Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Erie Canal Day 3 - Lyons to Fairport

Morning in Lyons

Day 3, 10/12/16 Another unhurried start in Lyons, breakfast, hot showers in the very nice boater facilities provided by the Lyons Fire Department, and a walk into town to get something or other (oh, I think this was the day we plugged the galley sink and the one thing we couldn't find on the boat when we needed it was a plunger, so we went to a hardware store to get one), then we set out for the town of Fairport.

It was another beautiful day, we cruised around 25 miles and went through locks 27, 28 A and B, 29, and 30. I did a little bit of a journal entry partway through the trip, saying "Not to curse us since we haven't hit 30 yet but we are getting reasonably good at these". I also mentioned that the weather was continuing to be spectacular and that there were more jumping fish and herons and kingfishers and some nice foliage too - that was about all I got in at that point before something (possibly Lock 30) came up to distract me. We made good time and got to Fairport by 3:30, which gave us a little time to relax before Dave and Lenore, who we'd sailed with in the US Virgin Islands back in January 2015; we did a little walking around scoping things out, checked in with the dockmaster and paid our exorbitant docking fee - seven dollars for our little 24 foot cruiser, no, not $7 a foot, $7 for the whole boat for the whole night!

After that we went back to the boat and got out our books, but that's when I remembered I'd brought a sketch pad along, and with a bridge quite nearby and the canal not being very wide here,  this was a perfect setup for actually trying to draw our boat, so I did, and was happy enough with the result that I'll share it again. :) Mostly when I draw anything that's more than an actual doodle (all of my artsy stuff gets labelled "doodles" here, but there's real doodles and then there's the stuff I actually spend some time on) I'm copying from a picture so it was interesting to actually draw our boat from life, and with something of a time limit too (the thing I find the most frustrating about my attempts at drawing and painting is how unbelievably slow I am, so doing this with the clock sort of ticking was a good little challenge). 

Lenore and Dave showed up right on time - I think it was 5 - one of the things we'd done in the scoping-out-the-area process was get some more beer, because I'd envisioned us maybe having some cheese and crackers on board before we headed out and I wanted to be able to offer some nice local beer, but as it turns out, four adults on this boat turns out to make for a very crowded Nomad, so we dropped that idea and just showed them the boat (which took all of 5 minutes and even that was kind of superfluous as it turned out Lenore's dad had done the exact same kind of trip as we were doing at some point, so they'd seen it before) and then headed out for the fun trip to Powell's that I'd already shared as my Halloween post. After that, we came back for dinner at Mulconry's Pub, which had some really good Irish pub grub (I had a steak and mushroom pie that was just wonderful), then repaired to the Fairport Brewing Company for one more round, they have a great setup there for pleasant Fall evenings with an outdoor seating area where there are tables with firepits to keep you nice and warm. It was great catching up, I think the only thing that could've improved that would've been if there were marshmallows to roast over the firepits. I suppose that could get messy, though.

Another fine day on the canal. This was the westernmost spot on our travels.

As usual, click on any picture for a better view, but I did put some captions and additional info that you might find interesting in amongst the pictures this time

 Fire department heading out for a call - boater facilities for Lyons are here in the firehouse.

More morning in Lyons shots as we go to the hardware store

Lock 27, leaving Lyons

There were tubs of peppermint at the stairs up to the firehouse, prominently labelled "Peppermint"; I didn't recognize the significance of that until we were leaving town and saw the big sign - remember how I was learning about each of these canal towns having a manufacturing specialty of one sort or another? It turns out that Lyons was "Once the Peppermint Capital of the World". 

There's another canal boat,
 This old tug caught my eye - turns out she's caught my friend Will's eye too, more than once, her name is Grouper and Will's done a whole series of posts about her over on Tugster

Cruising, lovely day, lots of people out fishing

Lock 28 B - going up

Newark, NY, loved these murals they had on the bridge - wish the brush hadn't been allowed to grow up over the one on the side, it's neat how it shows a mule team walking right where the towpath would've been.

More of these later in the trip.


More Foliage


Speaking of towpath, a lot of the old towpaths are now maintained as recreational trails, and there were tons of bikers and hikers and joggers out enjoying the day. This would be another great way to explore the area - you can cycle town to town, inn to inn - I'm not even a cyclist and that sounds like a lot of fun to me.  

The railroad follows a good bit of the Erie Canal route; I wish I could've gotten a shot of one of the Amtrak trains coming through because I'd seen a canal boat from the train when I went home from Michigan that way during the summer and it was fun now to be seeing the train from a boat - they all came through too fast though, so this CSX locomotive will have to do. 

Rower a little ways outside of Fairport

Same rower in Fairport heading home again.

Fairport foliage

Canal from the lift bridge - we're on the left, up by the smokestack and the reddest tree (that's the one shown above). 

This is when I went across the canal to draw our boat - didn't have time to do the whole scene but at least I took a picture. 

A couple more pix of Fairport's  waterfront, and that's it for today. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Escape Part 2 - Sebago to Gerritsen Creek, 11/26/16

Friday was pretty low-key as our Escapes from Black Friday go - TQ had things to do around the house so I just went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a couple of hours. I've been much less of a regular visitor there since they suspended their science program in 2013 (I do wonder how they are doing on making progress on their promise to restore it, the article I linked to was pretty much the last thing I heard on it), but the southern end that had been under construction for a while opened this year and friends from Sebago said it was worth a visit. I was originally planning to go for another walk around Prospect Park but I've done that a few times recently and the amount of time I had was good for a visit to the garden, and it was pleasant. Weather was nice in the morning but turned gray and drizzly just about the time I went out, but I was glad to get out for at least a little while.

