Dick and Gayl's Cruising Adventures

Waterford North

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June 5-6 Waterford, New York
We began the day with the best dining deal of our trip so far -- breakfast at Don and Paul's.  Two eggs, toast and coffee go for $1.55 there, but we got extras -- a heaping helping of home fries for Gayl and four slices of bacon for Dick.  Everything was done to perfection, and our coffee refills were endless. With tax, our bill came to $6. As the official state song says, "I Love New York."
After breakfast, we hooked up the hose and got down to some serious boat washing.  We have only been at a marina one night since our three days of ocean sloshing, and that was the end of an 81 mile day.  Starsong was encrusted with salt from the ocean, and covered with cottonwood fluff and pollen from our passage up the Hudson. She needed a bath badly.   As Dick was hosing down the decks, our friendly dock volunteer Ron came by and said, "You can water that all day, and it ain't gonna get no bigger."
After we finished washing the boat, we rewarded ourselves with a walk and a picnic in Peeble's State Park, located on an island just over a short bridge from the free dock.  We spent nearly three hours wandering the trails in search of geocaches, and enjoying the scenery -- rocks, waterfalls, woods in late spring bloom.  We found two out of three caches, had a picnic on a table placed in a perfect shady spot high on a rocky precipice with a view, and watched kids jumping from a high rock cliff into a swimming hole below across the river.  The phlox was in bloom, cottonwood fluffs were flying like snow flurries, and temperatures in the high 80s were baking the vegetation to the fragrance of summer.  What a lovely park.
Until 1972, this island was owned by Chiett, Peabody, and Co., a shirt manufacturer.  This was the perfect spot for their bleaching plant, because it had plenty of water for all their processes.  The unused plant still stands near the entrance to the park, and some interpretive exhibit panels explain the many stages to processing raw cotton fabric to the point that it is smooth and white enough to use for a shirt.  We can only imagine the environmental impact of all that hot water and harsh chemicals being pumped into the river.  (We can only imagine, because the panels don't say a word about it.)
We were back in time for cocktails aboard Salty Dog, followed by dinner at an Irish Pub with the crews of Salty Dog, Barefoot Lady, Classy Lady, and Puddle Jumper -- who just got in today.
The next day was a work day, devoted to all our engine maintenance and preparation for the trip through the locks.  Dick changed the oil and two oil filters plus seven fuel filters (three for each engine plus the generator), while I went to the laundramat.  The laundramat is four blocks away, but the shopping carts boaters have used to get their purchases from Price Chopper to the docks serve well as laundry carts.  There is a restaurant/ice cream parlor next to the laundramat with four closed circuit cameras watching the action in the laundry room, so you can while away the wash day with a cool sweet treat and no worries that anyone is tampering with your unmentionables.  I resisted the temptation, but applaud the concept.
As Dick was finalizing his engine work, the starboard engine went bad on him.  It tripped the breaker each time he tried to start it.  It didn't even try to turn over. After exhausting all his ideas for fixing it, Dick started making calls -- to our wizard mechanic in Hilton Head and his partner in the business, to a local mechanic who is supposedly on call for the free dock, and to the manufacturer.  No luck.
In one of his trips up to the dock office, Dick discovered that there was a tornado watch or warning for this area, and boaters were starting to huddle around the television watching the local channel which had nonstop weather coverage.  The removal of our canvas bimini top and plastic window panels, a planned afternoon project, took on new urgency.  As we began working, a man walking down the path next to the boats and told us that there were 60 mph winds and golf ball size hail ten miles away.  We got everything down in ten minutes.  We did relax our rule of no handling of the isinglass without gloves.
The rain began three minutes later.  The squalls were intense enough that we left the boat for the shelter of the dock office.  Fortunately, we didn't suffer any damage, but there were pockets of wind and hail damage and lightning strikes all around us.  We hoped that Salty Dog and Barefoot Lady, who left this morning, made it safely through the storms. Pilgrim and Apolonia (the boats we anchored with in the New Jersey ICW when we retreated  from the rough ocean) came in after the storm, and had tales to tell of the winds buffeting them about.
After the storm passed, Jim -- from a different Pilgrim than the one we anchored out with in New Jersey -- stopped over to see if he could help fix our engine problem.  Jim hopped down in the engine room, and Dick stayed up above handing him tools and flipping switches. After something more than an hour, Jim found the problem, and came up with a way to jerry-rig a solutiion until we could get the spare part sent to us.
We invited Jim, his brother-in-law Wayne and their boating guest Pat over for Happy Hour to celebrate. We invited Guy and Gayle over, too.  We would be parting ways tomorrow, as they traveled West on the Erie Canal and we traveled North on the Champlain Canal. 

Click here to continue north with us up the Champlain Canal.

The New York State Canal System has been in operation since 1825, longer than any other constructed transportation system on the continent.
It is 524 miles long and has 57 locks.