The Erie Canal Lock 19 to Amsterdam NY

I wanted to explain a little more about the Erie Canal today.  Today we traveled through Lock 19 through Lock 11.  That is the most we have done before in one day.


Tammy is up front with the boat hook preparing to catch the lines we hold onto as the water is lowered in the lock.


This is Lock 19 that we entered after, the water has been drained. If you look high up on the wall you can see the waterline.

We have been lowered about 42 feet. It is the highest Lock on the Erie Canal. These are the gates closed behind us.


this is the wall in front of us being lifted so we can leave the lock.


This is the wall as we push off the opposite wall and prepare to go out of the lock.


This is as we are motoring out of the lock.

It was a good day that ended at the Riverside Marina in Amsterdam NY.  It is a nice park unfortunately the trains have been going by 150′ from the boat and they have to blow there horn as they go by.  Not much quiet last night.

We met some other travelers last night here at the landing.  One of them was Ed Van Keuren who owns a marina in Buzzards Bay, MA.  He worked with me on understanding tides and currents, that I will have to know for the trip up to Boston and then South to Florida.  I really appreciate the help.  He also helped me plan the route from NY city to Boston.

He invited us to stop at Buzzards Bay and I think that will be part of our return from Boston trip.

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A very nice marina but OH SO Loud.


A man fell overboard from his little sailboat, and was thrashing around in the water when another boat pulled up.
“Jump in, we’ll save you” – they screamed.
“No” cried the drowning man, “God will save me”.
The scene was repeated twice more and then a helicopter hovered over the man.
“We came to rescue you” yelled the pilot.
“No, God will save me” was the response again.
The man drowned, and as he crossed the Pearly Gates, he ran straight to Jesus.
“I placed my faith in You, and You let me drown?!
“”Hey!” said Jesus. “I sent three boats and a helicopter”.


“Living The Dream”

    Tammy & Steve

Across Lake Oneida and on to Lock 19

We started in Brewerton and went to Ess-Kay marina, because some people suggested that they had great prices on maps.   They did and we picked up the maps for Intercoastal Waterway and The Hudson River to Boston.  We’ll be needing those maps in a bit.  They were at very good prices.  But that also meant we got off a little late.

The big item up today was crossing Lake Oneida.  It is 20 miles wide and the water is shallow, most 20 to 40 feet.  This means big waves with any kind of wind.  So we got going as soon as we could.  It got progressively rougher as we crossed with the wind behind us the waves built up to 4 feet.  I’m glad we left when we did because it got worse as the day went on.  The crossing went really well and the water was not nearly as bad as people were saying.  We were happy to see the Sylvan Beach Light House.


Before we crossed the lake we saw this house and thought it was different with the points at the top.


We ran out of GPS chart maps yesterday so we need to locate a marina were we can get electronic charts for the East Coast.  We need to locate a good marina or a West Marine store.

We ran out of the nice parks with free or cheap, tie us and electricity, and restroom so we pulled up on the wall at lock 19.

Just pulling in we saw the double boats and Tammy thought they looked like papa and baby boats.


What do you think?

“Living The Dream”

   Tammy & Steve


We are now in Brewerton, NY still on the Erie Canal

We left Baldwinsville a 2PM yesterday because we reenforced the mast horses.  We have to cross Lake Oneida today and everyone said it is very rough because it is 25 miles long and shallow with strong winds from the west it can be brutle.  IMG_3852 IMG_3853

Sort of a quiet day in the photo department.  We did catch this Hawk as we were passing

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Then we saw the 2 adult swans with the small ones.  Gave a better understanding of the ugly duckling story.

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We have 150 miles left on the canal.  We are running a little slower than we anticipated.  But need to be ready for when we come out of New York.



Gordon died. So Susan went to the local paper to put a notice in the obituaries. The gentleman at the counter, after offering his condolences, asked Susan what she would like to say about Gordon.

Susan replied, “You just put, ‘Gordon died.'”

The gentleman, somewhat perplexed, said, “That’s it? Just ‘Gordon died?’

Surely, there must be something more you’d like to say about Gordon. If it’s money you’re concerned about, the first five words are free. We really should say something more.”

So Susan pondered for a few minutes and finally said, “O.K., then. You put ‘Gordon died. Sailboat for sale.’


“Living The Dream”

   Tammy and Steve



From Palymera to Baldwinsville and some new friends.

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The views along the way are very diverse from the broken down dock to the ok dock to the super neat dock.  Some haven’t been used in years (at least I wouldn’t step on them.)  to others that look like party town.


