Friday, August 31, 2018

Little Triangle Loop, Week #8, 11-17Aug018, LAKE CHAMPLAIN & CANAL

      Burlington is the largest city in Vermont. It is also very beautiful, sitting between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, with the taller Adirondacks of New York across the Lake to look at. I eat a bowl of cereal on Saturday morning, and strike out to hopefully get a haircut. I also take checks to the mail drop box to pay bills our daughter had scanned to us. Sometimes we are lucky, and there is a post office near the waterfront. Other times we have the marina take the envelopes from us in their outgoing mail. Today it is a drop box we spotted last evening on the way back from City Market. Back at SummerTime I get Barbara to get her shoes on. Burlington has a Saturday farmers market we are going to go to. We miss the bus, so we walk the .4 miles up the hill to the City square. This is the biggest of the different farmers markets we have been at.
 It also has the most attendance of local farmers with local produce of any place we have seen. Besides the local produce, there is fresh baked bread, honey, jellies, milk, cheese, fresh meat, herbs, flower bouquets, and distilled spirits. The last surprises me, as I would have expected that booze could not be sold out in the open city square. That is one of the good parts about this country, every county, city, or village and each state is different. We get an "All Day" sandwich from one of the farm vendors for lunch. It is a whole fried egg, a big sausage patty (this is a pork farmer), onion sauce, cheese spread, on a special baked bun. I get two lemonades from a different vendor to chase the sandwiches with. We sit in front of the wading pool and watch the little children play in it while their moms watch. We buy some produce and head back to SummerTime to get ready to meet our friends here as planned months ago. We are going on the Green Mountain Dinner Train this evening.
      Tim and Sue show up at SummerTime about 4:30, and after a few minutes of greetings and salutations, we walk over to the Rail Depot. We are seated at a table in a dining car almost as soon as we get there for our approximate 34 mi.  trip to Middlebury, VT. The day is sunny, and though riding backwards, I am still enjoying the views of the lake and mountains out the window. Our orders are taken, and our meal served as advertised while we ride along admiring the scenery.
It does not seem like a long time, and we are at Middlebury on a siding. The engine changes ends on the line of cars, and pulls us back downhill to Burlington. It is a delightful trip with excellent food and great company of old friends. Even though it has been 3 hours since leaving the station, it seems like just a few minutes. We say goodbye until Sunday when we will meet again.
      Barbara bakes biscuits again this Sunday, and we have eggs and bacon with them. We are now eating the Strawberry-Rhubarb jam we bought at the Cheese Festival in Little Falls. I am also eating the honey we bought there with butter and biscuits. We get ready and timing is such that we catch the shuttle bus up the hill to go to church. We only have to walk about an half block from the bus stop to the First Baptist Church. After church we walk back to SummerTime. We have only been on board a few minutes when Tim and Sue call on their way to pick us up to go to the Shelburne Museum. This is a museum of 39 buildings on 45 acres. It is a vast collection of "Americana" collected by Electra Havemeyer Webb. One of the first buildings we visited had a collection of sleighs and carriages. I had never seem so many sleighs, mostly horse drawn, in one place.
The carriage collection was nearly as impressive. Another building had a collection of hand made quilts, hats, and even "Samplers" that Mrs. Webb had collected. One of the last buildings we visited on the way out was a collection of Vermont made firearms, mostly long guns. In fact a number of them were specialized target rifles. There was also a collection of stuffed trophy animals in an Adirondack Hunting Lodge relocated to the grounds as an exhibit.

 Some of these trophies Mrs. Webb had shot herself, at least one being a Kodiak Brown Bear. Some of the buildings were moved to the museum grounds from other areas as they were significant items in the development of America. Perhaps the biggest item on display, was the 220' steamship "TICONDEROGA" which was moved from the Lake up to its resting place on the museum grounds.

The inside is as it would have been when hauling passengers from its initial launch in 1906. And there was a Merry-go-round that rides could still be had on. It was an impressive place. We did not see it all. Just highlights that each of us thought would be interesting. Afterwards we went back to Burlington, and had dinner at a Pizza Pub on Church Street. And of course we had an ice cream at Ben and Jerry's flagship store on Church Street. Their factory is only about 30 miles from Burlington.

     Monday saw Barbara and I prepare SummerTime for the trip down Lake Champlain. Burlington is almost at the halfway point on the long skinny lake. It was another mild weather day as we traveled south. We were surrounded by mountains on both sides of the lake. We also crossed deeper water down through these parts, some places showing well over 300' on SummerTime's chart plotter/depth gauge. About halfway towards the south end of the lake we passed by the "Basin". Floating in its was a replica of Benedict Arnold's gun boat.
We detoured off our straight route, and motored into the "Basin" to get a good photo and look at the gunboat. When we got a little farther south, to the point where the lake really narrows, we pass by Crown Point. There are British and French forts here from colonial times. There is also a large monument to Champlain himself.
