|31 May 2014
|Depart Port of Rochester, NY
|Lake is flat, great day to ride
|Lake depth is 587ft!
|Cross the Canada Border
|Keeping active with logging!
|Driving through a sailboat race course,
|making lots of new friends!
|Bay of Quinte
|Murray Canal was cool!
|Dock at Frazier Park
|elapsed 7.0 hr
|ave 8.4 kts
|46.0 gal total
|A few mins of WOT to kick the carbon out
|is the reason for the 16.7 knot top speed
26-30 May 2014
As we say “Caw-Caw-Caw” to our seagull friends in the Oswego Harbor, we swing out into Lake Ontario and head west to Rochester. Rochester is sort of on the loop, boats that have an “air draft” of more than 15 feet need to get off the Erie Canal and head into Lake Ontario. Choices are then to go West, past Rochester, exiting Lake Ontario via the Welland Canal into Lake Erie. Second choice is to go north from Oswego into Canada and take the Trent-Severn Canal into Huron. This is our plan.
But first a stop in Rochester to see my sister, and to pick up the packages we’ve sent to her house. They range from the small (needle valves to inflate the fenders) to the large (22″ ball fender for the locks). It was quite a pile waiting for us.
West across Lake Ontario was pretty dull, other than the amazing bright blue waters of Ontario. Our Chesapeake Bay is a green blue, the ocean along NJ is more green than blue, and due to the rains the Hudson and Erie Canal were brown. Lake Ontario is a bright sapphire blue, the color you see in all those tropical island commercials, but with a 35F temperature difference.
A little over 5 hours after departure we scooted down Irondequoit Bay to the far southern end. The bay was loaded with boaters enjoying (finally) the arrival of summer. We headed into Southpoint Marina under a pretty blustery wind that had picked up. With some adept help of the dock staff and our new boat neighbors, Quo Vadimus was secure in her berth.
My sister and family were heading back from their annual road trip to see the Indy 500. Lucky for us part of Southpoint Marina is Bazil’s Italian Restaurant. We had been here on prior Rochester jaunts, so we were sure to order the Artichokes French. Lightly battered artichoke hearts that are pan fried and then covered with a reduced sherry and lemon sauce. Very good.
Tuesday we got a delivery of the first set of packages and they left the RX-0 for us to drive. We spent the day unpacking our “spring Christmas” and doing more mundane tasks like laundry. We met up with the family to go to a Rochester institution Sticky Lips BBQ. The have been a multi year winner at the Rochester Rib Week contest. We were brave and tried the Atomic Meat Sauce. It has a good flavor, but it’s one of those sauces that the heat builds after awhile. Big hit of the evening was the fried green tomatoes.
Spa and errand day was the plan for Wednesday. Susan headed off to have a day of luxury away from Belle and I. I ran errands picking small things up that were not worth buying on-line and spending the cost of shipping. When I got done I had lunch at Jincs on Park Street. It is touted as a great breakfast spot, but having missed that I ordered and had a great lunch.
After Susan was all coifed, we then headed to the Old Toad. It’s a London Pub that’s been teleported to Rochester. Everything looks authentic. They import waiters and cooks in from England as help for a few years. One of their chef’s has since opened a very popular place in Downingtown called The Station Taproom that my son Dave works at. It is a very small world.
Truck Rodeo!!! Speeding trucks dueling it out to see who the best is. Well in Rochester it’s the Food Truck Rodeo with over 3 dozen food trucks from the area parked in the Farmers Market. You name it you could get it, and whatever you wanted came in a deep fried or batter dipped and deep fried version. With most of Rochester in attendance we did the divide and buy method. Cynette got Poutain, Susan grabbed some Vietnamese specialities and I got Mac&Cheese:Bacon, French Onion with Beef and Lobster. (I also spent $30 on Mac&Cheese, Mom would be appalled.) Susan had the big winners of the night. She had ordered me a Waffle Dog, a hot dog on a stick (I’ll eat anything served on a stick) dipped in Waffle batter and then grilled in a waffle iron. Interesting, but the too sweet batter made this more of a dessert than a dinner.
Thursday we were off to Niagara Falls for the day. It’s a Susan bucket list item, so she will tell you about the trip from PB&J donuts from Donuts Delite on.
Friday was another errand day. We did paper bills and sent postcards out and then some stores. I had a discussion about the “pistol type flare guns” with the nice people at West Marine. They were sure they were illegal in Canada. But it turns out not to be the case. So I dropped off the proof (RCMP web site and a flyer from Canadian tire) and picked up the flares I wanted.
At 2:30 we headed over to the Port of Rochester to fuel up 240 gallons (most expensive so far on our trip, it was a $1 / gallon more than we could have gotten in Brewerton ouch) and get pumped out. After dinner of leftover BBQ we took a short walk. Susan worked on her videos from Canada while I headed off to bed.
|30 May 2014
|Short trip to get fuel
|Depart Soutside Marian, Rochester, NY
|Genesee River Entrance
|Dock at Shumway Marina
|Fuel P=118.2gal S=120.0gal $4.95 $1179.29
|elapsed 1.1 hr
|6.4 gal total
We had decided to stay an extra day or two since we were having so much fun visiting the Cavalier family in Rochester, but Foster’s one caveat is that we plan something to do. Visiting Niagara Falls has been on my list for a while, since I vaguely remember visiting as a small child. My sister had to remind me that we went with our grandparents. Since it was only about a 90 minute drive, we planned to go on Thursday. The weather was a little cloudy to start out, but got beautiful not long after we arrived.
