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.


  1. The "Reformed Church?! What did you do that caused you to have to go to The Reformed Church?

  2. A 40 foot lowering or raising of a boat while in a canal seem spooky to me. I'm a land lover not a pirate or a sailor.

  3. Electrocity for $10 for two nights...that's $5 a day...that's only $1825 a year. Where can I sign up for power?