Sunday, September 19, 2010

End of Erie Canal - Waterford, NY

Distance Traveled:  21 nm
Total Distance: 452 nm
Days on Erie Canal 10

Hi, well we made it to Waterford, NY about 115pm.  Was a good day.  We went through Lock 8 @ 8am and then Lock 7 about a hour later.  We had to wait in Lock 6 which starts the 5 step locks to get you to the Hudson River for about 30 min until a guy kayaking on the canal, Todd, and a boat Leeway II arrived to go down the lock steps together.  That was ok - we tied a couple of the lock ropes to Changes and the lockmaster took me through a gate and to the end of the lock to show me the view.  It was wonderful view.
View from top of Lock 6 towards Hudson River

We went 177 vertical feet in 20.9m 6 but 166 of these were in the 1.1 miles of the "Step Locks" which Locks 6 thru 2 are called.  It takes between 1.5 to 2 hours to go through these locks and once a boat starts these locks, you're required to do them all to get to the Hudson River.  There is 1 more lock in Troy, NY.  Also the location where Mike O'Callaghan went to college for his bachelors degree as fyi for Rachel and Katie.  The Lockmaster said that they usually get a frost by mid-September, but haven't gotten one this year and that they seem to be coming later in the year.
Lockmaster Lock 6

They do get boats and sailboats that come through the lock on the last day the locks are open which is November 15.  Can't imagine doing this trip that late in the year? Not me - Not Phil.  Then in the winter time, they do maintenance on the canals.  This lockmaster has already retired from his first career and is into his 2nd as lockmaster and takes his vacation time down in Florida in the Winter.  They have seasonal help when the lock is open until 10pm, but otherwise it's 10 hr days.   As I mentioned before, there was a young gentleman named Todd who came down the locks with us (Lock 6 -5 & 4).  We had a nice time chatting and he took some photos of Changes from his point of view while we were in the lock.  I gave him a boat card in a ziploc bag, so hope he emails me some photos.  He was helpful in giving us tips of places to go while we stay here for 2 days.  He recommends Troy, NY
Todd from Albany, NY in kayak
After you come out of Lock 2, the dock in Waterford is right THERE.  In fact when the locks are running and water is coming out of the lock, there is quite a current that rocks the boats around.  We docked just behind a commercial tug boat and canal tour boat.  The Captain Dick Powell was very helpful giving us information about which restaurants are must sees and where essentials are, such as the laundromat, grocery stores - one that has a dinghy dock and other information.  We exchanged boat cards I'm glad to say.

At Waterford, you can dock at this dock for 2 days free and then it's $10 a day.  They have electricity, water, restrooms and showers.  You give them a $5 deposit for the key to access the showers and restrooms after hours.  When we arrived here about 115pm, there was a Farmer's market going on, but closed at 2pm.  I was able to browse the markets and got fresh green beans, tomatoes of varying ripeness, a rutabaga for Phil, and apple dumplings at a discounted price because he didn't want to take them home with him.  There was squash available, but I didn't buy any to stay within the budget I asked for.

We walked around town and saw some interesting sites.  Next to Lock 2 there is a park for the 1860's part of the canal now called the Bypass Locks.  They are the way they were except there are no wooden gates for the lock part.  They are used for water overflow for the current locks. At the top of these locks you turned left to get to the Erie Canal and right to get to the Champlain Canal.
Looking up the Bypass Erie Canal Locks
We also walked by some of the restaurants that Captain Dick Powell recommended.
Don and Paul's Coffee Shop is the green building.
McGeivey's Restaurant

After walking around town, we talked to Dick of M/V Ladyhawke and met Wayne and Carol of Leeway II that went thru the Step Locks with us. 
Dick went over the charts of the Hudson River and NYC and  we found out that there is a ferry that comes from somewhere in NYC out to Sandy Hook semi close to a dock/mooring/anchoring area we could go to.  We will have to check out if it will work when Vicky visits us in October.   
I also talked to Carla and John who are volunteers in the Waterford Visitors Center.  I enjoyed talking with them and John told me how he took the train from Jamestown, NY to (I think to NY) to see Joe DiMaggio hit 3 home runs in a baseball game.  This was before he graduated from high school in 1949.  Carla asked me if I was a nurse. 1st person today.  What gives me away?

After we had docked, I fixed sandwiches for lunch and then after talking with people on the dock, I fixed pork, potatoes, and sauerkraut in the pressure cooker along with some of the fresh green beans from the market. Phil said it turned out really great, the potatoes were cooked just right for him, mushy. Phil now says that the beans mixture keeps you alive, but they are not good.  BUT, we can't throw it out.   

As we walked down the dock, we met a nice couple, Pam and Richard Schuler on their Lund power boat.  Pam asked me if I was a nurse today also.  Why??  :)  I wasn't talking anything medical at all!!  Pam is also a nurse and came down to Changes after the sunset and signed one of my quilt blocks. We had a nice chat which Phil bailed out and walked down to the other end of the dock.  The sunset was beautiful and we had to take pictures.  What do you think?  Of course not as good as being there.
Sunset in Waterford, NY

I wanted to include a photo we took using the self timer on my camera.  We have been eating with our plates in our laps so far, but I've had enough of that.  So tonight we put the table up for dinner.
Dinner in Waterford
Tomorrow we will practice with the dinghy going to the grocery store, do laundry and Phil needs to get 4 Interstate Batteries for the boat.  He's not surprised thinking that we would have to replace them sometime on this trip.  There is a Interstate Battery place in Troy, NY 5 miles away and Phil hopes that they will deliver them to us.  At this time, we are not going to take a taxi to get them.  I understand that if we dock at Troy Docks, they provide a shuttle to West Marine and other places.  Something to check out if what we want to do doesn't work.

We plan to stay here our 2 free days, then go to Troy NY and then we have to get the mast put back on Changes.  We have until October 1 to be in this area  until we pick up Vicky.  Maybe I'll have some time to work on Calvin's quilt.  It would be nice if I could get it finished, but we'll see.

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