We crossed to the Canadian side and drove to the Skylon Tower to get the view from on high. We had to get tickets first, and then went through one of those green screen photography areas. Later we looked at our shots and the one where they photoshopped us into the barrel going over the falls was hilarious, but the price wasn’t funny at all!
I had decided to take the GoPro along with us and shoot video of our trip. The video is a little long, but there are some very interesting shots (video not loaded yet).
Skylon Towers was a great intro to the falls area since we could easily see both the American falls and the Horseshoe falls from the tower. We talked about what we’d like to do and decided to walk down to the falls on the Canadian side, then go back to the car and take the American side boat tour called Maid of the Mist rather than the Canadian boat since the Maid of the Mist seemed to go farther into the pool in front of the Horseshoe Falls.
We stopped for a quick lunch in the nearby casino and both had poutine which had a perfect melty texture to the cheese.
The sidewalk and visitor area overlooking the Horseshoe Falls area provided a great view. The water had a really cool green tinge to it as it approached the edge of the rocks
We managed to find our way back to the American side and got waved into a cheesy tourist parking spot, and as directed walked inside for our “free map” and free hard sell on the guided tour. It wasn’t a hard decision to conduct our own tour, since the guided tour was more than four times the cost of the Maid of the Mist tickets, and everything else was free within the state park!
Once we got our tickets, we crossed to the tall elevator and rode down to the loading area. I ran the GoPro, getting some great shots as we got onto the tour boat and went into the mist. I really appreciated the free rain ponchos that they give out as part of the fare, since the mist from the falls was literally raining down onto us when we got all the way into the depths of of the falls. It was a pretty spectacular ride. The force of the water created a lot of mist and whirlpools at the base of the falls.
After the ride was over we walked to the viewing area on the American side and got some more good shots. The day was so beautiful we continued to walk upriver until we came to a bridge that overlooked rapids that lead up to the American falls.
A great day! Look in the Photo Gallery for more shots from Niagara.
|26 May 2014
|Depart Wright’s Marina, Oswego, NY
|Wind dropping, waves starting to flatten out
|Ginna Power Plant
|Water color from Deep Blue to Alge Green
|Must follow the channel!
|Dock at Southpoint Marina
|elapsed 4.8 hr
|46.8 gal total
25 May 2014
We got late start from Ess-Kay Marine today. It was a sunny day with a forecast of 70F, a great day to go boating.
Soon after departure we cleared our last lock on the Erie Canal, Lock 23. It had been closed for a few days due to the high water levels and the speed of the flow. After clearing it, we took a starboard (right) turn and headed up the Oswego River that is part of the Oswego Canal System.
There are only a few locks and because we were later in the day there was little traffic. We only shared the lock with one other boat.
During the day we noticed the current picking up and the wind was also starting to blow. By the time we reached the last lock (Lock 5) about 2:30PM it was pretty gusty out. There is a power plant next to Lock 5 and you could see the extra water from the river being released over the dam wall. This made for some interesting currents once we left Lock 5 and got into the mainstream of the river again.
Docking at Wrights Marina in Oswego was very challenging. There was a strong wind from the west blowing us away from the dock. If it wasn’t for some help from one of the boaters there, we would still had been trying to dock. I’m pretty good with doing our own docking, but if you are going to charge me $95 to dock, you need to send a dock hand out.
There was very little to see or do in Oswego that was within walking distance other than the Maritime Musuem, but it was closed . Susan made a great dinner, it’s amazing what she does in 8 square feet. We spent the rest of our evening watching TV (yay Internet) and watching the 2.3 million sea gulls wheel around the sky. We did get a pretty interesting sunset on the edge of Lake Ontario.
We will be very happy to depart in the morning. “Caw-caw-caw!”
|25 May 2014
|Depart Ess-Kay Yards, Brewerton, NY
|Oswego Lock #1
|Oswego Lock #2
|Oswego Lock #3/4
|At 2,100rpm we are running 10.5kts
|The canal current is about 2.2kts
|Oswego Lock #5
|Oswego Lock #6, 7 and 8
|In the last 3 locks the wind has picked up.
|Dock at Wright’s Marina
|elapsed 5.6 hr
|19.4 gal total
22-24 May 2014
Ess-Kay Yards, Brewerton, NY
After the great Wednesday of touring town, Thursday was a rest day for us. I cleaned the outside of the boat and did some odds and ends of maintenance items. Having a fully stocked store at the end of the dock was great, Kim and Tammy were very patient with my 2.3 million trips in an out as I completed one project and started another.
I had such great success with my Ham radio the last two times, I thought I’d try the other radio and antenna that I had brought. Last time I had used it was over 5 years ago so I was excited to see it work again. Much to my unhappiness, the antenna didn’t work. As you switch frequency, the antenna expands and contracts to make the antenna the right length. I’m guessing that there is a corroded contact on the board. I’m thinking I can repair it, but I have limited parts aboard (no matter what Susan says about all the stuff I brought aboard). To mitigate the risk, I ended up ordering a new one, it should end up in Rochester on Wednesday.
On Friday I got caught up on the Internet postings I had pending (you may notice that the ships logs appear in sequence, but I back post the trip reports). We borrowed the marina car and did some shopping and had a great BBQ dinner.
Saturday dawned clear and bright and at 9AM we heard this huge clatter on our starboard side. Ran out to find Gary the fiberglass guy removing the rubrail with an impact screwdriver. I helped remove some of the rail since, Bayliner through hole bolts some of the sections. No idea how they think I’ll get to them later. So I had to put pressure on the screw while Gary drilled them out. Then cut the excess off and punch the nut / stub into the hull. I’ll search for them the next time I’m down there.