The lock house


Waiting for the gate to open


The lock house up closer

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This group shows the gate opening for us to enter the lock



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A boat that ws behind us in the lock.

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Tammy holding us off the wall with the boat hook and holding onto the rope as we go down so we stay put in the lock.  I’m at the stern of the boat doing the same thing.  The gentleman in the bottom picture is the Lockmaster that runs the controls.  They usually ask how far we are going and advise the other Lockmasters that we are coming.

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This is the option if you don’t use the locks.  Not very comfortable a ride and hard on the boat.

Today we met another cruising couple that sold everything and bought a boat.  The difference between them and us is they have 3 small children that they plan on home schooling.  They have a much bigger boat than us but they also plan on circumnavigating the globe right away.  We are taking it much slower.  Florida is a good start.

Till tomorrow

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day.
Teach him how to fish and he will sit in a boat & drink beer all day.

“Living The Dream”

Tammy and Steve

An easy day

We left Brockport at about 10:30 AM and headed down the canal.

Tam saw these trees and thought fall head arrived.

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I hope not we have a lot of miles to travel yet.


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We traveled past Spencerport but the big city we went by today was Rochester NY. A lot of bridges and roads. We actually had to slow down for workers on bridges.

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These old barges were on the side of the canal.

The wildlife is always fun to see.

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Can anyone identify these ducks for us?

We went through 4 locks today.  They are still a little intimidating.

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A lot of water is pumped into and out of them each time with reserve pools bubbling up.

We finally arrived at at Palmyra at a little after 6PM.  They were c.losed but it is a very nice park.  I have to say that these towns really have done a lot of work to make the people on the Erie Canal feel comfortable.

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Palmyra was the first town, along the Erie Canal, to set up these beautiful parks and marinas for the recreational boaters along the canal.  With welcome centers, showers, restrooms and true parks.  They set them up for the boaters and the town citizens.

From here we hope to make some distance today.

we will keep you posted.

Sorry this one is a little long but gets has a meaning.

What a life
The American businessman was at the pier of a small South Pacific
Island village when a small fishing vessel, with just one fisherman,
docked. Inside the hold of the small boat were several large grouper.
The American complimented the Islander on the quality of his fish and
asked how long it took to catch them.

The Islander replied, “Only a little while.”

The American then asked why didn’t he stay out longer and catch more

The Islander said he had enough to support his family’s immediate
needs. The American then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of
your time?”

The fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my
children, take a late afternoon nap with my wife Helia, stroll into
the village each evening, where I sip rum and play guitar with my
friends, I have a full and busy life.”

The American scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You
should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger
boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several
boats, eventually you could have a fleet of your own fishing boats.
Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you could sell directly
to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. You would
control the product, processing and distribution.
You could then leave this small fishing village and move to
Australia, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your
expanding enterprise.”

The South Seas fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”
To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then?”

The American laughed and said that’s the best part. “When the time is
right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the
public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions, really? Then what?”

The American said, “You could then retire, and move to a small fishing
village where you could sleep late, fish a little, play with your
kids, take a late afternoon nap with your wife, stroll to the village
in the evenings, and sip rum and play your guitar with your friends.”


“Living The Dream”

Tammy & Steve


Still in Brockport, NY

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We were surprised to learn that they have entertainment in the Park here.  It was the George Hogan band out of Nashville TN.  We hadn’t heard of them either but it was a country band that played Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson type music.  Not the greatest but by the crowd he is a favorite and been to Brockport before.  A nice little perk.  I enjoyed it more than Tammy.  She was busy making potato salad.

It was a busy day as we finished running the lines through the mast.  Something that is much easier with the mast down.  The wiring inside the mast was a mess so we cleaned it up and brought it up to current boat standards.  Then I put a couple of DC outlets in the V-berth, so Tam can charge her phone.

We saw these very interest canal cruisers yesterday.  I talked to the fellow about his boat.  There  are were 4 of these boats  parked along the canal wall.  But they are actually rental boats.  You rent it by the day, week or month.

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They are called Channel Masters

A week is $3000 and it has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a full kitchen.  The place you rent them from takes you out and shows you how to operate them and even takes you through a lock so you feel comfortable operating it.

Today we will be moving on , as soon as I finish the blog this morning.


How much deeper would the ocean be if sponges didn’t grow in it?


“Living The Dream”

Tammy & Steve


Brockport NY

They said that we would have to pay to stay at Brockport NY.  So we almost bypassed it.   Paying for a slip at almost all marinas is something we try and avoid, as it usually runs $1.35 to $2.00 per foot per night.  Adventure is 34 feet long so it generally means $46 to $68 per night.  That is one of the reasons we try to anchor out at night because they can’t charge you to anchor, as long as you do not interfere with anyone else.  The point is when I asked Art the cost to stay in Brockport he said $15 with all amenities.  I couldn’t believe it and said I’ll stay, then when I went in to pay he said he had made a mistake and it was actually $12.  The next day we said we wanted to go to Wamart and asked if they had a cab or bus service available.  They said no then offered to drive us at no charge using their personal vehicle.  I was Wowed.


Art is a volunteer at the Brockport visitor center and met us at the docking wall.

So Sue drove us to Walmart then came back an hour later and picked us up and brought us back to the boat.  The people we have been meeting along our travels have been great and made this trip so enjoyable.


We are staying at least 2 if not 3 nights here while I work on the boat.  With the mast down I will rerun all the wiring in the mast and change out all lights to LED.  When using the Anchor there is one light that I have on at the top of the mast.  It will use about 15% of my battery for just that light overnight.  By changing it to LED we reduce the electricity by 900%.  So it will save us on battery usage significantly.

The ducks are friendly to!  As long as you feed them.


A little shorter today but things are settling more into routine.


After a terrible collision both boat owners clung to the only remaining capsized hull still floating. Boat Owner #
1) “Miraculously neither of us were hurt and I had the good fortune to be able to contact help before sinking, it must be a sign that we’re going to be best friends for a very long time.” Boat Owner # 2) “Ya know, I think your
right!” # 1) “Look over there, I think I see a bottle of rum floating. I’ll go a get it so we can celebrate our new
found friendship.” After retrieving the rum, the second sailor took it and downed a goodly amount. # 2) “Here
buddy”, as he reached to hand the bottle to the first sailor. # 1) “No thanks, I’ll just wait until the Coast Guard gets here!”

“Living the Dream”

   Tammy and Steve


First stop is Middleport NY

The Erie Canal floats over roads and creek beds.  Interesting how the Erie is actually an aquaduct that is frequently a bridge over an obstacle that you travel down.

The Erie Canal floats over roads and creek beds. Interesting how the Erie is actually an aqueduct that is frequently a bridge over an obstacle that you travel down.  Difficult to explain but I will try to get a better picture.  Here the Erie is a bridge over 100 feet wide that is over a creek bed.

We thought of Cooper (our grandson) when we saw this boat and something he would play with.

We thought of Cooper (our grandson) when we saw this boat and something he would play with.

We thought of the Big Apple as we traveled past this large apple.  One of the big items grown in NY is apples.  The groves line the Erie Canal.

We thought of the Big Apple as we traveled past this large apple. One of the big items grown in NY is apples. The groves line the Erie Canal.



Some friends we met in Middleport. They were very helpful with were to stop on the Erie Canal

That is Don waving and John seated in the background.

We are going to try and take more pictures of the people we meet as we travel.  Everyone has been so helpful and friendly.

Some friends we met in Middleport. They were very helpful with were to stop on the Erie Canal

Dana the bridge lift operator in Middleport

Dana the bridge lift operator in Middleport

When we got to the bridge, Dana came out and helped us out with some suggestions.

We continued on to Brockport, NY were we stopped for the night.


This one is for you William

The captain is always right. Misinformed perhaps,
sloppy, crude, bull headed, fickle, even stupid, but never
“Living the Dream”
  Tammy & Steve


Heading up the Erie Canal

We had to do one more thing before we went into the Erie Canal.

I had to put the Swimsuit on and dive under “Adventure” and unwrap the dock line from around the prop.  When I removed it I also checked for any damage to the drive shaft, strut, or bottom of “Adventure”.  Fortunately there was no damage and we were fine to go.  If you remember last year when we brought the boat to Superior from Waukegan a similar incident occurred and we bent the shaft and pushed a hole up through the bottom.  This time we stopped it right away and now know not to try to start it again until we know what is wrong.

Then we were ready to leave for the Erie Canal.  Mast down, instruments working, and the prop clear we said good-bye to our friends at Smith Boy’s marina.

I think George was happy because of all the issues that came up with getting the engine instruments working!

I think George was happy because of all the issues that came up with getting the engine instruments working!

Wendy was fantastic.  The advertisement in the Cruising Guide said they had a hot dog stand.  This year they didn't and we gave them a bad time telling them one of the reasons we came to Smith Boy's was because of the hot dog stand.  Wendy offered to drive us to another hot dog stand in town.

Wendy was fantastic. The advertisement in the Cruising Guide said they had a hot dog stand. This year they didn’t and we gave them a bad time telling them one of the reasons we came to Smith Boy’s was because of the hot dog stand. Wendy offered to drive us to another hot dog stand in town.

