Sunday, June 22, 2008

Catskill, Waterford, Fort Edwards, Whitehall, Vergennes, and Vermont!

Wow! What a week of great traveling. We've reached a spot, Burlington, VT, where I can finally get online and get this blog up-to-date, so here goes this hopefully not-so-long recount!

Last Sunday, early in the morning when we were just about to leave Catskill, our friends from Morehead City--Alicia and Carl Ragsdale--called Louis. They were just a few miles up stream from us, bringing their boat south! They wound up coming to our boat for a "too-quick" visit and a cup of coffee and they helped us with our plans, as we move north. They shared maps, gloves, and great tips for our next few weeks. Thanks Alicia & Carl!

We left Catskill and headed to Waterford, NY. Both Louis and I have been so surprised at how many abandoned industrial factories we have seen along the waters from New Jersey through New York. We must have passed over a hundred, a sad reminder of healthier days along the Hudson River. But on a happier note, we have seen many, many huge, pretty white tents on the lawns overlooking the Hudson--weddings? parties? receptions? Where is Hillary? Who knows, but it has been fun to see and speculate.

We passed Albany, NY, seeing a yet-to-happen, outdoor, at water's edge, volunteer symphony concert as they were warming up. We really wanted to stop, but not knowing when the event was to happen, we kept going. One of the later Looper boats that day did stop for a good hour and said it was wonderful! I suppose that with the limited time these folks have up here weatherwise to be outside, everything they can do outdoors, they do! Hard for us to believe, but their "summer" up here really doesn't start until July 1st.

We arrive in Waterford, NY on Monday--spending an uneventful Sunday night along the way in Troy. We jockey for position along "the wall" in Waterford--it being a very popular/free place to overnight. Waterford is a good place to stop, re provision the boat, regroup, and decide which route to take in every one's journey to Canada and the Georgian Bay. About half of us are going west through the Erie Canal, and then the rest of us are headed north through Lake Champlain. The route north will add about 300 miles, but it is the route we decided long ago to do--going through Montreal and Ottawa. We tie up along the wall with "Sonsie", "Prime Time", "Wanderin L & M", "Knot Bad", "Phantom of the Aqua", "Tuesday's Child", "C Life", and "ETC.". ***A side note--Waterford is the kind of town that time forgot--we order for breakfast: 2 eggs, toast, and coffee=$1.75! Are you reading this, Sam & Brenda?! This spot, Ron & Paul's, was very popular with everyone for all three meals also--the attached pool hall entertainment included!

After an overnight thunderstorm, we leave half our friends in the morning and head north--going through 6 locks, rising 114 feet to the town of Fort Edwards, NY. We're getting to be "old hands" at the locks, having gone through a total of 9 now. Just think, only 150+ more to go! We're seeing little traffic on the water, making our cruising so gentle and pleasant--and now, we REALLY like being in upper state New York. We are in eagle country, and it's fun to watch for their nests and chicks. Today, we're headed to Fort Edward.

The "wall" at Fort Edward has for an overnight only 6 Looper boats--"Prime Time', "Sonsie", "Going There", "Salante", "Maya Lisa", (we're glad the last two caught up with us!), and "Bella Luna". Again, we walk into the small town (only a block away) to a wonderful restaurant--and JOY!!, it's Tuesday's 2 for 1 night at Jim's Broadway Cafe! Good variety and simply delicious. With every one of us groaning over high fuel costs, color us all happy! The temperature dips to 45 degrees tonight.

Wednesday, half of us leave early and head to Whitehall, our last stop in New York. Again, we tie up on a wall, right behind a wonderful museum. We tour the museum, finding out that Whitehall is steeped in 200+ year old history. The English, the French, the American Indians, the "New" Americans--Benedict Arnold, Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, all put their stamp on this part of Upper State NY. ***Interesting note--our US Navy was begun there, by the soon-to be traitor, Benedict Arnold--before the Revolutionary War. In the rain, we have dinner on "Salante" and Louis makes another batch of ice cream--he's quite in demand now!

We leave early Thursday morning, going through our last NY lock, and are finally in Lake Champlain. Oh My! What a sight! The Adirondack Mountains are ahead of us, the marshes and cliffs are along side us, the water is clear, eagles are flying, and "THIS IS WHY WE CAME!" After feeling like we've been in New York for weeks, we are finally now in Vermont! We travel about 30 miles, snaking through the deep hills, rounding corners of such beauty, and then out into Lake Champlain. However, rain, again. Ugh.