It didn’t take Gary long to grind down and glass up the sections. He was going to be away for a few hours, so Susan and I took our bicycles into Brewerton. The last time I did any biking was when the kids were little, over 15 years ago. My knees were not happy with the entire concept. But we made it back into town and had wonderful Ruben sandwiches for lunch.
Emboldened by her successful ride Tour de France Susan decided to ride some more. I on the other hand had spied the latest JD Robb mystery at the library. So while she was riding, I was solving a mystery in 2065! Going half way to the library, reading for 2.5 hours and riding home did make my knees happier.
Since we had the bikes off the boat we spent some time moving heavy things that were under the port side to starboard side to balance the boat out. It also gave me a chance to clean the deck under the bikes.
While we were gone, Gary had come back and finished off the fiberglass work. Unless you knew the spots, you would not be able to tell the old from the new. All that need to happen is for the new rails to arrive in the last UPS delivery of the day. Which didn’t happen.
After going to bed on Saturday with our hopes of new rails dashed, on Sunday Gary and Ethan were able to twist and bang the old rail into serviceable condition to get us through the next locks. So it was on to Oswego!
Just a quick note of thanks to Kim, Tammy and Ethan of Ess-Kay Yards for making our stay so great. They were very nice, helped us out, and were able to get Gary, a top notch ‘glass guy to come with no notice at all. THANKS!
Welcome to the Erie Canal! May 14 – May 23
Here’s the latest theme song, courtesy of my sister Michele.
The Erie Canal has been very interesting because of the lock systems we have to go through every day. This leg of the trip has been much more demanding because of the locks – as we come in to a lock, I have to catch a line using a boat hook, and then secure the line to a cleat so Foster can swing the back of the boat around and we can secure the back as well. It’s not as simple as just tying off the boat, however, since the water will go up or down in the lock and we have to feed the line and keep the boat against the side of the lock. Our first few locks were very easy, and then we had a couple of very difficult ones that kept us on our toes. We now have a routine down, so we have a good idea of what we’re doing, it just takes some communication, coordination, and physical effort. Here’s a video of our first day doing multiple locks.
The next day, we had a tough day of doing 8 locks (only missed filming one on the video) and thought we were going to be settled down for a while in St. Johnsville, NY due to heavy rains coming in and the locks being shut down to control the water flow. First thing in the morning, however, the dockmaster let us know that the lock people wanted us to move up as far as we could – above lock #20 if possible – due to the way the weather system was behaving. Given how fast our boat can run, and the availability of marinas along the way, we compromised by doing another 6 hour run. This included 3 locks, one of which was in the pouring rain which you can literally see coming down at the end of the video. Fortunately it wasn’t too cold, because we were completely soaked at the end of the day. The windows in the boat were completely steamed up.
The happy result of moving at the last minute was that we got to spend nearly a week in Ilion, NY, a very small town that conveniently had everything we needed within a mile or so of the marina. We also had a great little hot dog and hamburger place called Voss’s BarBQ about 5 steps away from our pilot house. They make their own ice cream, so we were set for the week! I got another great shot of the dawn the day after the rain:
Once the locks reopened and we were happy with the way the wind and the current had settled down, we set off again and had a long 8 hour day of travel. The locks went very well, and we had our first experience with down locks. I like the down locks better so far, but don’t want to count on them always being so easy! This video has the down locks, as well as beautiful views of the canal, like this:
In the video you can also see some of the tugs and barges we passed on the canal like this one:
We made it all the way across Lake Oneida and are settled in again for a few days in Brewerton, NY waiting for weather and some minor repairs to be completed. Once again, we have some beautiful views – here is last night’s sunset:
And here is my little duck buddy from this morning:
21 May 2014
We pushed away (well after all the Sundaes we waddled away) from the Ilion dock a little after 8 this morning. We headed west through water that still had trash and tree limbs floating along. In about an hour of picking our way along we arrived at Lock 19.
It’s a pretty low rise at only 20 feet. It’s a little tricky to get into since there is a train bridge just before it. But we slid in, got bubbled up to the top and we were then off to Lock 20.
The Canal system was doing repairs in a number of places so we needed to wait for the channel to clear. We also passed two barges with dredging equipment on them. I can imagine that dredging is a year round process for them.
Lock 20 turned out to be pretty easy, but Lock 21 was a new wrinkle. Rather than lifting us up, it lowered us down. Susan was able to scoop the forward line from the upper level and I got the stern line. We then lowered down the 25′. We both though it was easier to go down, the water drops out the bottom and does not create the turbulence that coming in does.
A mile later it was time for Lock 21, also going down. This one was a little more interesting since there was water pouring into the lock from the top of the gate and from the bottom two corners. I looked like an elaborate fountain at work.
That was it for locks for the day. We soon motored through Sylvan Beach and headed into the open waters of Oneida Lake. We were watching the weather, there was rain predicted earlier in the day, but that had fizzled out, along with the wind. There were no waves, just flat and calm as the eye could see. Setting the autopilot we headed west at 10.5 knots, making short work of the 25 mile crossing.
We were soon berthed at Ess-Kay Marina, we have an amazing view of up and down the canal. A feature of the docks are slats that run from the top down into the water. These slats collect all the sticks and debris from the canal and keep it from running into your boat. Very nice.
We walked into downtown (by the way Google rocks on car distances, seems to be overly optimistic on “walking”) and had a nice dinner of ribs and “salt potatoes”. They are potatoes that are boiled in salt water to season the potato as they cook. Mom did that for years, we just called them boiled potatoes.
