Monday, July 30, 2018

Little Triangle Loop, WEEK #5 21-27 July, 2018

    The Coal Dock was such a good restaurant on Friday night, that we decide to try them out for Saturday morning breakfast. They have a bakery with fresh pastries in full display on Friday night. So Saturday we think we will partake of the goods. Instead of getting one of the good looking pastries when we get there, we both get toasts made with their home made breads. French for me and Cinnamon for Barbara. We are back on SummerTime when a lot of "go fast" or quasi ocean racers start to assemble just outside the breakwater of Cape Vincent.
We are about to witness the start of a large poker run for these boats. There is probably an hundred of them, and a press helicopter. After watching their start, we decide to see the historic part of town. We luck out as apparently every Saturday is "Market Day" for Cape Vincent. There are crafts, hand made collectables, and farmers with produce. There is also a block set aside for 3 on 3 basketball tournaments, complete with referrees.
As we leave the area there is a storefront ice cream shop. We get a waffle cone of one large scoop and I am amazed it is only $2.00. For hand dipped, very cheap. We go back down to the old "Roxy Hotel" for dinner. A really nice looking place from late 1800s where we have a very good dinner.
     Sunday morning we go to early church at the Methodist Church. After church we go back and get SummerTime ready to leave for Clayton, NY. Our neighbors at the dock help us to get away. The winds are really strong, and it takes two pushing hard to get us away from the dock far enough to clear the boat behind us, and not hit the dock area to the far side. At Cape Vincent you have pretty much entered "The Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence Seaway. There are more than a thousand islands here (must have a tree to be an island) in the Seaway. It is a popular vacation area with Canadian and US Citizens. There is the main shipping channel, which is marked with navigation aids. There are other channels among the islands which may or may not be marked. Some require local knowledge to navigate as there are obstructions just under the water. We take an alternate channel route (shallow entrance is marked with 3 small buoys) to Clayton to stay out of the main channel and the rougher water. Even so, we have 2-3' swells for most of the  2 hrs. it takes us to get to the Clayton Harbor Municipal Dock. It also rains on us lightly part of the time along the way. Clayton's harbor is almost empty, but that will change. This is where all the poker run boats headquartered, and only 5 are left when we arrive in the middle of the afternoon. That does change, as later in the evening a group of 8 express cruisers arrives, with the first arrival using his cell phone to stage each boat in so as not to overload the dock personnel. This is a scene we will see each replay each day we are in Clayton.
On Monday we get up and get ready to go do some museums. The first one we go to is the Handweaving Museum. Interesting, but the people using the looms do demonstrations on Wednesday. From there we go to lunch at Koffee Kove on the way to the Antique Boat Museum. Food is very good at Koffee Kove, and my Reuben is served open faced, which is a big mess. At the Antique Boat Museum we take the tour of "La Duchesse", a 104' houseboat commissioned in 1903, and last lived on and owned by the McNally family (atlas fame) before the last share transfers to the museum in 2001.


