Where we at

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Waiting on weather on Croton-on-Hudson

Very rainy at Half Moon Bay Marina
By Monday it was apparent we weren't going to be able to get to traverse the Atlantic along the Jersey shore any time soon, so we extended our stay here for a week. Throughout most of that time it was dreary and rainy. We had a sunny day Wednesday, but overcast skies came back Thursday, and torrential rain is predicted for Friday.

On the plus side of waiting, our buddy boat -- who was nearly 2 weeks behind us -- got underway with more efficient engines and will be anchoring nearby tomorrow. Then they'll pass us by as they go to Great Kills, where we hope to join them Sunday or Monday.

I occupied some time by baking bread.
Hopefully we'll be able to start the long day down to the Delaware mid week, next week.

Our one day of glorious weather thus far.

Moonrise over the marina
While on a walk we go by these. I'm calling them Easter Berries
sine they are all in pastel colors. So pretty!

Friday, September 22, 2023

Kingston to Croton, marina

Tropical Cyclone 16 (yet to be named) is going to wreak some havoc for us over the weekend. As a result, we asked if we could stay on the dock at the museum during that time. But, no... we could stay tonight, but there's a cruise ship coming Saturday. Rather than leave Saturday -- in wind and rain and whatnot -- we decided to toss our lines and head out today.

The two options below are Poughkeepsie (which I love to say) and Croton-on-the-Hudson (seriously, it sounds like we're in England, but that's the name). Both are on the east side so should be sheltered from the east winds we're expecting. But Croton has a really nice anchorage nearby. When we've gotten through the bluster, and we're still waiting for a decent weather window to make the crossing, staying there will be handy.

Also, Croton is a bit closer to New York. We plan on taking the train into the city a day or two, so that trip will be shorter.

Dawn at the boat museum
But the travel day was longer than we'd hoped, largely since we left later thinking we would stay another night. I'm a fan of getting in around 2 or earlier so we can get settled (that's code for "take a nap"). These next travel days aren't going to be those at all; lots of long stretches of open water ahead from here to Baltimore.

Ophelia. They named the storm Ophelia.

We were past by this ship twice, once just near where we joined
the Hudson, but then he had a pilot board, and we passed him. 
Now he's passed us again. They're big, but they are not slow.

This section of the Hudson is gorgeous.

Too bad it wasn't sunny, you could see the trees which are starting to turn.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Hudson to Catskill, no Saugerties... no Kingston! marina

The trip to Catskill was only 35 minutes or so. Therefore, we killed some time by dropping the dinghy and going back to Hudson for croissants at The Perche. Russ had read they were the best in the entire state of New York, which we had to check out for ourselves. Admittedly they were excellent, and worth going back for. We'd have to compare them side by side with the ones near 115 Brooklyn, though, to know if they are truly the best in the state. Maybe next time.

We got underway just past 11 am. Looking at maps and ratings of anchorages in the Catskill inlet people complained of not getting a good set. So we thought we'd anchor across the Hudson and dinghy over come dinner. Neither of the two anchorages there struck us as "good" -- one was filled with lily pads, and the other was exposed to the channel (not really near it, but we like islands between us and the big ships if possible).

Saugerties was only an hour away, so we headed there. We have good memories of the anchorage when we came up in June, and a particular restaurant we wanted to go back to. But we explored all three anchorages and weren't overjoyed. Shoaling took a good part of one, the other we recall didn't have good holding, and the last (the one we'd been in before) was really narrow and deep. This is a problem, since the depths means you want to put out a lot of rode, but that means you can swing wide... and a narrow channel makes that unnerving. We needed to put out a stern anchor, but I was feeling cranky about that option. (Back in June we solved this with a handy anchor maneuver we did with Highwind, where we each drop an anchor then back up until we're side by side and raft. So no swinging... it's so awesome!).

Lovely day and great skyline. The trees are 
slightly yellow, turning for fall.
So, onto Kingston! We (I) decided that given these narrow channels we should just book a marina. There's a boat museum in Kingston that had a dock. Russ booked that. If we're going to pay for dockage we'd rather it be to a working museum.

We might be here for 2 nights. We're keeping a hard eye on the weather, which is looking nasty come Saturday.

Ate at The Tortilla, a mexican restaurant
in the down town of Kingston.