Shannon was great.  I think she felt bad about giving us our bill.

Shannon was great. I think she felt bad about giving us our bill.

More great people to meet.  We have been fortunate through the entire trip meeting great people along the entire way.

OK good byes complete we were off.

After circling the Island we headed up the Tonawanda creek and officially entered the Erie Canal.


Not the best of pictures but welcomes you to the Erie Canal.

The Erie Canal is for pleasure craft only.  There is are no freighters small enough to fit on it anymore.  So the Canal is owned and operated by the state of New York.  Thank you New York.

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Some boat houses along the Tonawanda creek.  They include boat garage and the entire house.  Talk about a lake home.

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We were nervous going under our first bridge making sure we fit.


we love the wildlife we see.

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This was in someones yard.  We saw the light house and canon.


Notice how Tammy has a rope wrapped around the cable and a boat hook to push away with. She is using the combination to keep us close enough to the wall yet the boat hook pushes us away from the wall.


The couple behind us locking through at the same time.

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It is 18 miles from the beginning of the Tonawanda creek before you reach the first lock.  They are a 2 step lock because you enter the first one and go down then move forward right into the second one and continue down.  At that point you have descended 50 feet.

Now for a little humor:

A reporter was interviewing a Tugboat Captain who was celebrating his 82nd birthday. He was the oldest captain on the river..
At the end of the interview the reporter said, “I would love to come back and see you again when you reach 90.
The captain said, ” Don’t see why not. You look healthy enough to make it!”

“Living the Dream”

Steve and Tammy


Unstepping the mast in Tonawada (Unstepping?)

I’ll start with unstepping the mast.  Unstepping the mast means taking the mast off the mounts on the boat.  For us that is major because the mast goes through the  cabin roof all the way to the keel of the boat (or bottom of the boat).   “Adventure has to have her mast unstepped in order to travel down the Erie Canal.  With the mast up we are 52′ from the water line to the top of the mast.  A problem on the Erie canal because the bridge clearance is only 15′.

We met with Rob and Geoff to plan the unstepping of our mast.  They wanted us to move over to the hoist so they could lift it straight up and lay it down.  We we need horses, think large saw horses used in shops, to lay the mast down and tie it to “Adventure”.

Moving “Adventure” to the hoist became an issue trying to get her out of the slip.  While backing out Wahyne from another boat helping dropped the line in the water and it went through the prop and stopped the engine.  Tom and William can remember that happening one other time.  I grabbed a knife and cut the line.  Fortunately the engine started and the prop would work.  So we got it around to the hoist location on the marina.

We also met George who was going to look at our instrument gauges and get them working.

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George the engine instrument man.

He started working on the instruments right away.  Trying to get everything to match became a problem so he was busy.  The decision to use our new alternator came into play when the old alternator did not have the tachometer lead.

Then Rob told us we would have to build horses for the mast and Mike would come over and measure for them the next morning.  So the unstepping would not happen until the next day.  But he said we could remove all the Stays and shroud cables.  (The wires going to the mast that supports it.  We would also remove and fold the Main Sail and the Genoa Sail.  That kept us busy for the balance of the day.  (My best excuse for getting behind on the blog.

The following morning Mike showed up at 10 AM and measured for the horses.

We continued getting everything set to unstep the mast.they showed up with the horses and we started the unstepping process.  It was imortant to us to work quickly as there were 3 of them and they charged $105 per hour.  So I’ll stop writing and show you the pictures Tam took.

Installing the forward horse

Installing the forward horse

Installing the aft horse.

Installing the aft horse.

If you have used a nail gun Mike went wild nailing the horses together with a nail gun.

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The Travel Lift and attaching it to the mast getting ready to pull it out.

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Pulling the mast out then swinging it up onto the horses.  A lot of horsepower.


Rob putting the mast unto the aft horse


The mast laying down.  Poor “Adventure”.  IMG_3618

Geoff and I talking about the plan to put the Dinghy on the deck as well.

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The Dinghy is deflated and on top of the cabn

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The mast tied down (Duct Taped mostly) and ready to leave.

This is the actual transcript of a radio conversation between a British Navy ship and the Irish Coastguard, off the coast of Kerry:

Irish. Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south, to avoid collision

British. Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the north, to avoid collision

Irish. Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the south ‘ to avoid collision.

British. This is the Captain of a British Navy Ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Irish. Negative. I say again, you will have to divert YOUR course



Headed to the Erie

“Live Your Dreams”

At 2 PM