July 11-14 ; Days 226-229  On the Precipice

Ok, ok… 16 days since the last post is probably a record. All the usual (and one new one) excuses; bad or non-existent internet/connectivity, boat issues generating frustrating moods, trip home and…… the new grandbaby!

In summary, we flew home a few days earlier than planned so that a repair could take place to the boat (something about the compression of the valves, tulipping, overheating, potential blow outs, etc etc. Who really cares….it’ll get fixed and we’ll keep on movin’! As they say: you can’t take it with you……so just haul out that plastic rectangle from the wallet and get it done! Actually,as this “goes to press” it appears to be an insurance covered repair: YAY! Moods have lightened!

Life begins to really blur together after so many days so I will just post a few pix and captions. In sum, aside from record breaking rain, our Canadian time has been full of pretty scenery and waterways; super friendly locals (despite their own internal views of their president’s occasional missteps, the Canadians should be quite proud of the Rolling Stones cover this week.!); cute little waterside towns;  interesting history tidbits and info about the locks and all of the “one-of –a kind” locks; and, of course, as always on this Loop adventure some surprise or insight when we least expect it.

2017-7-12 made in argentina
Not sure how efficient it is to import garbage cans from another hemisphere. But still fun to see as it reminds me of Malbec wine! (and no!, not because I drank too much and needed one of these!)
2017-7-12 snowmobile trail 75 k
Who knew….well, I certainly didn’t.  In fact, you can ride snowmobiles, x-country ski, ATV, bike over 1800 kilometers just in Ontario on places like this; not to mention more trails connecting Yukon in the west to Newfoundland in the east.
2017-7-12 lift B
Another hydraulic “elevator” lift lock with B filming …waaaay too many accidents waiting to happen here!  Nothing did tho–yay! Let me know if you want the video clip of this!

At N’s insistence, included above are some nerdy (yet dumb-downed) explanations of the engineering involved in that big hydraulic lock.  We have a totally different and new type of lock coming up soon….so stay tuned for that  hopefully by the next post.

2017-7-12 spider lock
Locks can sometimes be scary and full of unknown, not good surprises….this was a surprise we’d not yet run across before.  A first for everything! Right where B’s hand was about to grab as we entered to tie up, but luckily N saw it just in time. It even caught the lockmaster’s attention.
2017-7-12 sunset axis feel
With this western sunset in the exact direction of where we are heading, my internal axis felt automatically aligned.  Very weird feeling when that hit me.

We’ve left the boat at what certainly appears to be a great marina with (what appears to be….time will tell!!) knowledgeable mechanics on the outskirts of Orillia, Ontario on Lake Simcoe an hour or so northwest of Toronto.

2017-7-12 lake couchiching
NOT Lake Simcoe here, but literally abutting it through a little cut right where our marina is located, this is Lake Couchiching.  Really nice lakefront large park with late sun, post afternoon showers and mist provided this soul-filling scene during our leg-stretch outing!

BTW, Lake Simcoe is relatively large:  287 square miles. For comparison for our Washington State readers: Puget Sound is a tad more than 1000 square miles; and Lake Washington is a mere 33 sq miles).   We stopped in the middle of Lake Simcoe and let the boat just drift as we jumped in for a great swim.  About 71 degrees so very pleasant!

As we start down our official path of grandparenthood in our revitalized boat that is, as I write this, being brought back from its near-end, we are on the verge of hitting the much-talked- about-as-the-highlight-amongst-Loopers: Georgian Bay; we’ll wrap up our Great Lakes time; and hit Chicago for the final approach to Green Turtle Bay, Kentucky where we will officially “cross our wake.”  So stay tuned, we’ll be back on board August 6th after a red-eye flight!

Besides lots of family and friend time, hikes at Mt Rainier, motorcycle adventures, yoga and golf, here are a few things greeting us at home:

2017-7-20 b n malcolm
Baby Malcolm: THE most precious little bundle around!

In our absence, the backyard (and front) (YES, we live IN the city limits!!) have been invaded by…..

