Back to the Black Rock Lock to Rich Marina
08/23/2008, Tonawanda to Buffalo
Okay, a new day - that means another day full of possibilities again. Back up to the Black Rock Locke to look for Rich Marine (after I called to verify once again that they have a slip with power for us). This time we had to fight the Niagara current. Going down it, with the current, we hit 9 knots - unheard of in this boat! Coming back towards Buffalo we did a little over 4 knots running at 2500rpms. Left Smith Boys (thank you for the hospitality) around 9:30 am and got here some time after 12:00. Pulled in, tied up and went to the office to check in for the weekend. Mike showed us where we could look to see if there was any wood we could use to make a cradle for the mast, told us where the nearest West Marine was and other stores and wrote up a work order for Monday morning to have our mast unstepped. I'm worried to feel optimistic... We scrounged the yard, plugged in and Wayne is busy trying to build a cradle. Tomorrow we need to unhook all our connections and prepare for Monday morning. It's hotter than blazes here again today. 2 degrees shy of 100 in the cabin (yesterday it was an even 100).
Made a tossed salad and tuna salad for dinner and listened to the powerboaters partying at a homemade neon tikibar 10 boats down. Then we walked out to the Niagra River. It looks like a lot of the local kids like to hang out here on the cement breakwall and on the breakwall of the Black Rock Lock (try to say that 3 times on the radio without sounding stupid). Woosh - today is actually today - I believe I finally caught up - I love having computer power!
Tomorrow we need to finish putting up the cradles to hold the mast, unwire the mast if there's time and it doesn't rain - walk into town to the West Marine and see if we can find a drug store.
It's an adventure - miss you all... I just finished reading the comments from the start of the adventure - Love to you all
At Wardells? Maybe not...
08/22/2008, Tonawanda, NY
So we started taking off the sails, loosening the hookups etc... I walked under the bridge and across the road to McDonalds for breakfast stuff and came back and we finished taking the sails off. It was hotter than bear and the temp in the cabin read 100 (just like my classroom). I heard his phone ring again, and shortly after that he yelled across the river to us, that the guy wasn't coming until Monday now - so we could come on over. I yelled back okay and we finished up the sails and stuffed them in the bags, kicked on the engine and went across to where the hoist and other boat was parked the night before. As we were trying to tie up, one of his 2x6s, that Wayne was trying to tie to, came apart and into the water. He came out and said we weren't supposed to throw a rope around that, and he wouldn't be able to get to us now until Monday - it was to late in the day; "You were supposed to be here this morning!" What the heck??? We were here... he told us to stay put! Wayne told him we needed to build a cradle anyway, and still needed to finish unhooking the mast, and he said "that was supposed to be done already - over there". "I can't help you". I told him we'd do it ourselves if he'd help us find a source for some lumber. He'd already told us that that wasn't a problem earlier! I told him we'd do it all, all he had to do was lift out the mast and he said he couldn't help us, try Smith Boys and see if they could help us out this weekend. So I got on the phone and called Smith Boys and they said they couldn't help us out this weekend. We asked if they had dockage with power, and water and were told yes they did. I then asked if they could pull our mast Monday and he asked what size mast? I told him about 55 ft and he said - no, it's to big - try Wardells... I said, "um, we're at Wardells, he said to try you". He said they were short handed and couldn't do it, the mast was to big... After hanging up, I told Wardell what they said and he said "what?" "That's ridiculous" (but in my humble opinion - this whole thing is ridiculous). Try RCR Marine or some similar name.
Anyhow we decided that Smith Boys at least had water, power, and showers so we left Wardells to go around the other side of Tonawanda Island where Smith Boys was. Pulled into their dock behind an old wood Lord Nelson and hooked up to power, then went to plead our case (as far as unstepping the mast). A guy in a dingy had been following us around the island and asked if we'd like to pull further down where he was. He was the only sailboat in this marina. We got to gabbing and he said that this place would treat us right - he'd never had a problem with them in all his years and asked if we'd gone over to Wardells. I told him the story, and he'd mentioned we were better over here. Denny was a recovering alcoholic or some dribble so he wasn't to surprised at our reception over there. This is when we found out that Smith Boys were shorthanded due to a wedding... One of the owner's sons (the one that does the mast stepping/unstepping) is getting married this weekend... Ahha... now that makes sense - not that our mast is to big, but that he's got a wedding - I can live with that... But why would they say that our mast was too big? Is New York full of habitual liars?