A lot of nice boats here, all sizes and propulsion types. And other interesting boating memoralbia resides here also. Barbara sits as her knee is bothering her as I go through the last 2 sheds of boats.
We have been fortunate to have been dry all day, missing the predicted showers. However, a quarter mile from SummerTime on our walk back, the sprinkling, and then the rain starts. It is still showering off and on when we turn in. On Tuesday we stay aboard and Barbara does laundry at the marina. It is only one washer and dryer and takes a while. I do some minor chores on SummerTime. In the evening, we go into town and visit "The Scoop", an ice cream parlor with "Giffords" ice cream from Maine. At 1/4mi. it is the second closest we have ever been docked to an ice cream parlor. I decide to try a blueberry flavor, remembering how home made blueberry tasted at neighborhood gatherings when I was a teen. I am not disappointed, as the Giffords is very creamy, and the blueberry flavor is just right, not too sweet, not too strong. It rains again as we board SummerTime for the evening.
       Wednesday we get up to travel to Alexandria Bay, NY hoping to take in two "castles" when we leave Alexandria Bay. It is only 10 miles, and important as it is 10 miles closer to our appointment in Burlington, Vermont in August. The rain shower comes hard not long after we leave the Clayton dock. I go to the lower helm to navigate. A friend gave us a radar which we completed installation of while in Shady Harbor on this trip. It will be good to be able to navigate at the lower helm and practice with the radar in actual inclement weather. It turns out not to be as easy as it seems. It is only a little over 1-1/2 hours from Clayton to Alexandria Bay. We had lunch in Clayton on SummerTime waiting for the rain showers to subside. They died some, but as said above were hard again when we got to Alexandria Bay. We pass under The Thousand Island Bridge which connects the US and Canada a few miles before getting to Alexandria Bay.
We both get wet docking at the City docks. I get off and go to the nearest store to get milk and cereal that we are running out of. It is 1/2 mile to a Family Dollar store where I get cereal and milk. I have to buy "non-fat" milk at the store as that is all that is left in the dairy case. I get back, and Barbara informs me that that is worse than skim milk which I detest and refuse to drink for health professionals. But there is good in the dock we are at.
We are the closest to an ice cream parlor we have ever been. I thought the one diagonally across the marina docks in Waukegan was close, but Google states this one is 450ft from our dock position. We go get a cone of Perry's after dinner. There is no power on this dock, and because we ran such a short distance, I worry through the night that we will run the house batteries down as they have not been fully charged. I cut the inverter (which provides power to some AC appliances) off to make sure this does not happen. The inverter will go to beeping, annoyingly, and eventually shut off when voltage drops below 11.5 in the system. We get up and I turn the inverter on and all is quiet. Then I start the microwave to heat water for tea for Barbara. Before the water is warm the inverter goes to beeping on low power. I shut it off again, and Barbara drinks water only this morning. I walk up the street and get hot coffee. We leave Alexandria Bay about 9:30, planning to be at Ogdensburg, NY by the end of the day.
       A phone call to reserve a dock at Ogdensburg reveals they have no docks for us as theirs were damaged in floods in 2017. The City has not rebuilt them as of this time. So we revise our plans to stop in Morristown, NY. I call and make sure they have dock space for us and we head out. We do a slow pass around Boldt Castle, an endeavour of love.
Mr. Boldt started building it for his wife in the early 1900s. After she died unexpectedly, he stopped all construction on the "Castle". It is still incomplete, and is a draw to tourists as a Thousand Islands landmark.

There is a US Customs dock there as tour boats come from both countries to this attraction. From there we head on down river where we are going to visit the "Singer Castle".
This magnificent building was completed by Frederick Bourne as a summer retreat and hunting lodge. It has been lived in continuously since 1905. We dock here and take a tour. It is quite nice, with secret passages everywhere for the servants to provide to the guests without being seen.
We leave there after having lunch at the dock. We head on to Morristown which we get to by mid afternoon. These docks themselves are not in the best condition. We have called the Marina owner, and he states he will not be there until 5, and tells us to tie up across from another boat. We motor slowly around trying to figure where to tie to. We finally decide to tie behind the Hatteras the River Watch owner wanted us to tie in front of. While waiting for the owner to arrive, we call AT&T as our phones show we are roaming internationally to Rogers in Canada. Our phone plan does not cover international roaming, and spot roaming is very expensive. The AT&T rep removes the charges, and states she will stop our phones from international roaming. We can call and add international calling when we move into Canada per the rep. The marina owner shows a little after 5, and we fill out the papers for our stay. We have power here, which is better than last night. He gives me a ride a mile out of town to a convenience store where I can purchase real milk. When I go to call Barbara about the milk, I discover my phone is set for "Emergency Calls Only". I walk back to SummerTime. Barbara and I go to Ellas Restaurant on the top of the hill in Morristown to eat. It is a great thing, as they are doing a pasta buffet. They cook your pasta as you request it with the ingredients you want. Barbara gets a shrimp in alfredo sauce, and I get a meatball and sweet Italian sausage with marinara sauce. We have a great dinner with a flatbread and cheese appetizer and a piece of carrot cake for dessert. On Friday we get up and decide to move. First we need to contact AT&T as neither of us is able to call out. We can not even call AT&T Mobility service. We get our break when our daughter sends a text, and we use the opening to call AT&T. We spend 2-1/2 hrs with various AT&T people over 2 phone calls before we have service. About noon we head out to Waddington, NY to the town dock.
      We get to Waddington about 4 in the afternoon. Before we get there, we have to deal with our first St. Lawrence Seaway Canal. You have to buy a ticket before you can enter the lock. There is a special dock at each lock for pleasure boaters to do this. The winds have picked up, and they are blowing SummerTime bad at the docking location. It takes two attempts for me to get Barbara in a position to catch a cleat on the floating dock. We get the ticket from a dispenser that takes credit cards, and when the two upbound boats lock out, we move into the lock. We hand the lock employee our ticket. It only drops about a foot and the gates open. We spend an hour going from the lock exit to the Waddington town dock. We tie-up on the one floating dock. I see the bottom underneath us, and the though the depth finders are saying we are in deep enough water, it does not look like it. I later stick a boat hook down by the face of the dock, and it is over 5' deep. We walk into town to see what is where. We find a bank, and walk up to the drive through ATM. I am sure that looks weird to whomever witnesses it. When we get back to SummerTime we realize there is some commotion going on in the pavilion just above the docks. The concession stand is open, and we buy dinner, 3 hot dogs and 2 pops from the Knights of Columbus. We then open up our folding chairs sitting in the cockpit of SummerTime. It seems we are in luck as we have a front row seat to the Waddington Summer Concert series in the Pavilion.
 A Celtic band, the Brigadoons, from Cornwall, Ontario is playing. They are very good. I also chat with some local people in a small runabout on the docks behind us. They are asking about our travels, but we talk about way more than looping; farming, industry along the river, kids in college, and NASA in Cleveland. It is a very pleasurable evening, capping off a good week of travel. We have come 87 miles in a week since crossing Lake Ontario. We are well ahead of our 25 miles a day we needed July 5th to get to Burlington by August 10. Some days we do more to make up for the days we do not travel but stop to tour. We are able to stop and smell some roses along the way. There have been some good stops this week to do that.
       Next week we will leave the US and venture into Canada. Not sure about being able to post while in Canada. They have communications equal to the US, but do not think I will be willing to pay AT&T for the elevated costs to be a few miles across the US border.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Little Triangle Loop, WEEK #4, 14-20 July, 2018