 From this point on, the Lake is narrow, more like a wide river than a lake. About 48 miles after leaving Burlington, we come to Fort Ticonderoga. The south side is listed to be a good anchorage as long as there are not strong winds from the south. The winds today are light and from an easterly direction.
We anchor under the guns of the Fort's south side.I set up both GPS/chartplotters as anchor alarms. Set up like this, the units will wake you if the boat moves more than a pre-determined distance. There are rain showers forecast for early morning, and a wind shift when the rain comes. It is not too hot, and we cook a simple meal in the microwave so we do not use the generator. We both retire early. The rain comes in the early morning, and the winds shift. The lower helm GPS wakes me with a "beeping" to let me know the boat has moved more than the distance input for the alarm. This distance is based on anchor rode put out and the depth of the water among a few other things. I look at the plot on the screen, and we have moved, but are still in deep water, and no closer to a shore line. We moved closer to the lake channel. I take a spotlight and try to verify our new position to see if we are truly in a safe location. In the rain, I am not able to see shore that well, but lights from the houses in the distance are still close to where they should be.  I go back to bed and the rain hitting on the fiberglass roof over my head puts me back to sleep.
      We awake, and I make a cup of instant coffee using the microwave. In fact there is enough energy in the batteries after a night on the anchor to heat 3 cups of water. I am a little amazed as the microwave is a big energy user, and running off batteries through the inverter it takes a lot of amps out of the batteries. There were a lot of weeds in the shallow water behind where we anchored last evening. When we go to pull anchor, I am sure the rode is going to be wrapped in them since we did swing during the night. We did not have many weeds, but we did snag someone's lost fishing lure and about 20' of monofilament line. And there is mud on the anchor and chain part of the rode. A good sign as it means the bottom was soft enough to let the anchor set, and hard enough to keep it from pulling out. Barbara gets us moving down the lake as I rinse the mud off the anchor and chain using buckets of water. Once moving, she calls Whitehall Marina and gets us docking space for the evening. About halfway to Whitehall, or 2 hours in, while still riding on the border of NY and Vermont, we see three strange pieces of equipment in the lake ahead of us. As we get closer we see that they are maneuvering in weed beds in the shallows to the side of the lake. As we pass by, we see that what looks like a tractor at a distance, is actually a barge with a sickle type cutter head that can be lowered under the water to cut the weeds. There is a conveyor chain to take the cut weeds to a hopper area at the aft end of the barge. And to make it look more like a tractor, there are paddle wheels stuck out each side providing propulsion.
One of the units down the lake for about a mile, and watch as it turns up into what looks to be a dumping area for the cut weeds. Another thing has occurred on our trip this morning. AMTRAK is again running along the banks beside us as we travel south.
And there is the occasional freight train. We get to Whitehall shortly after lunch. Whitehall touts itself "as the birthplace of the US Navy". There is a small museum here, and after lunch we head up to the museum.
It has a pretty good section on the role the town's sawmills played in the construction of a fleet of boats for the colonists to challenge the British on Lake Champlain. This fleet, including Arnold's gunboat, fought the British fleet by Valcour Island. While the US fleet was defeated, it significantly slowed the advance of the previously unchallenged British fleet. There are models and artifacts documenting this part of our history. The best artifact is in a shed along the canal to the south of the museum. This shed covers the remains of the hull of the "TICONDEROGA" raised from the depths of Lake Champlain in 1959.
This ship helped protect the new nation from the British fleet on Lake Champlain during the War of 1812. The museum is housed in the terminal station for the last and northern most lock on the Champlain canal. The State of NY gave the building to the town for its bicentennial celebration as long as it ran a museum. The towns people brought all kinds of things out of their basements for museum displays. There were old typewriters, sewing machines (non Singer), furniture, kitchen appliances, and mostly you name it. As we left the museum, we walked along the lock wall where we met the owners of  "Ping", a former looper boat from Oxford, MD. There are thunderstorms in the area again, and after a few minutes of chatting, we head back to SummerTime. We freshen up and go up the ramp from the docks to the main Marina Building. The restaurant located in there is supposed to have very good food. We are not disappointed, as the red sauce on my spaghetti is as good as any I have ever tasted. Barbara's shrimp in an Alfredo sauce was also great according to her. It rained hard while we were eating, and quit long enough for us to get to SummerTime without getting wet.
       On Wednesday morning we dress and head back into the small town area to eat breakfast at "Historic Grounds". We meet and sit with Margy and Jim from Ping there. We talk about cruising and the amazing breakfast we are having. I have two blueberry pancakes the size of a dinner plate. They are excellent. Barbara ordered one scrambled egg, and it is the size of a 3 egg omelet at most other places. The owner asks us about our meals and we tell him that they are excellent. We have eaten at two restaurants in this small town and were blown away by the quantity, quality, and taste of the food. We head back to SummerTime and ready to leave. We have to lower her mast (3 pins and it lifts off its base and lays to the side) as there are some bridges along this route that are 17', a little shorter than our mast height of 18'. The Canadian couple on the boat beside us help us get away. They are headed all the way to New York City form LaChene, suburb of Montreal we learn. They are awaiting a part to repair their boat. We back out, and I call the operator at Lock #12 for an opening and lift. In 10 minutes, we are on our way up 35'. We head out at only 8mph as this is a dug or constructed canal and has a speed limit of 10mph. Most of the ride is through farm country or forests.
