Last night we got a rainbow, which probably is just the full spectrum of visible light being refracted through water droplets but also may signify that a leprechaun is going to deliver us gold or something. Obviously we’re hoping for the latter. We figured the latter is unlikely, however, so we decided to move on this morning.
Since that time we hoisted the Gold burgee at green 69A, we’ve mostly been seeing stuff we saw last year. Fun stuff. Cool stuff. But old stuff. Familiarity breeds contempt and all that. So today was a good day because we’re now into new stuff. But first, one last time through the Federal Lock at Troy.
At the junction of the Erie Canal and the Champlain Canal (via the Hudson River), this time we took the path less traveled.
The area isn’t exactly a yellow wood—although there’s still wood floating along around us—but we think old Bob Frost would approve. At least from the perspective of seeing the new stuff, the Champlain route will make all the difference.
Just like that, the river narrowed. And shallowed. And emptied of boats other than ours. And was awesome.
On the first Erie lock, we did a time-lapse video on an iPhone. Looking back it was a pretty rudimentary job. For the first Champlain Lock, we busted out the GoPro Doug bought back in Fort Lauderdale. Much better.
Ordinarily this would portend good video to come. Alas no. Mallory is snaking the camera to use on her AT hike. Regardless, we cruised through the first four Champlain locks almost without slowing down. (We do admit it was kind of sad though, going through locks without Second Wave pinballing around and firing cleats ahead of us.)
The only slightly scary part of the day was the railroad bridge with the 17-foot clearance. It even had some sort of cross to mark where it kills radars and KVH antennas. Back at Shady Harbor we got Misty Pearl down to a few inches below the steel scalpel, so feel like we pretty much stuck it to the entire state of New York.
Mostly, however, the river was gorgeous.
Just short of today’s destination, we passed the backside of the Saratoga battlefield.
This is where a plucky band of underdog agrarian malcontents defeated the imperial redcoats, setting the stage for us to use real money rather than that colorful nonsense with Queen Elizabeth—who we calculate must’ve been about ten years old in 1777—on it. God’s currency is measured in dollars, not pounds or euros, and everybody knows it.
Schuyler’s Yacht Basin—where we stopped for the night—is, um, not exactly what one might expect from something called a “Yacht Basin.”
That said, it’s our kind of place. Small and quiet. Almost like an anchorage, except with a dock and a restaurant and an easy walk into town.
Before we rounded the last bend in the river, we saw the top of a monument of some sort. We asked our waitress about it. In fairness, she was (1) young and (2) only recently moved here. Her guess of “World War I, or World War II, or maybe World War III” still was pretty farfetched, although Dana hopes maybe she was being funny. We walked up to the monument to find out more.
Not surprisingly, the monument actually is for that same victory over the British at Saratoga. Just down the hill, a much smaller marker celebrates the spot where the big losers actually put down their arms in surrender.
Woah! Arguably this is the most important site in American history (although the qualifier “near” on the plaque is a tad ambiguous.) And yet the marker is just plopped in a parking lot. What’s worse, the folks at Byron’s Market—who apparently own the parking lot—threaten to impose a $20 fine on anyone who stops to visit the literal Birthplace of America but doesn’t patronize the market. That’s not just rude, it’s downright unpatriotic. Hell, Byron probably welcomes pounds and euros.
Anyway, we’re tied up for the evening.
Then, just before dark, another boat docked in front of us. We didn’t pay much attention until they stopped by. No joke, it was Mystic Pearl, carrying a cute family up from New Jersey on vacation.
They locked through all day just behind us, which apparently caused a combination of confusion and incredulity for the lockmasters. Just for fun we’d travel with them tomorrow except that Mystic Pearl goes about a zillion times faster than Misty Pearl can muster.