Category: 2017: Trent Severn & Erie Canal

Pittsford to Holley NY

Another beautiful day and we were off immediately after breakfast (see prior blog).

Our new strategy for locking through has proven successful and beneficial. Decide what side of the lock is in better condition, then choose a line to secure the bow to “<Side>, <Line number>; i.e. “Port 6”. While the lock conditions seem to have improved, we did go through some where parts of the wall and other debris have fallen near other boats locking through with us. So far, so good.

On the entrance to our first lock today we encountered two logs directly in front of us, but were able to nudge them just off center (very slowly, I might add) to get them alongside us. That, followed by quick blast of the front thruster got them safely away from the hull. Hmm, new use for the thrusters!!


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The canal continued as described yesterday – very parklike setting. We continued on and crossed the Genesee River (which takes you north to Rochester), we also went through the longest stretch of rock that was cut through on the canal, followed by four lift bridges. When the bridges are down there is ~3′ clearance, they lift to about 15′ clearance. The bridge operators work two bridges at a time so they drive back and forth between them to lift and lower as needed. Some delays are inevitable but they do a pretty good job trying to keep things moving. We have eleven more of these before the end of the canal system. We finally settled into Holley around 3:30 PM.

Holley’s wall area is as described – a real park setting with a 50′ waterfall a short walk away. Met a number of really nice people here, including Dale and Carol, a couple from the North Star Sail Club (on the Clinton River!) along with Mike and Carol, who have navigated up from Florida.

Did another drone flight as well as a walk to the falls and into town.


Tomorrow we are planning for a bit of a long run, potentially to Tonawanda, NY, unless of course something distracts us along the way.



Palmyra to Pittsford, NY


Woke up to a picture perfect morning in Palmyra and continued our way west on the Erie Canal. The canal today transitioned from the river to parts of the canal that were dredged out, and in doing so the scenery opened up on both sides with a lot of park like settings. The communities along this section of the canal had taken advantage of the pathway's along the canal, and have converted them into walking and biking paths – really pretty settings.


While en-route to Pittsford, we stopped at Fairport just ahead of our first lift bridge. The lift bridge in Fairport is in "Ripley's Believe it or Not" because of a number of interesting aspects. First, its 700+ tons in weight, but is counter-balanced such that a 40 HP motor can lift it. Second, because no two angles are the same and there are no 90 degree angles.


We ended up stopping here for about 2 hours, had a great lunch at the "Tow Path Grille" (definitely recommended), and Melodie got very upset because I said no to Ice Cream, to which I finally succumbed to after her having a tantrum in front of several bystanders (just kidding). I also came across a GREAT guitar store on the south side of the canal – this place was jam packed with a lot of very fine instruments. A good place to explore for the guitar buff. No, I came away empty handed, but had a nice look-around.



Anyhow, after that we continued on to Pittsford. Pittsford, like Fairport, is a really nice town.  Lots of restaurants and stores to browse. Despite that we ended up eating onboard as lunch had pretty much filled us up. While walking around Pittsford I came across a "lumberyard" there that I decided to check out, and frankly, I was dumbfounded. Right alongside the canal it sits, and not only had a great old yellow lab at the entrance, had an amazing selection of lumber, both domestic and exotics in a variety of sizes. A truly awesome find. In addition, while looking around I came across a old Stanley "Bed Rock" plane for sale in really good condition, as well as some beautiful curly maple wood. Of course I could not resist, and ended up with both – my find for the trip.

Melodie also had success in one of the stores uptown, purchasing a bracelet that I needed to help her remove, after she purchased it of course. Hmm.. part of a shopping strategy?

The following morning we walked up to a terrific bakery by the canal, and indulged in Quiche, fresh fruit, and almond croissants. Not a bad start to the morning!

Off to Holley – All the best!



Seneca Falls to Palmyra, NY

_DSC0654We got an earlier start than our normal 10:55 AM today to make the trip from Seneca Falls to Palmyra, leaving just before 9:00 AM. Beautiful day all the way, quite warm and sunny. We took our time staying well below the speed limits ranging from 10 to 30 MPH, and we probably averaged around 8 knots all day. We arrived at Palmyra at 3:30 or so, after traversing through 7 locks in total.

