Friday, July 30, 2010

A Fitting End

South Burlington, Vermont
No LL

This is where I hop off from Dave's trip. Dave has to continue from here to his new home in Raleigh, North Carolina. Me, I'm reunited with Libby and Tarwathie.

Today, Dave and I did the perfect finale for our trip together. The weather was splendid, so the two of us went for a sail on Tarwathie. We sailed over to New York, circumnavigated Schuyler Island and then returned to Burlington. The weather was perfect, 12 knots at the start up to 19 knots at the end of the trip. We were close hauled all the way. Tarwathie was a happy girl and so wasn't Dave at the helm. We hit a peak speed of 7.2 knots which put a smile on Dave's face.

By the way, Dave now has 7,700 miles on his truck since leaving Fairbanks. The distance from here to there as the crow flies is only 2,700 miles. He did a lot of touring.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Lee Center, NY
NoLL

A couple of weeks ago, Libby made a memorable quote. We were watching a large flock of geese beside the canal. There were about 40 Canada geese and two geese of some other variant. Libby said, "Look - there are two gooses in with the geese."

Speaking of geese, Dave and I heard a really surprising story on the news the other day. The while Northeast USA is blighted by a non-migratory kind of Canada Geese. They just stay around all year and multiply and defecate. They are pests. The news is that New York decided to get rid of 375,000 of the estimated 400,000 geese in the state. Hooray for that!

The bad part is that the state did not just declare them to be pests and to allow citizens to kill them at will and take them home to eat (yummy). Instead, the state will spend money to capture and gas the geese, while still forbidding citizens to kill them. That's so stupid and so symptomatic of runaway government that I find it hard to believe.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Scenic Stop; Where Else?

New York Thruway
42 59.31 N 079 56.06 W

We couldn't drive all the way from the Rockies to Rome, NY without finding an attraction to see. I don't need to tell you where. The picture speaks for itself.

Was it fun? YOU BET.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

A Secret Newfie Appeal

Our blog readers are so wonderful and so knowledgeable that I'm posting this question here. I'll delete this post before Libby gets to see it.

Libby loves newfoundland dogs. She owned them as a child. We decided that we can't own a dog on Tarwathie; it's not fair to the dog. However it breaks my heart to see the love in Libby's face whenever she sees a newfie.

I got the idea that we might be able to borrow or rent one for a few days. Can anyone help me?

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In Ohio

Springfield, Ohio
39 53.80 N 83 43.78 W

We did it! 600+ miles yesterday. We weren't deprived though. I didn't see a single sight all day that inspired me to grab my camera. We decided to bypass the major attraction of the day; the prairie dog town with the five legged steer Cumberland(no kidding). It appears that we'll end up in the vicinity of Akron or Cleveland, OH tonight and that we'll arrive at John's house near Rome, NY tomorrow afternoon. That will mark the official end of our cross country trip. Poor Dave has already driven more than 7000 miles ( 11000 Km ) so far.

We crossed the Mississippi this morning. As a boater, I was quite interested. The river was flooding its banks. The current appeared to be 5-6 knots. That would be very dangerous for a boat like Tarwathie.

Dave and I learned that we share a common fantasy. We would like to visit every one of the 1500+ Waffle House restaurants. Did you know, if you lined up all the bowls of Bert's Chili® Waffle House serves in a year, it would stretch the length of Florida's coastline on both the Atlantic and the Gulf coasts? Aha! There's the answer to the Gulf oil spill crisis ;)

Technology Fail: My all time favorite film is the 1984 classic Brazil. A theme in that movie was advanced, but dysfunctional, technology. Last night Dave and I lived that story. It was supper time and we hankered for some Kansas City beef.

Dave used his Tomtom GPS to get directions to the ne arest BBQ restaurant. It directed us to the DPW garage: FAIL.

I whipped out my Droid with Google Maps. It sent us on a 15 mile wild goose chase that ended in a corn field. It even showed a picture of the empty field when we got close. FAIL. .

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Time For Serious Miles

Manhattan, Kansas
39 03.93 N 096 18.45 W

Well, we had our fun but now it's time to pay the piper. Dave also needs time in the Northeast to visit family. To get back on schedule, we need to drive 1,800 miles in three days. Of course we'll have fun but we can't take every scenic byway and diversion we come across.

Here's my recommendation. Take a push pin and stick it in the map at the San Francisco Mountains in Arizona. Then draw a circle with radius 100 miles (maybe 150). Explore everything within that circle. The number and diversity of the places and things inside that circle should satisfy anybody.

My second recommendation is harder to follow. To give your mind the time it needs to absorb the reality of what you see, limit yourself to one or two new experiences per day. Travel no more than 25-50 miles per day. That means you can't experience the west in a vacation or a trip, you need to make it a lifestyle .

Land cruising by RV or by motorcycle is too fast. Traveling at five miles per hour on foot or bicycle is the way to go. For Libby and I it's a little too late in life to tour on foot. We'll have to be content and thankful that we are able to cruise by boat.

I'm I'm also thankful that Dave and I had this once in a lifetime chance to spend this time together having fun.

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Man Oh Man

Colorado
NoLL

Man oh man, what a day. We started with a view of the Evaluate Grand Staircase. Then we came to a magical badlands region with hills and valleys of bare rock. Then er crossed a ridge and the rock was covered with soil and sagebrush.

Why should the land east of the ridge have soil, while land west of the ridge is bare? Dave and I wrestle with such puzzlers as we travel through this marvelously varied land.

Soon we came to a lovely green oasis valley and the town of Boulder, Utah. After that we passed through pine forests, and finally Aspen forests.

At one point we came upon some steers in the road. There were two cowboys and two border collies trying to round them up. We stopped to watch the fun.

At mid morning we entered Capitol Reef National Park. Dave spotted a scenic byway road so we took it. After a while Dave saw a dirt trail with a sign saying, "Grand Wash. Do not enter if a storm threatens." We took that road too.

On each side of the wash were vertical cliffs I estimate them being 1000 feet high. Spectacular. We came to a spot called echo cliff. Dave walked 300 yards away and yelled. Good echo. Then in a normal voice, I said, "Can you hear me?" He could. Then in a very soft voice I said, "Now?" Dave answered, "There are no secrets here." I said, "For Gods sake, don't fart."

Soon the wash became too narrow for the truck so we continued on foot. Dave was so enchanted, he said, "This is better than Bryce." We hiked for 2.5 hours.

After the hike, we just drove. The rest of Utah and Colorado bored us. We came to Aspen and found it to be a somewhat revolting enclave for the rich, so we didn't stop there.

The day ended with a bang. Exactly at sunset we arrived at Independence Pass. 12,095 feet and the continental divide. The sights were stunning. So much beauty.

Tonight, we're heading for Colorado Springs.

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
37 47.29 N 111 37.89 W

Friday evening.

We learned that we're following the exact path of Powell's second expedition. This area was the last unmapped spot in the lower 48. Very cool, and very very beautiful.

We've seen so many beautiful scenes today that it is impossible to remember them all. Each scene is so stunning that it deserves to become a lifelong memory. However, before the brain transfers it from short term memory to long term you must think back on it a little bit. Today though, each amazing sight is replaced immediately with another equally amazing sight.

In the East when the bear goes over the mountain, the next mountain and valley look much the same as the previous one. Ditto for cyprus swamps, and salt marshes, and mangrove forests, and cays. Not so out here. Each vista has colors and textures and shapes unlike the others and unlike any other place on Earth.

Now even before the day is done, I have trouble remembering the specific sights we've seen.

When Dave came back up from his walk among the Bryce hoodoos his quote was, "I didn't think that anyplace on Earth  could look like that."

This state park is nice. It has great facilities, nice sites, and a mountain to climb with great views and a petrified forest on top.

It's still not over. After dinner Dave and I will hike up the petrified forest trail for the sunset. The only word I can muster is WOW.
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Whoops

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_QzvMQqr57mI/TEoX9qHxWlI/AAAAAAAAIu4/nR8CBGH50CY/s1024/2010-07-23%2010.06.03.jpg

My phone cropped the picture in the previous post wrong. I don't know how to fix it so here's a second try.

Bye SF Mountains

Bryce Canyon, Utah

We drove from GC to Bryce. Along the way we stopped to see the Little Colorado Canyon and the Glen Canyon Dam (see the picture). We also saw more natural beauty than the mind can handle.

Right now Dave is hiking the steep trails here at Bryce. I'm sitting this one out.

Next we are going to take 220 miles of back roads through Escalante to Green River. Probably no phone signal tomorrow: no blog.

My friend Glen emailed from Schenectady that he's going on a severn day trip through GC by raft. I'm jealous Glen, have a ball.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

The 1, 2, 3 of Rim Language

Grand Canyon
32 02.41 N 0

As we walked the canyon rim with the other tourists, we heard over and over three very human themes that must repeat here thousands of times every day.

1) Mothers with young children say,"Hold on to my hand. "

2) Mothers with older children say,"Wait! Stop! Don't go any closer!"

3) Middle aged men say to their wives, "OK just one more step back."

It is also very international on the rim. I estimate that only 50% of the people were speaking English. I heard Spanish, German, Swedish, Dutch, Japanese, Korean, Yiddish, and many other languages I couldn't identify. But now I think I learned how to recognize a few phrases in each of those languages: "Hold my hand. Wait. Stop. Don't go any closer. OK, just take one more step back. "

Dave on the Rim

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The Rim

Grand Canyon
NoLL

This is my third time here. The first with Libby. The second with my father Jerry. Now the third with my son Dave. My favorite part is to see the astonishment on my companion's face when they get their first glimpse.

Nobody can describe the Grand Canyon to you. No picture or video can show you. You must simply see it with your own eyes.

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So many things to see

Flagstaff, AZ
NoLL

Wow, what a day. We started in Kingman. We drove East to Flagstaff. Once there we searched Route 66 for that quaint strip of old motels and diners I remembered. I wanted the diner that made the worlds best hash browns.
Alas, they are all gone. The strip is full of national chains and fast food.

We went to the Meteor Crater, then to Sunset Crater volcano, then to the Hoptaki Indian dwellings. Each of those is a wonderful experience.

On a trail I illegally picked some pieces of lava and ponderosa pine needles for Libby to make a new basket.

The high point of the day came when Dave found a little side road and took it. He is more adventuresome than I at such things. Soon we had crossed the Painted Desert. The constantly changing beauty all around was wonderful. Then we came to the Little Colorado River. Instead of a canyon, we found a ford. I never forded a river before. It was fun. There were big thunderstorms around, but luckily no flash flood. We kept going, but soon we realized that we were on Navaho land, so we turned back.

Best sight of the day: We could see a furiuos thunderstorm on the West side of the San Francisco Mountains. It was trying to move our way but it couldn't get past the mountain ridge. It stayed sunny but very windy on our side. Cool.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

So Here i Sit

Philadelphia, PA
NoLL

I'm blogging at my gate at the Philli airport. Boy am I out of practice at this stuff. I used to take 50-60 business trips per year. Now is my fist time on a plane in several years. Airports haven't changed but I have.

Jenny and I convinced Libby to stay on a mooring while I'm away. It is expensive but we wont worry about her

I'll meet Dave in Las Vegas tonight Don't know where we'll stay.

Big brave act: I left my laptop home. We (you and I) will be dependent on my Droid to write blogs. So far so good.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Thing of Great Beauty

South Burlington, VT
NoLL

18 months ago in Marathon we lost or companionway hatch/screen. How did we lose it? We don't know. It just came up missing. Perhaps it blew off deck in a storm. Anyhow, we have wood batter boards that we have been using since. Still, the missing hatch was dearly missed. It had two great features. (1) It had a screen which allowed a breeze to pass through the cabin and (2) It had a plexiglass insert to shut out rain and cold while letting in light.

I don't have the carpentry tools or the skills to make a replacement. For about a year, I scratched my head not finding a solution. Then it hit me. My brother in law Karl is an expert carpenter. I asked him and he said, "yes.' I have to tell you Karl is more than expert. The things he makes are works of art.

Today, we got a package in the mail. It was the hatch cover from Karl. It really is a work of art, with a brilliant finish. The wood strips that hold the screen in are finely inlaid and fastened with brass screws. Thank you very much Karl, Tarwathie will look much better with this new addition.

Here's a picture below. Sorry, it doen't look very impressive. I'm afraid the camera on my new Droid phone doesn't take very good pictures.



