Start: Little Falls, NY, 0623
Finish: Sylvan Beach, NY, 1551
Total Distance: 43.0 NM
Average Speed: 4.5 Knots
Number of Locks: Four (E18, 19, 20, 21). Two locks up and our first two locks down!
Tool of the day: The knife!
Please let this rain stop!!
Our original plan had us staying in Little Falls for an extra day so that we would not have to travel on a day of constant rain. Then the weather changed. Monday, originally forecasted for a day of rain with over an inch, was relatively benign. There were two thunderstorms, but not a whole bunch of rain otherwise. Tuesday, originally, was on again/off again showers but last night changed to rain all day. And a lot of it. We were done with Little Falls, and frankly we have been spending a lot of time together in a small space and the thought of another day NOT moving was not palatable to any of us.
So we woke early and by 0620 we were off. It was a cold and miserable day all around. Constant rain that increased as soon as we got close to a lock. Wind. Cold. The good news? There was no one in the locks with us and barely anyone on the canal! We saw exactly two boats the entire day.
Our tool of the day winner comes from the first lock of the day. Lock 18 had pipes which we love and we got in, wrapped our line around the pipe and up we went. No issue! When we got to the top I went to get in the back when we discovered we had a problem. The line had gotten jammed at the top of the pipe (where it connects to the lock wall) and as the water was rising the final couple of feet, it was pulling the side of our boat down. Not. Good. Out comes Mr. K-Bar. Not seen in action since Iraq in 2004-2005 (where it did a great job of opening my MREs). Quick slice into the line, it pops off and we are out!
Rest of the day is straightforward. Motor until lock. Get out and get soaked. Then back in and more motor. We saw exactly two boats moving Eastbound, and not Westbound. Not counting a rowboat in the middle of nowhere with three dudes under umbrellas fishing on the canal. In a deluge. That is dedication.
Couple of highlights. After lock 19 we weren’t moving at our normal pace. We thought it was due to current, but after we got off the Mohawk river and onto just the canal we still were dogging it. Jan lifted up the cover over the port engine and there was a small cottonwood tree jammed in front of the engine. It was not hitting the propeller, but it was causing a significant amount of drag. The cool part about our boat is that we turned off the motor, lifted the engine, cleared the junk, put engine back down, fired it up and continued without having to stop. Moving towards lock 20, the rain really was coming down. The inside of our dodger/bimini were covered in condensation and the outside was covered in rain. We wiped both off, but they quickly became cloudy again. The lock was a port side tie up only–the other side from where I steer the boat. There was debris at the entrance that put us on the starboard side of the lock, then we had to turn at a steeper angle than we like to get to the wall. The wall is dark. The lines are white. All I could see was white lines hanging in space–I could not tell where the walls were. So I used the trusty anchor to knock into the wall and show me where it darn thing was! Immediately after we got through lock 20, they closed the locks up to 20 for the day. We just made it through.
We tie up at a free municipal dock, crank up the generator to get some heat, pull out our cheese dip and watch some shows to relax after the day.
We are a month into this trip and still have an enormous learning curve. Every day we find out something new, sometimes good and sometimes bad. AJ is having a bit of a hard time now; weather has been terrible and being trapped in a small area with his parents and no other kids is his own personal hell. Hopefully with some sun and some summer things will get better.