2017-7-20 coyotes
A family of coyotes (here are 2 of the pups).  Z has had a near death experience and now we have an ugly wire fence up around the perimeter…..(aka more $$ !)

and 2 varieties of owls:  Barred and a family of Great Horned (note the adult in the far bottom left of the picture on the right watching its 2 curious owlettes!)

and typical summer tidal highs and lows:

2017-7-20 tide beach house
17 foot tidal change on Puget Sound can keep you working on your math calculations as you lay awake at anchor. Here a negative 3.3′ low tide which, in 6 hours will be a plus 14′.  We look forward to all our Looper friends visiting us and experiencing this fun (and beautiful) place in the future! Yes, there’s a reason there’s a song called The Bluest Skies are From Seattle!

Stay tuned for more in 10 days (give or take!!)

July 3- 5; Days 217-219 Canal Hoppin’

Farewell Rideau Canal. Parting shots:

We finished off the historic Rideau Canal (and its 49th lock!)   At its “foot”– Kingston. A very nice little town with a vibrant and buzzing center, great waterfront paths and lots of fun restaurants.

But before I get to Kingston…just a thought: Now, as I write this, I’m wishing we had been able to explore the Rideau waterway more and stay longer…but without the rain and the boat issues (or bodily injuries, for that matter).  It’s funny, in hindsight, sometimes how much more you appreciate things. And on that somewhat related note, further, before we get to Kingston,  a daily life-on-the-boat tidbit:

2017-7-5 warrior pose kitchen window counter
Above the galley sink: a little action figure that we found in the dirt back on an island in Florida. Sometimes she gets bumped and falls over. I plop her back up. Every morning and evening (and sometimes in between) I look at her and remind myself to gather her strength and fight through difficult boat, body, mind and weather issues.  Always so good to remember all the good and the power of positive thinking!

Now for Kingston:

2017-7-5 kingston sign
Kingston is a vibrant and buzzing center, great waterfront paths and lots of fun restaurants…..and fun street names! (we both thought the other was taking cute scenic pix of the town….ugh….that’s it for Kingston!)

Well a few nature shots along the waterfront!

Big maple tree, pretty water birds and tons of turtles here!   PS Ziggy learned to track the scent of turtles here!

 

We’re both already missing the cute little historic hand-drawn locking system.  But with a calm, quick cross over an edge of Lake Ontario and a bit of the St Lawrence, we jumped from Kingston over to the town of Trent– the beginning of the next big leg: Trent-Severn Waterway. And no disappointments!

We’ll spend 5-8 (? maybe??) days working our way through the 240 miles and 45 locks.  Hopefully we don’t fall off the edge of the earth at the gap in the map!

The Trenton Marina is basically considered by most Loopers to be the highlight of Canada (if not the entire trip) as far as marina facilities go.  It is nice with plenty of individual, nicely tiled bathrooms, personal bathmats, excellent dock and dockhands and free laundry (AND detergent!). While we’ve had all of those things (and other fun surprises ) at other marinas, we haven’t had them all in one stop. So yes, it is nice. But also the dog park, good grocery store and nice restaurants and yoga (!) are all within a few blocks!

2017-7-5 buffing
N gettin’ his buff on!  Look at that reflection on the side of the boat!
2017-7-5 Z shaking fall
Not sure Ziggy will hold fond memories of the marina tho!  The aftermath of one of her worst tumbles into the water (just 2 other times and those both were when we were immediately there to yank her up…in fact, we had pushed her in accidentally on one of them) Anyway, at the dock Z likes to perch on the edge watching the world go by (see prior pic).  B heard a kerplunk and ran out to retrieve her only to see that she CAN swim! Yay!  But her little heart was beating very hard when B finally got positioned to pluck her out!

Mowin’ the Weeds….marina style.  That’s the other fancy thing about this marina. They spent the entire day at this project!

2017-7-5 welcome trent sev
The sign says it all!
2017-7-5 waiting at blue line waterline
SOOOOO much rain and flooding. Look how little wall there is to tie up to.  Feels like you could just add tires to the boat and drive on up the curb!

Trent Severn connects Lake Ontario to Lake Huron    Although originally envisioned for military transport purposes, the canal was built in 1833 as a commercial venture to get crops and lumber from west to east.  By the time the route was completed its use as a commercial waterway was over; ships plying the Great Lakes had grown much larger than the canal could handle, and the railways that originally connected to the canal took most of its freight.

2017-7-5 big lock
Big double step lock.

(if you want to see the cool video timelapse clip of this  you can “friend” me (barb113) on instagram!…or I’ll text it to you.)

2017-7-5 campbellford wall better
After only 30 miles, 8 hours on the water, 12 locks and only 4 hours of engine running time we made it to Campbellford. On the wall on the right.
2017-7-5 better coin
The artist who designed the $2 coin is from Campbellford! The coin is called a Toonie…get it? Loonie….two Loonie…Toonie!

2017-7-5 pastryWell, when you have all those big, heavy Toonies wearing holes in your pockets, ya’ gotta spend ‘em!  Actually the Trent Severn Waterway is know for its famous butter tarts. Ok ok, a few other things here besides butter tarts (which, by the way, is the tiniest little circle thing up there—and yes, it is yummy!)  But when you do not buy bread or include it as part of your regular food plan, then a trip to a bakery results in a splurge like this. Ugh…there is SOME fruit in there tho, right??!?

Ok…pushing off to work off some of those calories in the locks…lots of bending, pushing, pulling and shoving!  Not to mention tying and re-tying fenders alllllll day long!

June 28  Special Edition: Special Addition

We interrupt this blog for a public service announcement!

A very special edition announcing a special addition to the family! We are now grandparents! Whooooa!  Wooo Hooo!

Please meet Malcolm Reaves K……

2017-6-28 umbilical baby close

Less than a precious minute old here, this little bundle arrived late in the night on June 28, 2017 (Pacific Daylight Savings time!) at 6 pounds 6 ounces and 19.5 inches long. He arrived hungry Get used to that bottomless pit, new Mommy and New Dadda!   It only compounds exponentially through the teen years….but we’re getting ahead of ourselves! For now, we are all ecstatic and can hardly wait for our cuddle time! LOVE!

One full day later:

2017-6-28 all 3 baby
LOVE!
2017-6-28 baby hand
The new hip hand signal!
2017-6-26 all 3 looking down
Love, Love, Love!

 

At Home:  Yay!!!

2017-6-28 at home alex baby
Peek-a-Boo Baby!

JUNE 24-26; Days 208-210 Inta – n – Outta Ottawa!

2017-6-26 parl library pano feature

We headed out of Montebello on a fresh sunny morning and made the 42 miles to Ottowa uneventfully for a change while enjoying the pleasant Ottowa River and shoreline (….oh wait, we might have been sold some crummy gas along the way…time will tell on that!)   So we said adieu to Quebec and all the french-speaking moments.  It was great and, as I write this a few days later, already missing the french fun.

2017-6-26 shoes
Life on a boat when you’re having fun on land (and it’s been rainy!)

 

2017-6-27 shore fishing montebello.jpg
Early morning walks around the grounds of the Chateau Montebello before heading out toward Ottowa.  Would be fun to come back and cross country ski around the trails/over the icy lake along the shore!
2017-6-26 falls rideau entering ottowa
Just before the entrance to the locks up to Ottowa are the pair of beautiful curtain-like Rideau Falls joining the Ottowa River below.

Hello Ottowa! We have to get the boat up some stairs to hang out up there first though!

2017-6-26 Locks looking up
All Eight Locks Looking UP! As with some of the prior locks in Canada, these are for pleausure craft only, historic and all operated/cranked open and shut by hand.
2017-6-26 rio into lock
Here goes RioMarLago into the fourth of eight locks under the watchful eyes of about 200 people.
2017-6-26 boata us parliament
It even felt like everyone in the Parliament Building was watching us from the towers.
2017-6-26 locks aerial
If you look hard, you can see N in the back cockpit . By the third lock we had developed a good duo-strategy.  Seems just when we get comfortable with one locking system, the next one we come to changes the entire procedure.  Here the turbulence was pretty intense so it took some muscle to keep the boat from grinding the cement wall.
2017-6 lock b with line
Phew! B on deck, trying to look professional and simultaneously relieved to be done and past the hordes of onlookers. (Z and N above still barking orders!)