New routine on the locks.
At the last lock prior to Palmyra, we did our normal thing, I let Melodie know what line to reach for on the bow, counting from the entrance to the line desired, and then I grab the stern line after shutting the engine off. Well, what we didn’t notice on the starboard/north wall of the lock was how bad the concrete had deteriorated on our preferred starboard tie. We were in the bottom of the lock, maybe 20 feet. I pulled on the stern line to bring the stern in, and a five to ten pound chunk of concrete literally fell off of the top of the lock, just missing both me and the side of the boat. Kerplunk!! After that fragments continued to fall, but since we kept the boat about four feet off the wall, everything proceeded without incident.
Suggested locking procedure for anyone using the lock, and our new plan:

  1. Look at the quality of the sidewalls of the lock.
  2. Select the sidewall in the best condition.
  3. Then select which line to use as the forward tie.

Palmyra has a really unique facility for boaters, in that their dock wall is actually in a cove off of the canal. Includes power and pump out capability at each tie. Couple that with free shore power and dockage and it all stack up into a nice offering from the towns along the Erie Canal – SWEET!  Went for a nice bike ride through town, nice old buildings. Definitely a nice place to stop for the night.


Montour Falls, NY


Friday morning started out a bit cloudy, but all in all the weather was warm and perfect for a trip down Lake Seneca to Montour Falls, NY. As such we proceeded through 1 more lock to get to Lake Seneca, for the 38 mile run to the bottom.

The lake was pretty calm, waves of one foot or less, so we made really good headway at 20.5 knots, and slowed down for the last 45 minutes or so as we were going to arrive a bit earlier than Jim, who had planned to get there around 3:00 PM to guide us to a slip for the weekend. _DSC0520Around 3:30 or so we got to Montour Falls Campground to meet up with Jim, Shelley, Heidi, and her children, Emerson and Cooper. We started getting introduced to all of their friends, and frankly got the feeling that they had known us for a long time (I wonder what kinds of stories in preparation Jim and Shelley had provided everyone? 🙂 ).

Anyhow, we were treated very kindly and found everyone to be really nice, fun and great to hang with. Shelley was returning from a business trip and arrived later that night. It felt really great to see them, since we had not seen them for at least a couple of years.

The following morning (Saturday) we loaded everyone up on the MnM and headed out to the lake, both to give Jim and Shelley a feel for the boat, but also to take a dip in the lake. We unloaded the dinghy and took the kids (Mike, Heidi, Emerson and Cooper) for a ride to the shallows, to do some messin around in the water. Just like being back at home. Melodie, Shelley and Jim stayed back on the boat for some libation and snacks. The kids were great fun, they sent me up nicely and got me wet, felt good.

After taking the boat back to the slip, we proceeded to the “Oar House” by dinghy for happy hour, and wrapped up the evening with some pizza and entertainment by J&S’s friends Jim and Mike – with some “interesting” twists on the lyrics for a few songs.

Sunday morning we said our good bye’s and made our way back up Lake Seneca to Seneca Falls for the night. At Shelley’s recommendation we had some great salads at Parker’s Grill.
Special thanks to Jim and Shelley – Heidi and family, and all of our new friends for making us feel so welcome and at home. We enjoyed it so much. If any of you get up our way, please look us up.


Baldwinsville/Seneca Falls, NY


Left Oswego, NY precisely at our normal departure time (10:55).  I have no idea why that is – guess we’re boating creatures of habit at this point.  Headed down the Oswego river through 8 locks, traveled around 37 miles and arrived in Baldwinsville NY around 4:00 PM.


Baldwinsville, NY

We tied to the wall on the upper side of the lock, directly across from the Budweiser Amphitheatre there, and had really good seats on the stern of the MnM for a local band – who was really quite good – even I didn’t complain (might as well say it; if I don’t Melodie will).  A lot of people came to the park and by boat to watch the band.  One couple even danced on their boat, it was cute.


Got up the next morning and had breakfast at the ‘Canal Walk’ restaurant near the lock

-GREAT BREAKFASTS.  Great setting and a place with great character.  After that we spent some time walking through town and stocking up on some needed supplies before heading on to Seneca Falls.


Seneca Falls, NY

To get to Seneca falls we had three locks to traverse and around 37 miles to travel – down the Oswego River to Three Rivers Junction, then westward on the Erie Canal to the Erie Canal/Cayuga-Seneca junction.  Went through some really nice areas, including part of the canal through the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, before arriving in Seneca Falls that afternoon.


Seneca Falls has done a nice job of addressing boaters needs, with decent washroom facilities and immediately available washers and dryers – less than 50 yard from the wall.  We definitely plan to take advantage of that tomorrow.

In any event, we headed over to ‘Dewey’s Third Ward’ on a recommendation from Jim (of Jim and Shelley fame).  We were not disappointed, and took advantage of their $4.00 wings special (10 wings for 4 bucks) and a couple wrap sandwiches.  The walk there and back did us both good, and we then enjoyed a quiet night on the wall.