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Houghlating to Hudson, anchor

Seriously short day today. As soon as the tide turned we weighed anchor and headed to the town of Hudson. We'd been there before, back in June. The anchorage, being on the other side of an island from the channel, was very quiet at night. The town itself is quite quaint.

We dinghied over to Hudson and took a long walk up the hill. I got my nails done (note to self -- not a great job, so try Tommy's next time in town) and did a little grocery shopping.

I do enjoy short days, especially when there's a town nearby to explore, good weather for dinghy rides, and quiet nights. 

Albeit colder nights. The low will be in the mid-40s. Oh yeah. Time to head south.

I love dramatic dawns.

inQuest on the hook. We're putting together boat pics for a new
set of boat cards. After 4 years, it's time to get more.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Waterford to Houghlating Island, anchor

After we filled our water tanks and cleaned some windows (seriously dirty!) we headed off the Waterford wall around 9 am. Within the hour we were at Troy Lock, which was the very last lock of the season (and might be for a loooooooong while). We lost count of the locks long ago, but the number is close to 100 (whew!). Once through we rode the out-going tide southward. Back in tidal territory, from here on out.

Weather looking forward is just abysmal for crossing the Atlantic to Delaware. So we're going to drag our heals, taking short days, and staying in little towns along the Hudson until something changes. Or we reach New York. So we're not done yet!

Just on the other side of Houghlating Island is Donovan's Shady Harbor, which we stayed at coming up. But there are only so many "little beers" we can handle, so we're tucking up here for the night.

Rainy day on the Waterford wall.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Lock 11 to Waterford, wall

The plan wasn't to get all the way to Waterford, but we got to Lock 7 (where we planned to stop) and it was still before noon. Even the lockmaster recommended we continue. So, we put 10 locks under our belt and still got into Waterford before 3 pm.

Arriving here officially concludes the Triangle Loop! We left Waterford June 20 headed north along the Champlain Locks. This was an amazing summer. We had a blast in Canada and a blast with our buddy boat. We would happily do this loop again.

Looking beyond the lock wall you see the hills.
Meanwhile, looking ahead, the next big things for us is getting down the Hudson River, down the Jersey shores on the Atlantic, and up the Delaware, all of which need some good weather. Looking ahead, we're not going to see that for a while. So we'll putter our way down the Hudson, keeping and eye for a weather window. 

Behold, the Triangle Loop! Which probably looks more like
a triangle if you don't do Quebec City or the Rideau.
This is our trek from June 20 to today, nearly 3 months.
Where did the time go....?

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Little Falls to Lock 11, wall

We got bummer news from our buddy boat that they're going to be held up a bit more. Dragging our heals no longer makes sense so we're proceeding apace -- not quickly, not long days, but doing 4 to 5 hours a day (or 5 locks, as the case was today).

No issues, other than a bit of wind that made locking a little tricky, but not terrible.

Little Falls, 2019

Little Falls, 2023. Way better! 6 feet difference, or more.

This spot, Lock 11, was planned,. Way back in Brewerton Russ and I took a trip to see some Kevlar canoes at Slipstream Watercraft. We'd seen them at the boat museum in Clayton, and were amazed by their weight (which is just over 9 pounds). After a test drive Russ selected one, but we couldn't take it back with us at that time. So we organized to give them a call when we got in the area. They met us here. I'll post pics once we have her in the water for her maiden voyage. I'm thinking of calling her minQuest.

Can you say "too much food?"
After we got our Wee Lassie (that's the name of the craft) we ate at the Italian place just across the street, Russo's. Awesome food, which is good, since we'll eat the rest of it over the next three days.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Herkimer to Little Falls, wall (w/power)

While this was an extremely short day of 7 miles we had a couple of exciting things happen.

Another vessel joined us in Herkimer on the wall. The sailboat, True North, had 2 large dogs. While chatting with them about timing our trip to the next lock, one of the dogs saw the opportunity to "escape", leaping over their rail and taking off. And of course, what one dogs does the other must do. The owners gave chase while Russ and I tried to catch them as they looped the building. Having owned dogs we know how upsetting things like that can be, especially in an unknown neighborhood with cars zipping around. Needless to say the woman was really frazzled.

