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: