Wednesday August 29, 2012

Getting an early start on the morning after making our after hours debut we walked through the picturesque office at Lock 35 to purchase our 10 day pass and ask for passage through the lock. This one was a big larger (ok, a lot) than the measley one we had done a few days ago. This was a double lock so as soon as we dropped the first 30 or so feet the large gates opened up where we moved forward to the next wall to drop another 20 feet. Our destination for the day was Brockport, about 40 miles from Lockport. In between the two locations were not locks, but tons and tons of lift bridges. Matt had no issue with them, but I was not fond of coming up to them if the bridge was still down. I did not want to be put in the position of having to stall the boat and try and keep it in place while the bridge lifted so as soon as I saw one coming up ½ mile away I’d call them on the VHF and then slow to a crawl until I saw the bridge lift up. I think the operators were used to most boats getting a few hundred feet and then stopping so that as soon as it was up they’d be able to pass under. In my case they might be waiting a few minutes and I don’t think they liked me very much for it.

On the very last bridge leading us into Brockport it was a good thing Matt was behind the wheel because we had to wait at least five minutes at a standstill while we waited and waited for the operator to respond and then saw her walk to her post from down the street and finally lift the bridge. I think I would have had a meltdown. Yes, I will learn to do this eventually, but a shallow and narrow channel is not a good schoolground for me. As soon as we passed under that bridge we saw the docking area and tied off. Checking in at the visitor’s center we found out that it was $12 and that included electricity (which we don’t need and don’t even have a power cord anymore), water, showers, and access to laundry. Music to our ears. As soon as we paid and had our key card we grabbed our laundry and toiletries to head to the facilities. Once we had a load going we hopped into the bathroom for showers. This was the real deal. No pressing a button for only 20 seconds spurts. This was hot cascading water for as long as you wanted it….pure heaven. Since this was a college town (SUNY) there was a nice little main street with lots of shops and restaurants. Since we were starving by now we just brought some Chinese food back to the boat and relaxed for the night.

 We weren’t in a rush to leave the next day and after finally sleeping in we went back to the visitor’s center to pay for another night. We also took advantage of their free bike program and rented two out for the day. Groceries were running low and we needed to stock up. Strapping a couple of backpacks on we hopped on the bikes and made our way past main street to the business district and up to Walmart. Having never been a fan of Walmart (we had Meijer) this one wasn’t too bad, the isles were clean and the people were mostly normal looking. We stocked up on a lot of things and just barely squeezed everything into the backpacks. Only one egg was cracked on the way back so I’d call it a success.

With our free time and free water that afternoon the boat finally got a wash which it desperately needed. Laundry was put away and the interior was cleaned. Finally the boat was starting to look like a home intstead of a huge mess. To celebrate the success of this we went out to get a New York pizza for dinner. While eating in the cockpit a few nearby ducks came over to beg. There was no way they were getting our pizza but we did have old hamburger buns and were more than willing to hand them out. What started as four ducks turned into twelve which turned into twenty. I think every duck in the area was soon at our boat. I haven’t fed ducks since I was a little kid and I forgot just how adorable they can be. I asked if we could have a boat duck but was quickly turned down. Darn, I think I could have acclimatized one of the babies.

While we were busy feeding the owner of the boat next to us stopped by to talk for a minute. Him and his wife had gotten to Whardell’s the day after us to have their mast stepped and Matt had the chance to take a tour of their boat while I was busy blogging at McDonald’s. Edward invited me to come check out Old Glory as well and as soon as I finished my pizza we made our way over. Just like Matt had told me, there is only one way to describe this boat, immaculate. Edward’s wife Yvonne gave me the tour of their Cal 46 complete with a cozy pilot house. It is beautiful and spacious and the perfect cruising boat. We were invited to stay for a drink and over the next hour told all of our crazy sailing stories between the four of us and their friend Joe that was visiting and who is also a sailor. Our fist boat buddies of the trip. Even though we could have stayed and talked forever we finally let them get to dinner around 10:00. Since they’re on their way to Charleston I have a feeling we’ll run into each other again and will be able to have more drinks and stories. I’m thinking next time I can repay their rum with a loaf of my banana bread. As long as they’re ok with bananas on their boat.

Bike-up ATM’ing

Old Glory at moon rise.