There is almost no industry that we can see along here. We do pass what appears to be one loading area for a quarry with a barge at it. As we approach Lock #8, we are hailed by a tug leaving it. The "Edna A" is pushing a barge north, and asks us to hold in a cove so she can pass in the middle. There is no cove, just a slight widening that I ease over in.
I maneuver as close to the edge as I dare, to about a 5' depth 20' from the shore, and we pass by the "Edna A" with plenty of room to spare. We enter Lock #8, and we are now being lowered to a new elevation. We proceed on to Lock #7, and at Fort Edward, we are lowered to the level of the Hudson River coming out of the Adirondacks to the west. At the end of the lock walls, we make a 180 degree turn back along side the lock and travel about 2 miles to the town dock. There is a protected area to tie-up with free power available. As Barbara prepares dinner, I walk to the nearby convenience store and buy milk, bread, and a couple other grocery items for the boat. After dinner, we walk the other direction to a "Stewarts Shop" where we get an ice cream cone each. I am beginning to like this little chain of  "Stewart Shops" convenience stores in Central New York. We walk back to SummerTime in the dark, except for the park we are tied up in, which is lit pretty good.
       We have a lot of locks to do today, so we try to get going early. We get away from the Fort Edward town dock at 8:16. About an half mile from the town dock, an eagle flies from the edge of the river out in front of us.
 It is only about 300yd from the nearest back yard. I am not sure it is  the closest we have been to one, but it is the closest we have seen one to residences. It is a nice, surprising sight first thing in the morning. I barely have time to grab one of the two cameras we keep on the fly bridge when traveling. And there is the camera on my phone also. We continue on, and in a few minutes we are going back south along the outside of lock #7. Now that this is a river route, and not just a man made canal, NY raises the speed limit. We go back to cruising at 1800rpm, which is about 8.9mph in still wind and current conditions. We get to lock #6 fairly quickly, the lock is open and waiting on us so we go straight in. Locks 5 & 4 are pretty much the same. The scenery along the river is farmland and private residences. We do pass one island in the river that has an airfield on it. The other side of the island is a section of the river used for seaplanes. The wind is up when we get to Lock #3. It is in a direction that is moving us around in the lock. Barbara's 11,000 pounds of boat on the end of a short rope is working both of us as I sometimes have to loose my end so she can pull her end of the boat in. It is a good thing there are no other boats in this lock with us. Somewhere between locks #2 & #3 the Perkins passes the 3000hr mark. It had about 1665 hours showing when we bought Summertime in April of 2013. We also pass by Saratoga Battlefield, now a National Park.
The cleared hills, some narrow roads, and two cannons perched up on a hill are the clues to us this a Historic Park. At lock #1, we are requested to hold short of the lock. There is a tug with barge in the lock they are raising up to go north. After the tug comes out, we motor into the lock. We are followed by about a 40ft houseboat headed south like us.
They followed us down river to Troy Lock, or The Federal Lock, as it is known by some. It is the only lock on the Hudson and Erie Systems that is not operated by the State of NY. We have to wait here to get locked down also. While waiting I call Shady Harbor Marina in New Baltimore, about 25 miles south of Troy Lock, to reserve a slip. We know we can not stay at Waterford as there is a big dragon boat race being staged from the Waterford docks this weekend. Shady Harbor confirms they can have a slip for us, and Troy Lock opens the gates for us to enter. When we exit Troy Lock, I let the house boat named: "Watta Life" by. They have concerns about speed enforcements in a construction zone by the Troy town docks. They are re-building the town docks, and I do see one barge worker motioning a north bound boat to slow down. "Watta Life" pulls over to the Yacht Club in Albany to fuel. A lot of boats stop at the Albany Yacht Club as they have the cheapest fuel in the area. We pass by them and speed up on our way south. We got to Shady Harbor about 5pm. They assigned us a slip on one of their piers we had not been at before. The Canadians from White Hall show up in their express cruiser about 5:30, and they are put in the slip next to us. They got their new electrical parts installed late Wednesday, and have come from White Hall in one day. I am amazed as it means that they have done 12 locks in one day, while traveling about 88 miles. Barbara and I shower aboard, and go up to the restaurant: Boathouse Grille to eat. They have a very good and varied menu. And their chefs are excellent in their craft.