On the way past the Public Library there was a sign for “Now Appearing the Brown Brothers“. We were reading the sign and two guys go, “We hear it’s going to be a great show.” So we followed them in to find out they are the Brown Brothers. They were pretty good playing my favorite Leonard Cohen song Hallelujah and a made up song called Star Wars, (Note: Never ask eight year old kids for song requests). It’s neat to see the Libray hold these kinds of concerts.
We walked back and watched a very pretty sunset, all settled for our next few days.
|21 May 2014
|Depart Ilion NY
|Not too much trash in the river
|Lots of trash at lower entrance
|Guard Gate 6
|Dock at Ess-Kay Yards
|elapsed 7.5 hr
|54.0 gal total
21 May 2014
Last post from Ilion, I promise.
We had a misunderstanding over the opening of the canal. We got told if we wanted to go west we needed to be at the next lock at 7AM. That means a 6:30 departure, that’s not going to happen. So we opted to hang out. Turns out they were trying to say the Canal is open starting at 7AM.
It was just as well, there were still a large number of large sticks coming down the river. We spent some time pulling the ones away from the dock wall where they were wedged between the boat. Some of the larger ones I walked down to the fuel dock to let them deal with it.
We went to the Remington Arms museum. They have rifles from day one (1800′s) to present. Plus some samples of their hand guns and early typewriters. They don’t give factory tours any more, but have a long video that shows the entire process.
Hit downtown again, post office to mail things, another tour of True-Value and went to Froggy’s Burgers for lunch. They were good, but not like the Voss’.
In order to be ready to go at 8 on Wednesday, we did a quick pump out. At the dock met a guy who is single-handing a canoe from Connecticut to Niagara, Ontario. Very interesting guy and he also agreed that the cleat of the lines to get on the wall is a must.
The Lil’ Diamond was last nights highpoint, along with Susan making a cheesy, sausage potato casserole. It was unusual to eat something that wasn’t fried. We topped it off with our last Voss’ sundae of the trip.
Before I leave Ilion, I did want to say that I’m impressed about the train traffic along the Hudson and Erie Canal. On the Hudson we saw passenger trains every 30 mins and freight a little more than that. Once we got on the Erie, freight is king with a train every 15 minutes. They are going both directions, are very long and have a variety of cars. Most times it’s the stacked containers, but many times it’s a train of just UPS trailers. (Wonder if that one has my parts!!)
All in all a good visit to Ilion! We’ll miss Cody at the dock and all the people at Voss’, but it’s time for new adventure!
20 May 2014
Lil’ Diamond III visited Ilion today. We saw her down river on Friday. She is a Canal Tour boat that gives hour long tours of the canal around Lock 18.
She came in for Gas and Water. What impressed me the most when she sailed by on her way to the dock that she is powered by a pair of Honda 250 HP outboard engines (the 4 strokes even in that size are very quiet).
I chatted with the Captain and the crew. According to the Captain it’s the largest passenger vessel in the US that uses outboard engines. With it’s flat/pontoon shaped hull it draws 12″ in the bow and about 18″ in the stern when loaded. Top speed with people aboard is about 11 knots, empty she will do 14 knots.
She has two 80 gal tanks and runs about a week on a full load. Overall she gets about 2 miles per gallon on her cruises.
The Captain was nice enough to let me walk around and take pictures. The three shots of the pilot house show the center wheel and then the docking controls in the starboard side wing. (In the photo the Captain is standing at the wing station.
It has thrusters to make docking easier, but the Captain and the Crew said Lil’ Diamond was a handful in any kind of wind.
When they took off down the river, you could just hear the Honda 4 strokes purring along.
19 May 2014
Day three in Ilion, but that’s been fine.
On Friday night Tom C stopped with packages that we had sent to his house. My sister had remarked that the UPS guy was bummed since the packages had stopped with robot build season being over, but he seemed pretty chipper with the latest influx of goodies.
We got through the night, high water came with 9″ to spare on the wall we are tied up to. There was flooding to the east and west of us, but the Canal Authority was able to keep the water levels down. But for the last three days the Canal has been moving pretty fast, from some simple time measurements about 2-3 knots. But there has been a ton of large debris that floated by.
Saturday it started to clear off. It was cold and windy in the morning but that didn’t stop over 80 bikers to come for the annual Blessing of the Bikes. You can see some of them in the picture above. Lots of clubs were represented along with a few unaffiliated bikers.
Both Susan and I did loads of laundry and I chatted with the crew of a boat headed for the Rochester area. We talked about the different marinas to go to when we get closer.
At the Illion Marina is a hot dog place, Voss’. It started off over 100 years ago Utica and it’s the third year here in Ilion at a branch store. In the last few days we’ve been working our way through the menu. So far big winners have been the hot dogs (duh), hot sausage with peppers and onions, and the crinkle cut fries.
They make their own ice cream and Susan has had a “Cola Float” and we both had sundaes. They have 6 kinds of ice cream and every topping you can think of. The shakes are amazing, you can get thin (slurpable via a straw) or thick (serious cheek effort required.) It’s all very inexpensive, our average meal is about $9, we can’t do commercial fast food for that. Which reminds me, we’ve not been to fast food since we left home. Yay US!
We’ve been into town, there is the most wonderful True-Value Hardware, reminds me of the old Dover Hardware “if we don’t have it, you don’t need it”. We also food shopped at the Dollar General (which was also huge and well stocked) for the few items we needed. No fresh veggies, so we stopped at Aldi’s and Susan stocked up.
