Wednesday, June 30, 2010
43 08.59 N 075 17.51 W
Victoria decided that two days was enough so she asked her mother to come fetch her. That's OK. Libby and I enjoyed having her for whatever time we could.
Soon thereafter, I got a call from David about our upcoming trip. He's delayed a week or more departing Alaska. Uh Oh. That means a revamp of the travel plans.
I started thinking about how to revamp and pretty soon my head was spinning. In the past, I've written off such lapses as adaptations to the cruising life where we never have to worry about schedules. Everybody knows that sailors and calendars don't coexist easily.
I think though I've been a little too hard on myself. This replanning job is harder than most. In normal circumstances, to make trips A, B and C, one needs only to select departure dates. If however, after trip A the boat leaves on passage X, then that affects both the date and the city for trip B, and eventually C also. In this case, I had to decide whether to continue West on the Erie canal, and if so which city to depart from, or to turn back East and whether to depart from Albany or from Burlington for a flight to meet David. In the meantime, we have to choose a city to depart from for a trip to Potsdam.
After 20 minutes or so, my head stopped spinning enough to choose a plan. We'll cancel the rest of the trip Westward on the Erie Canal. Instead, we'll return East. We'll depart for Potsdam from Amsterdam NY on July 7. After that trip, we'll go up to Lake Champlain and I'll fly out of Burlington to meet David in Fairbanks, or Seattle instead of Flagstaff. Whew! I almost needed a pert chart for that one.
So instead of rushing, we find ourselves with leisure time. We could be in Amsterdam in 2 days, but we have a week. We'll stay here at Lock 20 to watch another free concert Thursday night. (I told you we like this place.) Then, we'll find a place between here and Amsterdam to watch 4th of July fireworks this weekend.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
42 12.51 N 075 36.87 W
We had a great family weekend. Nick had great support from his family
and friends. I'm sure he'll remember that for many years.
Now however, we're back on the boat and moving west once again. Good
news! We have our granddaughter Victoria with us. Today is a rainy
day so we didn't push much for progress. We moved only 7 miles from
Rome to Lock 21.
Lock 21 is such a splendidly isolated and tranquil place that our
cruising guide says, "It is so quiet that city people will have
trouble sleeping here." That's perfect for today; our main mission
is to allow Victoria to get used to the alien environment of living on
a boat. Victoria already has a collection of wild flowers and goose
feathers gathered locally.
Tomorrow, we'll make better distance and cross Oneida Lake. I just
checked the weather forecast. It says W at 35 for Wednesday.
Definitely, we won't be crossing the lake or moving westward on that
Looking ahead I have two very pleasant dates. On July 7, Libby and I
will drive to Potsdam. I'm going to give a couple of lectures at my
alma mater, Clarkson University, in Potsdam. Potsdam is where Libby
and I lived the first year of our marriage, and it's a pleasure to
After that trip, I'm hopping on a plane in Syracuse. I have a one way
ticket to Flagstaff, Arizona. There I'll meet my son Dave. Dave is
moving from Fairbanks, Alaska to Raleigh, North Carolina. He'll drive
his car to Flagstaff and meet me. Once there, we'll be tourists.
We'll visit the Grand Canyon and then follow our noses eastward in a
cross country car trip. It'll be like Jack Kerouac senior and junior.
I think it will be great fun.
So, between now and July 7, we have no agenda, no plan. We'll just go
from day to day in search of fun.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
43 08.59 N 075 17.51 W
This place at lock 20 is especially nice.
Anyhow, all day long interesting people came by to chat. A sailboat just tied up behind me. It is a couple from Toronto who just bought the sailboat and they're taking it home. Tonight I'm listening to a free big band concert as I sit in the cockpit. (see the picture)
You may remember, this is the place where we enjoyed a free concert on Labor Day last year. How nice its that? Free dock, water, power and live entertainment.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
43 08.59 N 075 17.51 W
43 08.59 N 075 17.51 W
But the best app of all is called Easy Tether. That app lets me connect the Droid to the laptop as a broadband modem. That way, I can use the laptop and read my daily news articles on the big screen without having to find a WiFi signal. If the phone signal is really good, I can even watch streaming video. The other day, Libby and I watched some TV programs and a feature movie on the laptop using the Droid. We used 2GB of data that day. On some plans that's the monthly data limit, but our Verizon data plan is unlimited.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Sunday, June 20, 2010
43 12.84 N 075 59.21 W
We are crossing Oneida Lake. The lake is about 20 miles long and 10 miles wide, but otherwise unremarkable. However, looking south from the lake we see a series of prominent ridges. The north slope of those ridges are our old stomping grounds.
