Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh, Canada...

We hauled Wild Blue out and headed northeast. No problems going through Canadian Customs, but Mother Nature made sure we had a wet ride. We decided to stop to get a local cell phone and further decided to call it a night in Belleville. We pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot and settled in for the evening. It’s been a while since we’ve overnighted at “Camp Wal-Mart.” The rain stopped, Joan is cooking supper, and this should be a good place to spend the night.

Monday, August 31st. It was a chilly night; got down around 50ยบ last night. We had to run the heat this morning. We left Wally-World, and headed for Burleigh Falls. Along the way, Izzy got pretty frisky... and fast! She can now jump up onto the dash before either of us can grab her. Each day, she discovers another of her super-powers.

We made it into Burleigh Falls around 11:00. There isn’t much of a town, but there is a boat ramp and a place to park the truck at the lock. We got Wild Blue ready to go back in the water, bought a lock pass, loaded the dinghy and bikes back onto the boat and shoved off.

The Trent-Severn Waterway is completely different from the Erie Canal... more lakes and open water; beautiful blue water. The way you transit the locks is different - no radio contact, you just wait for them to open the lock. LOTS of islands. As is our usual custom when arriving in a new area, we were down early today; stopped for the night at Reach Harbour.

We picked this place because it has wifi (that’s a computer connection we can get wirelessly on the boat). It took a LOT of fussing, but I was able to get our Skype account charged up so we can make calls relatively inexpensively with our computer... when we have a connection. This way, we’ll be able to save $$ on the cell calls, too. Just another option.

We walked around the marina area... pretty place. We have power and water, and there are decent showers and restrooms. Oh, and hand-dipped ice cream. We picked up another book on the Trent-Severn, and we’ll spend the evening making some plans. We put off coming to this area until now, with the thought that we’d miss the crowds. One of the lockmasters today told us that he expects this weekend to be the busiest weekend of the season. Who knew? So, in Canada, is it Labour Day Weekend?

One of the guys on the C-Dory forum asked if I’d post a map of New York with our travels overlaid on it. What do you think?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Crew Overboard!

As usual, I was up before Joan. She showered before me. When she came back, she put Izzy on her leash and hooked the end of it in a cabinet so Izzy could roam. Shortly afterwards, the cabinet door banged open and Joan said, “Go get Izzy!” (She wasn’t dressed, yet). I stepped out on the dock, expecting to find Izzy waiting for me on the dock.


But, I did hear a thrashing in the water under the dock. I looked back in the cockpit and her leash trailed from the boat and disappeared down between the boat and the dock. I pulled in on the leash, like reeling in a fish. At the end of that line was a very scared and unhappy kitty! I hollered to Joan to get a towel, and I reached over and pulled Izzy out by her harness. She was a blur of flying paws, claws, and flinging water!

I wrapped her in the towel... she looked like she was just clinging on for dear life. She was shaking, I was bleeding (the claws). Joan took over and calmed Izzy down.

“She’s going to need a bath after being in the lake,” I said. Joan had me hold her again while she ran some warm water in the sink.

Izzy protested for a moment, then realized that this WAS going to happen. Joan shampooed her and rinsed her while I got another towel ready. It is surprising how much water can collect on a small cat!

Several towels later, Joan spread out a couple beach towels on the v-berth and let Izzy have that spot back there.

With Izzy well on the way to dry, but a long ways from settled down, we headed to the laundromat. We weren’t planning on laundry today, but plans change... Izzy wasn’t planning on going for a swim.

We all know that if you spend enough time on a boat, someone is going to get wet. What we think happened: Izzy’s leash was just long enough to get to the side of the cockpit, but not long enough to jump to the dock. When she made that leap, the leash stopped her in mid-air. The crash came when the handle part of the leash was pulled out of the cabinet by the falling cat. Yes, this is Izzy’s first time IN the water (other than a bath). As near as we can tell, she didn’t particularly like it. We also know now that she can swim... and again, pretty sure she doesn’t like that, either.

When we came back from the laundromat, Izzy was fluffy dry and waiting. She had no fear of going back out into the cockpit. Minutes after we got back, a thunderstorm rolled through, so it will be a while before we see how Izzy feels about hopping out on the dock again.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Where Can A Guy Get A Beer Around Here?

Today, we drove to the west side of Seneca Lake and toured some wineries. Joan loves this stuff. Honestly, it all tastes about the same to me... obviously, I don’t have a delicate palette... but, I can sure tell the difference between Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke, and Diet Dr. Pepper!

