Sunday, June 29, 2008

Killing Time in Brewerton

We are attaching several photos of our trip to the falls and several from our trip up the Hudson River.
We drove to Niagara Falls today. It was very windy, but we had a great time and enjoyed all the spray from the falls. We rode the Angel of the Mist boat to the falls and walked the trail from the boat landing to the falls, we were pretty wet by this time. We walked over to GOAT island and walked the rim while the sun was shining. Then the shower came and we ran to Hard Rock Cafe much to Shelly's delight. We were going to the Canadian side, but there was so much spray and so many people on the Canadian side--they're celebrating Canada Day--that we decided not to cross. We heard it was taking a long time to clear customs. and saw the line of traffic.
Jeff called right after we arrived back at Sunshine. He and Anne are at Green Turtle Key in the Abacos and are having a great time. He asked me to call Bill Gorton, Anne's father, and update him. When I talked to Bill he was in Niagara Falls. We were both there this afternoon but did not know it at the time.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hello From Brewerton, NY

The first photo is Sunshine entering Lock E17 on the Erie Canal. This is the highest lift on the Erie, 41.5 feet. Instead of swing gates this lock has a guillotine gate and the boat drives into the lock through the opening in the wall. The second photo is Shelly tending a line to hold our boat next to the wall while the lock is filled to lift us to the next level.
We crossed Lake Onieda yesterday. The weather was beautiful for our crossing. We have stopped for a few days at Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton, NY. They are going to remove our port transmission again Monday because it is still leaking some oil. We want to get it right before we hit the Great Lakes. This marina has herbs growing in planters along the dock and they tell boaters to pick what they need to use.
We had two new experiences yesterday. We all three got our hair cut at the same time in the same shop and I took Muriel to the laundromat in a Mercedes, a courtesy car at the marina. Today we rented a car so we can drive to Niagara Falls tomorrow. It is about 150 miles from here.
Muriel was excited about her trip to the grocery store today. The store, Wegmans, is world class in selection and quality. She says it was more an experience than grocery shopping.
Bud, Muriel and Shelly

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Waterford, NY to Sylvan Beach, NY

These pictures are of the boats on the wall of the canal in Waterford. Then Shelly showing our looper flag on the Hudson River. Muriel and Shelly tending lines to hold the boat next to a wall inside a lock until we rose the 20 feet to the next level. The next picture shows a dam to the right and the entrance of a lock on the left as we approached. The last photo is looking out the front of our boat after the lock is filled and before the gates opened to let us continue along the canal.
We enjoyed Waterford so much we stayed several days. It was great to get back together with other loopers. There were several looper boats on the wall there and we quickly made new friends. We enjoyed the short walk into town for several meals and the Sunday farmer's market was a real treat. Muriel walked across a bridge over the Hudson River a couple of times to shop for groceries. The store would allow boaters to push the cart back to the waterfront and they pick them up on Saturdays. Muriel won a Waterford shirt for helping the dockmaster locate his keys.
On Monday, June 23, we finally got away from Waterford and began our trip through the Erie Canal. This began with five locks which raised us 169 feet. We ran a total of 9 locks that day. Muriel and Shelly handled the lines to hold the boat in position while the locks filled with water to raise us to the next level. We stopped for the night at Amsterdam, NY. There was not very much of interest for us there. The next morning we moved on through several more locks and stopped for the night at Little Falls, NY. We were joined there by a couple we had run with in the Chesapeake Bay. We are traveling with a couple from Tupelo, MS so the group of us met on the front porch of the visitor center for snacks and libations. We enjoyed a nice visit with the dockmaster who filled us in on the local history and community information. Afterward we walked into town for an excellent meal. The prices were low and we had such large servings that the pot roast dinners Shelly and I had served the three of us again last night.
On Wednesday we ran from Little Falls to Sylvan Beach. This is where the Erie Canal crosses Lake Onieda which is 25 miles across. Our three boats were able to tie up for free at the canal wall. We all enjoyed a walk through the town to locate the ice cream place and then return to the boats for dinner and then return for ice cream for dessert. This morning it was raining with "possibly severe thunderstorms" popping up around mid day. We decided to stay put but one boat decided to go ahead and cross the lake. They called back and said they had a very smooth crossing.
The canal countryside has been quite pretty. We have enjoyed the sights and the people have been very pleasant. I will try to get some pictures attached this time.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Catskill to Waterford

