Burlington (it's that much fun)
Back at Small Boat Exchange we gave the boat another once-over, and John's son Ian helped us removed the floor boards so we could inspect the earlier repairs. Everything was pretty much the same, so we filled the boat with gas and returned to the boat ramp to launch the boat.
We contemplated moving on, but choppy water, mild headaches, and the prospect of another night in Burlington convinced us to stay.
We made the quick run 5 miles north of the boat ramp to downtown Burlington and docked the boat at Ferry Dock Marina. The marina had an adjacent restaurant with large patio seating. The hostess directed us to the marina office and shortly after hearing our story, we where offered a place to tie up and encouraged to come listen to the band playing that night. Ferry Dock Marina is right in the heart of Burlington, a very short walk from Church Street and our temporary apartment on College Street.
Peg and Mike, the couple we met back in Schuylerville who offered to arrange our accommodations in Burlington, made it possible for us to extend our stay. After a few phone calls Peg had everything arranged. The apartment owner, Tim, a self described strong-opinioned-conservative-business-owner (by Burlington standards anyway), hooked us up with the apartment keys and suggested some evening entertainment options.
The apartment was beautiful and a welcome alternative to our tent. Laura, the property manger is also responsible for 6 locally owned full service salons, 4 al a carte budget salons, and several apartments. We were lucky enough for a free stay, but typically boaters interested in renting an apartment can get a 20% at Burlington's O'Brian Salon or Bimini Bills
We spent the afternoon walking around town, and later decided to use the apartment kitchen and ate dinner at "home" on the couch, in front of the TV.
After dinner, we ventured back to Breakwater, the restaurant near Ferry Dock Marina, to hear the music. A few other stops and two foosball games later, we met up with Nick, another friend from Beloit College. The most wonderful thing about going to a small college is the connections. On this trip Elizabeth and I have stayed or caught up with, 8 people we've gone to school with!
We ended the evening with a breakfast burrito from a late night eatery, a short walk home, and set the alarm to ring 4 hours later.
Up at 7am again! We finished locks number 5 through 12 before noon and decided to shoot for Burlington VT, 60 miles after Whitehall and Lock Number 12. The remainder of the day could be as short as 3 hours or much longer depending on the water conditions of Lake Champlain.
Luckily the water was fairly calm until we were 20 miles from Burlington. The first stretch of the Champlain Waterway was swampy looking, but as we traveled north the river opened up and the terrain became very similar to the Pacific Northwest. The water temperature has dropped to about 72 degrees, which feels frigid relative to the water down south. We've pulled out our pants and hoodie sweatshirts.
We slowed down when we hit choppy water caused by a south west wind, and the last 20 miles took nearly two hours. On our slow ride to port we called John Freeman, the owner of Small Boat Exchange, one of the oldest Duroboat dealers. When we arrived, John pulled our boat and took it to the shop overnight. Tonight we didn't need it . . . we were lucky enough to have accommodations in Burlington.
On the way home John told us he is the reason for blue Duroboats. When Duroboat started in 1983 the only production color was yellow. Frustrated by macho fishermen that wanted a Duroboat but couldn't see themselves in yellow, John ordered a truckload of custom blue Duroboat, and now blue is now the top color. I still like yellow!
Burlington instantly made our list of top stops. This mini-city is full of artsy shops, hot entertainment, and lots of young people. We spent the evening (and early morning hours) on Church Street, the main strip of downtown Burlington. The areas is closed to traffic and crowded with pedestrians and it was very easy to meet people.
We shared our story with several groups through out the night, but my favorite question was, "Doesn't that take a lot longer?" A lot longer than what, we asked. "Driving?" Some people just don't get it.
The calm water this morning was enough to excite us out of bed early again – that and our thin sleeping bags had us shivering early this morning! We've learned to make a run for it when the water is good, and fortunately the good water held up most of the day and we were able to log 130 miles. It's nice to be back on the water and making progress. Recently we've had lots of delays, some planned and some unexpected.
Our first stop today was in Coeyman Landing in, Coeyman NY. Pronounce it Kweemans, don't know why. We met the owner Carl Allen and got the scoop on the locks up ahead. We were pleased to hear that the speed limits along the Champlain waterway have changed. It used to be 10mph the whole way, which would have hampered our progress. Now, the speed limits vary, but are sometimes as high as 35 mph.
Lunch was at the restaurant next to the Marina. We hit the water again around 1pm. In the next 20 miles, we passed through Albany and Troy and came to our first lock since the Dismal Swap in Virginia. The Troy Lock is sometimes mistakenly called Lock Number 1, but the numbered locks start about 15 miles after the Troy Lock. We've been told that there are 12 locks but no Lock Number 11. (Found out tomorrow that there is a Lock Number 11, must have been a bad rumor.)