 

2017-6-26 locks looking down N
Full view of all 8 locks stepping down to Ottawa River–3 ½ football fields long to go up 79 feet.  The crowds are gone here…show is over…locks closed a few hours ago.

Okay enough locking pictures!  Oh, but we are basically living on a lock so still a few more:

2017-6-26 wall ottowa
On the free (!)  wall  … although we did have to walk a few blocks to find toilets when we didn’t feel like filling up our own tank with ‘des eaux usees’ (see prior “Dilemma” post for definition…in case you need a refresher course!)  We were lucky to get one of the few power connections.

With the Jazz Fest scheduled for the coming week, by Saturday evening the wall had over 30 boats tied up. Even while on board, we enjoyed parts (ie NOT all!!)  of the very loud jazz fest that blasted just a block away…we even heard Kenny Rogers alleged  “last” public concert! Wow….free too!

2017-6-26 locks of love
Locks of Love….get it??!?

Just a couple of blocks from the boat, By Market had some great produce, cheeses and fun stuff.

2017-6-26 market samples
The Good, the Bad, and The Yummy!…..actually ALL Yummy (some just not so good for you!) (Top left are just some of the options for a “Beaver Tail” (basically an elephant ear…well, in the shape of, you guessed it,  a beaver tail-duh!) Sampled the cinnamon with lemon–wow! shockingly great combo ( Bonus Points: the fewest calories!!) Z got a sample baby carrot from the vendor and thought she was in 7th Heaven.

Although most of these pix make it seem that we have had nothing but fantastic weather, suffice to say that, in fact, we have been drenched by a handful of thunderstorm outbursts. Avoided one big one while getting lots of fun facts during our tour of the Parliament Building.

2016-6-26 parl lib ceiling
Although Canada is younger than the USA, this feels so staid and like it’s been around forever-ish.  Awe-inspiring library…wonder how long it will last with digitization.

 

2017-6-26 parl green

2017-6-26 parlaiment arches

 

Parliament: nice wood and uncomfortable desks in the House of Commons and arches with columns in the hallways –feels like jolly ole England, right?

 

 

The On-Off Bus tour and then again later on a water ferry taxi got us back on the other side of the Ottowa River (and hence technically in the French speaking Quebec), in the small town of Gatineau (but really more like a neighborhood zone of Ottowa), is the not -quite-ready history museum as well as the also not-quite-ready outdoor plant display showcasing 150 years of Canadian history, values, culture, and art.

207-6-26 lumberjack plant history
Over 40 giant live plant sculptures ….apparently SOMEONE has the right to claim large hands! Officially not set to open til Canada Day (july 1st) but we saw a few things from the road.  Really really cool looking!  Go this summer to see!

Lots of public art/ sculptures all over town:

2017-6-26 mother spider
Ode to your mother???  This cool sculpture (with a bunch of  marble “eggs” in the underbelly sac) is the result of the artist’s love and respect for her mother:  “Like spiders, my mother was very clever. Spiders are friendly presences that eat mosquitoes. We know that mosquitoes spread diseases and are therefore unwanted. So, spiders are helpful and protective, just like my mother. ”    okkkkkaaay!  While I too hope my children think of me as clever, helpful and protective, I really really hope, for their sake, that they don’t dream about me as a spider!    Yet I have to admit I do feel kinda partial to the motherlyness of this one!

After some provisioning, a good weather boating day got us rolling around 10 in the morning

2017-6-26 exiting O canal boat pass
For about the first 8 miles out of Ottowa there are bike baths on both sides of the canal. Farther down it opens up into the Rideau River and connects with lakes.
2017-6-26 iceman
We forgot to stock up on ice before leaving Ottowa….so the Ice Man Cometh after a quick run to a nearby store while we wait our turn at a lock

Although the way feels very peaceful and rural with sections of waterfront homes, we  get glimpses of roads, nearby Ottowa airport and civilization as we go.

