About the Authors
We met at Grinnell College in 1966 and we married two years later in August, 1968. Our honeymoon was our first road trip — in a borrowed car driving from Omaha to Tampa to stay in a borrowed home. From the beginning, we enjoyed a sense of adventure toward travel and food, which we satisfied as best we could while raising a family and working. In 1999, Bruce sold his business and we faced the decision of continuing to work or doing other things. We chose to spend our time having adventures.
Since retiring we have traveled to Italy, Scotland, Portugal, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Albania, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bermuda, Australia, Figi, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Greenland, Iceland, England and most of the islands in the Caribbean. We have also traveled extensively in the United States by car. We made four border-to-border, coast-to-coast road trips, where we avoided Interstates and fast food as much as possible and limited ourselves to no more than 250 miles per day. That forced us to go slowly, eat locally and travel the back roads. We had some great adventures.
In 2003 we began living aboard our 35-foot trawler Gulf Cart for the summers. We found seeing the country from the water, not having a car, and meeting the fascinating people who live on their boats full time to be enchanting. We wrote frequent emails to family and a few friends describing what we were experiencing and sharing some photographs. We learned our friends were forwarding our emails to their friends and our list of addressees grew. When we finished the Great Loop, it was these people who encouraged us to write Coming Full Circle: A Voyage on America’s Great Loop.
We sold Gulf Cart in the spring of 2009. We had other travel ideas and didn’t want our boat to sit idle in a slip while we pursued those dreams. We left Naples, Florida that June and spent a month driving 7,000 miles to Anchorage, Alaska. Once there, we rented an apartment that we used as a base to see as much of Alaska as we could in two months. We then spent another month driving back to Naples along a different route.
During our road trips, we became aware that there were unique places to spend the night that were more interesting than standard motels. We had come across several lighthouses and cabooses that were open to the public, for example. We decided to try to find and visit as many of these places as we could find. And finding them was not easy, as we found no single website or travel guide listing them. So we did the search, and then we left on a 22,200-mile road trip to stay at them. It was, once again, a great adventure and Quirky Sleeps: Some of America’s Most Fun Places to Spend the Night is the travel guide we wish we had when we started out.
We live in a home on Naples Bay and boat the local waters in a 27-foot Sailfish named Gulf Cart III. We serve as AGLCA Harbor Hosts for Naples and would love to meet any Loopers who come our way. We will continue to do road trips and would love to hear about your quirky sleep experiences, and any deserving places we missed in our travels. We hope you enjoy the books.