      On Friday we borrow the courtesy car from the marina and go do grocery shopping. It is the first full grocery store we have been in since Vallleyfield, Quebec. And it is the first time we have had a car where we could really load up to haul stuff since Winter Harbor in Brewerton, NY on 18 July.             When we passed Waterford on Thursday, we closed the sides on our triangle. We are now back on a return trip to our starting point in Virginia. We hurried up the Hudson both of our previous trips. We have no schedule as of this date, so we are going to take time and see some of the sights on the Hudson on our way back down it.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Little Triangle Loop, Week #7, 4-10August018 - NEW CULTURE

      Saturday we are up making plans to go museum hopping in Old Montreal. There are a number of museums available within walking distance of the docks. We are trying to pick ones near the Old Town Harbor that we can easily walk to, and that appeal to us. Even as we leave to go to the first museum at opening, the docks are already milling with families taking advantage of the entertainment venues.


There is a huge ferris wheel, but what gets my attention is a an adult/larger children venue of ropes, swings, and ladders. It looks like a simpler version of the "American Ninja Warrior" TV series.
We eventually get to the Marguerite-Bourgeoys Museum and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel. This "Sailors Church" was founded in 1655 by Marguerite Bourgeoys. We got there in time for the guide tour under the current church's foundations where an archaeological dig was done in the 2000s. There is also an adjacent crypt, which is nothing like I envisioned from the Indiana Jones movies. One of the main parts of this museum is a room full of miniature dioramas portraying the different parts of Marguerite's life from a little girl until on her death bed. Very detailed displays done in miniature. I also go up to the walkway between the steeples and get a great view of the harbor.

From this museum and Chapel tour we go to lunch up on Place Jacques-Cartier at a sidewalk cafe. The Place Jacques-Cartier ( a boulevard) is a pedestrian walkway filled with people, entertainers, and shops and restaurants down each side.
After lunch we go to the Chateau-Ramezay Historic Site and Museum of Montreal. This was originally built in very early 1700s as a Governor of Montreal's house when the French were in control of Canada. It was build quite opulent, with the builder boasting it was better than the territorial governor's residence. It is now a museum which tells the history of Montreal. It has a lovely colonial garden of flowers and vegetables in back.
Between the two museums our legs are worn out. We go back to SummerTime and rest up before going out to dinner. We go to a French restaurant on Rue Saint-Paul Est where I get a steak and Barbara gets her lamb. She is fond of lamb, but seldom has it in US as good lamb in grocery stores and restaurants is hard to find. I ask for a Molsens to drink, and find that the restaurant does not carry Molsens. It seems remarkable as we passed their primary brewery on our way up the river, not much more than a mile from where we sit. it was a nice evening and day.
       We did not go to a church this Sunday. There is not a Protestant church near within walking distance. The main Notre Dame Basilica is farther than we can walk also. On Google Maps, where I normally find the closest church to the boat, it appears there are no churches with Sunday services closer than a mile to SummerTime. We have our normal Sunday breakfast of biscuits, eggs, and bacon late. We decide we will walk out later to get an ice cream for lunch and walk on Rue Saint-Paul where we were not at on Saturday. It is also closed to vehicular traffic during day and evening hours in the shops and restaurants district. We get our ice cream at one of several creameries along Rue de La Commune Est. We walk to the south end of the tourist area, and go up one block to walk north on Rue Saint-Paul. This end of Saint-Paul is art, fashion, and souvenir shops.
We go in several Art shops and buy a few souvenirs in one of the souvenir shops. Barbara sees a piece of metal sculpture that is a "Fish" in an art shop, and would like to buy it, but reasons herself out of it as there is not room on the boat to carry it back.  When we get back to Jacques-Cartier, it is nearly time for dinner. We go to the sidewalk cafe there and order salads and a pizza. Still no Molsen, so I get an Italian brew. The medium pizza turns out to be a mistake for two. After the salads it is too large for us to eat, and we have to ask for a box to take it out with. Crepes are a specialty in this part of town, and we have no room left for the dessert crepes. We go back to SummerTime and retire as it is nearly dark when we get back.
       Monday finds us moving to the main dock by the office before leaving. We need a pump out, and they are thorough on how they perform one. It is also the most expensive ever, at $25 before the exchange rate. We are under way headed downstream quickly (still traveling north) on the St. Lawrence River to Sorel.
We pass numerous ships of various kinds loading and unloading as we pass out of Montreal. At one spot, two are side by side in the wide river, transferring a load between them. We see a tug pulling up to one ship and another tug en route to obviously un-berth this ship. It is a fairly easy trip down river. There is a lot of industry along the river, and a number of small towns also near the industry. We also see people recreating on the river, some swimming off their boats. It is hot and I think that they might be smart in what they are doing. We get to Sorel late afternoon and see that there is a number of ships in the anchorage there.