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ah, Under Sail Again

Shelburne Bay, VT
NoLL

Saturday was very nice.   We didn't have the boom rigged or the mainsail mounted yet.  Nevertheless, the wind blew from the SW.  That allowed us to sail up the lake under sail once again.   It felt so good.    If we ever switch to the dark side with a trawler, we'll have to have a sailing dinghy so that we can experience the joy of sailing once in a while. 


We sailed 45 miles from Ticonderoga all the way to Burlington.   That took us past the most beautiful parts of the lake.   Our pleasure was blunted though by the very hazy conditions.  The mountains were almost totally obscured.   It has always been true that the emotional highs one gets in the Burlington area are associated with glimpses of the mountains on clear days.  Now, Sunday, it looks more promising.

Right now we're motoring over to Burlington.  Well meet Jenny there and spend the day with her.    

I'm preparing for my next adventure.  On Tuesday, I'm flying to Las Vegas to meet Dave.   From there, Dave and I will visit the Grand Canyon and everything else between there and here that interests us.  I think it is going to be a great trip.    Dave called the other day.  

He was overwhelmed by awe and admiration for a spot he found on the trip.  I didn't catch the name of the place.   Dave said it was 1/2 hour from the Alcan Highway and in the Alaska Panhandle.  First he found a spot with a platform to watch the bears catching salmon.   Best bear watch in North America said Dave.  Then, a ranger told him that he could drive 17 miles up a logging road and see a galcier.   He did that, and when he got there he was 4,000 feet above the glacier looking down.    Just too beautiful to describe.   Then he drove another 10 miles to a different valley and found an even more beautiful glacier.   We're so happy that Dave is having so much fun.

Libby however is a bit nervous.  She realizes that this is the first time she ever had full custody of Tarwathie for an extended period.   It will be up to her to watch the weather, make all the decisions, execute those decisions, and handle anything that goes wrong.   She realizes that there are a whole lot of things that she's never done before.   She has been peppering me with questions and practicing things for several days.

This morning I felt guilty.   We were anchored among a cluster of 40 Canadian Cruising boats (at least 38 out of the 40 were from Montreal).  For practice, Libby insisted on hauling in the 120 feet of chain and raising the anchor herself.   That's a heavy job.  I get exhausted doing it.  One can't simply hand crank it up with the windlass.   That's so slow that without someone at the help, the boat can drag a long way before the anchor is secured.  Our Canadian neighbors looked on with amazement as I stood and watched Libby toil.  I could read their thoughts; "Why does that jerk just stand there and make that woman do all the work? Why doesn't he have an electric windlass?"

I should feel guilty for something more substantial.   As captain, it was my responsibility to not only run the boat, but to see to the training needs of my crew.   5 years on the boat were more than enough for Libby to be well trained and completely confident in all aspects of operation.   I'll resolve to do better in the future.

Libby prefers to stay in Burlington while I'm gone.  She wants to spend most of her time with Jenny.  There is no affordable place in the area to leave Tarwathie at a slip.   Even the moorings are super expensive ($0.75/foot for a mooring with no services.)  Therefore, she's going to anchor out.  If bad weather comes, she'll take a mooring or move to a sheltered bay.   The trouble with that plan is that there is a chance of thunderstorms almost every day.   That means bad weather could arrive with little advance warning.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things As They Should Be

Ticongeroga, NY
43 50.30 N 073 23.35 W

Life is good. We are back on Lake Champlain. The mast is up. Libby is walking around with a big grin on her face. Me? I just jumped in the lake for a swim to cool off. That was the first time I swam since last year. The water felt delicious. I could have stayed in for an hour.

We put the mast up at Chipman Point Marina, as usual. We were saddened to hear that Dick, the proprietor, died last spring. Dick's son Chip is running the place now with his mother Pat. Dick will be sorely missed. Anyhow, Chip is the one who did most of the work in recent years. He remembers Tarwathie and things went smoothy.

I removed the running backstays and the messenger lines to extra masthead sheaves. We never used any of those things in 5 years. It's time to clean up and simplify the rigging. We'll store the backstays at Jenny's house for future uses.

As I write this, I'm looking up at Fort Ticonderoga. What a place. The fort is 400 years old, very historic, and it looks brand new from down here on the lake. I can well imagine how it was seen as an insurmountable barrier to passage on the lake during its time.