We veer off course, a "side trip" up a creek, 7 miles to the village of Vergennes--a special little spot with 3 beautiful and roaring waterfalls right in the middle of town. An old friend from Durham, Jan Mc Callum, her sister Kim, and friend Katie track us down at the town dock, come aboard for a drink, and we have a great "too-short" visit. Who would think we could find someone from home, so far from home! And twice in one week? Thank you Jan for taking the time and effort to come see us--it made our day! (You still don't see pictures, do you?!) We spend Thursday night in Vergennes, going up the steep hill for sightseeing and dinner.

Friday morning we leave the dock very early, as there is a WHOLE town weekend fishing tournament for children beginning at 5am Friday--right where our three boats are tied up. Both Louis and I are awakened at 5:05am by a voice screaming, "Fish on!". And as much as I love to be around that sort of fun, it was definitely time for us to go--5:45am--I had already taken 2 fish hooks off our bow for the young'uns. Top prize-- a canoe.

Friday afternoon, in the rain, we tie up in Burlington, Vermont. We've been now in the rain for periods every day for over a week--we wonder, are we instead in Seattle? Periods of rain, then fog, then sunshine. The only difference between here and home and the weather is the humidity--when it stops raining, it's very low. Also, it's @ 65-70 degrees tops here. Nice!

Burlington is a great town. The neatest thing we've noticed here is that the people make use of all the old buildings--there's lots of interesting architecture everywhere. Also, we're in a college town--University of Vermont--and it's very HIP and GREEN. ***Side note: I was checking out of a store yesterday, and the salesclerk didn't give me a bag--I hesitated, and then realized where I was. Vermont, the green state. So different from New York and New Jersey!

We're at a marina with our bow facing the Adirondack Mountains, so every morning we wake up to mountains--lots of them. How truly unique for us saltwater folks to be on the water, with mountains all around us. Tonight, we had a huge thunderstorm, that we could see coming for a good 20 minutes, and when it hit us, the sun was still shining! Amazing!

We leave tomorrow, Monday, for Rouses's Point, which will be the last stop before we reach Canada. Yipes! We have reservations to be in Montreal from Thursday through Sunday. July 1st, which is Tuesday, is the Canadian Flag Day, and this year will be a four day weekend for Canadian citizens. I have no idea what it will be like in Canada trying to keep this blog going. But I will keep daily notes, and log on when I can. If anyone needs to reach us, they can call our home phone, which will call forward to Louis's cell. My cell will be turned off while we're in Canada. But we'll still have e-mail, hopefully. If I can't get to this for a while, happy 4th of July everyone!


Unknown said...

Diane and Louis,

Marvin and I read your blog tonight and just wanted to let you know that we are thinking about you and will be reading your blog and tracking your progress. We went to Mark and Gina's yesterday for Mark's birthday. (Mark and Marvin share the same birthday on the 23rd.) We were talking about you and wondering how you were doing. I knew that Louis had given him a card so I was able to find it and get your blog site.

We are VERY dry here and have been praying for rain. Everyone's grass is dead. We went to the Durham Bulls game tonight with Concord UMC and the game was rained out in the 5th inning, but when we got home we didn't even have enough rain to wet the ground. We are excited about organizing prayer chain teams for Concord and are having our kick off meeting on Thursday. Breadbreakers have started again, so maybe when you get back you can join us.

Marvin is traing for a 1/2 marathon in Chicago on September 14th. He is up to about 10 miles now, so he should be ready by September. Just wondering if you will be anywhere around the Chicago area in mid September?

The lake boat traffic has been greatly reduced this year. We are looking forward to all of the July 4th activities and wish you were here to celebrate with us. Our best to you. Safe travels! Pat

Nancy said...

I really look forward to the blog! what wonderful fun! We had weddings all weekend last weekend and a good lake weekend this past! Boat traffic is down, but we are now getting busier, and that's very encouraging....The whole family will be at Hyco for the 4th and we will have big fireworks that Bart is bringing from SC.....What an exciting time you will have! Everyday is a holiday for you!!!!!! Keep in touch......Look forward to updates....Be safe.....Nancy & Jimmy