Sorel is an industrial town, and has several industries where it sits at the intersection of the Richelieu River with the St Lawrence Seaway. The ships are waiting in the anchorage for their chance to take on or discharge freight. As we head into the Province run marina, we are nearly run over by a wildlife sightseeing boat. Another person with the title of captain who is not so professional. He is obviously rushing to get his paying customers to dock, but he is not thinking totally about their safety by passing me in such a confined spot. We take our slip that is assigned to us. We are in the marina harbor mouth again, on the outside of the dock. I check in at the harbor office. The English here is not as good as at most of Montreal or Valleyfield. I talk to a couple of local persons, one who recognizes our AGLCA looper burgee on the bow, and quizzes me on our trip before I go back to SummerTime. As I am boarding SummerTime, the ship being un-berthed back in Montreal passes by. The ships move pretty fast when they are not in vicinity of locks on rivers. We stay aboard tonight. There are no attractions close by in this little industrial town that we want to venture out to. They have a small bio or Eco-sphere we can see near the ferry dock, but we are not interested this evening.
       It is overcast when we get up on Tuesday morning, and starts to drizzle as I return from taking the trash up to a shore receptacle. We do this nearly every day so there is nothing aboard to attract insects or other vermin. There is a neighbor on the dock with small children, and after talking to him about the Great Loop, he helps us get off.
After we pass the industrial part of Sorel, we come to the waterfront homes along the Richelieu River. They are like the waterfront homes on any other river front. Some are weekend fish camps with a dock, and others are very nice luxury homes with landscaped yards, a dock, and a nice boat at the dock. We are about 2 hours to get to the St. Ours Lock. It is part of Canada's heritage lock systems. The park like setting around it is very nice. Inside the lock there is a floating dock to tie to.
This is a first for us to have a dock in a lock. It is a "fee to use" lock, and the Parks Canada person takes our credit card with a portable card reader as the lock level is being raised. I get a printed receipt from the same portable reader. This has been the norm in Canada. Waiters come to your table with these portable credit card readers, your authorization and approval occurs on the spot, and you get a printed receipt of the transaction. Your credit card never leaves your sight. We continue on the Richelieu River after leaving the lock. I call ahead to make a dock reservation now that I know we will not be delayed by locks or other man made items. Quebec is supposed to be bi-lingual, and most persons there are, but sometimes the English is not so good. The lady who answers the phone tells me to hold when I ask about dockage for the evening, and passes me on to her manager. I apparently started to speak too fast, though being from the south I never think that I speak fast, and the man tells me "his English is not too good, slow down, or he will start speaking French". I slow down my speech and get the reservation made. The rest of our journey today will be on the Richelieu, which we are now traveling south on is more of a recreational river. There are  a few small towns along the river, but mostly it is lined with houses. There is little industry. There are a few marinas, or bait stores along the shore, and that is pretty much it for commercial and industrial sightings. The church steeples in these little towns are architectural masterpieces. Each one looks like it was constructed to be more elaborate than the next closest one.

This seemed to start as we came down the St. Lawrence after Montreal. I am thinking that in the late 1800s or early 1900s when this area was developed, that there was a small carpentry company selling elaborate steeples to churches. Later in the afternoon, as we near the Chambly Basin (a shallow lake) we pass a base for seaplanes. There is a ramp down to the rivers edge, and a number of planes on wheeled (amphibious) floats are parked up on the grass. They are various size planes, even a DeHaviland Beaver in one spot.
We cross the Chambly Basin and go straight to Chambly Marina. We take a slip for the evening. We head to a French restaurant for dinner, but despite what "Google Maps" says about being open, the place is closed for the day. We backtrack to the other side of the town to a Portuguese restaurant. We have a good meal, most of their entrees are seafood (several mussel and octopus dishes) and pass on dessert there. We passed two ice cream parlors on the way to the restaurant. We stop at one on the way back to SummerTime and get a cone each. It is good ice cream, but not in the top five. We retire early back on SummerTime, Wednesday will be a long day and start early.
      As we are preparing to get underway on Wednesday morning, another boat pulls into the marina and takes on gas. They get out a few minutes in front of us and around the sea wall to wait in line for the locks to open. We are behind them by a few minutes, rounding the sea wall to the lock waiting point at 9a.m., when the locks are supposed to open. The lock master comes down the dock and tells the waiting boats what order to go in, and collects the prepaid tickets. We are told there is not room for us on this lock up, but they will get us on the next one. Five boats enter the lock, 2 wide, and we and a large pontoon boat wait our turn for the lock. There are three locks together here. When the first 5 boats leave the first lock, two boats waiting in the Chambly canal on  the other side come down. We are now directed to enter the lock along with the pontoon boat. These are antique, or "Heritage" locks. They have wooden gates, that are operated by manual cranks. The valves to let water in and out of the locks are simple slide gates on the lock doors that also are operated with a hand crank.