Fort Ticonderoga Seen From Mount Defiance


We are also looking at a glory up in the sky. There is a band of cirrus ice clouds. The sun is setting. In one spot, the angle of the sun is just right for us to see a bright spot rimmed with the colors of the rainbow. It's a fitting welcome.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our Pretty Little Valley

Whitehall, NY
NoLL

This morning as we came north on the Champlain Canal, I was struck by the beauty of the surrounding valley. I refer to the area just south of Whitehall, with Wood Creek on the valley floor. It is so beautiful. I say so even though I get only quick glimpses of the valley because trees lining the canal block most of the views.

I wondered how to get a better view. Not from the road, I've driven those. Not from a small airplane, I've flown over here in a Cessna 152. Perhaps from a nearby mountain top in the fall when all the leaves have fallen off. Of course, when the leaves are of the valley isn't green.

Then it occurred to me. I now have my Droid phone. I pulled out the phone and started Google Earth. There it was right on my little magic screen! I zoomed in to a soaring bird's view of the area and watched the scene as we motored up the canal. It was great fun. I'll share a bit of it with you. Below is a Google Earth view of the area seen from 10,000 feet. You can go there yourself on Google Earth and zoom in closer.


Left to right, South Bay on Lake Champlain, a mountain ridge, NY Route 22, the original Champlain Canal (windey), RR tracks (straight), the canal where we were, the valley where Wood Creek meanders. Far left is another mountain ridge then Lake George, NY. Far right is Poultney, Vermont. North is Whitehall, NY.




This is the area which General Burgoyne's army found so difficult to traverse in 1777. For 20 miles they had the choice of steep wooded hilsides or swampy ground on the flats. It was not good for transporting artillery, Burgoyne's furniture and chests, plus other heavy cargo.

Tomorrow, we reach Lake Champlain once again. :)

Estrela

Waterford, NY
NoLL

Tuesday, we stopped at Waterford only a few hours when, surprise, a second Westsail 32 pulled up behind us. We soon got another surprise, the W32 Estrella had just completed a 6.5 year circumnavigation.

We invited the crew, Doug, Kyle, Eliza and Abigail on board Tarwathie for a cup of tea. All W32 owners enjoy inspecting other W32s to see what is the same or different. Anyhow, the 6 of us had a great time swapping stories about globe stops like New Zealand and Brazil and canal stops like Canajoharie and Marcy. We yapped and yapped until almost midnight.

We so admire this family. Eliza and Abigail, today a teen and pre-teen, are extremely personable and confident young ladies. Their life experiences should serve them well for the rest of their lives.

Tarwathie and Estrela in Waterford


Kyle, Abagail, Eliza on Tarwathie

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Paul

Waterford, NY
NoLL

We managed another great reunion while in Amsterdam. Paul was my boss at my first engineering job at G.E. in Schenecatdy. Paul was a wonderful mentor. He guided andj educated me throughout my early career. I dearly love Paul. He's a wonderful person.

My best friend John is also my contemporary. John worked for Paul at G.E. the same time I did.

Neither John nor I have seen Paul for quite a while. Monday, we fixed that. John and his wife Mary Ann picked up Paul and his wife Marge and brought them to Lock 20 for a mini reunion. Mary Ann took the picture below of the whole group except herself.

Dick, Libby, Marge, Paul and John

Paul is sharp as ever. Indeed his memory of things past are better than mine. It was a great pleasure to see him again.

By the way, both Paul and John are recipients of the IEEE Concordia Award, the most prestigious available for power engineering, making me very proud to be in such distinguished company.

By the way,

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Five Bridges

Waterford, NY
42 47.26 N 073 49.80 W

I must admit to a touch of nostalgia as we pass through this region. Today we passed under five consecutive bridges; each of which was my primary work commute path over the years. The 890 Bridge, the Scotia Bridge, Freeman's Bridge, Rexford Bridge and The Twin Bridges on I87. Four of the five bridges are in Schenectady County. Both Libby and I have crossed each of those bridges countless times.

There are many places where a river cuts through an urban area. The few bridges that exist tend to become big traffic bottlenecks, and thus figure prominently in the memory of commuters who pass that way. It also has the effect of causing a split in culture between those who live on one side of the river compared to those on the other. Think of the famous bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan Island and those in San Francisco Bay. They loom so important that they become part of the culture of the entire nation, not just the locals.