     We get up on Saturday morning and dress in our walking shoes so we can go to the Cheese Festival in Little Falls, NY. The couple on "MIRACLE" behind us get gone before us. We do get a ride from the marina personnel to the Little Falls Farmers Market, which is one block from the middle of the Cheese Festival. There are tents in the middle of Main Street for maybe 5 blocks.
There are all kinds of cheeses: goat, sheep, and cow for tasting and buying. The brochure we saw stated that there would be 72 vendors, and there probably are. We buy two kinds of cheeses and some local honey. We get hot dogs for lunch from a street vendor. And we go to the farmers market which apparently goes on every Saturday in Little Falls. We buy some fresh produce to carry back to SummerTime. We also go to the local Price Chopper grocery store and buy some needed items. On our way back to SummerTime there is a small local meat market that we stop at. We buy some meats there for the coming week. We hike back across the bridge to the City Docks. I realize on this walk over the bridge that the canal is above the Mohawk River, the town, train tracks, and a major highway. In the evening we go back to dinner in town with the couple off "MIRACLE" at the Copper Moose. We find out that Tab writes articles for boating magazines among other writing and photographic journalism activities. Tab provides a lot of useful info on place we are yet to get to in our travels.
      On Sunday morning we get up and walk back into town to The Baptist Church. The marina is short handed and can not provide a driver to get us to the church. It is an old church, and the sanctuary is laid out opposite of most churches. The pews go across the long dimension of the building instead of the short dimension. I am trying to analyze this to see if you can get more people in a  given area that way.  After church we get back on SummerTime and prepare to leave Little Falls. I am hoping that we can get at least to Utica. At lock 18 we have to wait for two east bound boats to get to the lock. The second one is a tour boat, which partially explains why we have to wait. Commercial vessels get first priority. The other reason is the chamber was already full from the last operation. They would have had to empty the lock to lower it to our level for us to enter which is a waste of the water. It has been dry in central NY for several weeks, and the Canal System is working at saving water. The tour boat only goes a short ways, turns around, and comes back into the lock. Another vessel calls on channel 13, the NY lock and bridge channel and asks for a lock through also. When this boat comes in, we see that it is a "Looper" boat also. After the lock, I let the other two boats pass by so that Barbara can go down and fix lunch. This section of the canal has a 10mph speed limit, so we will all get to the next lock at the same time. It is only "GOOD LIFE" the other looper boat and us at Lock #19. The tour boat operates from a dock about 5 miles before Utica and fell out of line several miles before lock #19. At lock 19, there is a malfunction. After the gates are shut, the automatic valves do not function to let water into the lock to raise the boats. The lock operator eventually opens a valve by hand. We are in this lock over 45 minutes when a normal lock time on these small locks is about 15 minutes.
We chat with the couple on "GOOD LIFE" while waiting. They were hoping to get to Rome which is beyond lock #20. The operator tells them they will not have time to make the lock as we exit. I try to call the marina at Utica. I just get a voice recording saying they are closed on Sunday. When we get to the marina, it is a dock run by a local restaurant. The restaurant is closed. We pull up behind "SCOOCHI", a smaller day cruiser that had been on the docks at Little Falls. We know from previous chats with this couple that they are going into The Finger Lakes after taking their little cruiser off the trailer at Waterford. We learned on our trip through here 5 years ago that a lot of people just cruise between festivals on the NY State Canals System. "GOOD LIFE" pulls up to the higher wall by the restaurant. The restaurant looks nice so we are a little disappointed that they are not open.
      We get up on Monday morning and prepare to leave Utica. I start making phone calls to Brewerton marinas to see if there is a marina there that can change the oil and filter on the Perkins, and haul and clean the running gear of SummerTime. I only get voice mails. It is only a short ways to lock #20. We pass through Rome and try to see the stores that were supposed to be within walking distance of the docks. The thruway is between the canal and any docking, and I do not see how we could have easily gotten to them. I am glad we did our provision re-stocking in Little Falls. Lock #21 is the last lock on this segment that is raising us. I am talking to one of the marinas that called back when we hear a "thud". Barbara asks what is that, and I can only say we must have hit something. I have been intently watching the waters ahead of us as there was a lot of limbs and other stuff floating in the canal after lock #19 on Sunday. I now look behind to see if I missed something, but see nothing. Lock #22 is just before Oneida Lake.
It lowers us 25' down to the Lake Oneida level. We get to Sylvan Beach, a resort community on Lake Oneida, and the Lake is smooth in front of us.
The sky is clear. A far cry from 5 years ago when we crossed the lake in the remnants of hurricane Andrea. It was not too rough in 2013, but the rains exposed every leak in the decks and cabin that were not found in a hull survey on a sunny day. We get across the lake, 24 miles, and enter the canal again at Brewerton. We call our chosen marina on our radio and get our slip assignment. On Tuesday morning Winter Harbor Marina will pull SummerTime and do the requested work.
