Send in the clowns

We’re old enough to recall way back on Thursday when we were tired of Sackets Harbor so decided to run up and stay in Clayton until Monday.  Yuck.  Huge waves.  Wind.  Rain.  Finger pointing.  Back in the St. Lawrence Seaway, we dodged Beatrix, who was headed to Cleveland in the wind and waves.

One thing we forgot about was current.  As in the same current that gave us a good push on Thursday was going to extend the trip from Clayton to Oswego by at least an hour.  But we safely rounded Tibbets Point—given to one John Tibbets in 1799 before all that war funny business—and Tibbets Point Lighthouse.  It’s one of many “most photographed lighthouses” we’ve passed, so we did our part even though everything was gray and nasty.

Then into the Thousand Islands and Clayton.

After a torrential downpour on the dock, things kind of looked up for a minute.

Until the wind and waves beat the hell out of us all night.  Islander Marina and Lodge is not well-protected.  Actually, it’s not protected at all.

But at least the sun came out on Friday, allowing a walk about town and down memory lane.  We do love Clayton.

More than five years later, the chairs—which are back to being Adirondacks and not Muskokas—are slightly faded but in the same order as in the original photo we recreated.

Of course, since we’d been to Clayton and figured we knew what’s up, we didn’t bother checking the town calendar before we arrived.  Idiots.  This is the Clayton Opera House, where Judy Collins was performing at the exact time we were sitting on the boat some seven hundred yards away, grumpy after a crappy day of traveling.  Idiots.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Oswego Canal has opened again, so no need to dilly dally.  Mostly horrible travel days in the foreseeable future meant breaking up the trip into two marginally safe shorter days.  Which meant going right back to the same Sackets Harbor we shouldn’t have left, which in turn explains the finger pointing.  We figured if we left before sunrise, however, we’d be tied up before the bad stuff hit later on.

Algosea met us in the Seaway as she tried to beat the crappy weather to Montreal.

As we neared Sackets Harbor, we couldn’t make the math work out.  Basically we spent a bunch of stomach-churning hours on the water, suffered through sleepless bouncy nights, and wasted $200 worth of diesel fuel, all so we could miss a Judy Collins concert.  Send in the clowns?  We are the clowns.

But sometimes, dumb just isn’t dumb enough.  Just a few miles from that protective bosom we previously referenced, we figured “What the hell, this hasn’t been bad at all.  Let’s just go on to Oswego.”  Idiots.  Just about the time we passed the point of no return, the waves reached and then exceeded the gloomy predictions.  Six feet into the trough.  Six feet onto the peak.  Oscar and Benny were throwing up even though they’re only with us in spirit.  The middle two hours joined the handful of worst times we’ve been on the water.

The waves finally started to subside a bit, just as the Coast Guard alerted mariners to a thunderstorm zooming across Lake Ontario.  Lightening.  Driving rain.  Fifty-knot winds.  Take shelter.  Take shelter?  WTF?  We’re twenty miles from land and travel at eight knots.  We fired up the radar and watched it roll directly over us.  Didn’t seem quite as bad as predicted, but still unpleasant.

Fortunately the storm kept zooming, and was gone as we approached Oswego.

There’s Fort Ontario, which technically played a role in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 but mostly not.  The Czech hedgehogs were added later to stop Nazi tanks, or maybe as a breakwall.  We’re not sure.

There’s the Oswego Lighthouse, famous for that time in 1942 when a Coast Guard lightkeeper was stranded by a storm and six Coasties died trying to rescue him.  Still baffling to us, since it’s really not that far from shore.  Also, the storm that created all the drama “produced 65 mph winds and large waves.”  So basically what we faced today, and yet nobody is going to build us any monuments.  Whatever.

The clouds were regathering as we rounded into the Oswego River, tempest-tost.

The goal was to reach the wall between Lock 8 and Lock 7, which hopefully will be protected from big winds.  First, however, we had to cross the big grassy area which concealed logs and such.

A small window gave us time to run into town for sushi.  Yum.  We now recall why we like Oswego, even in the face of evidence that the weather here always sucks.  Cool town.

This fortress-looking place isn’t a jail or an armory; it’s the Oswego YMCA, which dates to 1855.  Pre-Civil War.  We figure the Village People of the day included the Indian, of course, but probably not a construction worker or policeman.

After sushi, we got together with Spirit and Young America on the wall.  Briefly.

Because right then it started pouring again.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  Either we stay another day, or we don’t.

NOTE OF EDIFICATION:  After our last post, TexasBob commented about the good villagers of Sackets Harbor welcoming President Monroe in August of 1817 with a 19-gun salute, which typically is used for lesser dignitaries.  Like Mike Pence.  So why?  Turns out that between 1810 and 1841, the honor for the top guys required the number of guns to match the number of states.  Although arguably it proved to be a huge mistake, Mississippi became the 20th state on December 10, 1817.  And there’s the explanation.

Your thoughts?

%d bloggers like this: