Sunday, November 06, 2016

More about the Nimble Nomad

Here's a bit of a writeup plus some actual photos of our excellent little 24 foot home for our week on the Erie Canal. Would that be a floater home instead of motor home? :D

No-Name Nomad in her home at Hibiscus Harbor. 

We got there early and didn't want to bother the folks who were getting her ready for us so we just wandered around for a while.

She really does turn out to be nameless - we have friends who own a Nimble Nomad and so have access to owners-only info; in a funny coincidence it turns out that their boat, the Puffin, was hull #127, and this one is hull #128, and she actually doesn't have a name. But she's a fine little boat.

I don't remember exactly how we hit on the idea of an Erie Canal trip for this year's vacation. I think we'd had that on the back burner for a while, maybe since I ran off and paddled the Hudson River Water Trail from Waterford to Brooklyn solo a couple of years ago (TQ would've loved to do that but I had the opportunity to do it in the summertime when he's very tied up at work, plus I'd had this dream of doing that trip solo since before we even started dating) and got home and THEN learned all this cool stuff about the Erie Canal and ended up just kicking myself for starting my trip at the beginning of the canal but not even spending one day exploring it. Boo! That may have been where the idea started and then it may have been my talking about getting a glimpse of a comfy-looking canalboat when I took Amtrack home from Toledo after weather fouled up my Spirit flight home and they weren't going to be able to get me out of Detroit for at least two days that got us back to thinking about it. 

Canal boat. Doesn't it look comfy? I wasn't fast enough to get a shot from the train but we saw a few while we were on the canal and I made up for it! 

One evening over at TQ's, we just got to pipe dreaming about renting one of those, browsing the internet looking for places we could do that. We quickly found a couple of companies, but they looked a little bit expensive for us and were also mostly designed for 2 couples, when we were more interested in something that we could do on our own.

So we were absolutely delighted when we stumbled across the Cruise USA folks, where two people with a reasonable amount of boating experience can rent a Nimble Nomad. I was absolutely tickled that it was this particular boat that we'd be using because I've been enjoying following my aforementioned friends Brian and Karen's adventures aboard their Nomad, Puffin, for years, and it just seemed like a perfect little boat for exploring the Erie Canal. 

I forgot to take pictures inside, but here's a quick sketch of the layout of the boat. I didn't even try to show where the storage is because there were little cabinets tucked in all over the boat. There wasn't anywhere to put your clothing but Cruise-USA had mentioned in the getting-ready instructions that you would want to pack light and use soft-sided luggage, which stowed nicely in a space under the port side settee. The bedding was stored for daytime all rolled up in a bedroll sort of thing that made a very comfortable backrest, we'd both brought books and our normal after-dinner routine was to curl up and read for an hour or so, after which we'd set up the bed, which was also very comfortable - in fact I think one of my favorite mornings was Thursday, when we woke up to the patter of rain on the cabin top and just went back to sleep for a little while. So snug!  
The galley had a one-burner stove, electric when you were on shore power, with an alcohol stove underneath the electric element that you could use while underway. The refrigerator was small but big enough that we didn't end up using the large cooler that was available. The galley also had a microwave and there was a grill out in the aft cockpit, so you had a couple of cooking options, and although we didn't do anything really fancy, we ate perfectly well. Here was my best meal of the trip - King's Hawaiian french toast with real maple syrup, Spanish chorizo sausage, and scrambled eggs. 

TQ pulled off his best meal in Clyde, where the canal-side park had his favorite design of park grill - we went to the local grocery store, got a couple of steaks, picked up charcoal at the hardware store, and then went back to the boat where I packed up brussel sprouts and potatoes with bacon grease in tinfoil packets to go under the coals while he got the fire ready. He did all the cooking and dinner was so good, I forgot to take a picture! 

Nothing particularly exciting about the morning tea and coffee, I just liked the way it looked! 

Back to the day we got the boat - Mark and Holly, who take care of the boats for Cruise USA, had her all ready for us at the time promised, and gave us a good introduction covering everything we needed to know. Cruise USA has had this boat for 10 years and they've done a very nice job of maintaining her. The boat had absolutely everything on board that you would need, and everything was stored in kind of rational places, so pretty much everything we needed, we were able to find. We'd considered getting some boat handling instruction, they can do that for an extra fee if you want, but in the end we'd decided against that and that worked out fine, the boat was very easy to handle and Mark's main piece of advice for docking and locking was "Take it slow", and we did just that and it all went nicely. We did have our less-than-elegant moments, but for the most part I think we did OK. Great fun

TQ took the helm for our departure - 

I went out and waved goodbye to Louise, who'd come to see us off, which was great because otherwise I wouldn't have these pictures of us setting off in this great little boat! Thanks Louise! 

Out onto Cayuga Lake - 

 My first turn at the helm - I'm thinking "Oh, this is going to be fun!"

Erie Canal, here we come! 


LauraEhlers said...

How fun!! And NoName looks adorable and just the right size!!!

Richard Chen See said...

Very cool!

Alana said...

Neither my husband or I have any boating experience, so we would probably need the "extra instruction". The cost per week put me off a bit but it really isn't that much more than a good motel. And, I suspect it's a lot like train travel - you see scenery in such a different way, it would be worth the experience. I am going to show the Cruise USA site to my husband.

bonnie said...

It was great! This was very different from our usual camping and/or paddling vacations, but we really enjoyed it. Definitely a chunk of change involved, but it's less than the narrowboats and a week of hotel accomodations would definitely get up to the same range. Docking in the canal towns is free or low cost - the most we paid was the exorbitant fee of $7.00 in Fairport, where the facilities were extra-nice.

Cheryl Therrien said...

That looks like a lot of fun! My husband and I really enjoy boating although we do not get to do it very often. I did not know a tour like this one even existed. Thanks for sharing!