      Barbara and I are eating breakfast on Tuesday morning when the marina calls us wanting to come and do the oil change. We have to ask them to wait a few minutes. They apparently start work earlier, at 7am, than the other two marinas I had contacted. After the oil change, the boat is moved to the travel lift well. They lift SummerTime clear of the well, and move her to the wash down pad. I now can see the result of the "thud" we heard before lock #21. One of our prop blades has a 90deg bend in in it. Like what happened on the Tenn-Tom water way while doing the loop. this bend is bigger, and fortunately still out at the tip. After a short consultation, Winter Harbor personnel pull the prop to send to the prop shop. They say it will be back for installation on noon Thursday. This kills our plans for crossing Lake Ontario on Thursday when the weather (winds) is to be the nicest for crossing.
       On Wednesday we employ the Marina to replace the hoses from the engine to the hot water heater. They send Joe over after lunch, and we get both hoses removed, and new ones pulled in behind the batteries and the nest of wires there going to the rest of the boat. It was a problem found when the manicooler was re-installed, and on my list of things to do. After that job is finished, Barbara and I borrow one of Winter Harbor's courtesy cars and run errands. On Thursday, I am working in the bilge when one of the dock boys comes down wanting to know if they can move SummerTime. It is not even 11, and our prop is back. We borrow the courtesy car and go our for a quick lunch while the prop is installed. When we get back the prop is on, and we wait for the marina personnel to come back from lunch. They put SummerTime in the water, and I back her down to the fuel dock area. We fill the water tank, get showers ashore, and then fuel SummerTime. Running easy on the canal our fuel burn has been 72 gallons for 32hr, and we have covered 144miles. Most of this was at 10mph.  It also includes a lot of time idling in locks, maybe 4-5hr. We pull away from Winter Harbor at a few minutes before 3 headed for the Oswego Canal. At Lock #23, our last lock on the Erie Canal, the lockmaster asks us where we are headed. We tell him Phoenix, and Oswego Lock #1. He tells us that the Oswego locks are open until 10pm. We start looking at the Canal guide and discussing options for Friday. We figure if we can get halfway down the Oswego Canal, we can make it across Lake Ontario on Friday before the weather turns nasty.
At lock 2 the lockmaster tells us that lock #5 will not be open when we get there. Just locks 1,2, &3 stay open until 10. He is pitching for us to stay in Fulton, but we elect to move on to Lock #5 at Menneto. There is no lock #4 on the Oswego Canal. We get to the free city dock about 7:25 and tie up. There are power pedastals, but the breakers trip when we plug in. We go down to the Stewart Shop store and get Pizza (Barbara) and Dawgs (me) for dinner. And since it is a Stewarts, we know that they will have ice cream for us. We spend a peaceful night on the boat without power.
       We try to get moving early to guarantee success in crossing Lake Ontario. We call the lock for an opening from the dock, and head straight away to lock #5. It is an easy pass through, and now an hour to lock #6. We have 4 to do today to get down to Lake Ontario level in Oswego. At Lock #6 we have to wait for an upbound, or southbound boat. The chamber is down, and the lockmaster wants to wait until the lower level boat is in before raising the water to our level. Once through Lock #6, locks 7 & 8 come quickly as it is less than a mile from 6 to 8.
After 8, I idle slowly across the Oswego harbor as Barbara goes through the cabin and checks the decks to make sure everything is secure for an open, and possibly rough, water crossing. When she comes up on the flybridge, we head across Lake Ontario on a heading of 17 degrees to pass just west of Galloo Island. NOAA has stated in the marine forecast that the winds will be out of the SE at 10 knots with 1 ft. swells. For the first hour, sheltered by the southern shore, it is pretty much as forecast. As we get into more open waters, the wind speed increases, and the wave size along with it. There is also swells of about 2ft., with a longer period rolling in from the east. The two different swell directions make steering a constant and tiring position. After 2 hours we can easily see Galloo Island.
 We pass it to the west, and the island provides protection from the swells. After we turn to hit the head waters of the St. Lawrence River/Seaway, Barbara goes down to make lunch. It is a little after 12:30, and our progress across the Lake had been much better than I had hoped for. A clean bottom and running gear helps in this. It is not long before we see Tibbetts Point Light.
 A little after that, we arrive inside the breakwall of Cape Vincent. We had called to arrange  a slip at Anchor Marina. No one is there, nor does the alternate person answer their phone. We go to the NY Department of Environmental Conservation's Fisheries dock where they allow complimentary docking when space is available. We ease in along side the dock between a sailboat and the mainland wall. We spend the afternoon resting. In the evening we go across the street to the Coal Dock Restaurant. It is one of the nicest places we have eat at this trip. The ambiance is the best. After dinner we go back to SummerTime and retire.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Little Triangle Loop WEEK #3, 7-13July018