Call to Wardell's again... Is there any way you can get to our mast Monday... "Try RCR, I can't help you" This guy really doesn't want us there and I don't know why. I'm ready to have a melt down and on the verge of tears. We went into the service dept and I looked at the guy and said is there anything you can do... He looked at me and said "hang on... let me make a phone call or two and see what I can do... Wardells can't do you"? "No, he told us to come here." "Wow, that's not like Dennis to turn away business". "He's always after business". Wayne told him, "He's to busy selling gas to help us out". After a phone call he gave us Rich Marine's phone number and told us to talk to Jay and tell him that he'd just talked to him from over at Smith Boys. After talking to Jay, he said "No problem, come on over" oh-oh.... "We got a slip for you and we'll pull it Monday - how'd you miss us we're right next to the lock?" Wayne told him "we were probably looking for buoys" I told him I owed him a big wet one and he laughed... He took down our name and vital statistics (the boat) soooo I have my fingers crossed this time...
We're staying at Smith Boys tonight - got a new boat hook for the Canal System and I got a tea cup (really missed my teacups at home) - they have a very nice facility here - good marine store, power, water, a new shower and laundry facility that's awesome. The showers are new and quite roomy - like at home, and the laundry is free, just bring your own soap. After showering and doing laundry I feel my spirits lighten a bit. The boaters here are quite friendly - Wayne got waylaid coming back from the shower and told me about a group of them, that were asking about us (one of the only sailboats here). He said one guy was impressed that I'd like to go around the world and said his wife wouldn't do that! It sounded like a double meaning to me but I let it slide - guy talk... Anyhow, Wayne sent me to check on the laundry and I spotted the group. As I passed by, I heard: your shirt doesn't fool me (I was wearing my HI University T-shirt) - you look like you're from Michigan... I stopped dead in my tracks, turned around and said "what?" "Yup, we can tell you all about you!" He then launched into Wayne's retirement, my early retirement from teaching, where we came from, where we're going, our boat info, and a host of other things that floored me. Wayne really got into a conversation with them LOL... They recommended a couple places to eat at in town and wished us well.
Chicken and a side salad with a glass of wine aboard Kolibrie - that's what's on the menu tonight... My batteries are charged so I got to check my email finally! Yay! I can finally catch up on my journaling, download my pictures and play a game on the computer to boot. We should have come to Smith Boys to begin with - I'd at least have felt clean without feeling totally rejected by a person who will probably never remember what he said or did the next day....
I have to confess that Wayne caught me on the verge of tears tonight. I just felt so frustrated by that whole Wardell's episode. I still don't understand the whole thing. The frustrating part of it that got me into tears is that through our history together, Wayne and I have pretty much gotten ourselves through everything, been self-sufficient and pretty competent at most things that we try to do. Where one person couldn't handle some problem, the other could. But here it was like butting our heads against a brick wall. We're not used to having to depend on the kindness of strangers to do the right thing, or for the strangers to be semi-competent at what they are supposed to do in order to do their job. We'd been told that "while there were problems" Wardell's knows his stuff, but from the first minute, it felt like we'd been lied too, jacked around and then told to go elsewhere - and we'd never said a word out of line to him. It was like he deliberately lied to us, then once we got here, he took one look at me and decided he wanted nothing to do with us... I don't know him well enough to say that maybe he doesn't like mixed bloods, but damned if I know what his problem is with us... I don't like being lied to; feeling belittled; or rejected like that, and would never recommend anyone go there. I don't care how much he knows about stepping/unstepping masts - you don't lie to someone to get them there and then say oh never mind... changed my mind... that's not good business, recovering alcoholic or not... If we had access to a crane, I'm sure we could do this mast stuff ourselves. It's so damned frustrating... Time to end it for the night and see what tomorrow brings.
So close to the Erie Canal but so far...
08/22/2008, Tonawanda - Wardells N43o01.321 x W 78o52.862
Okay, after sleeping I'm still not impressed. The other boat left and he was putzing around the yard so I called over there on the phone. I could hear the phone ringing over here as he ran for the office "Wardells" "Hi, I can hear your phone ring across the river (laughing)" "ya, I suppose it's a bit loud". "Can we come over?" "I've got a guy coming over first, to step his boat - it won't take long, I'll call you over after that" "You need to take everything off though first, so do that" "Okay - roger that".
The picture shows us tied up at the seawall across from Wardell's and in front of the boat you can see the bridges blocking our way into the Erie Canal jusssst beyond our reach.