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.

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Life on a boat when you’re having fun on land (and it’s been rainy!)

 

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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.
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Here goes RioMarLago into the fourth of eight locks under the watchful eyes of about 200 people.
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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!

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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.

 

Jun 22/23, Days 206/7 Lockin’, Dockin’ & Rockin’

 

6-23 mont
Sunset on the St Lawrence. The current is ripping through here at 6 knots morning, noon and night!

We left Montreal early to fill up the “gaz” as they say here and still make a 10AM lock opening with a gaggle of other boats transiting at the same time. Hitting that timing was important as the locks on the St Lawrence are commercially focused and the lockmasters have no problem with pleasure boaters waiting 5 to 6 hours to pass when there’s commercial traffic.

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We all waited at the “staging” dock for the lockmaster to give us the green light.

Our relatively large group and light commercial demand meant we “sped” (the term is used loosely here as there is a SIX knot speed limit over the 9 miles between locks) through the two big locks.

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Green light on and we headed in. N likes the Sabre there in front of us.
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Here we are rafted with our friends Margot and Jerry from Tennessee!

Between waiting, locking and transiting the whole ordeal took about 4 hours. What the heck, it was sunny and we were boatin’! There are worse things in life!

After the second lock we took a right out of the commercial zone and back into the recreational boating arena as we headed out of the St Lawrence and into the Ottawa River via yet ANOTHER lock.

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There’s B lost but not forgotten amongst the fiberglass!

We decided to stop on the free wall for the night just before the St Anne lock. Very cool little town with a great boardwalk and tons of little restaurants along the lock channel.

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Very peaceful evening “on the wall” at St Anne.

Today, we roared off at 11AM in hot pursuit of a group that had left at 9AM. We had our first experience rafting with French Canadians in the lock. Communication was fine as B used her Sprench and N spoke slowly and loudly! The Canadians were amazed we’d coaxed our boat 6,000 miles around the loop so far (that’s right we have officially cleared the 6,000-mile mark!).

 

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Here’s where we were the last two nights on our way to Ottawa.

 

Nothing like 25mph+ when trying to catch trawlers! We caught ‘em and passed ‘em and shared the next lift at the Carillon Lock and Dam.

 

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OK, so the crew was not as excited about playing catch-up, but they hung in there over some rough patches in “Lac du Deux Montagnes”.

 

 

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Last off the dock…. first to the lock! You go Bayliner.

 

At 65′, the Carillon Lock has the biggest lift in Canada (it does in one chamber the work of 8 earlier locks…yay!) and is the only lock in North America where the lock doors go up and down versus swinging open and shut. The thing is a cavern!

 

6-23 lock8
The lock is WAY deeper than anything thing we’ve seen recently, but notice all we had to do was tie-up to a floating dock and then float up with it.

 

From the lock we headed up to Le Chateau Montebello, which happens to be in the town of Montebello; the site of Canada’s biggest annual rock festival (which we learned was underway as we came up the river). Not the kind you throw, but the kind you attend in a black t-shirt, piercings, and boots. This little town of 1,200 has 80,000 to 100,000 people in it! There were tents all over the place and lots of LOUD music.

 

6-23 rock
Dude! We were stoked! Unbelievable people watching as we walked around town sticking out like sore thumbs with our light colored boating attire.

 

Seems like everyone’s got a black t-shirt on and they’re listening to bands like Wu Tang Clan sing songs the extent of which are lyrics like “M…’fer, uh huh, uh huh” while prancing around on stage! Those are the ONLY lyrics! Sorry, what IS that? Oh wait, our age is showing.

 

6-23 hotel
Fortunately we stayed at the marina associated with this hotel. B observed it was thataway to the lounge and a peaceful after dinner glass of port.

 

 

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A nice redoubt after a day on the water and afternoon rockin’.

 

 

6-23 beaver
Evidence of Canada’s initial raison d’etre…. there’s beaver amongst them thar’ trees!

 

OK, won’t bore you here with the travails of internet and Verizon’s definition of “unlimited” data in Canada, but suffice it to say we gotta’ post when we have Wi-Fi, or it isn’t getting done.

 

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?!