I think of the Jordan Bridge between Norfolk and Portsmouth Virginia. Libby and I knew that bridge only from the boater's point of view. It was old and clunky and a major obstacle for us to pass. No doubt it was an even bigger pain to the far larger number of motorists. Last year the Jordan Bridge was razed. We boaters cheered hooray. I'll bet that many more Norfolk area residents groaned in agony.

p.s. We locked through Lock 7 together with The Grand Erie. See the picture below. She is certainly grand.

We have been meeting the Grand Erie up and down the canal for the past month. She is a floating hotel for canal workers. She has a galley, a cook, a lounge, and a private room with TV and AC for each employee on board. She moves up and down the canal to the sites of working projects. In Amserdam last weekend we saw her getting what must be the 5,000th coat of paint.

Today, she passed us doing about 8 knots. That means she must pack a lot of horsepower under the hood.

From Drop Box

Monday, July 12, 2010

Missions Accomplished

Amsterdam, NY
NoLL

Yesterday I drove to Rome to see my grandson Nick as he reported for induction in the US Army. John, Nick's dad, and I drove down to the recruitment office in Rome where he was to report. We got there a few minutes early. John thought of the perfect going away present; a Whopper at Burger King. See the picture.
John is also a professional soldier, so he, as well as me and the rest of the family are very proud of Nick. We're confident that he'll serve well.

This morning, driving back to Amsterdam I was able to stop along the way to pick up our two anchors freshly galvanized. See the picture. They'll never look as shiny and respectable as they do now.


From Drop Box


Before galvanizing, I spent a day with paint stripper tools to remove rust, and at the yard, they had to let them soak in acid for two weeks to remove surface salt that wouldn't chip off. Hubbell Galvanizing in New York Mills, NY is a great company. They charged only $75 each to do the anchors.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Oil Spill

Amsterdam, NY
NoLL

People keep asking us if we have been affected by the oil spill. The obvious answer is, "not yet." We did however meet some people who are affected.

During June in the NY Canals, one meets a lot of loopers. Looper is the self-given name of those who are doing the Great-Loop. That means traveling in a complete circle through the great lakes, the Mississippi, the Ohio, down to Mobile, Alabama. From there, they continue down to the Florida keys and up the east coast to complete the loop. They are easy to spot because of the Americas Great Loop Cruising Association flags that they fly.

We see loopers in NY in June because they are on schedule to pass Chicago before the cold fall and winter weather begins. The couple we met this year seemed to be moving very slowly. I wondered if they would meet the schedule. I asked them about it. They said that they were afraid of the Calumet River in Chicago being closed to traffic because of the Asian Carp problem. They were also unsure if they would be allowed to boat in the Gulf when they reached Mobile because of the oil spill. In short, they had changed their minds about doing the loop.

p.s. We had fun in Potsdam. My lectures went well and Libby was able to do some genealogical research at the Massena Library and the Potsdam Museum about her ancestors.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Staying Cool On Board

Amsterdam, NY
NoLL

We, like most of the East Coast, are in the midst of a heat wave. It seems an appropriate time to talk about if, and how, we manage to keep cool on board the boat.

First, we don't have air conditioning. Many boats do. Indeed many have heat pumps that provide both heating and cooling. However, those boats tend to spend most of their time in expensive slips in marinas plugged in to shore power. That would completely ruin our budget. We limit marina visits to the bare minimum.

Our primary strategy is to migrate. We head for 45 degrees N in the summer and 25 N in the winter. Of course, last winter's cold in Florida and this summers heat up here proves that solution isn't guaranteed.

We do have a natural advantage; half of the boat is in the water all the time. That helps greatly to moderate the temperatures in the cabin as compared to the temperatures in a house. On the other hand, it is seldom where we anchor or tie up in a place where we get natural shade from trees.

When the mast is up, we also have two large canvas tarps that we can rig as sun shades. Between the two, we can shade almost the entire length of Tarwathie's decks. I'm particularly fond of setting up a hammock under the tarp on the forward deck. That's very pleasant, even in hot weather. Unfortunately, right now on the canal, the mast is down and we can't use the tarps. We hide out in places like the Library instead.