At the Fox Run Winery, we had lunch with Dave and Jan. Dave sat out the tour. We walked by the vineyards, saw the different kinds of grapes, walked up to their processing area , the storage area, and the bottling. The guy giving the tour was very knowledgeable; he then took us back to their tasting room.

We tried 6 different wines. As I said above, they all tasted about the same to me. But, I swirled and looked, sniffed and sipped. And swallowed.

We then drove down to another winery further south (there are dozens of wineries in this area) that has a dock... you can come here by boat, bring a picnic lunch... and get sloshed on wine. That sounds like safe boating at its finest. ;-)

Dave and Jan joined us in the cockpit of Wild Blue this evening. Yep, it's raining, but we have our full camperback on, so it was plenty dry. They brought some bread pudding that they got at one of the wineries, Joan added some other "adult merinade" and whipped cream. Nice evening - good conversation, fun stories, lotsa laughs.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day Off...

Our day was mostly off the boat today. Breakfast at a Tim Horton's (no, we're not in Canada, yet), some shopping, and rotation of wardrobe as we get ready to head north (only going to be in the 60s here tomorrow). I replaced our horn today... we understand that the locks in Canada rely on horn signals rather than VHF. I was fortunate to find a direct replacement. The exterior wiring on the old one was was so brittle it came apart when I was removing it; the horns look to be a sealed unit, but they were corroded. I tested them with direct 12v to see if they would work, with the thought of soldering in new wires, but they were a goner. I'm thinking I must have been running on one horn for a while, because I can hear the dual tone with the new one.

We are in a slip next to Dave and Jan on Fan-C-Dory. We really enjoy their company and spent the evening visiting between the cockpits. We decided to hang out here for an extra couple days... the weather is supposed to be rainy (big surprise), and we've enjoyed this location.

We're heading off to a winery tomorrow (lots of those around the Finger Lakes area).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Back Where We Started...

We went to the Farmers Market in Seneca Falls this morning, but there were only 8 or 9 booths. Joan picked up some potatoes and we prepared Wild Blue to head out.

A very easy day today: 9 1/2 miles and one lock. Lots of docks and boats on the side of the canal, so our speed was sloooooooowwww. It was a gray day - occasional rain, nothing major. It made the colors along the canal muted.

Along the way, we saw ducks ducking under the water, geese, and the occasional blue heron.

It took a while going through the last lock... not because of anything we did; the lock-master was moving at half speed. Apparently, the theme for the day. Didn’t matter, since we are not on a schedule. We just enjoyed the pretty scenery.

Just before arriving at the Seneca Lake State Park Marina, I saw something that really takes the cake (where does that expression come from?)... a kid on a jet-ski. No, that’s not unusual... what was unusual: he was texting. Yeah, punching in stuff on his cell phone while riding the jet-ski. So, the jet-ski is not enough stimulation... he needed his cell phone to make the experience complete?

We put Wild Blue into a slip, and I walked to the office and retrieved Big Red. Nice to have wheels again. We’ll spend the next couple days getting ready to head to Canada.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Close...

We really enjoyed our time in Newark... the murals along the waterfront and on the Community Center are amazing. Some of the older homes are spectacular examples of the architecture from 150-200 years ago. And the waterfront itself is just downright pretty. Here is a look at the haze on the water in the early morning light.

We traveled about 35 miles today and transited 8 locks. In one of the locks, there was a flag at half-mast. I asked the lock-master about it. "Another New York soldier was killed in Afghanistan." The Governor's office sends out an e-mail and gives each unit the discretion on flying the flag at half-mast... this lock always does so. "It happens too often, " he said.

At about 25 miles, we turned off the Erie Canal and into the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. Locks 2 & 3 are consecutive here - you go out of one and into the next. And impressive: a total lift of 51 feet. Coming from this direction, you start out at the low water, so the lock walls are tall.

We are down for the night in Seneca Falls. It was our first night's stop after leaving Seneca Lake when we started this cruise. We are getting close to wrapping it up. There was one spot left on the wall with power; we put Wild Blue between two other boats, secured her, and plugged in.

We walked to a neighborhood Italian restaurant for supper. On the way back, coming across the bridge, I took this image of the Seneca Falls waterfront...

Back at the boat, we had a sundowner in the cockpit. Joan shot these reflection images in the last light of the day...

