So the scary 17’ C-5 railroad bridge proved so uneventful—thanks to the same Aubrey and Mike we thanked last post—that we didn’t even take a photo. They told us we would be good on Friday all the way through to Whitehall, but to let them know when we reached Lock 7 in Fort Edward just to make sure. So off we went from Schuylerville, carefree and happy. Some of the bridges looked tight, but no worries. Aubrey and Mike were all over it.
Shortly before Fort Edward we reached Billings Island, in the middle of the Hudson River.
The bizarre part isn’t that there’s an island in the middle of the Hudson River, but that there’s an airstrip in the middle of the Hudson River.
If Brent and Karen had the foresight to fly from San Antonio straight into August Field, we’d have scooped them up by now.
Anyway, Mike cheerfully met us at Lock 7. No worries all the way through, he assured us. All the pools up the line had been lowered for us. At that point we barely slowed down for bridges, even if they looked dicey. And frankly, they all looked dicey.
As we approached Lock 8, Billy hailed us to check our height. Yup, still 17’4”. “Hmmm,” he said. “After you get through the lock, tie off on the wall. I need to confirm something.” Hmmm indeed.
Miss Lily stopped with us for what we all assumed would be just a hot minute. The short of it is that someone didn’t get the message, and the New Swamp Road Bridge was sitting at 17’2”. After an hour and a half—enjoyed only by Oscar—Billy came back in his truck to say the water was down and we probably could get through.
Billy also said he’d meet us at the bridge, although despite the full thirty minutes it took us to get there we couldn’t figure out how his being present might help in the event our fiberglass hardtop struck a steel bridge. And just that fact that he was going to the trouble was a tad disconcerting. But there he was, waiting for us when we arrived.
It later occurred to us that maybe he was there to take before and after photos to show his friends. After we slid by, however, he reported that we cleared by six inches. Turns out six inches—in bridge clearance as in other aspects of life—generally is more than adequate. The vultures literally waiting on the other side of the bridge were left disappointed.
From there we had smooth cruising through the cool canal.
The Tavern at Lock 12 is one of our favorite joints along the waterways. Friday night was hopping. Sadly the WiFi and cell service were wanting, so Doug couldn’t watch the first super regional baseball game.
Even more sadly the number one Volunteers lost to the holier-than-thou dirt balls of Notre Dame, which set the stage for yet another Big Orange Disappointment. But we do love Whitehall Marina, despite of—or because of—its quirks.
One of those quirks is a new boatyard cat, who demands belly rubs and presumptuously hopped aboard Miss Lily like she owned the boat, not caring a whit that Dave is highly allergic.*
One last thing about Whitehall. Whitehall claims to be the birthplace of the United States Navy, because the first Navy vessel was built here. The United States Navy is a pretty big deal, such that the historical marker seemingly deserves better than to be oddly juxtaposed with old jet skis and semi-derelict runabouts.
Whitehall is at the very tippy southern point of Lake Champlain, which not surprisingly is named after the same French explorer Samuel de Champlain who gave us Quebec City, which is famous for the Plains of Abraham and as the place we first met No Drama, yet another out-of-place Arizona boat. The lower part of Lake Champlain is called the “brown lake.” For obvious reasons.
Fort Ticonderoga is on the brown lake, and also is where the dirty Brits set up shop until Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys took it over in 1775.
We’re not into recycling material from our last trip through, but our bit about Ethan Allen and his furniture was solid gold.
We wheeled into Westport—a new stop for us—at about 3:45. Nobody answered the radio. Nobody answered the phone. Later we learned that they knocked off at 3 without bothering to let us know in advance. Fortunately our clueless bobbing-about caught the eye of the nice folks aboard Where’s Lucas, who grabbed some friends and directed us to a place with sufficient depth and working shore power.
Doug later enjoyed sharing beers with them on their oddly named boat. Great people.
The kid in the back jumped aboard to help Doug when we moved spots while Dana and Oscar were off the boat. His six-year-old brother is Lucas, who tends to wander off. Hence the boat name. True story.
Although Westport had no restaurants, or stores, or much of anything else open on a nice Saturday afternoon, Dana did buy delicious strawberries—which she later fashioned into delicious strawberry bread—from an Amish dude with a horse and a cart and a sleeping toddler.
The Amish came to America to escape religious persecution, much like Becky’s Huguenot ancestors. They grow everything but mustaches. Amish are pacifists who get along well with everyone except possibly Mennonites, who also are part of an Anabaptist sect but one that isn’t quite as Anabaptisty and allows cars and such.
One last thing about Westport. For years, we’ve been plagued by couples who time their weddings to coincide with our travels. As we’ve photographically documented in this blog, they’ve tracked us to Georgia, South Carolina, Vermont, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island, among other places. Add New York to the list. These folks were sneaky enough to have the actual ceremony out of sight, but then made sure that we were there for the traditional post-nuptial “stroll past the canon.”
Today we crossed the part of Lake Champlain they call the “blue lake.” For obvious reasons.
Off on the New York side we have the start of the Adirondack Mountains. Our prior bit about Adirondack chairs? More gold.** Turns out this area is a veritable gold mine for furniture references.
Then on into Burlington, where the wind was gusty but not as bad as predicted. Assuming they figure out the shore power issues, we’ll be here until Dana and Karen decide it’s time to leave. We also love Burlington.
Note: For anyone thinking “Wow this blog post title seems even less relevant to the post than most of their seemingly irrelevant titles,” there is in fact a logical connection. Burlington Harbor Marina is located at 75 Penny Lane, such that every time we look up the telephone number and see the address, the song gets stuck in our heads, where it firmly was residing when the time came to finish this post.
* We never learned the cat’s name, but if her owner is a quantum boat mechanic named Schrödinger, we’re missing an opportunity for a most excellent physics joke.
**This is an appropriate spot for a quick public service reminder that Canadians call them “Muskoka chairs.” Canadians also put gravy on their French fries, of course, so as nice as they are and as much as we like them, they’re hard to trust.