Wed, July 4th – Happy Independence Day! Pretty much stayed “in” the boat in the A/C all day to avoid the heat. However, we were rewarded with a wonderful concert and fireworks display while sitting on the back of our boat at the marina. Front row seats to an Eagles Tribute Band (okay the back of the stage) and the best fireworks display either of us have ever seen. It went on and on and was spectacular with patriotic music blaring during the fireworks. Everyone remarked how we had the best seat in the house and had to agree. There were a couple of other Looper boats tied up in front of us and I ended up watching the fireworks from their boat’s flybridge. Loopers Tim & Trisha on vessel Patricia Anne.

Thur / Fri, Jul 5 – 6th. We rented a car on Thurs afternoon and did some re-provisioning. (The usual – groceries, wine & West Marine). On Friday, we decided to take a drive and tour Saratoga Springs. Toured the museum which centers around the history of the town, the mineral springs, the casino (which was illegal but the police looked the other way) and of course the current draw to tourism – the horse races. The town really grew up around the springs which were purported (back then) to be healing springs and people came from all over to bathe and drink from them. Beautiful homes and a population that soars in the summer and around the horses.

Sat, Jul 7th. At last relief from the oppressive heat. Woke up Saturday morning and it had finally cooled down with a morning temp of 58 degrees. Got underway early and not sure how far we would travel but ready to travel. As we pulled out of the marina, Loopers Tike Queen (Karen & Leland) were coming from the east. We both entered Lock 8 together but they were not able to exit. They were having problems with their transmissions and were stuck in neutral so they were stuck in the lock. They were able to get going again later but that wasn’t the last of their problems as they ended up getting towed to a boat yard on Monday after lock 22.

We kept going and stopped right after Lock 15 on the “Free Wall”. Along the Erie Canal and in many places in Canada and on the inland rivers, there are walls to tie up on either side of the locks. Many let you tie up for the night and many don’t have electric or water but its free. The lock 15 wall did have one electric box and we were the only one there for the night. Saw our first commercial traffic as we were tied to this wall; a tug pushing a barge and a passenger cruise vessel (Blount Small Ship which was on a 2 week cruise from Chicago to New York City). The tug captain sped by us and waked us really bad which threw us into the wall.

Another cool night so we opened up the hatches and enjoyed sleeping in the 58 degree weather. In the morning, the fog was really heavy but lifted fairly quickly and we were on our way.

 

Sun, Jul 8. Transited Locks 16 thru 18 with a stop in Ilion, NY. The marina is really an RV park with a concrete wall to tie up. The Remington Gun factory is nearby and open for tours but we didn’t get out to explore. Lock 17 is the town of Little Falls and the lock there is the highest of the Erie with an elevation of 40′. The town looked quaint and probably should have stayed there instead but since Bob was working to complete a report, the lesser distractions at Ilion were probably better.

Mon, Jul 9. Destination Sylvan Beach on Lake Oneida and 4 more Locks on the Erie. Ended up locking through with Loopers on The Journey whom we had met at Mohawk Harbor. Lock 19 was a bit of a challenge in that they were only opening one side of the lock door so we had to scramble to tow the dinghy behind the boat until we got in the lock (we were too wide with it hip-tied) then scramble to hip-tie it before grabbing the lock lines to prepare for the locking process. The lockmaster wasn’t impressed when I told him what we were planning as his response was “Whatever”. That got a laugh from all of us that heard him on the radio.

Locks 21 & 22 are now dropping you down on the westbound. Going down is easier than going up as it is less turbulent. Upon exiting Lock 22, our friends on Tiki Queen were once again without transmissions and getting hooked up to Tow Boat US and a tow to Brewerton. They waved at all the Loopers at Mariners Landing (there were 4 of us) as they went by “parade style”. Had docktails with the gang of 4 boats in the screened in Tiki hutch then went on a dinghy exploration ride out into Lake Oneida.

So we have concluded our historic trip down the eastern Erie Canal (128 miles & 22 Locks) and will next venture into the Oswego Canal then up to Lake Ontario and Canada. Tomorrow we cross Lake Oneida to Brewerton. Stayed tuned.