      On Saturday morning we get up and do chores for SummerTime. I permanently wire the radar power. I use the DC breaker labeled "SPARE" on the panel. It had always been on, and one fall day in 2017 I turned it off to see what did not work. Nothing seemed to be affected then. Today I wedge myself in under the helm seat and behind the breaker panel door and see the only wire coming from the breaker is the one to the little light that says the breaker is powered. I add the positive wire to give the radar its own breaker, and use the Dymo Labelmaker to make a label to go over the word "SPARE". Barbara does some of the laundry as the laundry facility at Shady Harbor is first class. There is a sink and folding table, and three of each unit. There is a good restaurant here, and in the evening we have dinner there with the "Gold Looper" crew off of "FIRST FORTY".  On Sunday we get up and go to the nearest church which is too far to walk. We borrow the courtesy car from the marina to go to "The Reformed Church". Afterwards we find a convenience store in the next town to buy milk for our breakfast. There is not a whole lot in New Baltimore where Shady Harbor Marina is located.
      Monday morning I talk to the yard manager about getting SummerTime pulled and the bottom and prop cleaned. They can not do it until mid day Tuesday, so I decide not to do it. We fuel up SummerTime. It takes 150 gallons, the most we have ever put in her tank. She has not been fueled since Atlantic City, exactly 30hr on the clock and 244 miles. We have run almost constantly at the 85-90% power setting. We are running harder than normal to travel at even 10knots, & I think fuel consumption is up, and speed is down for a given rpm, because the prop has some barnacles clinging to it from the sitting in Wormley Creek. The boat is down 20% in speed for a given rpm past 2000rpm. It is not linear, taking more rpm for an incremental increase the faster we try to go. We leave Shady Harbor and head to Waterford, NY. This is the eastern end of the Erie Canal, and where we leave the Hudson River. We tie up at the Waterford Welcome Center Docks. We have been 25 miles today since  leaving Shady Harbor. The Welcome Center personnel are most pleasant, and we register and pay $10.00 for electricity for two nights. The docks are free to transients.
After SummerTime is secure, I walk to the Rite Aid pharmacy to get a renewal on my 90 day prescriptions. Some things have to be verified, as Rite Aid is in the throes of ownership change. The branch I used in Hampton is closed as part of that ownership change. They will call me when the prescription is ready. On Tuesday morning Barbara and I decide to eat breakfast out as a change. We go to Don & Paul's Cafe on Bridge Street. A local place with a regular clientele and inexpensive  breakfast menu. I get blueberries over French Toast. As we finish I get the call from the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. Barbara walks with me down Bridge Street to the drug store, and we take the pedestrian walkway along the canal to get back. In the afternoon, I tackle the job of replacing the seal between the two exhaust elbows and stopping the exhaust leak in the joint. With the new parts we got from TA Diesel, we succeed this time in sealing the joint. We clean up SummerTime and get her ready to leave on Wednesday morning. Boats are only allowed to stay 2 days at the Welcome Center. On Wednesday, we leave with a local boat to head west on the Erie Canal.
         Though it is about 9:30 when we leave the dock, we have a good day of travel. The first lock is number "E-2". Locks  2-6 all occur in less than 1-1/2 miles, and raise westbound (us today) or lower eastbound vessels 150 ft. The The New York State Cruising Guide  states: "These locks provide the highest lift (approximately 150 feet) over the shortest distance of any canal in the world." When you get to the top you are on the Mohawk River. The Mohawk, along with several other rivers, makes up the Erie Canal System that was the historical route to move freight from the Great Lakes to the Hudson River for transport to the Port of New York City. And consumable goods back the other way. The local boat, "GETAWAY", stops after lock 7, as their local port is the Schenectady Yacht Club. We continue on our way, as the day is still early. We have lunch between locks 7 & 8. Lunch on the canal works about the same as our other days. We plan the lunch to occur between locks