That little mist eventually became a soup
Both vessels eventually got underway. A decent fog blanketed the morning. Most of it was patchy but a few parts were really dense. We haven't had to deal with any fog since St. Augustine, so it had been a while. We donned our fog glasses, turned on the radar, had the fog horn blaring, and proceeded quite slowly. We couldn't see the lock until we were 1000 feet from it (and that's why we use Navionics!). By the time we locked through, the mist lifted, and it was clear boating to Little Falls.

Tormented skies in Little Falls
We'll be here for a couple of nights. The starboard engine with it's soldered patch seems to no longer leak, so yay! But the port engine is running just a little warmer than normal... and that guage is still bothersome.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Lock 21 to Herkimer, wall

Not totally jazzed about our parking spot we decided to start early today. The locks opened at 7 am. We could easily see traffic coming our way should anyone want to lock through in the morning. Also, we knew any traffic headed into Lock 21 had to go through Lock 22, so we didn't need to buzz out first thing. But we didn't dawdle, either.

Mostly the day went fine, despite the cloudy skies and occasional drizzle. The only "not great" thing about the trip today was the section between Lock 20 and Lock 19 (to any boaters headed this way, make a note). This section was particularly narrow, and skinny (we saw 3 feet beneath us in places), and full of logs. Not just wood, logs. On a couple of occasions we put the engines in idle and pushed through whatever was in our way. Once we got passed Lock 19, however, the canal deepened, widened, and was more sparse with debris. Also, things got pretty!

Almost mirror-like as the day started.
The plan was to get to Utica today. Mmmmmm..... piiiiizza. We stopped here on our way loop in 2019. Since then the small town dock and it's care had been turned over to a nearby restaurant. As a result, the "free town dock" was now $4/foot for the night. For those who don't know, that's nothing short of highway robbery. You might pay something around that in Key Largo, for pete's sake. Looking at the reviews it was $3 last year. I'm guessing the restaurant keeps raising prices, hoping that eventually no one will stop there. We certainly pressed on.

The free dock in Herkimer
Plan B was to get to Little Falls, but that was making for a longer day than we wanted or needed to do. We almost turned into Frankfurt that boasted a brewery and marina (Heelpath, which I'm marking that as a possible "next time" destination). After reading reviews we decided on Herkimer. It had a free town wall and was easy walking distance to Walmart and (stop the presses!) an awesome sushi place. 

Tomorrow the winds will come up a bit, so getting into Little Falls quickly will perfect. Besides, the brewery there opens Thursday. And there's good pizza!

Turned into a lovely day.

Now that the starboard engine is fixed, we're having
a mystery experience with the port. It's not actually
doing that. But the dial's gone wonky.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Brewerton to Lock 21, wall

After nearly two weeks of some work and relaxation it was time to think about moving on. Our buddy boat was still getting their engines in order. With luck they'd be underway in a few days. But it might be more. We decided we'd putter along, not going particularly fast, and hope they catch up to us in a week or so. Fingers crossed.

Quiet trip across Lake Oneida
Very calm winds today, and warmer temps, all a false lure as rain and cool comes tonight. We eased out of the slip and had no issues all day. We didn't even get waked.

To get to the wall above Lock 21 we had to go through it and Lock 22. Another boat joined us for those, and locking went smoothly.

We asked the lockmaster where he wanted us if we stayed the night. He said on the left would be best. However, that wall was slightly shorter than us, so we're sticking out. For most traffic that traverses the canal this won't be an issue -- getting by us will be easy. A tow, on the other hand...

The red marks the channel. So, um, yeah,
I think we're in it.
So we're hoping "no tows" until 5 pm when the lock closes. Then we can take our eye off the AIS and chill.

Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Labor Day in the Finger Lakes

We broke down our three day weekend into three perfect parts. 

Day 1 -- Wine Tour

Escorted by Crush Wine Tours we went to 4 wineries. Given we are all from the west coast (and have had Washington and Napa wine tastings under our belts) these wineries didn't rock our worlds. We did get a couple of bottles. But not cases, nor memberships. We all had a wonderful time.

Lots of pretty views in the Finger Lakes

About time to harvest those puppies!

One of the wineries had pet donkeys

Winery #1, so we're still fresh!

Our driver took us to a secret location to see this amazing
waterfall. The white place in front is a venue to rent.

