Another Day on the Erie Canal
25 October 2010 | Lock 7
We did 48 miles and 7 locks today. It was almost warm and it was almost sunny. What a difference! We started out in the fog, but the fog gradually cleared and we saw the closest to sunshine we've seen since the snow day.
We had so much confidence in the generator (and the moderating weather) that we set our sights today for another dock without services. Last night worked out pretty well. It was frosty by morning, but we turned on the generator enough to take the chill off again and make coffee. Then we took off into the mist. We had just cleared Lock 14, so before Lock 13 I went down and took a shower. The engine heats the water, so hot water was no problem. Then between Lock 13 and Lock 12, Bud took a shower. His was a bit rushed, because at first I was reluctant to helm on my own because it was so hard to see the buoys. But soon it got easier and he got a shower.
The day kept getting nicer. There are a few more pictures in the gallery, both because the lighting was better and because my hands were warm enough to not wear gloves, so taking pictures was easier. It's very pretty along the canal and today I could almost see why people would do this for fun. The picture at the top of this entry is of one of the NYS Canal tugs. This was the Governor Cleveland. It was a good-sized boat and was moving right along, but didn't make much wake, so didn't jostle our boat much at all.
Our timing was definitely off, not only for the time of year, but also for the runs we ended up making. We had to wait in Brewerton to cross Oneida Lake, so we couldn't get as far as we might have. We passed two places that would have been really nice to stay, but they were either too short or too long a day for us. The first was Little Falls, the picturesque town with the 40-foot deep lock. We have been playing leapfrog with a guy in a homemade trawler called the Lost Navigator for the past couple of days. Today we ended up tied at the same lock (you'll see a picture of his boat coming out of the lock in the gallery). He told us he spent the night in Little Falls and they had 30 AMP power. Again, in the season they charge, but Nelson spent the night free. Another picture in the gallery is of the free dock in Amsterdam. It looks like a beautiful facility and they, too, have power.
We're finally getting the whole locking thing down to a science. We check in the Skipper Bob book to see how great the drop will be and whether the lock uses pipes, cables, ropes or a combination. We're getting good at getting our rope or whatever. We know when the lock is all the way down, because every lock has a line of zebra mussels that starts about a foot above the low water line. I took a picture of it, and that's in the gallery, too.
The one nice thing about doing this as late in the season as we are is that there aren't a lot of other boats to deal with. The locks are usually all set for us as we come up to them and the facilities that aren't closed are pretty empty. We did miss out on staying at the Schenectady Yacht Club. I called yesterday hoping someone would be around on the weekend, to see if we could stop there. They were there but they we pulling their docks out! We went by today and all the docks were gone.
The day went so well that we went on to Lock 7. We locked through and then tied to the downstream wall. There's a picture in the gallery of Bud putting a chafe guard on the spring line with Lock 7 behind us. Just after we tied up, Lost Navigator came through and tied behind us.
We're at mile 12.6, so tomorrow we have to go just under 10 miles and then do the flight of 5, 5 locks that take you down further in a shorter distance than any other canal in the world. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'm not promising pictures, because although it's supposed to continue to warm up, it's also supposed to rain.