Saturday, June 18, 2011

Erie Canal Cruising

Sunday, June 12th, we departed the party weary Castleton Boat Club at 7:00 a.m.  We motored against the current for three hours before arriving at the Troy Lock, and soon after that, the Erie Canal.  We passed the free docks of the Welcome Center in Waterford and entered the five stepped locks that begin the canal.  Each lock averages about 35 feet of lift, and all are very close together.  We reached and went through Lock 8, then tied up for the night on the nice wall west of the lock.

The eight locks kept our mileage low, as we arrived at 4:10 after traveling just 37 nautical miles.  We took showers with the sun shower, grilled a steak, and went to bed early, enjoying a very quiet night at this rural location.

Monday we traveled 48.7 miles including 9 more locks in 11 hours and fifteen minutes.  We stopped at Little Falls, where we ran into Gemini friends Terry and Lauren Spaulding.  They are traveling the Great Loop on their second boat, a 30 foot Albin named "Blue Highways."

We enjoyed happy hour on their boat and caught up with what we have done since we last saw each other in Ft. Myers in February.

Tuesday the 14th brought 61.2 gruelling miles and 5 locks in eleven and a half hours.  We left Little Falls at 6:25 a.m., reaching Sylvan Beach at 3:00 p.m.

We passed the Sylvan Beach lighthouse soon thereafter, and three hours later we were safely across Oneida Lake and tied up at the free floating dock in Brewerton.  M/V Blue Highways arrived a short time later.  We enjoyed happy hour again, this time aboard "Passage."

The 15th we logged our longest day, motoring 12 hours and 20 minutes with seven locks to reach Newark, New York by 7:10 p.m.  This was the last day of traveling the rivers which could flood in heavy rain.  The highlight of the day was passing the old aquaduct where the Erie Canal once crossed over the current route.

The Newark dock is free with power, water, restrooms and shower, and even a free washer and dryer.  We arrived too late to enjoy the town, and we planned on leaving early the next morning.

Thursday the 16th we departed Newark at 6:52 a.m. and arrived in the college town of Brockport by 3:30, a journey of 45.3 miles.

This leg of the trip began the section we love the most.  We passed through only 4 locks and under 3 lift bridges.  The canal is narrow with the tow path busy with people walking, jogging or biking.

Brockport has power and water at the wall, and a very nice visitor's center with showers, etc., all for 12 dollars a night.

Our visit was interrupted by rain, but we still managed to explore the town.  We even changed the engine oil and filter, as well as the primary fuel filter.

Friday we really switched into cruising mode since we needed to wait for Monday to step our mast at the end of the canal.  We left Brockport at 7:50, and 21.5 miles later arrived in Medina, N.Y.  We passed under seven lift bridges and NO locks.  Nice!  Medina offered free dockage with power, water and showers.  The tired old town also sported a fabulous model train museum.

This old RR terminal was packed with railroad memorabilia and a HUGE model train display.

The museum is not all about model railroads.  Outside they are restoring an old pair of E-8 diesel locomotives, which starting next year will pull a dinner train through the New York countryside.

Medina is a pretty tired town, but there was once wealth here.  A walk down Prospect Ave. reveals some lovely mansions of the past.

Friday night in Medina was antique car night by the waterside, complete with a DJ playing mostly 50's music.  Fortunately, the party broke up at eight p.m.

Saturday the 18th of June, we enjoyed breakfast in town before departing at 8:00 a.m.  4.5 miles later we arrived at the little village of Middleport.  The young bridge tender Jason came right down to the wall to show us the power, water, and restroom facilities.

All this is free, though we will leave a donation in the lock box to show our appreciation.  The laundromat is 150 feet from the boat, so Sue is doing laundry as I finish this blog.  We will enjoy an ice cream cone after lunch, and eat dinner at the locally well known Basket Factory Restaurant.  Tomorrow, we will finish our canal cruise.  Hopefully, the mast will go up Monday morning in Tonawanda; and we will be on Lake Erie Tuesday morning!


  1. Hi Jack and Sue -

    Sounds like your trip home is going well. We can't wait to see you. All is well in the neighborhood. Will we see you before we leave on July 1st? I sure hope so. Starting July 1st you can track our trip at

    Have a great day and a great trip home.

    Love, Lennie and Tom

  2. Looks like a weather window is opening. Are you going to try to get to Point Abino on Monday? Buffalo Yacht Club is free the first day Phil said and then $1/ft after that.

    Fair winds and following seas.