Most all the persons operating these locks appear to be college students on their summer jobs with Parks Canada. We will traverse 9 locks today in about 10 miles. The first three locks are together, or flight locks, where you go directly from one to the next on your way up or down in elevation. There are 5 persons taking turns on these gates, 8 for the three locks. And there is a swing bridge on the canal side of lock #3, the only thing with electrical power other than the signal locks. Just before 11 we are out of the first three locks. It is not too far, and we encounter locks 4, 5 & 6. They are farther apart, and have a crew of 2-3 for each lock. Lock 4 is the smallest of the ones we will go through today. There is not room for the10' beam of the pontoon boat, and SummerTime's 12' beam to be side by side with fenders. We are end to end on opposite sides of the lock. Both boats nearly fill this small lock. We also have a couple of low bridges on the Chambly canal. The operators speed from one bridge to the next to have them open in time for us. The bridges are narrow. At the first bridge, boats wait to the side on the opposite side of the bridge until we pass, then they go through the bridge.
At bridge 10, we have to wait for the boats coming north. We also waited at one lock for the north bound boats, and as they got nearly to the lock, we pulled out to the starboard (right) side in a basin area, and let the incoming boats pass into the lock. When the last of the boats was by, we proceeded on our way south with the pontoon boat behind us. This is all very tedious, requiring good timing on some lock people's part, and taking the better part of a day. We clear the last of the Chambly locks and bridges about 3:30. We have made arrangements with a marina at Rouses Point in NY on Lake Champlain for a slip for tonight.
        Before we can get to our marina, just over the US/Canada border we have to clear US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). We had tried to use the new "ROAM" app for customs while in the canal waiting on one of the bridges. It would not work without a "wifi" connection, so we called the 800 number to check in for boaters. The agent on the other end was very pleasant, but told us we could not check in via phone more than an hour before arrival. He suggested Rouses Point CBP when we crossed the border. As we traveled into Lake Champlain from the Chambly  Canal/ Richelieu River, I pondered what to do about checking in. It was clear the convenience of the "ROAM" app was not going to work. Checking in by phone takes a good signal, that did not work at Bainsville, Ontario. I decide to pull to the docks of CBP. They have a small office trailer on the point under the Highway 2 bridge which is easy to see when we cross the border a mile and a half from their position. They have alternating flashing red and blue lights. It is obvious, even from a distance, that there is some kind of law enforcement ahead. We tie-up and I go to get interviewed. They can see Barbara on the boat deck securing lines, and tell me she needs to come up also. They take our passports, and provide a stamped document to say we have re-entered the US. The whole thing took less time than our doing the "ROAM" app leaving Morrisburg, Ontario, or the call ins we have previously done coming back into the US. The office and docks on the little peninsula is what made it easy.
       I had called Barcomb's Marina about 1/2 hour before getting to customs, explaining we could not be there by 5-5:30 per my original plans. The dockmaster gave me instructions for tie-ing up when we arrived. A little after 6 we left CBP, and were at the dock by 6:15. The border, CBP, and the marina were all that close. We tied up, Barbara fixed a simple meal for the evening, and we took a well deserved rest. We had not done that many miles today, but we did 9 locks and 3 bridges. A big day for the two of us.
       We decide to stay and extra night when I check in on Thursday morning. We need to do laundry and buy some groceries to put aboard. Barcomb's has a courtesy car and I borrow the keys as there is not a laundry at the marina. The marina people give us directions to the laundromat in town. They also give us directions to a grocery store, and tell us of a deli near the laundromat. We leave the laundromat, and stop at the Dollar General we had passed. Barbara buys the staples she can from them, but no milk, and we go back to the marina to return the car. We have now had the two extremes in marina courtesy cars. The 1993 Oldsmobile in Smithville coming down the Tenn-Tom, and now this one. It was a nearly new KIA Sedona van with only 3400 miles. We eat at the bar/grill above the marina store/office. It is windy out, and we are glad we took a day to do chores. We are not to be in Burlington until Friday, and this marina is .75/ft less per night than Burlington.
       Friday we get up and make ready to leave. We go over to the "Service Docks" (4 finger piers) and take on fuel. This is the first time we have fueled since Crysler Marine Park in Morrisburg, ON. It takes 83.4 gallons for 36 hour of running time covering 241mi, and 1-1/2hr of generator time. Traveling downriver on the St Lawrence was a big help, and we only had 2 times for about 3 hours where we ran at 85-90% power. We went upriver on the Richelieu, but its current is nothing compared to the 2-3mph of the St. Lawrence. This was better than I had hoped for when we topped off the tank at Crysler Marine Park. We have been 1185 miles since leaving Hampton, VA on 23 June. We have burned 562 gallons of fuel in those miles.
      We head south on Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT. The lake has some shallow spots in this north end, and we follow the zig-zag route of the buoys. Lake Champlain is relatively calm as the winds are light. We meet a lot of power boats going north. I am assuming it is Canadians headed home after vacation. They will spend the same 5-1/2hr on the Chambly Canal that we did. Besides the locks and bridges, there is a 6mph speed limit on the canal proper. We also are seeing a number of sail boats on Lake Champlain as we get farther south where the lake is wider. They are trying to sail, but the wind is a little light for good sailing. But the wind is just about right for a good power boat cruise. There is not a lot of development on this upper part of Lake Champlain. And the views are gorgeous with mountains on both sides. We get to Burlington about 4:30 after about 41 miles.