Libby grew up in Fayetteville, NY and me in the next town, Manlius. My parents lived in Oran. Libby went to college in Cazenovia. The nearest town was Chittenango. All of these place are on or near the north slope of the Allegheny Plateau. South, the altitude is higher. North is a vast flat plain extending up far into Canada.
We both remember the specactular scenic views from the hilltops on that ridge. Especially at night when we could see the lights of Syracuse at our feet.
This slope also has the effect of wringing out the last droplets of moisture from the lake-effect air heading southeast. In winter, that meant snow; lots and lots of snow. Indeed, I remember some stats. Syracuse has fewer hours of sunlight per year than any place in the USA. It also has more snow than any other city of 100,000 people or more. There are lots of places in the world that get more snow, but nobody else ever built a big city on those places.
What's our plan? Tonight, we'll visit our dear friends Gerry and Phyllis in Clay, NY. Tomorrow, we'll backtrack eastward and meet our grandson Nick. Nick will spend a few days onboard with us. Next Saturday is Nick's high school graduation and a big party at John's house north of Rome, NY. Our whole family will be there, except David who is still in Alaska, but including John and Mary Ann from Schenectady. That will be the high point of the year for Libby and I.
By the way, being here reminds me of one of my favorite true stories. In the 1950's a local boy from Chittenango was the boxer Carmen Basilio. In 1957 he beat Sugar Ray Robinson for the middleweight championship of the world. That was a big deal back then. He fought Robinson in a rematch on March 25, 1958. I watched that fight on a TV with a 5 inch circular screen. The referee came out to start the match. He grabbed the mike, looked at his notes, and said, "IN THIS CORNER, FROM [pause] SHIT AND GO NEW YORK IS CARMEN BASILIO."
Saturday, June 19, 2010
43 11.71 N 075 43.74 W
|From Drop Box|
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
42 54.56 N 074 34.22 W
We really loved the Walter P Elwood Museum in Amsterdam. It is our kind of museum; the old fashioned kind packed with interesting artifacts. Below are a few pictures of those artifacts.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
We took full advantage of our local connections here. We rented an Enterprise car over the weekend. We used the car to spend a day with my sister Marylyn. We also got to visit with John&Mary Ann, Mari&John and Bud&Nan.
In short, it was a social whirlwind for us.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
42 56.90 N 074 12.73 W
We stayed here at lock 11 last year. It is convenient. This year it offers a new attraction. The revolutionary Guy house on the property has been turned into The Walter Elwood Museum.
The museum is packed with lots and lots of interesting artifacts; all with local connection. Libby and I loved it.
Today we passed through Schenectady and Scotia, our previous home towns. Alas, there was no safe place to stop at either. Along the whole canal, the two least hospitable places are the two we wanted to visit. Sigh.
42 49:20 N 73 43:64 W
During our first year of cruising, I blogged about getting used to all the strange noises on the boat. Especially when lying in bed, one listens and interprets. On a boat, as opposed too a house, one must add motion to the. "sounds" of the night (since a boat is n ever 100% stiill.)
Now, after five years, I faced the flip side of that coin, unaccustomed silence. I woke at 0500 in the predawn light. There was zero noise, zero motion. It was spooky.
Last night we visited Fred and Mary. They are dear friends who live near lock 7. Indeded, much of the appeal of NY and VT is the ability to visit old friends.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
42 49:20 N 73 43:64 W
Waterford is a neat place for cruisers. Someday we'll really explore it better, but not today.
I am having great fun with this new smartphone toy. I learned fast that using it in tbe cockpit is worse than texting while driving. I will have to discipline myself. It also gives me eyestrain, so no using it hours at a time.
Libby lost her favorite jacket. She thinks she left it in the shower last night. Today it was gone.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
42 15.91 N 073 48.02
We're anchored in this lovely spot called Middle Ground. We have lillys on the left and singing birds on the right. The tide will turn in an hour. (Isn't it wonderful how predictable the tide is?) Beside us is the Half Moon. She is a replica of Henry Hudson ship. My friend Pete volunteers as crew on her.
New? I'm writing this post on my new smartphone. It's amazing. Getting used to typing this way will take time. The first free app I tried was for weather radar. It worked perfectly. It makes a new safety related instrument for the boat.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Sunday, June 06, 2010
We are very glad that we stopped here for the first time. Saugerties and Espous Creek are jewels.
The creek offers a great anchorage, and the best shelter along the hudson. We're anchored at the base of a 100 foot limestone cliff. All around us are steep hills 100-200 feet wide. A hurricane or a tornado passing by would likely not stir the still air at the bottom of this hole. (Caution: I did hear though about a flash flood following a thunderstorm that flushed all the docked boats out of Espous Creek into the Hudson River.