2017-6-26 50 style motel resort
A cute 50’s style/feel “resort”….but pretty empty for now.

Play this for the next pic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guKoNCQFAFk

2017-6-26 summer fun swing
Summer time—Life is Fun!

The waters opened up into small lake/wide-ish river sections as they gave way off and on to the man made canal zones and locks.  Very pleasant ride in fresh air and sun….despite N’s frustration with the 5 mph speed limit for the entire day.  We’re coming to the firm conclusion that there is no way we could be content with a boat that only goes slow.

2017-6-26 hurst marinaTucked in at Hurst Marina after a day of 8 locks, only 25 miles of distance covered, 4 running engine hours but 8 hours of actual journey time…..just in time to batten down the hatches for some rain….again.

 

June  19 -21; Days 203–205  Dilemma in Montreal

We left St Ours’ Lock and Dock fairly early in the morning after spending the night there and enjoying the little park.

2017-6-21 st ours canal dock
Spent the afternoon and evening chatting  (in a mix of Frenglish, English, French and Spench) with some Quebecoan (?) boaters and helping solve /provide tools for their shifter problem. Yay for N who has acquired a growing encyclopedia of mechanical problem- solving skills!

 

 

2017-6-21 cornfields
Would never have guessed there were fields and fields of corn if we hadn’t walked across the little street from St Ours Lock! I kind of doubt they go by the saying: Knee high by the 4th of July, right? 

 

We pushed through some rain dumps and thunderstorm threats, hit the St Lawrence Seaway and made the 42 miles to Montreal!

 

2017-6-21 enter st Lawrence
Exciting to hit the St Lawrence milestone… but at the same time disheartening to say goodbye to the peaceful countryside and be greeted by these behemoths.

 

Wow….we really are in another country!  It’s a weird feeling when you boat only 30 or 40 miles and things change so much–usually it takes hours on a plane to get to such a “foreign land”….well, not counting South Tacoma Way!

2017-6-21 harbor panoGreat location at the Montreal Yacht Club…right at the foot of Old Montreal

 

2017-6-21 old montreal
Feels like Europe, right?!

 

2017-6-21 church.jpg
This Ol’ Beaut looms over us at the marina!

Spent time getting the broad lay of the land with the “on- off” bus (which we love!), walking tons of kilometers, shopping for Cuban cigars, eating tons of good food (and not so good-for-you food— smoked deli meat sandwiches and poutine– French fries covered with gravy and cheese curds!), drinking micro brews, hanging w/ other boaters, laundry, provisioning and vidage des eaux usées ….oh which reminds me! Time for:

French Fun 401: So this french here is way more difficult than French from France…but then I am older now, so who knows who is more difficult (or why)!  It is still fun though to explore the language so I have to share a couple of things! Hope you enjoy!

Pas de Vague = No Wake Zone  I just like the way that sounds and actually had no idea that the english word vague meant wave in French….so being vague must mean having wavy thoughts, right ?!

La bord= port while la tribord=starboard   Ok, I already thought starboard in english was weird (I mean, what does a star have to do with it ?)  so now what does a  tri / three have to do with it in French? Etymology experts, pls chime in…my internet is too slow to do the research!

And back to what got me sidetracked to that language section:

Vidange des eaux usées = emptying of used waters (aka pump out!)  Ok ok, back to our sophomoric interest in bodily functions….but gee whiz, it sounds so pretty in French !  (clearly not the same sophomoric impact as Reader Henry’s comment a post or two ago tho)  Not to mention how cool to have all those vowels working to agree in gender and plurality!

Ok back to our tourism:

 

2017-6-21 2 tacomans
2 Tacomans in Montreal: Nick right up there with Dale Chihuly!

 

 

2017-6-21 gay street
Gay Village section of town (seriously that’s its name on the map… and also originally  accurately represented the general population base)

 

2017-6-21 colorful road.jpg
A different part of town, but still a cheery road!  Not sure how they highlight this when covered with 6 feet of snow for 4 months of the year!

