On May 19th we arrived at Coeymans Landing Marina in Ravena, NY and rented a car to drive home for appointments and family time. Our boat was safe in this nice little marina on The Hudson River for almost three weeks while we spent time with almost everyone! My kids and Lilah of course, our BFF’s Robyn and Terry, my sister Brenda and all three of my brothers and sisters-in-law and my youngest niece Tessa. We also met up with two of Danny’s brothers and a sister-in law for lunch and I even gave Danny some “alone time” and had lunch with my friend Noreen and a dinner with my friend Doreen. On our last day at home we went to Lilah’s recital and watched her shine – I’m pretty sure a star was born – and we went to my cousin Maureen’s house for a really fun (if not huge!) cousin reunion. I am so very grateful to have seen so many people that I love and that I’ve missed while we’re on this adventure. Especially Sweet Lilah – I know every grandmother that reads this understands the joy of hearing your grandchild call you Grammy (or Grandma or Nunna or something!) and may even get teary-eyed thinking of their little arms wrapped around your neck or their hand in yours. I certainly do. OK, I’m not crying – you’re crying!!!
So, after three weeks we returned to the boat – I’m really afraid if I’d stayed longer I might not have returned, I was starting to settle into a routine there again. Danny, on the other hand, in true Captain Ants in The Pants fashion, couldn’t wait to get back to Done Diggin’ and The Great Loop. It may have been because he spent so much time cleaning up the flower beds and yard while we’re home, he worked his butt off. But everything was starting to bloom and really look beautiful when we left.
Shannon drove back to NY with us and spent 4 days on the boat traveling the Hudson River and was with us as we started The Erie Canal. She just left this morning and I miss her already. This part of the trip is one that Danny and I have both been looking forward to, we’ve read a lot about the unique little towns along the Canal and also about the LOCKS!!!! If you’ve never been through a lock on a boat, it’s really hard to imagine; picture the locks on the Erie as a set of “stair steps” across the state of NY – “liquid elevators” if you will. Big gates open, you enter into the chamber where water is falling between the closed doors ahead of you and you grab onto lines that come down from the walls to secure your boat while the gates close behind you and the water rises (or lowers in some cases) to meet the level of the next body of water. Sound scary? Well, it can be! On our first travel day on the Erie we went through six locks and all but one of them went well. We’ve done a handful of locks prior to this and had some idea of what to expect, but locking, as in any other part of boating, can bring surprises as it did in Lock #5 on the Erie Canal. As Danny was pulling along the wall, Shannon and I were grabbing for the ropes, but this time he wasn’t slowing down! I was yelling “STOP” and Shannon was hanging onto a line for dear life when he yelled that he’d lost control of the boat. In the lock. No control. OH SHIT!!!! In almost no time our 43’ boat went completely sideways in the chamber. This is nightmare-worthy stuff. Thankfully the lockmaster and the boater behind us could see what was happening so they didn’t close the chamber and start filling – I cringe to think what would have happened if that was the case. So here we are not only sideways, but literally wedged into the lock walls. We couldn’t move. Thank God for the kindness of other boaters; after a lot of running back and forth and pushing and trying to go, the boat behind us threw a line and literally pulled us off the wall. We were able to secure, lock through and get out safely. I don’t have pictures of that. I’m kinda glad to be honest, I have to try to get it out of my head!!! We got to Crescent Boat Club in Halfmoon, NY where we had to stay an extra day so that Danny could chase the electrical issue. It literally took all day, but he did it and we were able to travel yesterday to Amsterdam, NY where we’re sitting today waiting out the rain. I am NOT doing locks in the rain. I’m just not that tough!
So, on we go. Armed with life jackets, gloves, a knife just in case we need to cut a line that may get caught – and a major case of the butterflies in my stomach – we will continue our journey West on the Erie Canal then to the Oswego Canal to Lake Ontario. We’ll cross Lake Ontario to enter Canada sometime in the next couple of weeks. We have plenty of company now. We see other Loopers at every wall we tie up to for the night and have had some great conversations and a few docktails with some fun people so far. The scenery and the people continue to be the best part of the trip. I read on someone’s FB post today the the Loop is hours and hours of routine…..interrupted by moments of terror. Yup, I’ve had a minor interruption this week. I’m looking forward to more and more hours of routine and the beautiful scenery promised as we continue to head North. Here we go!!
Thanks for traveling along,
Captain Dan and Cruise Director Jodi