Decided to spend Thursday in Seneca Falls to get some laundry done, clean the boat and relax for the rest of the day.  After the hard work cleaning we had beverages and a light lunch at the Sequestered Tavern which was very good.  Another very nice day.


Clayton, NY

With the intent of being at the bottom of Seneca Lake on Friday, we decided on Sunday morning to spend the day exploring the Thousand Islands and to head to Clayton NY for the night.  Doing so would provide us plenty of time to navigate the Oswego River, Eirie Canal and Cayuga-Seneca canal prior to a run down Seneca Lake.  In doing so, we had a great time taking the northern route on the Canadian side through the St. Lawrence Seaway and meandering around the islands, then the Southern Route on the US side, going past Boldt Castle and through the American Narrows.  The current though that cut is UNREAL – for those in the know, its like going under the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia – for several miles.  Really strong, with lots of whirlpools and eddy’s.  It was great fun.

Arriving in Clayton we were able to tie up along the municipal wall and caught the tail end of the Antique boat show that was going on.  We walked through town, and Melodie was really happy, as the town had several shops including one with “stickers” of the Thousand Islands, Clayton, etc.  She stocked up just in case of…. something, of which I do not know.  Maybe to tape over my mouth to shut me up?


Had a great dinner at Johnson House and spent the evening exploring the town and the marina adjacent to the municipal wall.

IMG_0722Found a fix me up for Nick, and also some really cool old boats – what style!  While there we also came across “Compass Rose” from, maybe Frankfort MI???  cannot remember – claiming right of retirement – a Back Cove 41 on the hard that was getting buffed up for the continuation of its Great Loop trip.








The next morning (Monday) we spent the time going back into the Antique Boat Museum.  This is a very worthwhile place to visit – the boats they have are really interesting, from dugout canoes to various speedboats and cruisers to several racing boats.  The information provided about boating history was really informative, and we had a chance to board a few of the boats to see what “innovations” they contained.  I’ve got to say – some of the layouts were really interesting and could be used today.

Early afternoon we headed from Clayton to Oswego, NY, a trip of about 60 miles out of the St. Lawrence and south in Lake Ontario.  MnM has now been in all of the Great Lakes except Superior (something it will experience on another journey).  Lake Ontario treated us well – so well that Melodie got comfy in the lounge area and read a book, eventually falling asleep and leaving all responsibility in my hands.  What freedom!!!


We arrived in Oswego later afternoon, fueled up, etc., and got all secured just prior to a great evening thunderstorm.

Great couple of days…..

Mike & Melodie.

Hanging in Gananoque


So… when we arrived in Gananoque, the plan was to spend a night in the marina, explore town, restock then head out to some anchorages over the next few days.  Then we reviewed the weather report, as did seemingly several other people here, and we all elected to stay in the marina as severe thunderstorms and high winds were predicted on Thursday and Friday.  Well, Thursday was sunny, hot and beautiful.  Friday predicted even worse, better stay put… Friday was sunny, hot and beautiful until about 6:00 PM when storms finally came through; but not all the fire and brimstone that was predicted.

Anyway,  on both beautiful days we took the dinghy out on excursions of the anchorages we planned to take advantage of and chose a couple of potential locations, as well as cruising around the Admiralty Island chain.  We figured we’d at least get to the anchorage on Saturday.  We woke on Saturday to 20 knot winds with higher gusts, it was blowing to beat the band!  (NOAA indicated 10 – 12, with occasional 13 foot waves on Lake Ontario). So we stayed another day, and here we sit Saturday night still in Gananoque Marina.  All in all not a bad place to be with the Thousand Islands right here.

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The dinghy outings were a lot of fun, went all over the place exploring.  So many islands and coves.  Some spectacular houses, BIG fish jumping (Muskie?), birds.  We did see evidence of the high water everywhere, several docks just barely under water (instead of the other way around), some all you saw were the cleats as evidence there was a dock in there somewhere.  There were also a lot of boats in the anchorages, ends up we’re here in the middle of a two week construction shutdown up in Quebec, so all the boaters from Quebec are here!  WooHoo!!  As elsewhere, meeting a lot of great people and exchanging boating and travel stories.  Man, a lot of people are out and doing some serious cruising.  The person next to us here bought their first boat (45 ft) and just completed the Great Loop as their first outing!

Anyway…here are some pictures from the dinghy rides, walks and bike rides in town.

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And tomorrow….we’re going out to anchor!!! (at least that’s the plan!) 🙂