Ilion to Little Falls, NY
05 September 2008 | Little Falls, NY
92 and sunny
Wow - forgot to mention the trains here! There are an unbelievable amount of trains that follow the river system and canal system in this part of the trip. Longggg and louddd but really kinda cool! Everytime I hear them coming I run for the camera to get a shot of the triple engines roaring past but it's to late (thought Blade would like a pic but I don't think it's going to happen!). They stack the cars up on each other so I can see why they need 3 engines to haul them!
Ilion was a pretty nice place - it looks like a lot of the retirees come here for the summer months in their RVs and then head back to Florida for the winter. I chatted with one older female that has pots of geraniums and other flowers around her RV and felt bad because she looked so crest fallen to find out that we were leaving today. She told me how she used to make sails in her younger days (even for some of the America's Cup winners) and how she'd never been on a sailboat in her life. Amazing... I'd have invited her aboard but she looked so frail.
We went to Herkimer from Ilion - somewhere I always wanted to go to dig Herkimer Diamonds but it was so bloody hot, I didn't have the energy to take rock hammer to the stones or go through the mine tailings. We did tie up to the dock and visit their giftshop though - the air conditioning felt marrrrvelous! I wasn't up to a 7 mile hike to visit the mines but the shop had tailings and rocks from the mines surrounding it so people were scouring around the shop grounds. You can rent tools and from what I understand specimens are easier to find since they blasted part of the mine.
From Herkimer we came to Little Falls and decided to put in here. Not sure if it's only for a night or for two nights, depending on what Tropical storm Hannah is bringing here. The prediction is rain and winds so we'll see. If it's raining tomorrow we'll probably stay and work on things that need to be done around the boat. If it's not bad we'll probably head on to Amsterdam (birthplace of Kirk Douglas - seriously - that's what it's known for), which is about 34 miles.
It's pretty nice here - in a valley so no cell service and no wireless but my broadband sprint card seems to be able to access the internet, and I have 30 amp POWER!!! This is one of the nicer stops, on the south side of the canal. It's a 1918 Barge canal terminal building that's been renovated - it has an office, meeting room, showers, restrooms, laundry, fountain (not running due to low water) and rumor has it that you can get a lift into town to the restaurants and back (they'll pick you up). It's a little under a mile to the center of town, with supermarkets, CVS Pharmacy, movie, Dollar General, etc... Nice place. I gave Wayne a haircut in the park here then we went for a shower and read in the shade.
There's a young man here that's bicycling to Florida that the Dock Master is going to take into town for some dinner. It's cute - he has his laundry all over one picnic table to dry. Odds are he'll get there before us - we saw one jogger a few days ago, jogging along the canal and she caught up to us, paced us and passed us over the course of 3 -5 miles. We think she was training for a marathon - you go girl! It was neat when she pulled ahead of us and... just keppppt going, and going, like the energizer bunny....
The next lock we come to is a mile away - Lock 17. It has rope handholds and lowers us 40 ft. This one is the largest single step locks on the Erie and from what I hear the east gate of the lock is pulled up over the canal and you go under it... If it's hot as today, that might feel pretty good to get dripped on, even with canal water... According to Skipper Bob's book, not only is it the highest lift-lock, it's also one of only 2 locks in N. America where the entrance gate is lifted above the boater.
In looking at the charts, the locks start coming closer and faster. The last 5 on the Erie are called "The Waterford Flight of Five" because you must do them all together. These 5 will drop our boat in elevation 169 feet in less than 2 miles - YIKES - no stops permitted on these locks (#s 2-6). The first lock on the Erie is #2. There is no lock 1 or 31 for some reason... That will be an interesting day! Depending on whether it's 3 days away or 4 (weather, etc...) Mary I may not get to wish you a Happy Birthday. I know it's coming up (Tuesday) so just in case: HAPPY BIRTHDAY WOMAN! Did you know that you're a Saint? See my pictures on the website.