Since leaving E-5 Lock Viridian and Crew have been traveling alone for most of the last 3 days. The faster boats in the first 3 locks zoomed ahead of us and locked through long before we could get there so that cleared the way in front. Behind us the boats in the second flight were always one lock behind and there must have not been any fast boats otherwise they would have passed us somewhere between the locks.
Finding ourselves in this isolated gap of westbound boaters, we just pulled back the RPMs to get 6 kts (7 mph) speed and motored west like we were the only ones on the canal. The last two overnight stops were both on free docks out in the country surrounded by tall forest covered hills and manicured farm land. The only people we saw were the lock masters as they filled the chamber to carry our lone boat up another step to a higher elevation. Traveling this way you get a feeling of what it must have been like in the old days where all a boater saw was fields, hills, water and forest. The occasional freight or passenger train would roll by on its steel wheels with that rhythmic slapping noise that some trains do as they fade away into the landscape. What a peaceful and drama free cruise these last few days have been. There are no tides, currents, wave heights to plan our cruise around. No more salt water for the rest of the way back home to Huntsville, AL. There is plenty of deep water to run Viridian through, too. There are just as many free docks to pick from as there are marinas, maybe more. The only reason to stay at a marina is to get things done that can only can be done in a marina. As long as our batteries, fuel, fresh water and holding tank are good then we can stay anywhere we find to tie up. Anchoring can be done in a few places but why bother when so many docks are available to tie to for free.
Today we traversed locks E-17 through E 19 and stayed at the Aqua Vino Restaurant face dock in the community of Utica, NY. (it was time to do some marina things). After eating lunch we walked into town where Meg got her hair trimmed at a salon and on the way back we found the ice cream store and, well, we got some.
Later, we walked over to the restaurant and ordered our pre-anniversary (32 years) meal. We also visited with Captain Mike of Dash Away and got caught up on his travels over the last several days.
That's the news and here's some views:
We are here
Today's Route from Herkimer Home to Aqua Vino Restaurant, NY
A sunset freight train rumbles east across the Mohawk River
Cool night temps made for a foggy sunrise
View from the plastic T-dock
Goodbye to a great place to stop
E-17, was once the highest lift anywhere at 40 feet
Had it all to ourselves
Some views along the way
It's a chair
More security gates
Smooth, calm waters and deep too!
Man made section of the Erie
Yet another set of security gates
E-19 with the grumpy old lock master
Viridian and Dash Away tied to the floating face dock at Aqua Vino Restaurant, NY
Viridian and Dash Away on the face dock