After a slow start we got away from Catskill about 11:00 am. We immediately noticed that the river was changing from steep, wooded banks to much flatter terrain. Still quite pretty. At one point we saw two yearling deer on the bank. When our boat's wake started coming into their little section of beach they began to play with it, running along with it then chasing each other. Farther up stream we saw an eagle sitting on an old drift wood log. A little later Shelly saw a flock of wild turkey on the bank. Soon we passed through Albany, NY. Muriel was quite taken by all the beautiful old buildings in the downtown district. Next came Troy and the "federal" lock, the start of our many locks to come on the Erie Canal. We have stopped just above the federal lock and just short of the first Erie Canal lock at Waterford. Last night there was no space left on the free floating dock so we had to tie in along a concrete wall. This offered Muriel and Shelly a challenge getting on and off the boat. The deck of the boat was several feet below the top of the wall. Along the wall is a park and walk depicting the Erie Canal. They have done a good job of beautifying the area to attract boats to stop, including free dockage, electricity, showers, and coffee. This morning we were able to move from the wall to the floating dock.
We plan to start through the canal tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Haverstraw - West Point - & on to Catskill

While we were waiting out a rainy day in Haverstraw I decided that the outboard motor for the dingy was running so poorly that I could not make matters worse by tearing into it. After completely disassembling the carburetor and cleaning all pieces with acetone the little motor runs very well.
On Tuesday we rented a car and drove about 12 miles to West Point for a guided tour of the academy. The tour guide made the tour very nice. His son graduated from the Academy and he was quite proud of him and all that it stand for. We got to tour inside the chapel, what an impressive sight. The stained glass windows are full of history.
This morning we got an early start and ran 64 miles to Catskill, NY. The weather and the scenery were both beautiful. West Point was nearly as impressive from the water as the tour. The river narrows up above Haverstraw but it gets much deeper and begins to have islands scattered around. Shelly enjoyed the several lighthouses we passed. We arrived early enough to enjoy a stroll through the little village and returned for a very good Italian dinner. The little marina is very nice.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Newport, NJ

Well I caught the devil for saying we were in Jersey City. We were in Newport, NJ, I still do not know the difference. But we had strong thunder storms Saturday evening. As soon as they let up we ventured out to walk down the street to find the local pizza house. The pizza was very good but the storms started back while we were eating so we decided to return to the boat and do our grocery shopping in the morning. The whole reason for spending the night at Newport was so Muriel could see the New York skyline at night. The rain mostly obscured the view but Muriel got up in the middle of the night and got a better view. In the morning we walked several blocks to an A&P and while Muriel shopped, Shelly and I walked to a nearby Home Depot and got here a Dremmel so she can drill holes in sea shells to make necklaces.
We finally got underway about 11:00 and run up through New York City and on up the Hudson River to Haverstraw, NY. As we approached the George Washington Bridge we ran into a rain that nearly obscured the bridge and the shoreline. It was short lived and the rest of the day was pleasant but overcast. We were amazed at the amount of barge traffic on up the River. It was amazing how quickly the river bank changes from city to beautiful countryside. To the west the river bank becomes cliffs, some rising 500 feet from the river. We saw things we had no idea to expect. Among them was Sing Sing prison. In the Haverstraw area the river is at its widest and the sailboats are numerous and were enjoying a beautiful sailing day.

We are going to layover in Haverstraw tomorrow and rent a car so we can drive up to West Point and get a tour of the academy.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Underway Again

