Sunday, August 23, 2009

Wednesday - August 19th - No Cows!

Jerry told me that his friends were all kidding him about the canal trip.  They said, “You will see a lot of cows.”  Well, so far we have only seen one group.  And they turned out to be llamas!  We are, however, keeping a sharp cow watch.


It appears that Tux the cat may have jumped ship in North Tonawanda.  She had been very good about staying on board.  Then one night she jumped off and went prowling on shore.  We thought we had lost her but in the morning she was back on the boat.  The following night she went prowling again.  My last memory of her was her jumping down on my body and disappearing down into the boat.  So when we left we thought she had come back.  However, we have not seen her and she has not used the box for a couple of days.  She may have started a new life with another sailor cat.  Jerry suggested she just came back to pack a bag and wait for me to doze off again so she could make her escape.


Another long grind watching the grass grow.  We navigated two more locks and are getting better at the procedure.  As the owner of course I am always concerned that something will go wrong in the lock and we will break Reboot.  So I will never like them, but they are a sign of progress.


We took a mid-day break in Brockport NY.  We walked quite a distance in search of lamp oil for our anchor lamp and ended up at an old lumber yard and Ace hardware store.  Most of the stock was so old that the printing had faded on the boxes.  But if you need a Bakelite power cord for your grandmother’s electric skillet they have one in stock.  Of course the lamp oil was out of stock.


In the small world department I went into a local florist (Brockport is a cutesy canal town) to inquire where I might find lamp oil.  As the conversation unfolded the owner asked me where I was from.  It turns out that he graduated from North Shore High School in Glen Head in 1967, three years after me.  He has an older brother that graduated in 1963.  I believe he said his family name was Strong and that they lived on Smith Street in Glen Head.


The town names are very familiar.  My first post college job was with Eastman Kodak in Rochester.  The canal passes thru about 4 miles south of Rochester and intersects the Genesee River.  It is interesting that during my stay in Rochester I was never aware of how close the canal is to the city.  My experience was all north, sailing on Lake Ontario.  As we approached the Genesee the amount of garbage in the river took a dramatic upturn.  Coffee cups and such toss off the boat refuse was quite common.  After crossing the river junction we caught up with a rowing team.  They were rowing at 5 mph.  That is the speed limit in the canal at that point so we paced them for the better part of an hour.  They did not choose to lock thru with us.


Later in the day we passed a one man racing kayak.   As I came up from the cabin I looked back past Jerry at the helm to find the kayaker was surfing our wake.  He got about 5 feet behind us and took advantage of the suction from the boat to stay with us for a couple of miles.  We had a nice chat, he apparently does this frequently, and then he turned off.


We of course try to use local knowledge when ever possible to find the best places to eat and overnight.  The canal keepers are very helpful.  (Jerry, joking, says they get a commission from the towns for each cruiser they send along – kind of like the commissions paid to the cruise ship guys who steer the passengers to the jewelry, liquor, perfume, etc. stores in the Caribbean ports.)  The advice today was to go to Fairport.  We were reminded of Cornelius Ryan’s book A Bridge Too Far.  As the sun set and it got darker and darker in the unlighted channel of the canal we realized that the bridges and locks may be open until 10 PM but it is not wise to continue on after sunset.  Tomorrow we will be more careful to pick our destination.


Reboot position


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