that are at least about 6 miles, or more than 1/2 hour apart. Barbara goes to the galley and makes sandwiches, fills our water bottles, and brings a lunch of sandwiches, fruit, and/or chips that we eat on the flybridge while continuing to move forward. Today we do good, we get to Amsterdam, NY about 4:45. We are through lock #10, meaning we did 9 locks and 38 miles. We tie up to a dock at a restaurant, in Amsterdan, there is another, older Mainship 34 behind us. It is a Mark I, and looks extremely well with a shiny white hull and bright blue canvas. Barbara and I go to dinner at Rivers Edge Cafe where we overlook the dock while eating great food at a reasonable price.
Dessert is a warm brownie with two flavors of ice cream on top, great! We later meet the owners of "EVEN TIDE", and chat with them and compare boat mods until near midnight. We turn in knowing that it will be another day of locks when we get going. The first lock, #10, is just about a mile away.
      We both get up late and are moving slowly without a really good nights sleep. While our stopover point seemed nice, there were railroad tracks beyond the building we could not see. The trains seemed to run at least every 20 minutes through the night, and sometimes there were two of them. There must have been a few road crossings also, as there was a lot of horn blowing. We talked to the other Mainship owners a few more minutes before leaving the dock at about 10. The ride today is gorgeous. We are at the lower part of the Adirondacks and the canal runs through valleys between hills.
Occasionally we see a mountain peak in the background between hills. Our run is uneventful, we get through locks 10 to 16. We stop in St. Johnsville about 4pm, and tie up alongside the wall in their protected harbor off the canal/Mohawk River. It is much quieter here, though the boat basin of the marina is surrounded by a campground. Most all the other boats in here are pontoon boats. We walk in to town to check it out, and to buy some milk. The grocery store in the guidebook looks more like a neighborhood store from the 50s before there were convenience stores. We proceed one more block to the Stewart's Shops convenience store. We have been told that they have really good ice cream, a leftover from the days when Stewart Shops had their own dairies. We are not disappointed in the ice cream, I get a waffle cone with "Brew Ha Ha" in it, and Barbara gets her favorite flavor: Dark Chocolate. We go back to the boat and spend a peaceful night.
The same train tracks are near this marina also, but there is no horn blowing as the one road that crosses the tracks is a bridge.
      We get up Friday morning and decide to head for Little Falls, two locks and 11 miles. The dock walls at St. Johnsville may have been good for docking barges, but it is a high climb up from SummerTime's side deck to the wall even for me. Nearly impossible for Barbara. She sits on the wall from the side deck, and swings her legs up onto the top of the wall. Besides, we have seen a brochure that says that Little Falls is having a cheese festival on Saturday. We call the Little Falls municipal marina to make sure they have room for us. They state there are no boats there at 10 when I call, but it is a "first come first serve" dock. We go through lock 16 which is a warm up for lock 17. Lock 17 will take us up 40.5ft. in one lift.
 It is the highest single lift on the canal. It also is the only lock on the canal without swing gates. Its eastern entry gate is a massive concrete block that raises and lowers vertically like a guillotine.
Leaving the lock we meet a NY State Canal tug pushing a barge around the curve by Little Falls. At this point we are looking down on the town. I am thinking that the tug wants me on the outside of the turn so he does not have to worry about being close to the canal wall, possibly hitting it, and sending torrents of water onto the town. Nothing like that happens of course. And I do not see any repairs in the wall from any previous boats from the past 200 years.
We get to the Little Falls Municipal dock about 5 minutes after meeting the tug. We are the fouth boat to the docks. The dockmaster helps us get tied up, and we settle in for the rest of the afternoon. We ask about a ride to the Cheese Festival on Saturday as this Municipal Marina does not have a courtesy car, but do give rides to town when they are not busy docking people.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


