— By Gary Kramer
o matter where they dock their boats, many boaters spend a lot of time in a place called Someday
Isle. They sit and dream about cruises they hope to
take someday and the big boat that will carry them.
Unfortunately, most of those Someday Isle musings are never
realized. Obstacles such as finances, health problems, family
obligations, and other issues get in the way.
But El and Bill Fiero are one couple who turned their
dreams into a unique cruising lifestyle. They began by retiring in 1984 at age 50 from their jobs as educators, selling
their home and most of their belongings to become full-time
nomads. Following several years of exploring this country and
the world, they decided to focus their wanderings on the waterways of North America. They bought a 20-foot Pacific Seacraft
Flicka sailboat, put it on a trailer, hitched it up to a pickup
truck with a pop-up camper, and headed off. They ended up
cruising 13,000 miles on that boat, including figuring out a
way in 1992 to complete what’s now known as the Great Loop.
The sailboat limited their ability to travel upstream, so
in 2000, they bought a tough little 22-foot C-Dory Cruiser.
With that boat, they’ve cruised all the rivers that the United
States Corps of Engineers says are navigable by powerboats.
They’ve been in the Pacific, Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico;
have cruised waters in 29 states; and have repeatedly been in
Canada – logging more than 28,000 miles on Halcyon, named
for a mythical bird that built her floating nest at sea. The Fieros
don’t have unlimited financial means but they didn’t choose
this lifestyle to save money. Their decision to live simply and
small came as part of their love of canoeing, camping, bird