And for the Izzy fans: this shot from Newark... BIG cleat or little cat?

Monday, August 24, 2009


Early evening, we were sitting in the boat. Across the canal, a kid walked down the dock. He strarted to get on one of the rental paddleboats, then put his knee on the bimini (the canvas top) and put all of his weight on it. Of course, it broke. He ran back up the dock, laughing.

It was too late to stop him from doing the damage, but I grabbed the camera and got a photo of the little s**t. Several boaters on the dock saw it; I went up to the Welcome Center to report it, and saw another boater on the phone... yep, calling 911. He said they were busy with other stuff and couldn’t get right out.

I called 911 and told the dispatcher, “I have a photo of this kid as he ran off. This could be bad publicity for your tourism industry.”

“We’ll get someone right out.”

There were two other kids watching the obnoxious s**t, and they sat on a bench after he ran off. When they saw the police car pull up on the other side, they started walking away. I told the police officer, “Those kids know the kid who did this... he hid behind them before he ran off.”
The police officer stopped the teenagers, and they, of course, denied seeing anything. I said, “Honey, I have a photo of the kid hiding behind you. I have a photo of the kid running off, with a nice clear shot of his face. Now, why don’t you tell this nice police officer who the kid is.”

They did.

I went back to the boat and printed a photo of the kid to give to the police. The officer chucked and said, “Well, that’s Jessie. Nice photo. We don’t often get a photo as evidence. We know this kid.”

It took a while to do the paperwork and the officer thanked me for my time and for having the presence of mind to get a photo. He also wanted us to know that they just don’t have problems here on the waterfront.

Hopefully, the kid will have to make restitution to the boat rental guy.

Running from the vandalism...

I'm not showing the kid's face because he's a minor. He's also an idiot.

You've Got Mail...

This morning, we had breakfast at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts, then walked to the Post Office a few blocks away. We had mail from Texas and South Dakota sent here. When we got to the customer window, the lady said, “Oh, I know it’s here,” and started looking for our mail. Joan could see it sitting on a shelf and directed her to it. “I can see you’ve done this before,” the lady said to us. Right on time for our traveling.

There’s a reason I’m posting that photo of me holding the mail. We then walked to the grocery store to pick up a few items. When I went back outside to get a cart (OK, we got more than a few items), one of the checkers said to me, “Sir, wait - we have mail to go!” She saw the light blue shirt, dark blue shorts, and me carrying a couple Priority packages and figured I was the mailman.

Back at the boat, Joan went through the mail... I got two more birthday cards... fun surprise.


Big Cat, Little Cat...

We had a nice time last night at the neighbors. Jim from Snickers (CD-22) came by and invited us to the big sailing catamaran, owned by his friends, Craig and Mary.

It was a nice evening of conversation, stories, laughs, and making new friends. Truth be told, I did have lust in my heart as we walked to the catamaran... it is a beautiful boat. But it lacks the one feature that makes Wild Blue such a perfect match for the cruising we do: trailerability. If we were going to stay in one area or intended to truly live aboard, a bigger boat makes sense... you just can't drag it down the highway to get to the best cruising places when the desire strikes.

And the little cat...

Little Izzy is turning into a great traveling companion. With the time we've spent at some quieter stops, she has gotten back into the swing of walking on the leash... unlike her "moon walking" episode when we met up with Dave & Jan, and Nick & Marcia in Newark. Izzy walked backwards and looked like a skunk about to spray... all the noise freaked her out. While still just a baby, she has added quite a few states to her "been there" list, and will soon add another country.


I got to visit with one of the artists today who did the spectacular mural painting at the city port in Newark. These are so realistic, with great attention paid to the lighting and depth. The guy thanked me for the compliment and told me how he and his partner researched all the little details, like product names and old maps to make it as realistic as possible. It's a delight to see people who take pride in their work and are willing to go the extra mile to produce something special.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Easy Day...

We enjoyed breakfast in the cockpit, then took Izzy for another walk. Palmyra has been her favorite stop... almost no road noise and a nice park setting. We cleaned up and headed east.

It was an easy day today - less than 10 miles, no locks, and we are now on the dock at Newark. This is a great facility that we stayed at a week ago... and this time, we have a space on the floating dock. No climb UP to get off the boat. There is another C-Dory here on the dock and a large sailing catamaran on the wall in front of them.