     Having completed our loop the end of March, we decide to hang out (live with on land) with Barbara's brother at Carolina Beach. We made two day trips on  SummerTime in this period. On the 10th of April, we took Barbara's brother, sister, and nieces to Bald Head Island at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. It is a private island, accessible only by boat or plane. The residents there use golf carts to get around. A private ferry takes over workers and support vehicles for people working on the island. We rent a golf cart there, as it is a big island. We spend a couple of hours driving around the island. We go to the "Old Baldy" lighthouse from 1817 which is privately owned and undergoing restoration.

We have a painting of this light in our personal possessions. This is the second time for Barbara and I to visit as we came here once when dating as a friend's father was the island caretaker. There are several hundred more houses there now than then in the 70s. In the late 70s when we went to the island, there was one rambling beach house hotel, maybe 50 houses, a golf course, and a runway.

Today there is a small village with shopping, restaurants, a grill, souvenir shopping, a post office, a church, and marina. We take a second trip in early May to the Carolina Beach boat harbor. It is a couple hour trip to make sure everything works and not too much grows on the bottom. The last two weeks of May we have some work done to the fuel injection system on the Perkins. All the injectors are removed and taken to a shop for cleaning. They also take the injector pump to install a new seal on the throttle shaft which had been the diesel leak so hard to find. When all is returned and re-installed, Mr. Perkins runs better than ever.
     The beginning of June, we decide to go to Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Our daughter and son-in-law live there. They have asked us to stay in the area for the upcoming winter as she is expecting. So on 2Jun, we load the boat with our gear, and prepare SummerTime to travel again. We leave CB after church on Sunday morning. The trip north seems to be going good until we get to the drawbridge at Wrightsville Beach. We are early for a bridge that only opens on the hour. We take a side trip up one of the nearby channels to kill nearly an half hour. When we get back to the bridge over the ICW, we are forced to wait longer as there is a small sailboat under the draw with its mast caught in the overhead members. The bridge operator relays over the radio that he cannot open the bridge until the sailboat is clear. It is tense as there are several boats in the queue to go through, and the tide and wind are trying to push everyone to and through the bridge.

Eight minutes after the hour the sailboat clears his mast, and the bridge opens. We continue on our way at a 90% engine speed to make the opening of the next bridge. We make this opening and slow to normal cruise speeds until we get to Topsail Island. We find an anchorage in the channel by the south part of the island.  The wind is blowing pretty good, but the anchor is holding strong, and we get a good nights rest. While checking the engine the next morning, I discover that we have a couple of fuel seeps from the injector re-install. I call the repair people and we work out a meeting with one of their employees at a Sneads Ferry Marina for Tuesday to repair the minor leaks. We continue N up the ICW towards our rendezvous point with the mechanic. We stop for fuel at a marina before the one we are headed to. We have to anchor out of  the ICW as there is a bigger cruiser there who is taking on 1700gal of fuel. They tell us it will be an hour. We wait our turn and take on a measly 48gal to top off our 190gal tank. We continue on to our marina for meeting the mechanic. On Tuesday, Dean shows up at 7:45 and proceeds to repair the two minor leaks. He is quick and we are gone from the Marina at 9:35. We have to wait for the bridge to Onslow Beach to open while transiting the ICW through Camp Lejeune.

Another looper bait catches up to us as we wait. We travel slowly together through the base, and we pick up speed and leave the Krogen "Manatee" behind as we round the ICW turn at the White Oak River intersection. We pass the State Port docks at Morehead City and make the turn with the ICW.

