We came to the fork in the river…………

AND WE TOOK IT!!!!

That is, the fork in the waterway leading into the Erie Canal!

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THE FORK IN THE RIVER  (Hudson River to the right, Mohawk River to the left.)

JUST SO YOU DON’T GET CONFUSED!!!!

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THUS begins our part of this journey through the Erie Canal  We departed Coeyman’s Landing Marina this past Wed., July 27, 2016.  We cruised past Albany, NY and on to Troy where we encountered our first lock, called the Troy Federal Lock.

This phase of the trip consists of 35 locks, including the Troy Federal Lock, and a distance of 340.7 miles.  The original canal was a total of 363 miles.  Its construction began in 1817 and was completed in 1825!  This canal was a marvel for its time and a boon to industry and travel by connecting the Hudson River with Lake Erie.  The present day canal that we are cruising was completed in 1903.   We have noted some of the older canal sections, as historically it followed a more flat part of the area due to the use of mules to pull the 30 ft. barges along the canal.   The canal was dug alongside the rivers, such as the Mohawk and Niagra Rivers.

Day 1 on the canal we made our first big boy and big girl lock thru – the Troy Federal Lock.  The Troy lock is a 15 foot rise.  I hear cursing under y’all’s breath now —” good grief, is Shoemaker going to take us thru each and every darn lock ??? ”      NO   — relax.

The locks have their own protocols and routines that you must follow and the lock-masters are the bosses.  Procedure into the locks is slow and cautious, one boat at a time.  Securing one’s vessel is done in one of two ways OR sometimes both — lines or cables.  The cables/pipes are built into recessed areas  in the lock walls and the lines are long “lines’ or ropes that are secured at the top of the locks and they just dangle into the water with a weight at the bottom to hold them against the lock wall.  We move into the lock and find one or the other  – cables or lines – and stop the boat to secure it.  Hank will place a line around the cable at the center of the boat.  This line then slides up OR down that cable or large pipe, as water is fed into the lock.  It can not be tied tight as it needs to slide along the cable as we rise (or fall).  IF we are having to use “lines” to secure the boat, I will position the boat to a forward line that Hank grabs hold of with gloves on.  I then thrust the stern over to the wall and move as fast as I can down the ladder to grab the second line at the stern.  Then we just hang on and keep the boat as straight and as close to the lock wall as possible.   Once the lock is filled and the lock master opens the gates to leave and gives us the green light, I let go — get my tush back up to the fly bridge helm and when ready Hank lets go of his line and out the gates we head.

After “taking the fork”  we  tied up at Waterford, NY where Hank conducted some business and I went to the grocery for supplies.  Once you leave Waterford, one must go thru 5 locks one right after the other.  After confirming with the first lock master  that we could get thru all 5 locks before they closed – which is 6 PM –    we elected to move ahead and left Waterford around 3:00PM.    After traveling from South of Albany and thru these first 6 locks we were ready for the day to end.

Interestingly along this Erie Canal there are many free docks where you can just tie up for the night.   Some have water and power, some do not.  We tied up along a wall for that first night just a short distance past that last lock.  No power, no water.  But quiet and peaceful   UNTIL we realized that our generator was running BUT not generating.     ggggggrrrrrrr   Those danged boat gremlins are at it again!!!

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FIRST LOCK ——TROY FEDERAL LOCK
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BOATS THAT WENT THRU THE LOCK WITH US.
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CABLE IN RECESSED WALL AREA
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HANK AT THE READY WITH BOAT HOOK TO “FEND THE BOAT OFF THE LOCK WALL” IF NEEDED!

 

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GATES OPENING —  FIRST BOAT IN, FIRST BOAT OUT.
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SOME OF THESE LOCKS ARE HUGE!

INSTRUCTIONS – REPEAT THE ABOVE 34 MORE TIMES UNTIL YOU REACH LAKE ERIE!

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