Summer Triangle

Last Update: 9/3/2009

 

 

Link to April 2007                 Boat shopping

                                                Photos of Boat Shopping

Link to May 4, 2007              Take possession

Link to May 23, 2007            Steve Ream and I take Summer Triangle to Solomons MD on the Chesapeake Bay

                                                NEW December 2007 – Photos from this trip

Link to June 27, 2007           Marilyn and I visit Summer Triangle

Link to July 21, 2007               Nick and I take Summer Triangle to Albany

                                                NEW December 2007 – Photos from this trip.

Link to August 21, 2007         Marilyn and I start Summer Triangle to the Niagara River

Link to August 30, 2007       We start again, this time for real.

                                                New December 2007 – Albany to Little Falls NY

                                                New December 2007   Little Falls to Brewerton NY

                                                New December 2007   Brewerton to Lyons NY

                                                New December 2007   Lyons to Amhearst (Buffalo) NY

                                               

Link to October 1, 2007        The last segment (this year) New York to Michigan

                                                New December 2007 – Amhearst NY to Saint Clair MI

Link to 2009

 

 

April 2007

Inspected Summer Triangle, the first of several boats to look at on this trip. Impressed!

Came back a week later for a more thorough inspection, made an offer which was accepted.

Scheduled Sea Trial and Survey for Tuesday and saw Charleston over the weekend.

Trials and survey went well. The surveyor, Marty Webber, noted a few items that needed correction.

Returned home to prepare for closing, insurance, registration, purchase guides and prepare to bring her back to Michigan.

 

Specifications

Length Overall    35’ 9”

Length WL          31’ 3”

Beam                   13’ 2”

Draft                    3’ 6”

Weight                 18,500#

Clearance            23’- 0” Mast Up

Clearance            12’ 4” Mast Down

Headroom           6’ 5”

Water                   220 gals.

Fuel                      350 gals.

Hull Type             Semi-Displacement

 

Engine                 Single American Diesel 140 HP Model 6N140

Transmission       Velvet Drive Reduction 2.10:1

Propeller             22LH15 3 blade

Generator            Northern Lights Diesel 5.5 KW

 

 

 

 

May 2007

Friday May 4, 2007 was the closing. Now we work on the Coast Guard documentation. ASAP Documentation from FL is doing the paperwork.

We decided not to offend Poseidon and we kept the name “Summer Triangle”.

Still need to give the State of Michigan their tax money.

 

Friday May 11, 2007 Sale/Transfer & Temporary Documentation (Running Papers) arrived FedEx today. Visited the Secretary of State Office. Latoya was cheerful as she referenced the manual on how to complete the registration for a documented boat. She says she does about one per year so needs to refer to the manual.

 

Saturday May 12, 2007 Pack the car and leave for the boat. I hope to get to KY tonight.

 

 

Monday May 14, 2007  Latitude North 32deg  46.71 min. Longitude West 79 deg 57.04 min.  We arrived at Summer Triangle at 1:30 PM with a car load of stuff. All the dock carts are in use. We can wait. We are retired now you know.

 

Wednesday May 16, 2007 Delivered Summer Triangle to Ross Marine.  http://www.rossmarine.com/

I successfully piloted her to the Ross Marine dock without physical or emotional damage. Ross Marine will haul and change out several thru hulls and give the new engine its 15 hour checkup. Marilyn and I drove back to Michigan, getting home Friday night.

 

Plans:  - Note, all plans are written with pencil in the sand.

 

Wednesday May 23, 2007 Plan to return to Charleston with Marilyn and Steve Ream to pick up Summer Triangle on Friday before Memorial Day. Return Summer Triangle to her temporary berth at The Harborage at Ashley Marina. The rent runs out at the end of the month. Hope to stock up with perishables and start north (Steve and I) while Marilyn gives chase in the car, Sunday or Monday Memorial Day weekend.

 

Friday May 25, 2007 Steve Ream and I picked up Summer Triangle and went back to the Harborage. Marilyn drove the car back. Went to West Marine for a gas grill then out to dinner.

 

Saturday May 26, More groceries and another trip to West Marine.

 

Sunday May 27, 2007 Fancy 12 VDC coffee pot didn’t work. Melted the insides of the plug. Marilyn went to Wal Mart and got a Mr. Coffee. Left at noon. Anchored at Thoroughfare Creek (mile 388.9). Good anchorage.

 

Monday May 28, 2007 Mr Coffee worked fine. Got moving around 7:00 AM. Stopped for diesel and had to wait for waitress/dock attendant to come down to the dock. Pumput doesn’t work. Fuel tank vents are clogged. Took on 100 gallons. Lots of small boats in the ICW on Memorial Day and lots of no wake zones (some unofficial). Anchored around 7:00 PM just inside NC at Shallotte Inlet (mile 329.5). Anchor dragged and tangled around 2:30 AM. We reset it and went back to sleep in 19 feet of water.