Sunday was BLOG DAY!!!! You may have noticed an influx of pictures in the galleries (yay Susan!). The thumbnails and slide shows now have captions (some programming on my part). I got all the back postings done on my part and Susan is doing the last time lapse. So you will need to scroll down to see the latest posts. We post in “Order that it happened”, so there is a little Time Warp going on. Try to deal with it. Next time we Loop we will bring a full time blogger aboard. (not)
It’s also was FEND OFF THE LOGS DAY! Since we are in a little basin, the current eddies around the boat. Sometimes that eddy brings BIG HONKING LOGS with it. So we push them off into the canal with the hope that the main current will drag it downstream.
Monday has been clean the boat day, Susan did the insides and I did some re-varnishing of some of the woodwork. Belle has been displaying her considerable nap skills, not all concerned with the activity around her.
I also went into town to get a haircut. I had decided when I left work in March to grow my hair and beard out. I had a running start since my last haircut was for Christmas. So I was well on my way when we set sail. Yesterday we tried to “facetime” with the grand-baby and the camera was showing, what in the nicest terms could be only described as “psycho Santa”. Ummm not good. So I’m back to my normal length and when we did talk to the baby she wasn’t all freaked out.
The canal may open on Tuesday. The other two boats are in a hurry to go. I’m concerned about the still rushing current and the stuff in the water. I won’t be happy to abort the trip with bent propellers. So once the water flow slows and the river gets more blue / green then we will take off.
Until then we still have steak sandwiches, chicken and tuna melts to try at Voss’.
16 May 2014
Today had started off being a rest day. We had found a marina near a small town. It had all the facilities we would need and would be a great place to sit out the storm that was coming. 1-2 inches of all day rain, a great day to stay in, warm and dry.
Bernie, the dock master, called me out at 9AM to say that the Erie Canal people had called and they wanted everybody to move as far west as possible. So we got set to go and were off the bulkhead at 9:45.
Lucky for us the rain had not started yet, but there was lots of junk in the river. So we headed up towards Lock 16. It had a very short lift so we were through a little after 10AM and on our way to the famous lock 17.
It’s huge, it’s the largest lift on the Erie Canal. The lock lifts (or lowers) every boat an astounding 40 feet. It replaced four locks on the old canal by just one. It has two unique features, first the locking gate drops down from the top. When you enter the lock you go under the gate that is suspended above you. The second thing is it has a water saving side pool which allows about half of water from a locking to be reused on the next locking. It’s weird in the lock since you can feel the flows change.
It was also our first time at using the port (left) wall. It worked out well since the wind was pushing us to that wall. So we didn’t need to tug on the lines to stay in place. On the other hand it made it harder at the top to get off the wall, but we managed without any bumps.
Lock 18 at a little after noon was easy. It was also a small lift at 20 feet so it was an easy passage.
And then the rain started. We had already decided to call it a day shooting for the Ilion Marina. With the rain coming down it was a good move on our part. By the time we traveled the 5 miles, it was pouring. Docking along the wall was easy, but both Susan and I were soaked at the end.
Susan made a great hot lunch of tuna melts, and started cooking sausages and tomato sauce for dinner. The aroma’s wafting through the boat were great!
The Erie Canal rapidly turned into a muddy trash filled mess and the flow picked up. The Canal Authority closed the locks at 3PM and it’s clear that they then opened the dam gates alongside each lock to keep flooding from happening.
We both were exhausted from yesterday and the mad dash for today so we both got naps in.
We’ve been watching the Flood and Flash Flood Warnings and the water level rising. Since we got here at 1PM the water has risen about 18″ (now about 8PM). I’ve been adjusting the fenders down as we rise up the wall. I’ll keep an eye on it overnight. The National Weather Service predicts the crest to be about 6AM, so we should be fine with the 3′ of wall that we have remaining.
The sausages and sauce were wonderful! But then you knew that!
|16 May 2014
|Depart St.Johnsville Marina St.Johnville, NY
|Water is choppy and windy
|Lock was very cool, 40′ rise!
|A ton of trash at the lock gate
|Dock at Ilion Marina
|19.8 gal total
15 May 2014
Today looked like a great day, 67F, some light clouds, we were set to head west towards Amsterdam. A few locks an a few hours, we could stop and sight see. I had wanted to do the Schenectady Science Center, but we arrived too late. So hit Amsterdam about noon, rent a car, drive back 15 minutes and tada!
Which soon became Tadon’t. The dock master said a storm was coming and we should head farther west and make an attempt to get past Lock 14 (about 40 miles). So much for our easy day and getting some Science knowledge.
So I topped off the water tanks and at 9:30 headed west. In about an hour Lock 8 was in sight. We had a good experience yesterday, so we practiced what we learned. Pick out the line to go for and make sure we talked to each other. Slide into the lock, pick up the line and 14′ feet later we were off to the next lock. It’s not really that easy since we were told not to cleat off the lines, but to hang on to them. So staying next to the wall is some effort.
At this point the wind started picking up so it was going to be a little bumpier than we wanted. At 11:30 we approached Lock 9. It was a little harder with the wind, but we got our lines and were able to hang on to them. We remarked to each other that now was the time to take this trip, we couldn’t see either one of us doing this in 7 years.
At noon we pulled towards Lock 10. On the approach I was close to the wall when a gust of wind slammed us against the lock CRUNCH. Susan scrambles for the line, I try to keep us in position. We’ve now moved into the lock and the wind tunnel takes over and we move quickly to the port (left) side of the lock. Susan lets go and we nestle into the port wall. We both grab lines and hang on.
As we get to the top the lock master is waiting for us. He said “You can cleat the lines until you get into position” Wow. That will make a huge difference. Susan can use the boat hook to get the first line and cleat it down. I can then back against it to move the stern to the wall. We do the same maneuver when we dock. The lock master says “You should do that on Lock 11, it has the same wind issues”. We thanked him and headed off.
