeting and Kathleen Blake read the historical minutes from a January 1998 club meeting.
Driscoll introduced her club book for 2023, “Honey Let’s Get A Boat,” authored by Rob and Eva Stob. The book chronicles the Stobs’ journey around the waterways surrounding the eastern United States, later to become known as “America’s Great Loop.” The “Loop” is an approximately 6,500 mile circuital cruise traversed by the adventurous, filled with many exciting and amazing experiences.
For her program, Driscoll introduced the guest speakers for the afternoon, Tony and Karen Long, who recently completed their 13-month adventure of cruising America’s Great Loop in their 27 foot Ranger Tug named “Long Recess.” Their cruise began Sept. 23, 2021, on the Ohio River at Ripley and ended Oct. 12, 2022 at the junction of the Cumberland and Ohio Rivers, traveling 7,058 miles between beginning and end.
The boat used 4,594 gallons of gasoline as they visited 20 states and two countries. They went through 128 locks, docked at 119 different marinas and anchored nine times overnight. Their journey took them down the Tennessee River, around the tip of Key West, up the Intercostal Waterways, through the Great Lakes, and down the Mississippi River to the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers.
The Longs shared beautiful pictures of marine and bird life observed along their route, with many bald eagle sightings along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. A highlight of their trip was cruising to the base of Lady Liberty in New York Harbor. They also enjoyed cruising the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge along the North Carolina/Virginia border. At the end of their cruise, the Longs replaced their white AGLA flag with a gold AGLA flag, indicating that Long Recess had completed America’s Great Loop. They also received official Gold Loop recognition from America’s Great Loop Cruiser Association (AGLCA).
One of the greatest benefits of their America’s Great Loop journey was meeting fellow Loopers from all over the world, some of whom have become life-long friends. Those who have traversed the Loop share many of the same extraordinary experiences as the Longs.
To thank the Longs for their wonderful program, Driscoll presented them a great American Apple Pie. Club members then began this year’s rotation of books, with each member passing to the next.
After the meeting was adjourned, the hostess invited guests and members to the tea table, appointed with a red, white and blue nautical theme. Hickory nut cupcakes, nuts and chocolates were served along with hot cider and coffee.