 

2017-6-21 trio bldgsNot quite as colorful and as cheery…but still a bunch of neat grey buildings. Third largest basilica in the world there at bottom left.

2017-6-21 life imitates art.jpg
Life imitates art: regardless of gender, appears everyone likes some good gossip time.

Since there are Aton of native English speakers here as well as substantial bilinguals, the big dilemma here is whether to speak/ greet in English or attempt some French or just simply some muffled greeting that could pass as a French “halo” or English “hello.”  This fun boat name seems to describe the situation perfectly with its bilingual play on sounds:

 

2017-6-21 lady lema
Lady Lema (remember to pronounce the first word with a soft ‘a’ /french accent) (and if  you really give up…look at the title to today’s post for an extra clue)

 

Heading northward toward Ottawa in the morning!

 

June 14- 16; Days 198-200  Weather or not: We’re ready for L’Unifolie!

Experienced lifers know there are always two sides to every story and often an epilogue too. Based on the number of comments in the last post, apparently  Z-Bedspread (NOT to be read with a French accent…yet!)  story piqued some level of interest. So, Dear Readers, here is that other side: while B was in HER bathroom shouting for N and Z to stop overly rough-housing on the bed (aka: remember when your older brother would relentlessly tickle you?? Did he ever blow in your fuzzy ear nonstop!?!) perhaps a half -thimble full escaped from Z (I mean she weighs all of 11 pounds, her bladder is probably smaller than a thimble, in fact!)  But  N would have NO thoughts of B washing it out and saving the blanket.  AND the epilogue and always sunny side of things??!?!!::  Until now we have really generally been surprised at how deeply and well we sleep on board, but now we are getting even better nights’ sleep because the new blanket is all cotton/natural and the perfect weight. SO…Z opened our eyes to an even greater life!

2017-6-16 z potty mat
Proof that Ziggy has no problem doing her business when offered—even at anchor!
2017-6-16 N Z trio deep bay
Additional Epilogue: someone loves someone…and I think it’s mutual!
2017-6-16 N hero sunset log
Sunset  at North Hero, Vt—  Perhaps too many sunset pix on the blog…but the beauty and peaceful feeling never cease to bring me joy. Plus the logs reminded me of the NW!

As we exited North Hero Marina, we passed some more railroad remnants described in the last post.

2017-6-16 RR remnant
Actually pretty good weather blocks/marina zones behind these.   These RR remnants are all over the place.  Probably major environmental impact.
2017-6-16 beaver
This usually evasive beaver guy/gal was a fun surprise…not as shy as the sasquatches that I know are lurking around.

A short ride to Deep Bay at Point Au Roche State Park, NY. We only scratched the surface of all the trails here. N has been randomly throwing out all sorts of french sentences getting our minds prepped for Quebec and even more so during our long walks: “Vous avez des yeux verts”, for example, which only laughingly infuriates B….doesn’t he know by now that we are, after 47 years, on the informal TU basis!!!??!?

2017-6-16 bn selfie walk beach
There are 3 bays with long peninsulas abutting each side so lots of vista points and loop trails.  Minimal bugs too! Yay!
2017-6-19 dinghy dock n z
We were the only ones here overnight and only visited by a few small boaters casting lines during the day.
2017-6-16 deep bay eve adirondacks
 A different mooring ball system for us—the stick pokes up off the little buoy, you grab that little stick- if you can ! (B used our boat hook due to the height of our big Bayliner) and then Voila’ :  a loop for the bow cleat. That leaves the stick and little buoy to hang in the air off the bow. 

 

 

2017 6-16 sunset deep bay
Deep Bay sunset  with the Adirondacks (and sasquatches)  in the background .  If you look carefully (and prior photo too) you’ll see some of the 49 mooring balls here.  The other 2 bays are anchor-only.

After a morning loop hike (and temporarily getting lost), we set off for a quick trip up to Alburgh anchorage/beach for a picnic and exploration.

2017-6-16 b swim
This is where Benedict Arnold anchored his fleet before the battle for Lake Champlain. Here’s B re-enacting a battle ship.  71 degrees on the top 3” surface  but 50 degrees at 24” below the surface. Air temp: 84 — perfect! (In the winter, the entire lake freezes over to more than 3 feet deep of ice.)

