We know from experience how hard it is to get pre-teen girls up in the morning, so no surprise that there weren’t visible signs of life aboard Mystic Pearl when we shoved off from Schuylerville yesterday morning. We figured they’d catch up and pass us soon enough anyway. (Before leaving, however, we answered the question that at one time or another everyone asks. Yup, Schuylerville, New York, indeed was the site of the first flax and linen mill in America.)
Anyway, we had the second half of the Champlain Canal to run. Seven more locks, some up, some down. Plus some gorgeous straightaways.
It was so peaceful and smooth that busting out the drone seemed like a good idea to Doug. It even was so peaceful and smooth that Dana was ambivalent about the drone idea, rather than just grumpy.
There actually ended up being a few near disasters captured on video, but those clips will remain in the same dustbin of history as the photos of Doug with an Afro and Dana with braces.
Wait, did we just mention that some locks go up and some go down? We’ve questioned before how this is possible, but we have an answer for the Champlain Canal. This nondescript little channel comes off the Hudson at the canal high point and feeds water in both directions. At least that’s what the lock guy told us, and since we previously had delivered the phone charger he left at Lock 1 up to where he was working at Lock 2, we figure he wouldn’t mislead us.
The last Champlain lock is Lock 12, which was about three feet from New Whitehall Marina, where we stopped last night. Whitehall claims to be the birthplace of the United States Navy, because Philip Schuyler—whose home we visited in the town named after him—built some ships that Benedict Arnold (before he turned bad and tried to surrender West Point) used to smack the dirty Brits around on Lake Champlain. The new owner of the “marina” is trying mightily to make a go of it. We hope he makes it.
Since the drone was warmed up anyway, Doug flew over the picturesque town for a bit. Dana read. Oscar slept.
The coolest part of the marina is the Tavern at Lock 12. Owned by the same guy who bought the waterfront. We popped in for an early dinner. The bartender loaded up the country music for us, somehow claiming that upstate New York is no different than Texas or Tennessee. Since we previously had made a similar observation, we humored him. The two dudes at the bar chatted with us for quite awhile, either because they were interested in our boat trip or because they liked talking to a pretty girl and were willing to put up with Doug to do it.
Although Whitehall is considered the southern tip of Lake Champlain, for about four hours today Lake Champlain looked pretty much like a river. Apparently there are some good spots to fish down on the skinny bits of the lake. Even our navigational chart identified a good spot to wet a line.
Locals must use the same charts, because lots of folks were out.
We’re not going back just to clarify things with the bartender, but the fact that folks were out fishing proves without a doubt that upstate New York absolutely is not like Texas or Tennessee at all. In Texas or Tennessee, they wouldn’t be fishing. They’d be fishin’. In the spirit of reaching across the Mason-Dixon Line to honor fishermen South AND North, however, we offer a little Robert Earl Keen, from College Station:
It was kind of cloudy and dreary most of the travel day, although the predicted thunderstorms never appeared. The many faces of Lake Champlain still were pretty cool.
At one wide-ish spot, we were cruising along, minding our own business, when a boat came zooming towards us. Is he going to hit us? Is it a ranger? Should we make a run for Canada? Oh wait, it’s just one of our buddies from the bar stopping by to say hell
In addition to bass and walleye, Lake Champlain is full of history. Hey look! Off to starboard is Mt. Independence, where the good guys staved off an early Limey invasion.
Off to port is Fort Ticonderoga, which was used by the bad guys until they lost it to the Green Mountain Boys, led by Vermonter Ethan Allen before he started what his marketing department calls “a high-end chain with stylish & traditional furniture & home accessories, plus design services.”
Ok the bridge might not have historical significance (or maybe it does), but it’s aesthetically pleasing nonetheless.
Depending on what source one trusts, the old lighthouse on Crown Point either is called the Crown Point Light or it’s called the Champlain Memorial Lighthouse, both of which are misleading because it hasn’t been used as a lighthouse since 1926. But Sam de Champlain managed to explore some stuff and kill a bunch of savage Mohawks along the way so clearly he deserves a memorial, no matter what it’s called.
When we reached the first fat part of the lake it looked like it might rain after all.
But nope. The sun popped out, kids jumped in the water, and all was good after we finally got tied up in the narrow slip where Basin Harbor stuck us after forgetting that Misty Pearl is sixteen-feet wide.
This is the first time either of us has been to Vermont, but we know a bit about it because we watched Dick and Joanna run the Stafford Inn with visits from Larry, his brother Daryl, and his other brother Daryl until Bob woke up with Suzanne Pleschette and it was all a dream. Plus we like maple syrup on pancakes. Today we learned that by water, Vermont is pretty cool even if eleven months out of the year all the water is solid.
The sun stayed out, which actually made cleaning Misty Pearl a bit more unpleasant but was better than rain. We’re pretty sure the crazy kids whose wedding we stalked from the bow would agree.
We’re going to go pull Mallory off the trail for a day or two—by car not boat—but will be back to Basin Harbor by the end of the week, ready to get on up the lake. We haven’t had a day off since we left Atlantic City and probably need a break more than Mallory does. We’ll get back to the blog after we do or see something noteworthy. Right now it’s raining again.