There is a lot of traffic as we approach the harbor. There are tour boats, ferries, and then the fishing and cruising boats. After securing everything and checking in, Barbara and I take the free shuttle bus into town to find the grocery store. We get the milk we have been out of and walk back to SummerTime for the evening.
      It is good to get here on the day we had scheduled to arrive. We hurried some times to beat weather, or make up lost time for whatever reason. And there were times when we stopped to smell the roses. It has been a very good trip so far.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Little Triangle Loop, Week #6, 28July to 3Aug018, CROSSING THE BORDER

      Saturday morning I get up and hike to the other Village of Waddington park with docks. I put a check for dockage (honor system) in the box at the park. In the afternoon, Barbara and I hike into town about 2 blocks from the water to get an AT&T signal. We do not want to be in the hassle of disputing a bill for international roaming later. We use the laptop and download bills from the few creditors we have so we can mail payment to them. Then we mosey back to SummerTime. We ran the generator some in the morning for making coffee. We run it again in the afternoon so we can cook and put some charge into the batteries. A sailboat pulls up behind us in the afternoon, so I warned him before we run the generator.
      On Sunday morning I run the generator again for heating coffe and putting more charge into the batteries. The Village has a new bath house to go with their new pavilion. We go over and use the showers to get ready to go to church. We, as always, go to the closest protestant church since we are most always walking. It is an old Presbyterian Church, the second oldest church in the village. It burnt in the early 1900s, and was rebuilt. It still looks old architecturally inside. It has high arched ceilings with curved wooden beams supporting the roof. There is also a magnificent old pipe organ in the sancturary. They volunteer that is from the early 1900s donated by one of the Vanderbilts. Their organist plays it very well. After church we go to a restaurant for brunch. Not something we normally do on Sunday, but this restaurant is special. It is "Artworks Creperie", and they do a brunch featuring crepes of various types.
They have a pretty sizable clientele for such a small town, and I am hoping that this is a sign their food is good. We are both amazed at the excellent crepes we have off this brunch bar. After stuffing ourselves, we go back aboard SummerTime and ready to depart Waddington.
      We depart Waddington in NY, and go to Crysler Park Marina, all of 8 miles, in Morrisburg, Ontario. We call Canada Customs from the shore phone, and get our reporting in number to display. We fuel SummerTime as there are not too many places that have diesel on the Seaway. I had planned to stop in Ogdensburg, NY, but as their docks are out we are buying fuel in Ontario. It is expensive due to Canadian taxes, but I only have to buy 56 gallons to top the tank off. I will not have to buy diesel again until we get back into the States. SummerTime's berth is like most transient berths. It is by the channel entrance so every boat coming in rocks us. I am glad the winds are not directly out of the east as we have almost no protection sitting in the mouth of the harbor where we are. Wayne and Ruth, two gold loopers from Crysler Marina see our gold "AGLCA" burgee and kayak over to introduce themselves. They are the local AGLCA harbor host and quite friendly and knowledgeable. Wayne points out that the "Crysler War of 1812 Battlefield" nearby is where 4000 US patriots were defeated by 800 Brits and Indians.
     On Monday we go to the marina office for the free shuttle ride to Canada's Upper Village. Eric tells us that the village will not open for another half hour, so we have him drop us at the 1812 Battlefield.
Kind of reminds me of Gettysburg. Cannons on top of a hill, and infantry trying to charge across open ground to take them.
We spend a few minutes on top of the mound, and then go to the "Village". It is an 1860s period village that is comprised of buildings from that period. The buildings came from the area that was to be flooded when the St. Lawrence Seaway was constructed in the late 1950s. There are people dressed in period clothes doing interpretations and demonstrations. One of the first things we visit is a wool mill, where machines driven by a water wheel card, spin, and weave wool into fabrics.
The next building is a grain mill. Here we see the water wheel, as they have it pulled out as it has failed. They had a replacement wheel running the mill. We witnessed flour being ground. The small pond feeds a saw mill also. This is also powered by a vertically mounted water wheel that spins as water falls from the pond over it. It is powering a vertical saw blade that is sawing slab boards off of a log. Not the "buzz saw" of song and cartoon fame.
 I have seen one other sawmill like this, in historic Mackinac Michigan. That sawmill was powered by the conventional wheel we see on postcards. We continue to tour the village. We go through some of the old houses with their period furniture. We have a lunch at the Hotel that is similar to the lunch we would have bought there in the 1860s. The cheese on our sandwiches actually came from the village cheese shop. We go in there to see cheese being made, but there is not much too see. Some tubs with milk in them that is going to take several days to ferment so cheese can be made. It is a long day for Barbara and I, and we are worn out when we get back to SummerTime.