The village is also a delight. Most towns in upstate NY, indeed all of the northeast, have dead or decaying downtown areas. A few exceptions are Burlington, VT, Saratoga Springs, NY and now Saugerties, NY. We had great fun walking around and seeing the sights. Particularly nice is Seamon park.
Saturday, June 05, 2010
Here are a few of the prettiest scenes from the past few days.
Friday, June 04, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
41° 55.17 N 073° 57.07 W
A few week ago a fellow cruiser remarked that when cruising in New England that he had the feeling that everyone was out to loot his wallet or worried that he would loot theirs. We had that feeling too in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, but not in Maine. We also have that feeling a little bit on the Hudson; especially compared to the Erie and Champlain Canals.
For example, there's a restaurant in Newburg that allows free docking while dining. Then they have the gall to charge $3/foot to stay overnight at the dock. ($1/foot is cheap, $2 is very expensive, and $3 is out of sight.) Many other places with public docks have "No Overnight" signs. In fact, we're tied right now to the dock at the Rhinecliff train station. There's no sign saying we can't stay but I worry that we may be rousted out by police in the middle of the night.
There are lots of places that could do more to welcome visitors who arrive by boat. Yonkers, Tarrytown, Nyack, Haverstraw, Newberg, Beacon, Poughkeepsie, Hyde Park, Kingston, Catskill, Hudson, and more places all seem to have no interest in visitors. We'd like to visit the Rockerfeller estate, Hyde Park and we'd like to eat at the Culinary Institute of America. All are on the shores of the Hudson but none are accesible by boat and walking.
It's not just a matter of money. It is hospitality. Along the Erie Canal and the Champlain Canal we feet that those communities truly welcome visitors and do their beat to attract them. Here on the Hudson, we get the feeling that the local communities don't carea about being hospitable to boaters, or even downright hostile. Too bad for them. We've see very many places that make the waterfront, especially the part with visiting vessels the centerpiece of downtown attractions for citizens and automobile tourists.
Of course money does play a big role. New York State provided money to make the NYS canals hospitable, but not for the Hudson. Also, because the Hudson's shores are so steep and currents so swift, it is more difficult. Finally, there's the culture of the travelers. If many or most of the boating public sees no problem paying $3/foot for a dock place after dinner, then it's not the proprietor's fault to charge what the market bears.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
41 11.81 N 073 53.82 W
WRITTEN TUESDAY, POSTED WEDNESDAY:
Our salt water sailing is done for the next three months. We're up the Hudson River, almost far enough to reach fresh water.
I was going to write a blog complaining about how the elements conspired against us. Last evening, out at sea our nice wind died almost completely. NOAA forecast SW 15 but we got SW 3. That forced us to motor the last half of the passage.
We arrived at Sandy Hook, NJ around 0430. We had to wait until 0900 for the current to turn our way at the Verrazano Narrows so I thought we could grab a few hours sleep. I eyeballed a nice place on the Atlantic side to anchor in 20 feet of water with a sandy bottom. No wind, hardly any waves, why not. Just as I approached that point the wind started blowing really hard. Darn. I motored for another 90 minutes to the bay side of Sandy Hook and we anchored there. It still blew like crazy. It continued to blow like crazy until 15 minutes after we hoisted anchor and set sail to continue the trip. Then the wind died again.
We went up to 79th street Marina in hope of getting a mooring so that I could tour the Navy ships at fleet week. Alas, the ships were gone, fleet week ended yesterday. We took a mooring anyhow, but when we put the dinghy down and tried to mount the outboard motor we had to abort. The wind had come up again and the wind plus current plus waves made Tarwathie pitch so violently that it would have been dangerous to try lowering the outboard. Therefore, we changed our minds and departed for this place, Croton On The Hudson. This is an excellent anchorage.
On the plus side, we dodged 6 thunderstorms yesterday and today. They went south of us and north of us and we missed every one. We didn't miss the 7th storm. It hit the classic way, just 60 seconds before we dropped anchor here in Croton on the Hudson. The wind blew 35 and the rain was intense for the 10 minutes it took me to set the anchor and make everything secure. Then, I went below. My clothes were drenched. I stripped naked, grabbed a bar of soap and headed back out to get a free shower. Too bad, the rain stopped just seconds before I was ready.
But the really big story today is the beauty. Hills! Beautiful hills; the palisades of New Jersey. We haven't seen a hill since last fall. We're so tired of flat. The Palisades are a singularly beautiful way to re-introduce ourselves to hills.
On final event. Just 15 seconds before the 7th storm hit us, Libby went snif snif, "I smell honeysuckle." Is that a physics effect of lightning storms, or are the honeysuckles really in bloom.
p.s. The SSB radio link hasn't worked well the past week. I've been having trouble posting blogs. This is the first Wifi connection I've had in more than week.