North Texas

Bucket List: North Texas Man Conquers ‘Great Loop'

If you haven’t heard of the Great Loop, you’re not alone.

A North Texas man took the journey of a lifetime and he did all on a boat.

There comes a point in every life when you can choose to take a break or take a chance. Rafe Williams, of Boyd, chose the latter and he said that has made all the difference.

“It was life-changing,” he said. “My main reason was the bucket list trip of the Great Loop.”

If you haven’t heard of the Great Loop, you’re not alone.

“I got the vague idea back in the 80s from a PBS program and sort of put the trip together vaguely in my head,” he said.

Few know of this North American Adventure and even fewer have conquered it.

“There’s more people [who] climb Mount Everest each year than complete the Great Loop,” Williams said,

The Great Loop Cruisers’ Association describes the route as “the continuous waterway that encompasses the eastern portion of North America including the Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals, and the inland rivers of America's heartland.”

“In total, it was 8,200 miles,” Williams added. “I spent 10 months traveling on the boat. Mostly singlehanded.”

While Williams did most of the trip on his own, his wife, Annette, did join him for certain stretches.

“I said ‘I’ll hit the fun parts,;” she laughed. “I loved all of Florida. Key West at Christmas and New Years was a blast.”

It was a time to reflect during the sunrises, sunsets and all the moments in between.

“The Winter in Key West. The Summer in Canada. It’s hard to choose between the two,” Williams said.

There was always the thrill of the unknown.

“We had friends always talking about pirates and we’re like, ‘no, there’s no pirates,’” Annette said.

While there were no pirates, there was no lack of monumental memories.

“It’s a very easy lifestyle to get used to,” Williams laughed. “I never got tired of it.”

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