Monday, September 2, 2013

Rome to Amsterdam New York Style

We motored away from Rome on Saturday, August 31st.  Soon the engine overheated, so we stopped in the canal and quickly cleaned out the weed packed raw water strainer.  We should have expected that after all the floating weeds in the locks around Oneida Lake.  We then passed through three locks and arrived in Little Falls 32 nautical miles later without further incident.  With opportunities for free dockage with power and water very limited on the eastern end of the Erie Canal, we tied up at the city dock for one dollar per foot.

We were soon joined by a Canadian sailboat from Toronto.  S/V Mar-a-Lago was crewed by  Brian and Jane Wilson, and were the second sailboat cruisers we saw on the canal.

We enjoyed our showers here after three days of showering from a bag, then ordered Italian food from a local restaurant, which was delivered right to the boat.
On Sunday, September 1st, we headed to Lock 17, a unique lock on the Erie Canal.

Lock 17's forty foot drop was the greatest on any canal ever when it was built.  The technology used on this lock was the model for the Panama Canal.  But the truly unique aspect of the lock is that the eastern lock gate opens up, instead of hinging open like most locks.  Note the door beginning to lift in the following picture.

As the gate lifts, the white counter weight is lowering.


When the gate is fully lifted, we can proceed.  The crew rushes back to the cockpit to avoid being soaked by the water falling from the gate.  If you look carefully, you can see the water cascading from the bottom of the gate.

Then we pass under the gate and continue down the canal.

Shortly after leaving lock 17 we passed the home of Revolutionary War hero General Nicholas Herkimer, who as everyone knows was famous for winning the Battle of Oriskany.  We could have stopped at the floating dock and toured the home, but we had a long way to go.

Just before lock 11 we passed Schoharie Creek. Half a mile up the creek we saw more remains of the old Erie Canal Aqueduct.

During other trips we would tie up above lock 11, but the walls and grounds were flood damaged and under repair.  Cones and ribbon blocked most of the area, so we passed through lock 11 and tied up at Amsterdam Riverlink Park 1.5 miles later.

We had power, water and a shower for a dollar a foot.  There is a restaurant here which closes at four, and a lovely park setting, if one ignores the train tracks just steps away.

The first line of rain storms came through at 5:30 this morning.  While we are watching the weather and considering moving on to Lock 8, we were visited by Bill, who is kayaking through the Erie Canal on his way to Texas.

We talked for about an hour.  Bill has paddled the great loop, all over Canada, through the  Everglades in Florida and much of that state.  He carries his supplies, clothes and camping gear in his "skin" kayak.  We now feel that we are travelling in the lap of luxury.

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