|Subject: Re: The Great Loop|
I can only give you partial information. I don't think you can avoid the Mississippi entirely, but you only have to do 217 miles on it. Of course, in the spring, that can be a very slow 217 miles with a 6-7 knot current if the rains have been heavy.
Since I don't have my charts here, I am a little hazy on one thing, which is what the waterway is at Mobile, Alabama, where you leave the Gulf of Mexico. If it is not the Tom Bigbee, you take it to the Tom Bigbee. Tom Bigbee to the Tenessee River, Tenessee River to the Ohio River, Ohio to the Mississippi. Mississippi to the Illinois River. Illinois to the Chicago Sanitary and Shipping Canal. From the canal, you can choose to take the Cal-Sag to the Calumet River to Lake Michigan, or the Chicago River to Lake Michigan.
>From Chicago to the Straits of Mackinac is about 330 miles.
I remember you said the boat you were on was very slow, but don't remember if it was power or sail. There are a couple of fixed bridges between the Illinois and Lake Michigan that are a potential problem for sailboats. Also, that Mississippi current could be a killer in the spring if your boat only makes 8 knots in the first place!
>From the Tampa-St. Petersburg area to Chicago is between a two and three week trip for friends of ours (who usually travel 10 to 11 knots) without really stopping anyplace along the way.
We will be bringing our boat up to Chicago from Green Turtle Bay at the top of Kentucky Lakes sometime in May, depending on weather and river conditions. If the flooding is bad, they have to close parts of the rivers sometimes!
Let me know if you have any questions you think I might answer.
Lisa in Chicago wishing it was still boating season.