On days like this I also like to douse the decks and upper hull in cool water. That provides a small modicum of relief. Of course I usually can't resist dousing myself at the same time.

If we were on Champlain, or many other locations, the obvious solution is to simply jump in the lake. That provides immediate relief. I like to call it my "instant attitude adjustment maneuver." On really hot days, I take the plunge about once per hour. Here on the Mohawk River, things aren't set up right to swim in most places.

Most blessed is that the inside of the boat cools off after sunset so that we can sleep comfortably. There's nothing worse about hot weather than not being able to sleep.

Finally, as I was writing this blog post, I remembered something forgotten since Christmas. I gave Libby a present last year. It is a kind of battery operated fan with an integrated spray bottle. You blow air in your face, as you spray a mist of water. We dug it out and tried it for the first time today. It works pretty good. It is called O2COOL.



p.s. Tomorrow, we're off to Potsdam NY for a visit to my alma mater, Clarkson University. Probably no blog posts for a few days.

Monday, July 05, 2010

NY Scenes

Canajoharie, NY
NoLL


Fort Plain fireworks

Canal mainenance workshop, Lock 20

Fort Plain 4th of July

Intrepid John

We met another intrepid cruiser at lock 15; John. John is cruising from Chicago to Cocoa Beach, Florida in this Grumman canoe. He started in Lake Michigan but got hit by a bad storm. John said, "Lake Michigan tried to kill me." After that, he trucked the canoe to Buffalo, NY and the Erie Canal.

He plans to go to Florida 100% on ICW waterways. He has a 2.5 hp outboard that he says makes his canoe go at 11 mph. That's twice as fast as Tarwathie under power!!!

John sets up a tent each night wherever he's at.

John's real secret is an 8 foot long tiller extension for his motor (see it in the picture.) He says that when sitting in the back of the canoe, he makes 3mph tops, but when sitting at the center of bouancy, the boat almost planes.

John is no beginner at adventure. He rode a bicycle from Florida to Los Angeles.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

A Traditional Fourth

Canajoharie, NY
No LL

On Friday we took our granddaughters Katelyn and Victoria on board once again to spend a couple of days with us. Need I say that having grandchildren aboard is a great pleasure.

In the evening we taught the girls how to play Bananagrams. It is a word game remotely similar to Scrabble, but lots more fun. They both liked that a lot.

We also played Jenga; the game where you build a tower of wooden blocks higher and higher until it topples. That was fun too. It even suggested a marine variant of the game because sooner or later some wave comes along that rocks the boat and topples the tower. Imagine the pressure if it is your turn and you see the wake of a big boat coming our way. If you finish your turn in the seconds before it come, then it becomes your opponent's turn.

Saturday night we were joined by their parents, John and Cherly. All of us went to the Fourth of July celebration in Fort Plain.

Fort Plain puts on a grand traditional Fourth of July celebration. A big and elegant fireworks show is, of course, the centerpiece. But they also had a bonfire, hot air balloon rides, a fishing derby, three legged races, egg tosses, clowns, and balloon artists among other things. We all had a great time.

Today, Sunday, it us just Libby and I alone on the boat. It is 93F (34C) outside and humid. I'm spending the afternoon in air conditioned comfort at the library reading the Sunday New York Times.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Busy relaxing

Lock 20
43 08.59 N 075 17.51 W


This morning I went for a walk and gathered local wild flowers. Libby likes them a lot.

This afternoon, we had a visit from Dean. Dean is one of the few blog readers who read all of our 1527 posts here. This is the first time Dean and Libby met, but I've known Dean from work. It is remarkable that we didn't know each other for many decades; our circles of contacts and experiences have very much in common. Nevertheless, I met Dean for the first time at the NYISO sometime after 2001 when I started working there.

I sent Dean home with my copy of Joshua Slocumb's "Sailing Alone Around The World." Who knows? May he too may be bitten by the urge to cruise after reading that book.

An hour from now, the free concert will start. Tonight they have The Big Band Sound of Easy Money. Just perfect for old farts like us. It is part of The Betsy Concert Series.

Boy, it will be hard to leave Lock 20 tomorrow. This is so ideal. It's like being at summer camp.