Rifle boaters turn white flag gold
Just before the end of 2017, Rifle’s own John Savage and Sally Brands completed a journey only accomplished by approximately 100 each year. Starting from Fort Meyers, Florida, on March 3, the two traveled 6,000 miles across the eastern coast of the U.S. and Canada, through the Atlantic Intracostal Waterway, into the New York State Canals and Great Lakes, down the inland river system, across the Gulf of Mexico to make it back to Fort Meyers Beach on Dec. 12. They received their BaccaLOOPerate degree a few weeks later, given in recognition of completing America’s Great Loop, one of the world’s most unique adventures.
“It was so interesting seeing all of the small towns across the country and how they compare to Rifle,” Brands said. “Lots are doing the same things we are like farmers markets. We got to see things that you’d normally just fly through on the interstate.”
Aboard the Colorado Cowboy, their 37’ Mirage Great Harbor GH37 Power Boat, the two got to see sights and sounds across the Eastern Seaboard, visiting cities such as New York, Chicago and Toronto.
While Brands admitted that it was a once of a lifetime experience to pull up to the Statue of Liberty by boat or to see Washington’s monuments from the Potomac River, her favorite part was seeing the small towns and seeing how many boats wore the white American Great Loop Cruisers Association flags throughout their trips.
Each AGLCA member receives a white flag, known as a burgee, which has a stylized map of an outline highlighting the Great Loop route. However, only those that have completed the Great Loop Cruise can receive a gold flag.
Brands said when they came across a gold one, it was like seeing a celebrity. A gold Great Loop burgee now hangs at their office in Rifle.
Savage said it was among the most unique trips he’s ever been on.
“We saw parts of the country that you’d never get to see,” he explained.
While the both Brands and Savage reminisced with nothing but good things to say, and each recommended that anybody interested to “just do it, it’s not that hard,” they also admitted they won’t be making it out to open waters anytime soon.
Colorado Cowboy is up for sale in Florida and the two admitted they missed their mountains and deserts.
When anybody asked the two how they got the boat to Rifle, they had to admit its never been to their hometown.