Oct 3: Waterford & A Historic Voyage


The mist hung heavy this morning making visibility a challenge. We planned to get to Waterford today which meant getting through 8 locks and 1 guard gate usually closed to redirect water flow towards a power dam. Every additional minute decreased our chances of getting through before the locks closed at 5:30pm.

We departed Amsterdam about a half hour late along with a travelling museum exhibit, the refurbished Lois McClure. An exact replica of the wooden freight ships used to haul freight after the New York State canal system expansion in 1862.

The canal schooner and her tugboat C. L. Churchill have been navigating the Erie canal on a Legacy Tour in celebration of New York State Canals 200th anniversary. Along the way they meet with classrooms, communities and locals to educate them on the rich history of the canals and the benefits that they continue to provide to the communities.

We met the educated, yet rowdy crew the night before, and the captain who came up with the idea and still tours with the schooner 10 years later. (For more on their historic voyage visit blog.lcmm.org)

The first lock of the day was 'historic', sharing it with this vessel. Well wishes and hearty goodbyes were exchanged and we powered off to get to our destination.

The rest of the day was similar to the others, with a few stunning surprises, like a waterfall beside the lock, gorgeous architectural bridges and some old tug boats still working hard. On these older vessels, instead of the rubber inflated bumpers that we use, their bumpers have a solid rubber interior that is woven and wrapped in layers of rope. Incredibly effective.

We made it to the last lock of the day with a little time to spare, only to discover the dock we had planned to stay at was full. Our friends Pam and Art jumped out of one of the boats, orchestrated a reorganization to make room for us to dock. Amazing!

Of course dinner together was in order before falling into bed a little sun burnt but happy with our accomplishment.