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Solving problems that come their way

Mary and Dan Stroeing, with his service dog Tori, have docked at Norton’s Marina in Deltaville while doing the Great Loop.

by Tom Chillemi

Dan and Mary Stroeing of Red Wing, Minnesota, are on another adventure—boating the “Great Loop,” a 6,500 mile trip from the Great Lakes, down the Mississippi River, across the Gulf of Mexico, up the East Coast to New York and through the Erie Canal to the St. Lawrence Seaway and back to the Great Lakes.

What’s unusual about their quest is the fact Dan is blind. Dan woke up one morning in August, 2010 without his sight, a victim of a stroke and possible complications of agent orange that he was exposed to while with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam in 1969.

Undaunted, the Stroeings bought the 26-foot Nordic Tug in 2013. Taking “one small step at a time,” the Stroeings modified their “Gammel Dansk,” which means Old Dane, and dreamed of the Great Loop.

Now 3,400 miles into the trip, the Stroeings docked their boat at Norton’s Marina in Deltaville while they took a car trip north. 

As they walked throughout the marina, Dan began to sing a song by Todd Snider. Mary joined in.

“Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think,

“Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink,

“The years go by, as quickly as a wink,

“Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

They travel 30 to 50 miles a day averaging 6.2 knots. “The beauty of it is going slow,” she said. “It’s almost a challenge to throw off the dock lines.”

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posted 05.30.2019

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