40 minutes later we apprehensively approach Lock 11 in Amsterdam. We move into the lock. Susan hooks the line, cleats it down and yells “Tied!” I nudge the shifter and we move back against the wall while Susan walks to the stern. “Got it”. Wow. That was easy. We both had pretty big smiles as we rode up the 15 feet to the next level.
The next locks (12,13,14 and 15) went just as well. But when we cleared lock 15 it was after 4PM and we were done for the day. So we headed for the St.Johnsville Marina. Bernie the dock master soon had us tied securely to the wall. There was laundry 100 feet away, town was a short walk across the bridge, we were good to stay for two days.
We headed into town and landed in Cosmo’s Bar and Grill, a family run place. We settled in and had a good meal of burgers and chicken tenders. After dinner we went on a search for Duck/Duct tape to tape some plastic over the fiberglass to keep it from getting soaked in the rains to come. We found some at Kinney Drugs we were good to go.
Soon we were settled in for the night happy knowing that Friday would be a rest day.
|15 May 2014
|Depart Schenectady Yacht Club
|Water is choppy, wind picking up
|Wind starting to build
|Pretty ugly transit
|Our new locking method works well
|Less wind at this lock
|Wind has died some
|Last lock of the (very long) day!
|Dock at Municipal Marina
|50.4 gal total
14 May 2014
We got up and walked over to Don and Paul’s Cafe. It is an old style breakfast place and at 8:30 it was very busy. Reminded me of Jack and Helen’s in Chesapeake City. In the back room was a pool table and it was very popular.
After walking across the bridge to make a pharmacy stop we were ready to go. There was a tour boat loading kids, so we waited for them to take off.
At 12:30 it was our turn and we entered Lock 2 and we were on our way! At the top of the lock was the Urger (shown above). It’s used up and down the canal as a demo boat for school kids. And sure enough there were lots of kids around it.
But no time to spend gaping, the next lock was soon there. And the ones after that in quick succession.
The “5 flights” were fun, but a little taxing. The fairly rapid pace made for an interesting run, but I think we missed out on some photos. There was one place that someone had set up a small table and two chairs on the canal wall behind their house. What a place to sit and relax!
Once we got past the locks our next issue was a fixed bridge showing 20′. We are 19′ tall so I needed to drop the VHF and GPS antennas. We slid by with room to spare, which I thought was unusual, but didn’t give it much thought.
We pretty much had the Erie Canal to ourselves and the Quo Vadimus raced along. We passed some spectacular waterfront home high on the hills overlooking the water.
As we approached Schenectady I noticed that there were a number of crew boats in the water. We slowed to 5 kts so our wake wouldn’t swamp them.
We came around the corner to what looked like an abandoned Marina. We were planning to stay at the Schenectady Yacht Club, it was a recommendation from Brian at Shady Harbor Marina. We called the club and were told we were in the right place and we should pull to the fuel dock, just past that was our slip.
Once we got tied up we got told the story of the docks. The power dam we had passed a few miles ago was in the process of doing some repairs. They drew the water down in their section of the canal. Which caused the floating docks at the Yacht Club to rest gently on the bottom. We were told that repairs would be done soon, the water level would be back and boats would be launched.
Susan made a wonderful steak dinner. After dinner we put our recliner chairs on the dock and watched the water activity and read.
Crew practice was still in full swing, with the boats racing up and down the river. Every so often we would see a two person canoe flash by, the two people paddling with a vengeance. Susan finally figured out that it was a health club, an the canoeist were out for exercise.
Ahh what some people will do just to be out on the water.
|14 May 2014
|High Scattered Clouds
|Depart Waterford NY
|Famous “Flight of 5 locks
|Passing the Tug Urger
|It’s all No Wake, slow going
|Dock at Schenectady Yacht Club
|11.6 gal total
13 May 2014
We were happy to see the Erie Canal direction sign as we came into town. Even happier as we tied up to the Waterford Visitor Center that was free and electric was only $10. This was the best deal so far on the trip.
We walked up to Lock 2 (about 200 yards from where we were docked) to scope out what it looked like. Seemed very much like
Lock 1 The Troy Lock. Next was a quick wander through town to scope out where to eat.
After squaring the boat away and trying to get caught up on blog posts we relaxed for an hour.
Docked behind us was a trawler from Canada and I went over to chat for a few moments. They live on the Trent-Severn Waterway and gave me a card to call when I got closer. They were up from Florida going home for the summer. They had done the loop and wished us well on our trip.
Dinner was at McGreivey’s, our other choice The Angry Penguin was more of a bar.
Susan had “the best shepherds pie from a restaurant” (the one she makes is MUCH BETTER) and I had the Cajun Jambalaya. It was good, but after a while the Cajun spice started to build.
We did the short walk home and after some Internet surfing we fell into bed, dreaming of our first locks on the Erie Canal.
Up the Hudson May 8 – May 13
I love the Hudson River. Having grown up in Northwestern Connecticut in a tiny town called Litchfield, we travelled all around the area and I had seen the Hudson many times. As a small child, my parents went on a weekend trip with us on a houseboat up part of the Hudson. As a result, I was really looking forward to this part of the river. I wasn’t really thrilled when we left Croton-on-Hudson because it was so foggy. For the first hour or so we didn’t see much of the scenery. After that, the mist settled a bit and we were provided the perfect view, just as I remember it as a child and young adult. The video came out pretty well. The theme song Michele provided was very appropriate – by Over the Rhine. There are so many things we passed along the river that were really neat, like Sing Sing prison, the Culinary Institute of America, West Point, and lots of cool looking tiny little towns.