I'm not sure how this came to be, but it makes communication regarding locks tricky. Today we traversed 5 locks, but Lock Number 5 will be our first lock tomorrow morning . . . see how this can get confusing.
Shortly after passing through the Troy Lock we came to the turn for the Erie Canal. Didn't wwant to take 15 years so… We took a picture and pressed on north to Burlington.
It was a long day, but Elizabeth and I both appreciated the calm water and our return to "normal" travel days.
We stopped over night at the Schuylerville Yacht Basin and are taking it easy. We did laundry, set up camp, and walked into town to get dinner: sandwich fixings and fruit, from the local grocery store. Our marina tonight is very quaint. Schuylerville has all the usual marina amenities, with a very relaxed feel. We have spent the evening sitting in their gazebo chatting with other boaters and working on our blog and journal.
Our 2.5 hr bus ride from Rob's apartment back to Brown's Point Marine was pleasantly cut short when a women riding behind us offered to give us a lift from her stop back to Brown's Point. This cut more than an hour off our transit time.
Her name was Leigh, a production employee at the Today Show. Met her just a day late. She is also coincidentally visiting friends in Issaquah this fall. Even in a city as big as New York a small coincidence can make the world feel smaller.
Arrived at Brown's Point and chatted with Paul and the guys about our trip and repairs. Ever since Paul first heard of our trip from Suzuki he has been anxious to participate. He is a great guy and a real credit to the Suzuki dealer network. The Brown Point crew have been over the top helpful, from picking us up, to last minute service work in a hurry; they did everything possible to get us back on the water quickly.
We did our best to thank them for all there help, and took a group picture in front of the Marina. Mike and George gave us a lift to the gas station, boat launch, and saw us off.
That afternoon we passed by the Statue of Liberty. A part of the trip Elizabeth and I have both been looking forward to. Lady Liberty was an impressive sight from the water and we wanted to capture a few souvenir pictures. Photographing your own boat is tricky, so we looked for another passing boat to trade services with. We took their picture and they took ours, and we agreed to email one another the pictures.
Most of you have the picture they took of us. We just sent Brad G. a pic of his boat and crew as we published this.
After New York Harbor we headed for Upstatre New York via the Hudson.
That night we stayed at the Front Street Marina in Newburgh NY. The connection there was made by Duroboat friend Arnald C. and his associate Tom. We walked into town looking for the Orange County Chopper shop. We never found them, but we saw a town like nothing we've seen on the trip so far – people everywhere! Block parties on every corner, kids playing wall ball against a brick building dodging cars from the middle of the street, babies and strollers, and wonderers everywhere. We've been told it's not the best neighborhood, but there were so many people out, it it felt festive not dangerous.
We ate dinner at the outdoor restaurant next door to the Front Street Marina. They had a good crowd for a Tuesday night and line dance lessons in full swing.
We slept in the tent - rocked to sleep by the country music and the boat.
Got up early to seek our 2 seconds of fame. We made our way to Rockefeller Center to see the Today Show. We stood outside with a sign that read "6,000mi in a 16' Duroboat to be in NYC Today" The sound crew asked us some questions and came back with a picture printed from the Duroboat website and said, "this is your boat?". It wasn't our boat, but it was the same model. There were some skeptics in the group so we gave them our cards. Our sign made it on the show as they panned through the crowd. Unfortunately we were not invited inside to chat with Al, Matt or Meredith.
After the show we walked to Boarders to use the Internet. While walking a bird pooped on my head and arm. We've heard that is good luck, so we bought a lottery ticket. We won $3 but have yet to cash it in.
We met up with Rob and his friend Manzel when they got off work. We visited a bar that had a comedy show in back. The comics were funny.
It was nice to wake up without the sound of an alarm. Everybody lounged around until 11am when decided to go get Brunch. There were Mimosas and the food was several notches above your typical greasy spoon. In the middle of lunch it started to downpour. NY has been unseasonably wet. The Seattle rain jokes got pretty old. Later Katie and I escorted Joel to the airport via the subway. We continued our ride to Manhattan and spent more time walking and gawking. We sat on a Central Park bench and ate mac and cheese. The people watching was excellent.
Philadelphia to Browns Point
It was great getting on the water it was smooth as glass. As we got further north there were a lot of floating logs and trash in the water. Just south of Trenton we stopped at a boat launch to meet Chris from Brown's Point Marina. He showed up with a trailer and a Hummer. Chris picked us up on the New Jersey side and towed us to the Suzuki dealer in Laurence N.J. The engine was due for a regular maintenance.
