Two more locks down!
08/29/2007, Newark, NY
August 26, Sunday Pittsford to Newark, NY
Fairly cloudy and uneventful day. We went through locks 30 and 29 today, for some reason there is no lock 31. The lock walls were covered with a thick green slime that made me feel like throwing up. We have only traveled 22 miles, but good places to stay are getting fewer and farther between. We think tomorrow will be a longer day. The land is getting hilly and the water is more river-like in places. Newark does not seem to be as historic a town as many we have seen. The wall here is very nice and the restroom is really nice. There is only one shower but they have free laundry. Of course I scrounged up a load. They told us they had free internet, but we couldn't get any service. "Must not be working again," the dock master said.
We walked down to look at the lock we will go through in the morning, as it's only ½ mile away. Hmm, looks just like the locks we've been through, since they're all 45 feet wide and 300 feet long. The first locks we went through have fixed cables hanging on the walls and you put a rope around it and let it slide down as the water lowers in the lock. The locks we went through today, and most of the locks on the canal, have ropes hanging and you just grab on and slide your hand down the slimy rope. That's why we bought the nice, thick leather gloves on sale somewhere last winter. The locks today were covered with thick, green slime. Icky! Locking has been very easy. Mike has put us along the wall nicely and we just grab hold. We will have 3 locks that go up, the rest are down on the way out of the canal.
Only 30 locks to go!
Mike and Kathy
08/26/2007, Pittsford, NY
August 25, Saturday Brockport to Pittsford
25 miles, two lift bridges and two locks. We passed our first boat today (the only boat we saw on the water) . It was a blue house boat with aluminum siding .....painted on each side was a dead woodpecker laying on its back. The name of the of the boat was "Pecker" and it was owners were in there 50's or 60's. They chatted with us as we passed and surprisingly, seemed quite normal.
The temps for about the third day in a row were in the low 90's. It was breezy and acted like thunderstorms...but none materialized.
We spent the afternoon reading...there was a wonderful bookstore in Brockport, and walked the town before cooking supper. Villages here are almost 100 years older than what we're used to in Michigan. Many of the older buildings are of the Federal style which is unheard of at home... there are lots of Victorian buildings as well but they are all circa 1880. We are tied to the south wall of the canal and directly opposite is a restored flour mill and a coal bin that looks like a short, squat silo. There are a couple of nice looking restaurants, several of them are Greek, and an artsy - fartsy section similar to the back way to Greenbrier (for those of you who have had the pleasure of shopping rural Gatlinburg) We did make one purchase at a wood workers shop... a box in which to keep the boat cards we're accumulating.
In New York pedestrians have the right of way at all crosswalks no matter what... one lateral step on a sidewalk and tires a re screeching to a halt...even when we didn't really have crossing in mind. However, after someone has gone to so much trouble, we are almost obligated to cross anyway....with a smile and a wave. It would be fun to just spend an afternoon wandering aimlessly faking motorists out.
While I was grilling a flank steak this evening, a couple walked up to tell us that they had been aboard Sapphire and in fact, were at one time considering her purchase We had a nice chat about the boat and sailing in general before they excused themselves to let us eat dinner. We had the same experience in Gore Bay earlier this summer. One of the other sailors anchored with us stopped over to say that he had almost bought Sapphire but the teak scared him off.
Late. . .
Happy Birthday Margaret! Happy Anniversary Jake and Abby!
Middleport to Brockport
Mike and Kathy
08/26/2007, Brockport, New York
Thursday, August 23 Middleport to Brockport
I was the designated driver of the car today. I haven't done laundry in a month, so I went to the Laundromat for a few hours and then drove to Brockport. It was a nice drive through some small towns. I did find a vegetable stand to get some tomatoes. I scouted out the place to park on the wall in Brockport and let Mike know where to go. It started to rain pretty hard and I heard the lift bridge open so I went and stood out in the rain to help them tie up. They have water, electric, rest rooms and showers here for $8/night. It's a nice town. There is a branch of SUNY (State University of New York) here, so it's a bit of a college town.
So .... Today our ride down the Erie was easy... the lift bridge operators always know when you're going to get there even if they have three bridges to operate. It's magic.
The canal is about 30 yards wide and is usually banked with rocks. There is always a walk way on one side or the other . Waterways that I am used to are natural and as such follow the lowest contours of land. The Erie Canal is much more like an aqueduct. Upstate New Your is rolling, much like the west side of Michigan. As the Canal passes through the land it's up and down .... Which means that al least half the time we are above the land....There are many times that we are looking down over valleys ... way below us, that consist of fields, orchards and much prime deer hunting territory.
Whoever engineered this looked for north facing slopes ... when it was dug, the tailings were moved to the north side and became the berm that is the north bank of the canal.
The only other surprise is the lack of boat traffic ... we are alone most of the day just driving along... our friends are joggers, old men sitting in chairs and farmers checking their irrigation pumps. We see two or three boats per day....
We all drove to Rochester to West Marine to pick up some things we needed-like a patch kit for the dinghy which had a run-in with a rough wall while tying up to wait for a lock, among other things. We went back to the boat and had lunch and then Mom and Annie left for Michigan. It was fun having them with us for a few days.
Mike changed the oil and some of the fuel filters, which took a long time and the boat has to be torn apart to do the job, so it was a mess. We were sitting in the cockpit relaxing after putting the boat back together when it dawned on me that there was a laundry room about 40 steps away. Shoot, I did six loads yesterday but I gathered up all the sheets and some other things and did a load. The washer was $1.75 and the dryer was free! Can't pass up these opportunities!
Another strange thing about driving through the canal is that we can't use the auto-pilot. There are too many turns and bridges and it is almost too narrow. We can't just put it on auto and sit back and read our books, checking things out now and then