My more serious outdoor fun for Thanksgiving weekend had been planned for about a week, when I went out for dinner with clubmate Ilene, who was looking for people to paddle with on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I was up for that and TQ was too, and we were joined by another "regular suspect" clubmate, Margrethe, and then it was a lovely surprise to get to the club and find Dave and Ollie, old friends from my Pier 63 days, getting ready to paddle. It was a total coincidence that they were there, but we consolidated our groups and had a lovely paddle out to Gerritsen Beach and back. It's a 12 mile round trip and there was a pretty serious NW wind (forecast said 11 to 15 gusting to 20 and I'd say that's about exactly what it was, only not so much at the 11 end of things) so it was a headwind all the way home once we turned the corner going into the bay, bit of a slog but I'm still so out of shape, I need to do more challenging paddles like this more. We set out under clouds, stopped for snacks at Gerritsen Beach, where the sun came out and the day turned absolutely glorious.

There's a 2 hour paddle and leftover potluck at the club today -- I'm skipping the paddle today, I feel like yesterday was enough to tide me over for a day or two (OK, plus I'm just not ready to pack up and put on all the gear AGAIN, this weekend's weather and water temperatures call for full winter gear, sigh).

A few pictures from yesterday's paddle - it was a fast group so I didn't take as as many as I sometimes do, but it got so pretty I had to stop for a few!

As usual, click on any photo for a slideshow view.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Escape from Black Friday 2016

A variety of promising escape routes, all right here in Brooklyn! How convenient.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Erie Canal Day 2 Addendum: Doodle du jour - Belted Kingfisher

There were lots of kingfishers on the Erie Canal, but they're much smaller and faster-moving than great blue herons and the modest zoom lens I have is not sufficient to the task. Haven't done one of my bird drawings in a while, but I was thinking about these great-looking birds tonight and decided I would try drawing one, and here she is. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Erie Canal, Day 2 - Seneca Falls to Lyons

Morning in Seneca Falls

Day 2 - 10/11/16 With no deadlines and the whole day ahead of us, we didn't bother with an alarm clock. We slept in a bit, as we did pretty much every day, we both work pretty hard and have a tendency to not get enough sleep in day to day life, so vacation ends up being a time to catch up on zzz's, and did I mention that the bed arrangement was really comfy? Sleeping on a boat is great! Eventually we got up, had a good breakfast and idled over tea and coffee before really getting going on our day. I didn't take notes on breakfast in my journal, but I know we had eggs and some really amazing bacon from The Piggery (unsolicited plug, it was just really good, my friend Louise had recommended it and she was right!) in Ithaca so I suspect this was one of a couple of team-effort mornings when TQ took the bacon out to cook on the grill on the back deck while I did something with eggs in the galley.

After we'd cleaned up, we spent a little time sightseeing in Seneca Falls. The town is famous for 2 main things (or at least I know of 2 things it's famous for, there could be more!) - it was supposedly the real-life model for Bedford Falls in the movie It's a Wonderful Life (which I found out as we were getting ready for the trip, the charter company provided a couple of itineraries with info about the various towns where you could stop) and it's also considered the birthplace of the women's rights movement - so being a woman who appreciates her rights, I owe a debt to the people who started it off here, and I especially enjoyed visiting this town where it all started during such a historic Presidential race.

The town has a small but very nicely done museum, the Seneca Falls Museum of Waterways and Industry, right on the town wall where visiting boats tie up during their stay (in fact the visiting boater services like laundry and showers are on the ground floor of the building); what with our slow start and 31 miles to cover before the end of the day,
 we didn't have time to visit the Women's Rights National Historic Park, but the Museum of Industry and Waterways did have a corner devoted to the conference and the movement, including a very informative video which I hope I can find on YouTube to watch again sometime. Very interesting how the canal system facilitated the movement of not just the goods it was intended to move, but new ideas, too - I found a good little article plus many more with a Google search under "Erie Canal as a counduit for ideas", which was a phrase we ran across many times during our trip.

The museum also had a lot of information about the town's industrial history; it seemed like every town along the canal had some particular industry at which they excelled, in Seneca Falls it was foundries and the museum has all sorts of examples of the things made of iron that the town's foundries produced. They also had lots of information about the canal, including a very cool wall painting of a canal boat such as you would have found in the original version of the Erie Canal, done life sized, with the boat seen from head-on, floating in a cross-section showing the dimensions and depth (40 feet wide, 4 feet of water) of the original canal. I got a few postcards there, and then we walked out to the main street and then back down to our boat.

We got underway around 1, retraced our path through locks CS 2 and 3 and then north into new territory through CS 1, and then hooray, we were actually on the Erie Canal! It was a beautiful day, so calm and quiet that in certain places you could see the tracks on the water as hundreds of water striders skimmed about. Loads of birds, too - herons, herons and more herons (I said to TQ at one point "Great Blues are like pigeons up here!", and I got a little obsessive about trying to get good pictures of them, eventually TQ started doing it too!), kingfishers, a hawk, and one possible bald eagle. There was also a swimming squirrel (it was chugging along quite nicely, not far from shore and headed in the right direction) and a zillion jumping fish - made us wish we had some fishing gear!

We made it through locks E 25, 26 and 27 without any trouble and got to Lyons, our next overnight location,
 around 6. We went for a little walk and noticed the familiar neon "B" that indicates a bar that serves the fine products of the Brooklyn Brewery hanging in a window; we decided that a beer or two would be just the thing and Growler's Pub turned out to have a really nice beer list (the Brooklyn sign drew us in but we ended up ordering some local brews, there's some good beer being made in this part of the state) plus some decent pub grub, so we ended up having dinner there before heading back to the boat for our evening journal and postcard writing, book reading, and eventually bed. Another excellent day!

click on pix for slideshow view.