Captains always have to be prepared to take on new jobs; in this case: pizza delivery!

2017-6-16 pizza delivery
First pizza for us this whole trip! Joined after dinner for some chat time by 2 other Looper couples (Arizona and Colorado) as well as an Alaskan family doing a mini NE Loop (they trailered their 24’ Hewes to the Erie Canal). Yay for the west!

We knew (well, we actually didn’t believe the forecast given the unbelievable day we had just experienced) weather was moving in and decided to play the departure and final push into Canada by ear.  Around midnight, the wind hit 40+ mph (accompanied by buckets of rain) and didn’t drop to 20 mph (in the harbor) til late morning. Still after lunch as I write this there are gusts hitting 30mph. A high of 62. Quite the dramatic change from the last few days.

Killing time on our 200th DAY of this journey  (wow !!)  (which looks to be another night by the time I am posting this) at our last US pit stop — Gaines Marina, Rouses Point, NY– eating, doing laundry,  streaming TV shows, walks during rain breaks and even some time at the library across the street from the marina. Dominoes with Margot and Jerry is on our busy docket while waiting out the weather.

2017 6-16 cornbread
Cheesy corn bread pot pie invention in the omni oven– perfect treat for the “Fall weather day”  –especially since we are out of veggies under our Canadian customs preparations!
2016-6-16 duo weather gaines marina
N, the ever-ready Captain, has us all set with 4 flags: the Looper Burgee on the bow, Ol’ Glory on the stern, and on the ‘radar arch’ tattered Washington State accompanied by L’Unifolie (= “One Leafed”  but for most, simply: The Maple Leaf)

Prochain Arret: Quebec, Canada!

June  7-9; Days 192-193 New York on the left; Vermont on the right; Canada straight ahead!

UPDATED ROUTE MAP ON HOME PAGE as well as an enlarged section of the Champlain and Canada areas

Although still in New York State, the hustle and bustle of the City and the East coast in general seems to be melting away….it certainly should with all the rain we’ve had. Luckily we’ve had a bit of a break with two days in a row of nice sun—haven’t had that for several months!

We’ve continued north up the Champlain Canal enjoying the water, the green, the small little towns/hamlets and relative solitude. Most Loopers have turned left to head up the Erie Canal (only to be stuck for days with flooding and closed/damaged locks); but there are apparently about 5 of us on this route sprinkled among even fewer Canadian sailboats returning north for the summer and handfuls of fisherpeople playing hooky in their little skiffs.   So overall very quiet boating!

 

2017-6-9 kill switch hope not dam
Random thought: Hoping the kill switch doesn’t malfunction…
2017-6-9 floating barn
This was easier to spot and avoid than some of jetsam and flotsam after all the rains.  Had to get the  classic New England barn pic…just from a different angle, right?
2017-6-9 dam champlain canal
Damn handy dam to slow the water and catch debris

 

 

Arrived in the afternoon at Fort Edward for a free night “on the wall.”  All of these little towns are struggling to find a reason to exist  (for now, anyway, we don’t need to worry about being invaded by Canadians….)  Even their fort is so old it’s existence is merely marked with a big boulder.

2017-6-9 boy and his dog
A boy and his dog:  Much to N’s feigned chagrin, he has a constant pal at his side.  And look: we got our fed-exed renewed boat tabs just in time before entering Canada! Love these easy boat projects where you can lay down on the job!
2017-6-9 ft edward cemetery
There’s just something compelling about old cemeteries…one of those things like taxes and death?

 

2017-6-9 leaving ft edward
That’s our last glimpse in the background of the Hudson River as we enter the final stages of the man-made canal and locks to Lake Champlain. (Photo Cred:Jonathon of C-Dory Salty (in the background) 

 

We made it to Whitehall and again “stayed on the wall” for free! Yummy bakery across the street too. ….but more exciting was the random discovery of the Elks Club just 2 blocks away!