Katie and I had never seen such intense traffic. Seattle has it's fair share of gridlock, but in New Jersey and New York it is scary! Chris maneuvered the Hummer and the boat through angry people and toll booth traffic jams. After dropping off the boat at Brown's Point we continued into Brooklyn to meet Katie's friend Rob from Beloit College. We ate lots of NY pizza and visited some sights in Manhattan.
Leary of crossing Delaware Bay with the heavy weight of three people in less than perfect water conditions we decided to head North East up the Delaware River towards Philadelphia. Also, Elizabeth has a water polo friend from Knox that currently lives in Philly. We made it a short day, less than 40 miles, in moderately rough chop.
The Marinas in Philly were not what we are use to. The water was very dirty, plastic bags and floating pop bottles became new obstacles to avoid, and the marina offices were less than obvious.
The first marina we tried was enclosed on three sides by multi-story brick buildings. After temporarily tying up, we followed signs to the "Marina Office," but our passage through several gates and glass doors left us locked on the city side of the marina - estranged from our boat. We called the number on the door and got reprimanded by the man who answered – "Where are you?! Don't you know you can't do that?! Can't you read the keep out signs?!"
Firstly, there were no "keep out signs" and secondly, we followed arrows directing us to check in at the "Marina Office." The guy was a little nicer after he heard more about our trip, but we opted not to inquire about saying and just asked to be let back to our boat.
The next marina was fine, but still very "city" feeling. More locked gates and a call button to request permission to access the office. We didn't talk to anyone except the women that rented us our slip - $2.50 a foot!
After quick showers followed by lunch at Dave and Busters, we headed off to find the Liberty Bell. It was only a 5-block walk. We arrived drenching wet. This was a kind of rain and lightning we never have in Seattle and have experienced only a few times on the trip.
We took our time visiting the Liberty Bell and waited until the rain let up to head over to the train station. Elizabeth's water polo friend Lexi was out of town, but she offered to let us sleep at her house. The house was empty, because she and her roommates have not yet moved in. It was further out of the city than we expected, but we were happy to have dry accommodations.
We stayed at a bar later that evening than we should of, and then set our alarms for an early, early, 6am departure.
We were a bit apprehensive as we shoved away from the dock this morning. Joel's quick repairs seem to have held up well, but we were careful to ride easy and keep our speeds calm and reasonable today. We have been pushing the limits a little too far in rough water and want to build up gradually to gain confidence in the repair.
Before leaving, we took a trip down "ego-alley" the main cruising drag in Annapolis. The 300-yard runway passes through old town Annapolis and past several restaurants. It is a dead end with a tight turn around. The only reason to turn down this way is to strut your hull past the hundreds of onlookers. It was still early when we cruised down "ego-ally" and the usual hordes of people were not out yet. So instead, we insisted that Joel take pictures from shore, so that our egos can pine over them later.
The harbormaster of the Annapolis City Docks came down to meet us. We were on our way out of town, but he graciously offered us a slip and confirmed all the wonderful things we had discovered about Annapolis. He is so charmed with the city that he has moved there 5 times! We were also impressed.
The day passed relatively uneventfully. We had calm water – less than 1-foot waves, and good weather – a light cloud cover.
We made it to Chesapeake City in about four hours – an easy day's cruise. We stopped for lunch at a waterfront restaurant and talked over our evening plans.
Joel dreads sleeping three across in the 5-foot tent again, and at a height of 6'3" I don't really blame him. He decided to gamble on another "name-your-own-price" website, and scored! $50 for a three-star Hilton. This goes against efforts to budget, but Elizabeth and I didn't' complain. Instead we bought a cheese platter and a bottle of wine to take with us to the hot tub!
7.28.09 and 7.29.09
We had breakfast at Chick and Ruth's, but were there too early to partake in the daily Pledge of Allegiance. We got a great deal on hotel rates for the next few days in Annapolis --always a welcomed surprise. Joel spent time working on the boat. We did some sightseeing, eating, and met Katie's friend John in Baltimore for an Orioles game.
We lightened our load. We have been encountering more big water slamming the boat than we ever expected and we think hare carrying too much weight. With about 2000 miles to go to Lake Michigan we think it makes sense to reduce the load in the boat particular in the forward areas that are suspended over the peaks of waves a good deal of the time. We sent two boxes full of clothes and books back to Seattle.
We spent some time visiting other marinas in Annapolis while keeping an eye out for the AGLCA burgee. We are excited to get further north, so we can catch up with more Loopers. We are ready to get back on the water.