More from Little Falls
08/31/2007, Little Falls, NY
August 31, Friday
For the second evening we find ourselves tied to a wall in Little Falls N. Y. We are moored stern to stern with the Lois McClure, which is a replica of a canal schooner, circa 1862. There is a band playing in the Canal Park and the Rotary Club fed us ribs and chicken for dinner. The Lois McClure has drawn quite a crowd this afternoon and many folks have felt obligated to chat with us as they pass by...others think we're part of the show.
Little Falls is on the Mohawk River. The valley is narrow, probably about one mile for the heights on one side to the other. At the base of the valley is the Erie canal, the Mohawk river, one highway and three well used railroad tracks. Some of the slopes are wooded, with a few fields cut out. There is at least one ski resort in sight in the distance, but mostly it's forest.
The town itself is old, a few buildings build in the 1700's are still in existence but most of the older structures date to the early 1800's. The people are pleasant but reserved.
This morning I changed another fuel filter that I had skipped last week and hope that it resolves our engine problem. Let me explain. Ever since our arrival in the Canal, our engine has acted weird as we leave a lock. The engine runs perfectly for hours, we enter a lock, tie up leaving the engine idling for the 20 minutes or so that it takes to lock down. When we exit, the throttle doesn't control the rpm's. The engine races, slows, races, slows, sputters and then seems to find itself and run with missing a beat until we pass through another lock. Once, while leaving a lock the engine stalled altogether. (Now you have Mike's version-apparently he was not bothered by the engine stopping?)
I replaced the primary and secondary filters last week and the problem continued. I tried idling at 1K and the symptoms were reduced substantially but still existed. Then, I tried shutting down the engine while we were in the lock... which solved the problem completely.
Today I tore apart the lift pump and replaced that filter located there. The old filter looked clean....but felt hard, almost like it was calcified.
If anyone wants to take a stab at diagnosis please feel free. It will be interesting to see if my efforts today make any difference.
This is a nice place. The scenery is great and the fireworks should be starting soon!
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!