2017-6-9 Elks N
Yes, N is a member (turns out it is a good deal at the golf course at home) — and that  means B is some sort of elkette  or something (sounds better than a cow!). So we went in for a beer and were pleasantly treated to drinks, lots of chatting and welcoming smiles.  Pretty fun!
2017-6-9 white hall wall cropped
Only us and C-Dory Salty’s nice Looper couple with whom we’ve crossed paths off and on since Hamilton, Virginia.  Their little fun 22’ long and 6’ high boat makes the Bayliner look like something Bill Gates would own….ok, ok, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration!

Looming over the wall where we were tied up for the night is the picturesque, mega-big, 1872 Skene mansion (nicely restored on the exterior…interior might be another story!)– now historical tea room/museum type thing with minimal hours:

2017-6-9 skene mansion
Yes, N willingly went uphill to take a look…motivating factor probably was the cannon to see that was on the way.

 

 

2017-6-9 pano double NNice leg stretch up.  Cool thing about these pano pix is that B can get 2 N’s for the price of one! Bonus points if you can spot our boat below!

 

2017-6-9 sasquatch
So actually besides the Northern California to British Columbia sasquatch territory, the second largest zone is here in the Adirondacks! Yay! Hoping for a siting…may need to anchor out, right?

Whitehall, NY makes claim to being the home of the US Navy  (as do at least 5 other towns). It is clear that the first American naval battle did occur here. Sticklers (ie those from the other 5 contenders) claim that the US government had not “commissioned” the boats before the battle.  Just a small detail as far as I am concerned!

2017-6-9 old ticonderoga
The salvaged hull of the Ticonderoga ship– among the fleet that was purposefully sacrificed and sunk under orders by Benedict Arnold to stall the Brits and thus give the colonists time in Saratoga to mount a defense that actually resulted in a win that changed the course of history (France joined our ranks as a result of that win). 

In fact, Benedict Arnold had many other great successes (and severe injuries) while fighting for the Americans; but other men, including Ethan Allen, took  much of his credit. As a result, Arnold was overlooked when it came to a promotion—perhaps compounded by a charge of minor corruption (unproven) for which he was found not guilty (maybe a story planted by other jealous competitors?). As a result of that treatment, the embittered Arnold turned to the Brits and offered his services…..and the rest is history.

2017-6-9 amish
Upstate Hot Rod Lincoln!?!
2017-6-9 marker on champlain canal
Onto Lake Champlain and out of the canal.  In the last 4 days we’ve cleared 11 locks (the last 2 were going down stream!)

We stopped for lunch at a little boat launch (but failed to get around to eating!) and left on a long trek to visit Fort Ticonderoga– a reconstructed, privately run fort (read: expensive to get in—even with our Triple A discount!).  It was neat and good way to get a lot of the history from the French-Indian vs American- Brits War, the Revolutionary War, fur trading, settlement life, etc. This trip seems to be one long middle school field trip!

2017-6-9 N fence
From the entry gate, we still had another mile or more to go! Believe me, N was certainly thinking enviously of those Harley’s behind us as we continued traipsing up the road.
2017-6-9 pano feature fort t
Sweeping views northward were insufficient to solve for the vantage point of Mount Defiance (right/background) from whence the Brits made their cannon attack and successful invasion.
2017-6-9 trio fort
The refurbished fort was in top shape with various reenactments (including lighting the cannon!)  Cool powder horns carved with “diary” entries.  Lots more history here at Fort Ticonderoga; however, I’ll leave it to your own inquiring minds and google searches!

 

Lake Champlain straddles Canada and US.  We’ve got a few more days in the USA  while we dust up on our high school French for the locks, docks and eats!

A night at Port Henry Marina:

2017-6-9 port henry marina
Nice little marina—great bathrooms and wifi with an abutting park
2017-6-9 port henry town
We took an evening stroll up to town (yes, more hill climbing!)  As with the other towns we’ve passed since leaving New York City, it seems to be struggling ..the only difference here is that it has some pig iron ore history in its background.  At least six churches in the six square blocks. ( Note to selves: do not go out at dusk in bug territory!)