       Wednesday morning we get up and head to Robert Moses State Park Marina on the St. Lawrence Seaway near Massena, NY. We contact US Customs and Border Protection using their new "ROAM" app for smart phones. We do a video interview and are cleared back into the US. It is another long run of 15 miles to get there in the mid afternoon. The park is on an island, and not near anything. We use the genset to  cook and then shut it off as there is no power at the transient docks. We spend a quiet evening on the boat. We crank the genset Thursday morning long enough to make coffee and toast for breakfast. Thursday morning we move to the service dock and get our holding tank pumped out. We can not put water in our water tank as their hose is not long enough to reach down the dock to SummerTime. We leave the state marina and head for the Eisenhower Lock, the first of the two American locks in the Seaway. I call via radio just before arriving about 9:30 and am told it will be about a 3hr wait to get locked down. There are several ships on the AIS going up and down river.
 As we wait more ships appear on the AIS screen. Also there are more pleasure boats accumulating in the anchorage. After 8 ships, we are all told to make our way into the lock.
There are 15 of us, and they raft us side by side, 3 boats wide. We are not against the wall, the bigger boats are there. We leave the Eisenhower lock and go about 6 miles to the Snell lock.
We tie up in the lock in the same order we were in at the Eishenhower lock. It is after 3:30 when we get out of the Snell lock. I know we will not make Valleyfield's marina before dark. I consult the charts and settle for the Creg Quay marina near Bainsville, ON. We run hard trying to get there before closing at 5, but in the end I call on the phone and they give us a slip assignment. Phone service here is spotty, and it takes 4 attempts to clear through with Canadian Customs. There is a restaurant here, but it is not open. We eat on SummerTime. On Thursday morning we get up and fill SummerTime's water tank. We then depart for Valleyfield after I am sure we will have a dock to tie to in Valleyfield.
      We did not change countries today, like yesterday. We did however, change cultures. We went from speaking English in Bainsville, Ontario where Creg Quay is located, to speaking French in Salaberry de Valleyfield, Quebec. Valleyfield Municipal Marina is a large nice marina, and near downtown. We walk the half mile to the local grocery store, a Metro Mart, and buy needed groceries. We have not been within walking distance of a grocery store since leaving Brewerton, NY. We were out of several items: milk, bread, and most important for me: coffee. We have 4 big bags to walk back to the boat with.  It is a nice little town, and the old Beauharnois Canal is used as a gathering place for boats to socialize with each other. The foot bridge over the canal from the mainland to an island park actually has a swing section which we witness open to let bigger boats into the cruising/socializing area.
 After dinner, Barbara goes and does our basic laundry. We also use their showers which are in a separate building.
      We are up early on Friday morning. We have to make a bridge opening on the Beauharois Canal. The first opening for pleasure boats is at 9, and it opens only on the hour after that. We do not wish to miss that first opening as the two bridge tenders have reputations for being non cooperative with small boats. We make it to the staging area for the bridge at quarter to the hour.
There are other boats waiting there. And other "go-fast" boats come rushing up as we wait. When the bridge opens, there are 7 power boats and two sailboats that rush through. Then we wait at the second bridge, mostly for the slower sailboat I think so the operator only has to open once. After that we cruise at a sedate pace the 6 miles to the Beauharnois locks. I stop and purchase a ticket good for 2 locks this time. We lock through with the other boats and enter Lac de St Louis, which is really just a wide part of the St. Lawrence River. We have lunch while going across this lake. At the NE corner we come to the Sud Rive Canal. In it we meet a ship traveling south.
As we are just entering the canal, I pull over into a wide area by a marina, and wait for the ship to pass. In the canal we meet two more ships headed south. We get to the Cote lock and are whisked through, 3 of us. We are the wall boat this time, and all three of us are put in one spot. At the next lock, the St Lambert, we have to wait. The lock has a RR & car bridge at the south gates. I think we are waiting because it is rush hour. After about 45 minutes, you can see the superstructure of a ship rise above the lock and the bridges.
After it is out, we are cleared to enter. Once in the lock we see that there are bridges at both ends.
The lock tender explains that they cannot open one bridge set until the other is closed. I am not upset, as I never expected to get past Lac St Louis today due to the reputation of the Beauharnois Canal. We round the tip of the Isle de Notre Dame where the Canadian Grand Prix is held, and turn west to the Old Montreal Port. Our speed changes almost 6 knots from exiting the canal and a bypass to heading up the main part of the river with the rapids the locks were built to navigate around.
I called in the lock to see if there is room for us at the "Vieux Port" Marina. We have reservations there for Saturday and Sunday night, but I never expected to get through all 4 locks and the two bridges in one day. We have an alternate plan to anchor by some islands downstream of the locks if there is no marina space. One of the boats locking through with us showed me a good anchorage in case there is no marina space. They are headed on towards Quebec City. We are in luck and get a slip for the night. We get to the "Old Port Marina", or "Marina Port D' Escale" about 6:25. They help us tie up, the dock girl is very good at this by herself. We are in like a 3 sided concrete bath tub, and the city is right above us, a bee hive of activity even into the dark. We settle in for the night on SummerTime as we were up late on Thursday night, and got an early start this Friday morning. It has been a very rewarding day for travel.