Bear Mountain Bridge
Sing Sing Prison
Waterfall along the Hudson
The first night we stopped in Newburgh, and one of my longtime friends, Deirdre, who I had not seen in more than 15 years joined us for an overnight. We had a great time catching up, and then went to see OC Choppers show room. The next day, we went to see a really cool museum called Motorcyclepedia which had over 450 exhibits. Definitely a fun side trip. In the morning we had beautiful weather, and I walked up the steep hill to the Newburgh Post Office. Once we got back it was off to Kingston NY. Here’s the video.
Kingston is a great little town that has several nice restaurants and shops, as well as a couple of museums. We visited the Hudson River Maritime Museum which had lots of pretty fascinating exhibits. Next we hopped on a trolley and rode to the Trolley museum, which had many antique trolleys in various stages of restoration, and an interesting exhibit hall. We had dinner at an irish pub in town, and I enjoyed my fish and chips.
Leaving Kingston the next morning, we again had great weather and traveled to New Baltimore NY to a marina called Shady Harbor. This marina was super organized and had a great little restaurant on site that could provide either fine dining or great pizza. The next day, Foster promised me a day off, and the marina kindly allowed us to borrow a car to do some grocery shopping. We got a quick look at the surrounding area which was nice, not very developed at all. Sadly, the video suffered from a user error and we didn’t get the last half, which is sad because we missed Bannerman’s Castle!
Sunrise at Shady Harbor
Our trip the next day was again great weather, and brought us to our first lock experience at the Troy NY lock. We managed to capture the whole trip this time on video. We docked at Waterford NY where the Erie canal starts, and wandered off to check out the next lock from a pedestrian’s point of view. Later, we took a quick picture at the Angry Penguin, and then I had really fabulous Shepherd’s Pie for dinner at McGrievey’s. Before we started off the next day, we made sure to have breakfast at a highly recommended coffee shop called Don and Paul’s before continuing on our way across the Erie Canal.
|13 May 2014
|Fuel 123.9 + 123.0 @ $4.379 = $1,105.69
|Depart Shady Harbor Marina, Kingston, NY
|Van Weies PT
|Water is flat, but we are against the tide
|We slow down/speed up for the fishermen
|Approach to Troy Lock
|Clear Troy Lock, our first on the canal!
|Dock at Waterford Visitors Dock
|20.4 gal total
After a great day of touring Kingston and a great meal we got up on Sunday and once again headed north along the Hudson. After a pretty easy ride on a beautiful day. There were a ton of people out fishing since it was so nice.
We passed a number of light houses on the way, some of them back to the late 1800′s. It was like going back in time. It had helped going to the Maritime Museum in Kingston so we knew what we were looking at.
We pulled into Shady Harbor Marina and were guided in by Brian the owner and two dock hands. It looked like a tight fit, but Brian read the current and wind and we slid in like we had bow thrusters. We were on a brand new dock and our new boat neighbors gave a warm welcome.
It was Mothers Day, we were not sure we would get a space at the Boathouse Grille for a late lunch. They were able to get us in. I had the Mussels Diavolo and Susan had the Margherita Pizza. The Mussles were great and Kathy (the owner) brought extra bread for the sauce.
Monday was our rest day, so we asked about how to get into town. They were nice enough to lend us the “Half Car” to drive into Ravena for supplies. We stocked up at the store and were soon back on the boat for naps.
From the day before we decided to go back to the Boathouse Grill. We ate out on the deck in a very pleasant evening. I went wild and had the deep fried cheeseburger, but dialed some of the grease level back by getting a baked potato instead of fries. Susan went with the Eggplant Towers (slice of eggplant layered with ricotta, pomodoro and mozzarella and beef carpacchio. The burger was good. We were able to talk the waitress into letting us take creme brulee back to the boat, we promised to bring the dish back in the morning. We ate it while we watched MadMen on the computer.
Tuesday we were off to Troy to start the canal. Susan returned our dishes and got a great shot of the boat at sunrise. We loaded up with fuel and water and we were soon off headed north.
The day wasn’t as nice, but there were a lot of fishermen out. We soon came to our first lock. We called it Lock 1 and the Lock master told us, in no uncertain terms that it was the Troy Lock. It’s run by the Federal Government (Army Corps of Engineers) and is NOT part of the New York System. Lesson learned, we then headed to do the last few miles to Waterford.
A whole week has gone by since my last update because we’ve been so busy! It seems like we were traveling almost every day, and when we arrived at our daily destination we were immediately doing some site seeing, taking care of necessary maintenance & chores (try scooping a kitty box when the boat is rolling through a wake) or having visitors aboard, etc.
I’ll try and get caught up over the next couple of days. There are lots of pictures, and at some point Foster would like to add a gallery option. We’re trying to load blog entries on the actual date we do something, so look back through entries if you feel like you’ve missed something.
I’ll be honest with you all – this is a lot of work! Yeah, I know, cry me a river. There are sometimes over a hundred pictures in a day. Many of them are blurry (hard to take a good shot on a rocking boat) and others just need work like adjusting lighting or contrast, cropping, identifying what the shot is of, and researching if you don’t know immediately, adding a caption, resizing for optimum page loads, etc. Just choosing which shots to add this morning has been about 45 minutes and I’m not done yet. Maybe as we move along there will be less picture-worthy landscape going by but I doubt it.
Then there are the videos. Every day we move, we shoot time lapse video for the length of the trip that day. If I have properly charged the batteries, changed them at appropriate intervals, and not screwed up starting or restarting the time lapse, that results in 3-4 clips and about an hour or 90 minutes of editing time. Once the video is edited and an mp4 file created, it takes around an hour to upload to YouTube, provided we have a good internet connection. If my laptop gets closed or times out, the upload stops.
