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Katie, Jessie and the Lovely Louise

Besides following in my father’s footsteps, I am still trying to comprehend how we got here. Just my best friend and me, attempting to stay warm.

"Besides following in my father’s footsteps, I am still trying to comprehend how we got here. Just my best friend and me, attempting to stay warm. The cool, crisp air keeps us moving although we are restricted to 27 feet of space. Reggie (Katie’s pup) and Bird (my kitten) feel the brisk air through their fur coats, and snuggle as closely as possible to our warm bodies. These rivers are our life now. We continue to move south, traveling with the current. Every morning we awake with the sun to a new scene from a postcard. Time no longer matters. In fact, nothing seems to matter anymore. Ahead of us lie hundreds of miles as we motor down America’s winding waterways. I am convinced there is no better way to see this country. Middle America has impressed us with beauty, peacefulness, kindness and in return we are nothing but grateful. A path less traveled. A life more simple. A journey, that if we live to talk about, will become the greatest story a girl could ever tell.”

Jessie Zevalkink and Katie Smith, both 24, left their hometown of Northport, Michigan, on September 4, 2012, aboard their Cal 27, Louise, to complete The Great Loop. They spent two months cruising down America’s inland waterways—the Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, and Tombigbee rivers—and wintered in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. This spring, they crossed Florida on the Ockechobee Waterway, turned south for Miami, and sailed to the Bahamas where they spent several months cruising. Louise is now on the hard for hurricane season, but the girls have plans to complete The Loop next year.

To learn more about their adventure, visit katieandjessieonaboat.com

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