Welcome aboard “Cbay”. Pull up a chair, mix yourself a Mai Tai and join us on our voyage around the Great Loop. Even if you cannot make the trip you can experience it through our travelogue of the journey.

We are Rusty and Jan Carlisle. In 2004 we decided to have an adventure when we retired and that adventure was to circumnavigate the eastern half of the United States and a portion of Canada. We first bought a houseboat (44 Gibson Standard named “Rubaiyat”). We quickly learned that our choice was a poor one for The Loop. Who wants to be in rough seas crossing the Gulf of Mexico at night in a shallow draft vessel? But we enjoyed our houseboat for four years and learned much about boating. If you can handle a housboat in the wind you can handle anything. Unfortunately we never actually got around to handling the houseboat and actually ran up on the bank in our own marina!

In 2008 we sold our houseboat and began searching for our looper boat. We had two years to search and we used it to travel to many states and become familiar with trawlers, powercats and cruisers. As with anything in life there are no perfect solutions and many factors must be considered including finances. 

We made offers on several boats, even had a contract and survey on an Albin 36 Express Trawler, but fate brought us back to where we found our first boat, the Lake Guntersville Yacht Club in Guntersville, AL. There we found a Bayliner 3988 named “By Design II”. We bought her, renamed her “Cbay” (stands for Carlisle Bayliner) and joined the Lake Guntersville Yacht Club (hereinafter referred to as LGYC).

We then began the process of outfitting our boat for The Loop at the same time I was winding down my 24 years as a State Court Judge in GA and Jan was closing up her practice of law. Yes, two lawyers in the same boat. But that is a story for another day. We started 2011 completely retired and concentrating on our trip. Oh Jan remains semi-active by helping friends and neighbors and I am a Senior Judge who can fill in throughout the state but mostly it is just boating.

In our blogs we will attempt to give contemporaneous accounts of our trip and hopefully provide a bit of entertainment in the process. This will be supplemented with photos if we can master the technology. I will try to provide just enough technical data to keep those with an engineer’s heart happy but it will be more an effort to capture the adventure of the trip and encourage others to never despair of living their dreams. Perhaps some of our readers might even go ahead and start their own great adventure.

So now that you are safely aboard we will cast off and head out into the Tennessee River…           
I am the First Dog aboard “Cbay”. My name is Daisy Mae a/k/a Doodle a/k/a Possum. They call me many things but I only come for food. I am an expert beggar. They say I am 16 years old but somehow I feel older. I used to be able to jump on a bed or even on top of a dining room table if you left a chair pulled out. But a torn ACL has ended most of my jumping bean days, though occasionally I manage to get to some lofty perch and they wonder how I did it when no-one was looking. My secret. 

I am mostly deaf from taking steroids after the bad Chinese dogfood nearly killed me but I can still see and smell a Cheeto from 100 feet. Though I like our boat and have my own room, I am not too sure about this Loop thing. I need to use real grass and they want me to use some plastic stuff. Can’t fool me. And they seem worried about something called an alligator that we are going to see. I do not see what all the fuss is about. I like to hunt lizards. I once treed a possum and have been chased by three wild boars near Jekyll Island. I may be small but many a creature has made the mistake of underestimating me. Why I once ran after two Springer Spaniels and forgot I was on a boat. I ran right off the bow and dropped six feet into the water and was still barking at them. Lucky I had my life jacket on. 

Keep up with our travels and find out what I do when I meet other creatures along the way. I am sure many new adventures await. Now just where did I put my passport? 

On 10/8/2011 Daisy lost her battle with congestive heart failure. She went peacefully and had been a fighter to the end. She was the best little companion we ever had. She never saw an alligator. We carried her ashes every day of our Loop adventure and never forgot the best First Dog we ever had.