The C-Dory in front of Wild Blue is named "Snickers". The owner, Jim, introduced himself and gave us a couple fun-size Snicker candy bars. He said he does that with all the lock masters... a sure way to get cordial greetings all along the canal!

As soon as we got Wild Blue tied off, Joan put in a load of laundry - another great feature of the facility here: a washer/dryer for boaters to use.

Izzy also checked out the situation on the dock...

She did go for a short walk, but there is a lot more road noise and people walking around here. It has been raining on and off today, but we'll try to get her out for another walk to get used to a busier dock.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


We saw the "Carrot Hots" guy today at the Farmers Market in Fairport. A young lady ordered one while we were there. I can't begin to tell you what I was thinking. Crook She was surprised, too... she thought it would be some kind of a spicy carrot... after all, it has the word "hots" in the name. Putting a carrot in a hot dog bun? Isn't that completely missing the idea of a hot dog??? (or "hots" as they're called around here).

We did about 12 miles today, through 2 locks. Beautiful sunny day.

We're down for the day at Palmyra. Lots of interesting architecture in this town, including the "Church Corner" (a chuch on each of the 4 corners of an intersection). Also the birth place of Joseph Smith and the beginning of the LDS Church.

We visited with a photographer who was doing yard work outside his studio. He said, "You're retired? There's hope!" It's one of the few times in the last three years I've "talked shop"... haven't missed it a bit.

We did our good deed for the day... a lady was carrying a vacuum cleaner and tripped on the curb - she landed right on her face. We helped her into the house and carried her vacuum in. Her brother was inside and didn't seem the least bit concerned. She assured us that she would be OK, but her face was scuffed up pretty good.

That may help offset the other side... our first pissy boater. We were going east in the canal when a 40' or so sailboat came the other direction. A woman on the boat hollered at us, "Slow down!". I was doing about 5.8; I would guess their speed at about 8. We were both tossing the same small amount of wake. Joan said, "You, too!" I looked behind us, and our wake was certainly no more than theirs. Rolling Eyes This was in a wide part of the canal and we didn't pass that close. Judging by the look on her face, I just think she was constipated. I recall my sailing days... there were times I felt powerboaters waked us intentionally. Having spent time on both sides, we now know that when most powerboats move, they disturb some water. Or as Joan says to me, "If you're going to be on the water, you're gonna get waked. Get used to it."

Palmyra has dock space for 4 or 5 boats in an area off the canal. It is a beautiful spot. We are the only boat here. Power and water, but no restrooms or showers. Free.

Family photo op...

Friday, August 21, 2009

East to Fairport

Still rainy this morning; light, but enough that we knew raingear would be necessary.

We did 25 miles, 2 locks, and two lift bridges today. One of us has to do “bow duty” through the locks... Joan’s choice. She looks good in yellow!

Not much traffic on the canal. We saw two pleasure boats coming out of a lock as we went in, and this big fellow when we came to the junction of the canal and the Genosee River.

The gray day made for some interesting pastel looking photos. Once IN the boat, we were plenty dry and comfortable. Much of the greenery we saw looked furry, thanks to the soft light.

As we cruised east, our chart plotter began to see some of the satellite imagery that we overlay on the electronic charts. That gold patch is no detail at all; the little back dot 2/3 of the way down is our boat. And that stuff you can see in the upper corners is the satellite image coming back in. Another 30 miles or so and we should have chart coverage again, too.

We ran into our first “glitch” with a bridge or lock passage today. Coming into Fairport, I called on the VHF for a bridge opening. It was 12:09. No answer. I called again. And again. No response. I gave a long blast on our air horn... no response. We looked up the phone # for the bridge and called them on the cell phone... no answer. After a half hour of waiting, I put Joan on the closest dock and she walked to the bridge house. Just as she got there, the guy who should have been running the bridge walked up with a sandwich in his hand. Yep, out to lunch. It was 12:53 when I passed under the raised bridge.

We pulled up to a spot on the wall at Fairport and settled in for the day. Lunch out, a bit of walking around, and the plan to visit the Farmers Market in the morning.

It stopped raining for a while, and we sat out in the cockpit. Izzy came across this guy. That’s a snail. Apparently, Izzy has no taste for escargot.

Over the bridge and into the ice cream shop. We even saw a rainbow.

About 6:30, the local cruise boat went by... it was just starting to sprinkle again, but there were some hardy souls up on top. Within a few minutes, it was pouring again... I’m guessing those people came down inside the boat. No lightning, no thunder, no big wind... yet.