It has been a lovely morning so far, and we hope the weather holds as we travel the Neuse River portion of the ICW. We have an easy trip down the Neuse, and across the bottom corner of the Pamlico Sound. They are calling for increasing winds, and we pull into a small creek off the ICW and anchor for the night. We are near my sisters but I can not call her as we have no phone service in this areas. The wind does get up in the night and there are light showers. We awake to find that our anchor has dragged about 2 boat lengths with the wind change. We miraculously blew between two crab pots without getting caught in either one. This creek had a soft mud bottom, and it took two attempts to get the anchor to set, so I am not surprised that the wind direction change caused us to drag. Checking the engine before the morning start, I discover that one of our fuel leaks is back. We are in the near middle of nowhere in eastern NC. I wrap the fuel line in an absorbent pig blanket, and we weigh anchor and head for Belhaven, NC. There are several other boats making the crossing of the Pamlico River with us. It is rough and one of the smaller boats tucks in behind us to let us break the waves for him. We decide to stay at the River Forest Manor Marina, a place we have stayed at before. We got there about 1pm. They loaned us a golf cart to go into town to look for parts to repair our leak. We stayed at River Forest an extra day. The weather for Thursday is forecast as small craft warnings. Our next leg is across Albemarle Sound, which has a nasty reputation. We get our fuel leak repaired on the day off. On the 9th, we left River Forest at 7am. There were several other boats going north on the ICW besides us. We made the Alligator River Bridge at 1:10 and proceeded into the Albemarle Sound. The Dismal Swamp Canal is closed due to hurricane damage from 2016, so we go the North River route. It is not as pretty as the Dismal Swamp route, but much quicker. We pass Coinjock where a lot of boats dock for a night to get the renown prime rib. We anchored in Blackwater Creek for the night. The bottom is soft here also, but there is no wind. We got up early on Saturday morning due to wakes rocking us from fisherman hurrying out to their favorite fishing spots. Barbara piloted while I hoisted the anchor. I think all 30' of chain lay in one spot in the mud. It took about 10min to get the anchor in due to having to rinse all the chain off. As we came out of Blackwater Creek, we fell in behind a larger boat that had been in Belhaven with us. We followed them through the canals and creeks and made the bridge openings with them. We did a lock today for the first time in months. There is a lock in Great Bridge, VA to handle the small differences in tide level between the canal and the Ashley River. We saw Chuck and Sue from "Somewhere In Time" on the dock of Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina as we passed heading to the lock. After the lock and bridge opening, we were on the Ashley River and on our way to Hampton Public Piers. We traveled slow through the Naval Base at Norfolk and picked up speed as we headed across the James River. there are always interesting sites as you travel through Norfolk/Portsmouth as there is the big Naval Base there as well as a vibrant Commercial Shipping presence. Today there is the added benefit of a Tall Ship Festival Going on. We got to Hampton Public Piers a little after 1:30pm on June 10, 2017.

       We spend a few days tidying SumerTime up and getting her ready to make a trip with our daughter and her husband. On Friday, they get to SummerTime early, load their gear, and we are off by 8:10 headed to Tangier Island, VA. We go into Salt Ponds Marina on the bay around the point of Fort Monroe. We fuel up where Barbara's brother abraded his forehead when we stopped here 4 years ago taking SummerTime to The Great Lakes. After putting on 81.8 gallons we are off again towards Tangier. It is a nice day and the Chesapeake Bay is fairly slick. We see a number of ships anchored across the bay, staging to go into a port to be unloaded. We are bucking a falling tide initially, so we increase our cruising speed. We also meet and pass some ships. After passing Wolf Trap Light, the tide changes and our speed picks up by .8 knots. We keep heading north up the bay towards Parks Marina on the N end of Tangier Island. Eventually we see the structures on the island appear on the horizon. It is a longer time to make out the land as the Bay is swallowing the island up.

We get to Parks Marina about 3:45 Friday afternoon, and the octogenarian Mr. Parks assigns us to a dock. He is a colorful character with a reputation up and down the bay.

We go to the nearest local restaurant to the docks and order seafood dinners. On Saturday morning, the four of us go on foot to explore the town. Tangier Island is a place that time has nearly forgotten. The only access to the island is by boat or aircraft (they have a small airport with a storied history)

 and there are almost no motor vehicles. the streets are narrow and not wide enough for two cars to meet. Everyone gets around on foot, golf carts, or scooters.

We eat lunch at one of the famous bed & breakfast where they serve family style. We tour a lot of gift shops. While the men go out in the bay each day to make the family income fishing, the women on the island cater to tourists to bolster the family income. We take in their history museum.

We go back to SummerTime and rest up before going to another restaurant to eat dinner.

Sunday morning we listen to NOAA weather radio and decide to leave early as the winds are going to pick up on the bay. It turns out to be a good decision as the winds do increase and our trip back is mostly in 2' waves, with spray occasionally blow up on the flybridge when there is a bigger wave. We get back to Hampton at about 4:45pm.
       We stay at Hampton docks for a few days and leave to re-fuel from our Tangier trip. We go down to a marina in Portsmouth as fuel is cheaper there, and SummerTime needs to be moved once in a while to keep growh off the bottom. We come back and spend one night anchored in the Hampton River near I-64 before we go back to the Hampton Public Piers for a few more days.