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The First Mate's Journal
Where to next?

Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Sylvan Beach to Ilion
90 and hot
09/04/2008, Ilion, NY

We were originally going to Utica but ended up in Ilion. I really needed a shower, and power to catch up on my journal and pictures. We covered 4 locks today; two up and now back down again. Lock 22 carried us up 25 ft, then lock 21 another 26 ft up. Sore, sore, sore... But at least the rest of them are going down so we don't have the turbulence to deal with. Hey guess what... they're right, after 20 locks its old hat!

Long day - but beautiful. How can I describe it for you. It was like we were alone on this long winding river and canal, except for a barge and tug here and there. The colors are on the verge of changing. The smells are incredible, sweet wildflowers, the aroma of pine, cedar, and burning campfires all hint at fall. Trees are tinted yellow, and leaves dance on the surface of the water, and the fish... the fish are huge and jumping. Bushes and scrub with red berries line the waterfront, ready for the geese and ducks to start harvesting them. The reed grass and small bamboo grass break through the surface and ripple the water as the wind dances across them. Now that the wild humans are gone the blue herons are along the waters edge hunting for their feast of minnows in the shallows. Ducks and cormorants act as vanguards and swim ahead then part to the side to let us pass almost as if to say, "you lead" and "farwell"...

Some of the old pilings stand entwined in cable in the water - sentinels of days past when they held up old piers perhaps, now at haphazard angles in the canal. Graceful in a sad way...

There were several barges and tugs along the canal today. Some were inspecting bridges, some dredging, some harvesting wood and trees that had fallen into the water. One barge/tug (Erie) that we came up to were getting ready to close the canal behind us to work on a bridge and had heard we were coming so waited for us to pass before closing it. It was funny because it was a beautiful tug (The Erie) so I had to take a picture of it as I passed. After I did, I noticed the tugboat captain was taking my picture in return, and the guy on the barge was snapping a picture of us with his camera phone. We all cracked up - it was funny - I guess you had to be there.

The lock tenders are curious about us and quite courteous. They're quite a breed apart - very special people. I'm convinced they're the friendliest people on earth. Everyone we've met so far has been so wonderful - it amazes me. They take care of you - like you're family - they radio ahead to let the next lock or lift bridge know that you're coming. One couple got yelled at the next day because they didn't show up (decided to stay the night somewhere) so the lock tender was quite concerned about them LOL.

It was hot getting in tonight and after tying up, a shower was in order, then we made Thai peanut chicken for dinner, only I couldn't find my peanuts so used cashews in place. Didn't turn out bad... It feels good to get caught up on the journal...

There's more to Ilion than meets the eye. The Marina and RV Park where we stayed has newer facilities as a result of a grant through a member item from Senator James Seward and other programs from the village. Wi-fi (which I'm currently using to catch up on my journal, grills, blacktop, washers and dryers (pay type) a Veterans Memorial wall and a few other things to attract the RVs and boaters to the village. Very nice - I might add.

A little history of Ilion (a Village in Herkimer County). Ilion (pronounced Ill-E-on) is a name for the ancient city of Troy. It was settled by Palatine Germans around 1725 along Steele's Creek that flows through the village into the Mohawk River. After the American Revolution the community started to flourish with mills, etc. but went through a name change of New London and some of the buildings still have London on them. In 1816 Eliphalet Remington created his first gun, later to become Remington Arms Company and the village continued to grow when the Erie Canal was finished in 1825. In 1843 the citizens wanted a post office but Remington rejected the use of his name for the village so the name Ilion was eventually decided on. So anyone wanting to know where Remington guns began? Yup, right here...

09/05/2008 | Bill
Good Morning, Just thought I would let you know I love reading the blogs, please keep them coming. Us at work are trying to follow your course on the map. We found Ilion but cannot find the lock you are describing. Pictures are awesome. I close my eyes and try to imagine the wind on my face and a full sail then I realize its my coworker blowing on my forehead. LOL take care and I will try and respond to the blogs more often. Bill
Crossing Oneida Lake
Partly cloudy high 80s
09/03/2008, Sylvan Beach

Partly cloudy but calm out this morning. We didn't leave until 9 am but the lake was pretty calm all the way across. There was mostly fisherman out today, and mostly in the channel where we had to stay. We got across the lake in 3 hours (hey that was pretty good - 5-6 knots is our cruising speed remember). After getting in we tied up to the wall and I was amazed at the place.

As you approach Sylvan Beach, it looks like a carnival is set up on the port side of the boat. There's a long stretch of beach, boardwalk and an amusement park. It's a quaint little coastal town with a feeling of "the past" about it. Where we tied up there were cottages just down from the small, deserted amusement park. I was shocked to find you could actually walk through the park while there was nobody there. We wandered through it - it had a fun house with huge scary clown faces painted above it looking down at you, a target shooting gallery, arcade, roller coaster, tilt o wheel, tea cups, gravity drop, carousel, Ferris wheel, etc... like the old Edgewater, or Coney Island. As you walked through it- it was eerie seeing all the lemonade stands, cotton candy and ice cream stands just sitting there empty. It left me feeling sad to see it standing so empty. I can imagine this place in the summer when it's open and the beach is hopping! Everything is filled to capacity.

They have a couple of very nice restaurants right in front of the amusement park on the canal and we at at the Canal View Café (they have a wonderful view of the lake for sunsets - glorious). It's a wonderful old restaurant with memorabilia going back to the 1800s of life here along the lake and canal. Full menu with lots of nostolgia and atmosphere - the bygone days of Sylvan Beach. We both got the clam dinner with potatoes, salad and rolls - very reasonable price $9.99 but the beer was $3.50 and ice tea $2.00 - yikes - if you come here great food but check out the drink prices before ordering.

From Baldwinsville to Brewerton, NY

The pic is of the Norma Fay 3 musketeers :)

Today we decided to see if we could find bulb replacements for the mast while we have it down.

Two locks today #24 took us down 12 feet, then, surprise, surprise the next one (23) took us up 7 feet. I wasn't prepared for that - it was a shock instead of holding on to stay close to the wall, we had to exert a lot of strength to keep the boat off the lock wall!!! Sore muscles tonight... The turbulance of the water coming into the lock had quite a lot of force to it.

Stopped at the Winterhaven Marina for fuel, pumpout, water, and to check their stores but only found one bulb that matched ours. While there, I spotted Ombre' Rose on a travel lift, so they must be leaving their boat here for the winter (indoor storage). We got into Brewerton a little after 4 pm and walked into town to the Marine 2000 store. Very nice fella there - didn't have anything we needed but was willing to look up the part numbers for us for the next stop we came too. Directed us to Rosies "the best pizza in town". It actually wasn't bad but couldn't hold a candle to the one in Put-In-Bay. The kids making the pizza reminded me of my kids at school - made me wonder how they are. Today was the first day back to school, and I'm not there. Love the first day back - I don't sleep all night - but love hearing the kids as they come back all excited. Hope this is a good week for everyone - students, teachers, secretaries, etc.... Rumor has it that Elaine functioned quite well without Mary and Me LOL...

To all my school mates and chums and students - miss you all and am thinking about you today.

Tomorrow we cross Oneida Lake, the largest lake in NY. We've been told to go early and only if it's calm because it's shallow, and the power boaters really kick it up. So enough for today.

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