 

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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!

 

 

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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.

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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!

 

Jun 17/18, Days 201/202 You Lockin’ Me Crazy

Bonjour mes amis! Comment allez vous? Yes, greetings from French-speaking Canada. After more than 5,800 mile We have now entered the reputational “money shot” part of our Loop – the part everyone says is the BEST! After two nights at Gaines Marina enduring occasional rain squalls and up to 40 mph winds (a 40’ sailboat was blown ashore overnight), we steamed out under fair skies and headed three miles north to the Canadian Border en route to the Chambly Canal.

 

6-18 border
So this is the border with Canada. It’s a very small wall….basically a floating stick! You’ve go to be pretty incompetent to not get around it. Canadian customs only concern was whether we were carrying guns, mace, pepper spray, knives or other forms of offensive or defensive weaponry (our Swiss Army knife was allowed).  

 

Once through the border we headed up the Chambly Canal, the entirety of which is a national historic site. The canal covers only 19km (OK we’re switching to euro measures…… aaagghh can’t do it, I meant approximately 12 miles!) with an 80’ drop, but includes nine locks, multiple swing and drawbridges and requires about four hours to transit (in part because the max speed limit is 10kph).

 

6-17 lock 2
B getting our permits from the lockmasters at the first of nine locks we transited on the day.

 

 

6-18 canal 3
Are you kidding me!!? N on phone to Bank of America fraud squad explaining the bank’s inability to process a Visa charge is holding up Canadian shipping (we were in the lock at the time pending the payment getting processed). We now have a “hot line” to the bank on these issues so no more phone trees of obnoxious questions.

 

At one point we went through three locks structured like stairs for a total drop of 30’. We literally exited one lock directly into the next and then into the next. Tons of people watching, so we worked hard to look like we knew what we were doing! You might think the whole process would be maddening, but it was fun. What a completely different boating experience. This waterway handles up to 150,000 boats per season, but fortunately we’re here pretty early so we “zipped” right through.

 

6-18 canal 7
Coming out of one lock directly into another and there was another after this one!

 

The canal was built in the early 19th century to increase trade by linking Montreal and New York.

 

6-17 canal
Believe me, there was no overnight delivery from NY to Montreal using this route! Cool though. Cars to port, runners and cyclists to starboard!

 

The locks themselves opened in 1843 and remain basically as they were originally built. The lock chambers are small (could only handle our 30’ boat and our friends 44’ at the same time), have small lifts and drops and are manually operated by literally cranking on a hand crank to open and shut the doors.   

 

6-17 lock
In the lock with our friends. They let us pass after this lock so we didn’t have to eat diesel fumes for the next 4 hours.

 

 

6-18 canal 6
How about this for a summer job? Crankin’ lock handles in 90 degrees all summer long!

 

 

 

6-18 canal 2
The lockmasters and bridge guys call ahead so each spot is ready for you when you arrive. This bridge was going up for us as we cane around the bend. In this case, the same guy then jumped in his car and drove ahead to open the next bridge (we saw him go by us on the road!).

 

Of course, the most interesting part of the experience is dealing with the language (“ecluse” is French for lock) when approaching the lock…. I mean ecluse. N simply speaks English slowly whereas B likes to chatter along with the lock operators in her Franco-Spanish. Unfortunately for N, he’s the only one willing to go on the radio!

 

6-17 map
Whoa, we have seriously run aground! Nope, we’re on the Chambly Canal route rocking along at 7.8kmph!

 

 

6-18 canal 4
These were the first series of locks where N had to get involved with the lines (except cutting them that one time) rather than barking orders from the bridge. The latter role was left to Z.

 

The good news for us is Canada is celebrating 150 years of lock and canal operation this summer so all our lockage is free and a permit allowing us unlimited mooring at state parks was only $200. By comparison, that cost could have easily been $40/night! 

 

6-18 meat_LI
By the time we reached Chambly we were so hungry we could “eat a horse”…. no wait… I thought it was a figure of speech! Bienvenue au Canada!!!

So we are really on the international leg of our journey now. The St Laurence Seaway and Montreal will be next up. A toute a l’heure!!!    