With that said, if you don’t see something from me every day, don’t panic! I’ve more than likely got behind on my processing and will catch up as soon as possible. If I get too far behind I get cranky because it interferes with other things that I want to do, like taking a nap.
Here’s a link to our YouTube channel; it may make it easier for those of you who enjoy the videos since you won’t need to wait for me to post a blog entry.
|11 May 2014
|Depart Rondout Yacht Basin, Kingston, NY
|Water is flata and we are with the tide
|Esopus Creek Lighthouse
|We slow down/speed up for the fishermen
|Middle Ground Light
|Dock at Shady Harbor Marina
|New Baltimore, NY
|30.4 gal total
People have asked how Belle is doing on the trip.
She appears to be having a great time!
She likes her new food (and frankly at $9 a pound she eats better than I do) and has been eating about 1/2 cup a day.
She is much more interested in her surroundings, for the first time she went up on the flybridge. But we were underway and she got scooted back to the pilothouse.
Susan made her new beds, so she has a place on the pilot bench, the salon bench and next to our bed. She has used all of them on a rotating basis.
With the weather being cold, we didn’t get her clipped. So we have been brushing her on a daily basis which she really likes.
11 May 2014
Mike asks I am interested in what you are using as navigation equipment, software and other electronics? We will be updating 14 year old gear in the coming months.
As an electrical engineer I learned long ago that water and electronics don’t mix. So I’ve kept the electronics at a low level.
The prior owner installed a very nice Garmin GPS unit. I use that for most of the travels so far. It has the charts from 2012 so it’s pretty current.
I’m a big fan of paper charts since they work under all sorts of adverse conditions. I have charts for the entire trip (hey Mike call me before you leave on the loop for a good price on gently used charts). that I use to plan.
For the US segments I have the Dozier’ Waterway Guides. They have where to go, what to see, etc in printed format. For Canada I have similar books published by PORTS. They have one for the Trent-Severn and for the North Passage. Great reading, gives some decent insight to the trip. You also get weekly email updates on things that are happening in the area.
I have an iPad that I run iSailor on. iSailor is super simple and fits my needs of being a chart plotter. There is better software from Garmin and Navtec that you might want to look at first. I also have an AIS app that will give me some info about traffic in my area. I don’t use it to navigate, but I do pull the ships name. I get better response when I go “Calling Godzilla, calling Godzilla” to the giant freighter vs “Hey you in the channel”
I belong to the America’s Great Loop Cruisers’ Association. It’s $40 a year and I’ve saved more than that on Dock fees the first two weeks. But for docking it’s great, there is a section for each part of the trip and places to stay (and stay away from).
I also have an Active Captain account to look at reviews. It could be better some reviews are dated, but hopefully as 2014 kicks off there will be current reviews posted. It’s a free service.
Membership in the Waterway Guide Cruisers Club may also be helpful. Presently membership is also free.
Last I have a compass. So that and the charts serve me well.
The boat came with RADAR which I can use, but seldom do. If it’s too foggy out, I stay at the dock. When we came through NYC harbor there was very little boat traffic so I relied on the Mark I eyeballs.
The only electronics that I’m really attached to is the autopilot. It makes the long periods of driving super easy. I still drive in the tight places, but in the Chesapeake Bay and the ocean, nice to set it to 29 degrees north and let it drive for the next hour.
Good luck on your purchase. As we get closer to you in Oct/November drop another note in and we’ll try to meet up.
11 May 2014
Our stay in Kingston was brief but pretty jam packed with things that we did.
But first, our trip here was very nice. The day got better and better, we went from a cloudy 68F to a sunny and clear 78F. The water was very flat and a lot of people were taking advantage of the great Saturday to go out and fish. We did a lot of speed changes from cruising to “no wake” to tiptoe through (well as much as a 30,000 lb boat can) through the fishing grounds.
The dock is along the Rondout in Connelley (just across from Kingston. Connelley and Kingston were huge shipping locations in the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. How did I know that?
Simple, after getting tied up we got a taxi and headed over to the Hudson River Maritime Museum! It’s a small place but lots of history of the river in the Kingston area. They also have a great collection of tug boat lore, since tugs played a big part in cargo traffic on the river. We spent about an hour there browsing the exhibits.
One of my favorites was the ice boats. I’ve seen the little 12 foot iceboats, but they have one on display that is 55′ long and has side runners that are 12 feet apart. This thing was huge! They have movies of it screaming along the ice with a guy standing on the windward side (like hiking on a boat) to keep the skate on the ice. It had a recorded top speed of 60MPH!!
Outside the museum, we caught the trolly over to the Trolley Museum of New York.Since we were the last ride of the day, we got to ride into the trolley barn.
In the barn we got to see the Trolley’s they have refurbished and the ones in progress. A neat ride back into history.
Our first choice for dinner was closed, so we walked through Kingston to an Irish Pub we had seen. We had a Scotch Egg, Bangers and Mash and Fish and Chips. Sláinte! After dnner we walked a little around Kingston looking at the shops and the antiques. We got back to the boat and I set up the printer / scanner so Susan can get started on her project. I cruised the dock looking at the boats (love looking at boats)
Sunday (Happy Mother’s Day) is bright and clear, so we will once again head north. We are looking at two days of rain, that will let us catch up on projects.
|10 May 2014
|Fill both tanks, pump out, disconnect starboard alternator
|Depart Riverfront Marina Newburgh, NY
|We slow down/speed up for the fishermen
|On the wrong side of the tide
|Dock at Rondout Yacht Basin
|Connelly / Kingston, NY
|24.0 gal total