Looking across Seneca Lake 

Day 2 -- Brewery Tour

Tons of  brewers in the area. This time I volunteered to be the designated driver and put together a 4 brewery tour of some of the best rated venues I could find on Google. As a result it was a slower paced day, playing Hanabi at a number of the breweries while flights were consumed. One of the breweries (Naked Dove) was a show stopper -- much beer and tchotchke was purchased.

The hotel was in Seneca Falls, which is a big Christmas 
destination. Largely because of this. This bridge is THE bridge
from "It's a Wonderful Life."

On of the odder breweries we went to had a bunch of sours.
They looked more like smoothies than beer.

This just made me laugh.

Day 3 - Escape Room Tour

This started out as "Hey, let's do an escape room" and turned into a "Buy 4 and get a discount!" We did 5 escape rooms in total; 1 from 1 place and 4 smaller ones from a second.

We were given the task to "Build this room."
We ran around the 9000 sq ft of play space looking
for everything (window coverings, pillows, evenwainscoting).

Both places were unique. The first place had a 9000 sq foot space you had to explore to finish "your escape". It was divided up into various rooms, like "the museum", "the laboratory", and "the library." While we were doing OUR escape (we chose solving a train robbery) several other groups were in the same space working on their escapes. The company offered 10 or more escapes going on at the same time, all of them were different, requiring different things to be found and different goals to attain. Extremely interesting. We weren't thrilled with our own challenge (solving it was fun, but the solution wasn't awesome) but really want to explore others.

Meanwhile, the second place had 4 30-minute escapes. These were much more "high tech" and included things like video game play and many tasks to be done at the same time (we frequently had 2 groups of 2 people doing things simultaneously). My personal favorite was an Egyptians tomb experience, which had the ceiling slowly lowering while we frantically solved puzzles.

All escapes were successful, btw.

We dined at PF Changs. Clearly a fave of David's.
Also mentioning was that both escape rooms were in the same location which was a mall. This place seriously wowed us. The mall also had a trampoline park, a race car track, rope park, a bowling alley, a virtual ride experience, several breweries, and a number of big restaurants (PF Changs, TGI Fridays, and Margaritaville). Given the number of abandoned malls this seemed like an excellent idea; an "entertainment space" where you drop the kids off while having a dinner. All indoors, which is a big win if the weather isn't great all year around (like in upstate NY, where they get 120 inches of snow on average annually, or Florida when it's 95 degrees and 95% humidity). I hope to see this trend continue.

(We did get some group photos but I have to get them from the venue. Updates to follow.)

Friday, September 1, 2023

Engines and other news

inQuest at Ess-Kay
Highwind has long needed new injector pumps on her engines, for a over a year now. The pumps themselves are on the boat, stowed for when they could get the work scheduled. Not only was it a bigger task, but these particular engines need a computer to get them running. Pile on the fact that there are only 12 of these engines in existence (and Highwind has 2 of 'em) so competent mechanics have been hard to find. (That might be an exaggeration, but not by much!)

Russ was sure Ess-Kay (the working marina we're at in Brewerton) had or knew the right people. Weeks ago plans were made. While Hannah and David headed to Seattle for a week of work, Russ has been pseudo-managing the work. 

Whenever there's work to be done the saloon
turns into a garage. Worse when it's engine work.
I mention all this because it was completed Thursday, and the mechanics wanted to have a sea trial to see how it all went. Hannah and David weren't here, however...

...so we did it! I got to pilot a whole new boat! Conditions couldn't have been better: clear skies, zero wind, zero current. We took Highwind out onto Oneida Lake and got her up to 2000 rpms. The mechanic on board was less than thrilled with the sound of the engines. We all knew this could result in a diagnosis of having the injectors rebuilt. And that's exactly the next step.

Misty morning sunrise at Ess-Kay
Meanwhile, Russ has been using this time to chase down our coolant leak once and for all. He narrowed it down to the exhaust manifold. He took it out and brought it to a mechanic that, using pressure, found a itsy, bitsy, teeny, tiny pinhole in the thing. Now it's out getting fixed as well.

Labor Day is nearly here. All of us plan on spending it away from boats and in the Finger Lakes area doing some wine tasting.

Come next Tuesday it will be a race. Who will have their engines back up and running first?