 

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 10-13, Days 194-197 Headin’ North in Freshies with Frenchies

We were starting a leisurely breakfast on board when N spotted some friends of ours across the lake steaming northward…. OK, they were going about 10mph, but that’s steaming in a trawler! We’d gotten ahead of them a few days before and planned to meet up in Burlington, VT about 30 miles up the lake, but since we go closer to 30mph there was no rush; drink coffee, do some laundry, chit chat on the dock and then power up about 11:30 and still nearly beat them there!

 

6-13 pt henry
OK, this was actually the evening before, but N spotted our friends on that far shore the following morning

 

Lake Champlain is a mammoth lake separating NY and VT. The north end of the lake has NY’s Adirondack mountains on one side and Vermont’s Green mountains (home of the Green Mountain Boys of revolutionary war fame). As a North westerner you gotta call these things HILLS rather than mountains, but it’s nice to see some elevation and they are very pretty on both sides of the lake. Of course, we’re totally in all fresh water now, but while its super clear, it’s also super cold so no swimming for us.

 

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A view to NY from Burlington

 

It turned out last weekend was the Burlington Jazz Festival so there was a lot of live music around and the docks were packed; so crowded we had to take a mooring ball on Saturday night rather than tie to the dock.

 

6-13 street
All sorts of little bars, restaurants and shop on this walking street. Burlington is home to the University of Vermont so plenty of breweries around too!

 

Interestingly, much of the crowd on the water was Canadian and French-speaking Canadians at that. Sacrebleau! We’ll need to brush up on our high school French to get through these locks coming up…. We have to translate boat names now too.  

 

6-13 dock
Sunday at 9AM the marina wasn’t sure they’d have room for us at the dock that day. This was the scene by noon! Yeah, there was space!

 

 

6-13 golf
N got a chance to play some golf. He characterized his game as having flashes of brilliance within a round of abject mediocrity.

 

 

Again, we found ourselves in a largish town, reasonable marina, and NO internet. What is up with that!? We’ve consumed all our 4G data on our phones and jet pack hence the blog delay. It is painful to do this stuff at slow data speeds! C’est la vie…. Whoa, the conversion is on!

 

6-13 ding
When you’re on a mooring ball you need to dinghy to shore. Not sure why our friends left a banana on our seat… maybe they were glad to see us… or at least the dinghy!

 

We left Burlington on Monday to explore some islands on the lake and get ourselves staged for a border run this weekend (we need to consume some of our alcohol to meet the limits into Canada).

 

6-13 inlet
There were several of these artificial peninsulas running parallel to the lake. Turns out they used to be railway bed now converted to private use.

 

First stop was for an overnight at a state park on Burton Island. The park had slips for 100 boats! The ranger told us they fill up on summer holiday weekends including many French Canadians enjoying “le weekend” as one says a bit further north. As it turns out there were only four other boats when we were there.

 

6-13 sign
Of course Z is delighted to be off leash and running wild…….

 

 

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….. N maybe not so much!

 

 

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We did have a nice walk around the circumference of the island.

 

 

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Z enjoyed running this strip!

 

 

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Sunset at the dock

 

 

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… had a cocktail, opened the wine and things got hazy!

 

Next day we were off to explore multiple little islands and possible anchorage spots. Of course, ANY stop must be a “Z-certified access” pee stop (although B has had some recent success with Z peeing on the mat on the swim step) so not every spot is good after closer inspection.

 

6-13 hero
We stopped at the Hero Island general store for a sandwich. It’s called Hero Island because the land had once all been given out in 60 acre parcels to individual Green Mountain Boys as compensation for their fighting during Revolutionary War.  

 

 

6-13 bed
Faithful readers might wonder what happened to our red bedspread. Well, Z peed on it!!!!! N refused to sleep on it again even if it got washed, so we found a new cover at the General Store….. and we take no more chances on bladder control. 

 

We had every intention of anchoring tonight and found several nice spots along the way, but rolled the dice one too many times as the last place we checked out just was not going to work for Z so to the nearby marina we went.   

 

6-13 hero2
OK, so the North Hero Marina is perfectly great and we’re here for the night.

 

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!)