Pair earn ‘baccaLOOPerate’ degree

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(Courtesy photo) Judy Bettenhausen and Jack Webb of Priest Lake recently received their “baccaLOOPerate” degree from America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association for completing America’s Great Loop.

Jack Webb and Judy Bettenhausen of Priest Lake received their baccaLOOPerate degree from America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association. The degree is given in recognition of completing one of the world’s most unique adventures, America’s Great Loop.

Boaters doing the Great Loop are on a 6,000-mile journey that circumnavigates the eastern part of the U.S. and Canada, cruising up the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, through the New York State Canals, into the Great Lakes, down the inland river system, across the Gulf of Mexico, and around the southern tip of Florida.

The couple crossed their wake in Lock 32 in Bobcaygeon, Ontario, after a two-year adventure aboard Regalita, their Monk 36 power boat. In addition to facing the challenges inherent to long-distance cruising, Webb and Bettenhausen enjoyed unparalleled views of the U.S. and Canada from the distinct vantage point of the water’s edge. What’s next now that their journey has ended?

“We want to extend a big thank you to everyone that crossed our wake, and most likely passed us during this voyage, and hope to see all of you again as we put a check mark in the box and contemplate our next bucket list adventure,” the pair said in a statement.

Approximately 100 boats complete the Great Loop each year, making it a feat more unique than swimming the English Channel or Climbing Mount Everest. Throughout this trip of a lifetime, they relied on America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association to provide them with information and assistance vital to the successful completion of their journey.

While different waterways may be included depending on where boaters start and where they navigate, the primary waterways of the Great Loop include, the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Chesapeake Bay, C&D Canal, Atlantic Ocean (from Cape May to New York Harbor or sometimes inland waterways through New Jersey), Hudson River, Erie Canal (or a popular route option on the “Triangle Loop”), Oswego Canal (or continue on the Erie Canal to Lake Erie), Lake Ontario, Trent-Severn Canal, Georgian Bay, Lake Michigan, Illinois River, Mississippi River, Ohio River, Tennessee River, Tenn-Tom Waterway, Mobile Bay, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and the Okeechobee Waterway (or continue on the Gulf Intracoastal to the Keys)

According to America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association’s website, greatloop.org, the Great Loop has been done in as little as two months and in as much as 12 years.

Many looper travel the northern part of the Loop during the warm summer months, the inland rivers in the fall, spend the winter in Florida, and the spring following the warm weather up the eastern portion of the route.

Depending on route choices, boaters travel through at least 15 U.S. states and Canadian provinces.

For more information on America’s Great Loop, contact America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association, 500 Oakbrook Lane, Summerville, SC 29485, 1- 877-GR8- LOOP (478-5667), GreatLoop.org., email: info@greatloop.org.

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