After nearly a week awaiting repairs to our transmission, they were completed about noon on Thursday. We were so eager to get going again that we decided to start immediately. We said good-bye to our new friends, the dockmaster and crew at Brielle Yacht Basin, with hugs and kisses and headed out about 1:00 pm for Great Kills Yacht Club. This is a very nice yacht club on Staten Island, just below New York. From here we rode the express bus into New York again and took a tour bus through the city. Shelly was determined to see Chinatown so we left the tour there and walked around Chinatown and ate lunch there. Next we went over to Little Italy for dessert and bought T shirts . Then walked back to catch the bus back to Staten Island. The girls truly enjoyed NYC.
We had planned to get a lesurely start on Saturday and just run a few miles up into the Hudson River and spend the night at Newport Marina directly across from the City so we can see the city lights at night. Several boats have said it is worth the stop to see the City at night. Muriel and I woke early and decided to go ahead and get started. We were under way before 7:00 am and in the marina and tied up by 9:00. Everyone has said to avoid NYC on weekends because of congestion in the harbor. Probably because we were early, unusual for the Lovetts, we saw very few pleasure boats. There were plenty of ships in and around the harbor but we were never intimidated by any of the traffic. There has been a poker run going on out on the river today so we are glad we got here before that started. Muriel and Shelly wore out the camera batteries taking pictures of the ships and the Statue of Liberty. We expected to see pleasure boats anchored behind the Statue but there were none today. Muriel is doing laundry and I have been cleaning up on the boat. We will probably walk into Jersey City this evening and get some pizza since we have not had pizza in New York. We plan to get an early start in the morning and get a ways up the River.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

On Friday we cruised on through the NJICW to Manasquan, NJ. More of the beautiful NJ shore scenery. We are in a marina right at the Manasquan Inlet. The current is tremendous because of the large area which drains and fills through the narrow draw bridge next to the marina. When I checked the engines yesterday I found the port transmission was low on fluid and there are signs that it is leaking at both front and rear. After a restless night I decided this morning not to continue on to NY with our traveling partners but to stay here and get the transmission fixed. We have talked with a mechanic, who comes highly recommended, and he has a cancellation Monday so he will be here in the morning to start on our transmission.
Since we're stuck here we decided on the spur of the moment to hop on a train and go into NY City. We got lucky and made a train which was running a little late which gave us time to get aboard. As we were arriving at Penn Station a nice woman introduced herself and said she had overheard our conversation and realized we needed some advice and helped us navigate through the station. She led us through the station and through the subways to get us into the Rockefeller Center area. From there we walked all afternoon and saw many of the local sights. We had to take Muriel's picture sitting on a park bench in Central Park. Shelly had to have her picture taken in front of the Trump Tower. We took a cab back to Penn Station. Muriel says it brought back memories of riding cabs in Jaurez, Mexico.
We made it back to Manasquan in time to take Carlie out for a late run and for us eat a late snack dinner of left-overs.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sunshine enters NJ

On Sunday, June 1, we ran down the C&D canal from Chesapeake City into Delaware Bay. We had a fantastic run down the Bay -- the winds were very light so the water was flat and the flies were eating us alive. Nothing we had on board would keep them from biting. I had blood running down my legs. Muriel and Shelly were still thankful for the light winds in spite of the flies. At the mouth of Delaware Bay we entered the Cape May Canal. What a shock! Traffic was heavy in the canal and none of the large sport fishing boats slowed for anyone, even when asked and cussed and gestured. We entered Utch's Marina where we spent several days while Bella Luna got an injector tube replaced.
We ate dinner the first night at the Lobster House Restaurant which was a 5 star restaurant. They have table cloth dining, all the way down to take out and eat on the pier. The food was fantastic and reasonable. On Wednesday Muriel needed sour cream and there were no stores nearby so she went to the Lobster House and they gladly sold her a cup. Muriel enjoyed Cape May's old houses. They had lots of gingerbread on them and looked like doll houses.
Since we knew we were there for a while, we rented a car so that we could gather the supplies we needed. I got to a Lowes and got the plywood I needed to finish shelves in Shelly's hanging locker and Muriel and Dianne stocked up on groceries.
We got under way again early on Thursday and ran on the inside up the NJ ICW with two other looper boats. We ran past Ocean City and Atlantic City. The ICW runs right through the back yards of houses in these areas. We anchored for the night about 7 miles north of Atlantic City out in the marshes but still within sight of the lights of Atlantic City.
The place we chose to anchor was influenced by the need to get the dogs ashore. It had very strong tidal current and as soon as Shelly, Dianne, and I got ashore with the dogs Bella Luna began to drag anchor. Muriel noticed Bella Luna approaching just in time to shout at Louis so he could get his engines started and avoid the problem.