When the engine stops . . .
08/31/2007, Little Falls, NY
August 30, Thursday Rome to Little Falls, NY
Trains. Lots of trains. They ran all day through Rome, along the canal today, and there is a track across from this wall/marina in Little Falls and five went by in 45 minutes, Amtrac and freight trains.
We had a bit of excitement today on our travels. We met three sailboats going the other way. They were from Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine. Since we didn't talk to them, we don't know why they were going the "wrong" way. One of them shouted over that he had just gone aground . Yikes! We've had pretty good water depths so far. Well, suddenly ahead of us there was a barge across the canal. Mike went into stall mode and we waited for someone to talk to us. Finally, the barge captain called on the radio and said he would be pulling over so we could go around him. So we did and we turned a corner to go into the next lock and there was another barge in the middle of the canal in front of the lock. He pointed us around him, but it was a little hairy. We locked down, left the lock and experienced a fluctuation in rpms in the motor, which has often happened when we come out of the locks, (it is very strange) only this time the engine stopped. Oh great! What does one do in a canal with no engine? I suggested dropping the anchor but Mike had a better idea and tried to start the boat and it started! Hurray! We had quite a conversation about what could be causing this to happen and concluded it may have been all the idling for the barge and in the lock. We decided to turn the engine off in the next lock and see what happened. We went through our third and last lock for the day with the engine off and had no problems with the engine on leaving this lock.
We stopped in Little Falls just before one of the tallest locks anywhere-a 40 foot lift, or drop in our case. That should be interesting. We think we will stay here on Friday also. The Lois McClure is scheduled to stop here tomorrow. She is a replica of a canal schooner that has been traveling on the canal this summer. We passed it yesterday in Utica-they were on the way to Herkimer yesterday and here today. Mike read that there were going to fire works here and some sort of festival in the afternoon and a barbeque in the park right here-how could we pass that up?
We walked to town, which is quite a walk from here, and picked up a few groceries. It was over 90 degrees again today so it was a hot walk. They have very nice bathrooms and showers here. It is a nice place to be tied up and stay a day. Two boats pulled in behind us yesterday evening. They were traveling together and had been to New York City, Long Island Sound and vicinity. We sat and chatted at a picnic table and they invited us to play a domino game called Train and we accepted. It was fun to meet some new people again. . .we have been alone much of the time here.
Navigating on the Erie Canal
Mike and Kathy
08/31/2007, Rome, NY
August 29, Thursday Rome, NY
The watch clock sounded the alarm at 5:30. The captain jumped out of bed, started coffee and listened to the weather for our crossing of Oneida Lake. The crew malingered in bed until the coffee was done. We cast off at 6:15 and headed for Sylvan Beach which was a little over 20 miles to the east. The lake is shallow and has the reputation for being rough. We had waves of about 1 foot and they were the biggest we'd seen in a week of travel. We arrived after dodging lots of walleye fisherman at about 9:30, tied up to the wall and went for a walk. Sylvan Beach is an old resort town complete with arcade, amusement park, and many restaurants. We passed a great looking breakfast spot but Kathy had spied a grocery and so that's where we were off to...after loading up the backpack with a bag of ice and a few other necessities like... soy sauce, Triscuts, soda crackers, and an 18 pack of Miller Lite, we were headed back to the boat. On the way back we spotted a motel/restaurant that advertised wi-fi, so after putting our purchases away we retraced our steps back for some lunch and to check our email.
We returned to the boat shortly after noon and cast off for a very hot afternoon of cruising. We went through two locks, going up 25 feet in each. Traveling west to east on the Erie canal there are only three locks that lift you up.... there was one yesterday and two today so it's all downhill from here. When we started, we were a little nervous approaching a lock. A week later, we find ourselves looking forward to them as a diversion from driving along, hour after hour.
We stopped in Rome at about 2:30...temp 93.7 in the shade. There is a busy railroad track across the canal and a small deserted park where we tied up. We are the only boat here. There are kids from the projects fishing but seem harmless. Kathy wants to hike to the store for lettuce but it's a mile away so I'm holding out for later when it cools down a bit.
We did hike to town and it was hot! We just went and looked at the fort and took a few photos, then went back to the boat. Maybe the next town will have lettuce!
On the Seneca River
Mike Another beautiful day
08/29/2007, Brewerton, NY
August 28th .....Newark to Brewerton, NY
Sometime during the night I woke up because something was different. I put some shorts on and popped through the companion way to see a barge ghosting past us toward the lock. It was pushed by a tug that we had seen at the last lock...an Erie Canal tug. When I we got up at seven it was long gone. They must have operated the lock themselves. When the lock opened, I wandered down to chat with the lockmaster and found he had just radioed everyone traveling east to the effect that if we were going... the time was now. There was a crew of divers there that were going to inspect the hinges and they were going to be working most of the day.
After coffee, with some time on our hands we worked on a few chores that were on our mental lists.... I dug out the spreaders, some sand paper and some paint and went to work. In thirty minutes they had two coats of paint and a coat of clear coat...
Kathy pulled all our charts out of the shelf and ditched all those whose time had come. She also unearthed a few that would be important in a few days.
I washed the dinghy and attempted to find the leak in our floor but failed once again. Our dingy holds air but leaks water somewhere between the floor and the fabric. It's not life threatening but is a pain to have to bail all the time.
Our trip today was easy.. about 20 miles through about half cabins and half suburbs...We had our first "up lock" there are only two more that lift us ... but there is very little difference if you happen to be driving a boat. As we pull up we call the lockmaster and identify ourselves and our direction. In most cases they knew we were headed in their direction and had the lock prepared. When given a green light we pull in slowly and slide to the port side. When if feels right, I throw it in reverse and Kathy grabs a line as I bring the boat to a stop. I grab another line.... which hang from the sides of the lock and signal the lockmaster that we are ready for action.
Tomorrow we will leave early to cross Oneida Lake before the afternoon thunder showers. It is about 20 miles and shallow... waves tend to build in the afternoon. We are not worried about waves after the shallow waters of Lake Erie but will re-tie our masts before the winds pick up. Eight footers in 20 feet of water are different.
We are saddened that many of our good friends returned to work today...but we know in our hearts that it is best for the citizens of tomorrow.