 

Tuesday May 29, 2007 Woke to a crabber yelling at us that the water we were in would drop to 2-3 feet at low tide. Depth sounder showed 11 feet but we took the hint and moved on at 6:00 AM. We stopped around 4:00 PM at the Beach House Marina just north of the Surf City bridge (which waited for us for 5 minutes before opening). Mile 260.7. Enjoyed a real shower and ate at the Mainsail while I still smelled OK. Getting ready to make up for some of the lost sleep at 8:30 PM. Camp LeJuene lies ahead.

 

Wednesday May 30, 2007 Left Surf City (mile 260.7) at 8:30 AM and hammered. Got delay by live fire exercises at Camp LeJuene. Stopped for the night at Cedar Creek (mile 187.5) at 7:00 PM. Not a bad run for us. Steve made NY Strip steaks on the gas grill. Weather is beautiful, food is good, good company, life is good. Will probably bypass Oriental in the interest of time.

 

Thursday May 31, 2007 Life is good. The anchor alarm only went off once and it was a false alarm. Steve walked around outside and changed the radius of the circle. We got under way at 7:30 AM and drank our coffee under way. Long passage down the Neuse River (wide wide wide) and then overland to the Pamlico River down to the Pungo River. Up the Pungo River, make a right at Belhaven NC and we stopped at the Dowry Creek Marina for fuel. The fuel tank vents still were not working right so we only took on 150 gallons (at $2.52/G). Then we tried to pump out. Their machine was working but we (Steve R) couldn’t turn our deck fitting and bent the wrench. We then commenced the ~30 mile Pamlico/Alligator River canal and anchored in the Alligator at mile 103.2 at about 7:00 PM. Long day. No Internet access.

 

Friday June 1, 2007 Life is good. The anchor didn’t drag. Got under way at 7:30 AM and ran to just north of Elizabeth City NC. We took a slip at Lamb’s Marina just north of mile 50 around 3:30 PM. After showers we ate dinner at the Track 1 Restaurant. Flounder was on special and Steve and I both had some. Boy was it good. They must have used a very light corn meal breading. Plans are to get going early and make the 11:00 lock opening at ~mile 32. Slow internet but working.

 

Saturday June 2, 2007 Got underway from Lamb’s around 7:30 to make the 11:00 lock at the south end of the great dismal swamp (South Mills Lock). We went through our first lock with Summer Triangle. Things worked well. We do need some longer lines. We stopped about 3:30 PM at the south side of Deep Creek bridge and lock. We ate dinner at La Familia just outside the door. Tropical storm Barry may send us rain tonight.

 

Sunday June 3, 2007 It is raining out and one of my looper friend’s emails suggests waiting for better weather. We stayed tied to the same wall. We will probably wait out the day here. Well about 1:30 a sucker hole opened up and we went thru the lock. Started raining again but we were committed. Canvas top needs waterproofing big time. We got near Norfolk and couldn’t get the Gilmerton bridge to open. The radio wasn’t putting out. Steve R. fiddled with it and when we passed Tidewater Marina I pulled in for repairs.

 

Monday June 4, 2007 We got the vents cleaned and the radios checked. By now the radios were dry and worked. Verified we were pumping into the holding tank and that the running and anchoring lights worked. Stayed a second night and took on 100 gallons of diesel (at $2.399/gallon) as fast as the pump would go. We are at mile 206 on the Chesapeake Bay.

 

 

Tuesday June 5, 2007 We headed out a 6:00 AM to make a long day of it. Ran off the edge of the chart. Found the Chesapeake Bay chips but we are not showing any ATONs. Fiddled with the chartplotter in 5’ rollers and called Raymarine help on the cell phone. They had us change a plotter chip and it started working again. The rolling was too much for me. Steve R. would have pushed on but I gave up at Deltaville (mile 152.6). Winds should be calmer tomorrow and the bay is getting narrower (less fetch) so we have a goal of Herring Bay (mile 67.6). From there we can start reserving a slip and a rental car.

 

Wednesday June 6, 2007. We got up extra early (5:30 AM) to get an early start before thing got rough on the bay. Last night we let out extra rode to get more scope on the anchor rode. Also, the GPS went TU so the chartplotters showed “NO FIX”. Put the two together and our early start turned to the  sad realization that we had swung on the anchor and gone aground during the night. Tides you know. Called Sea Tow and they came pretty quickly. We were back on our way by 9:00 AM. So much for an early start. Still “NO FIX” on the chart plotters. Radios are unreliable except for the hand held but it doesn’t have much range. We set the laptop on the dashboard and drove from the cabin. Off Shore Navigator Lite software with a USB GPS worked beautifully after a brief period of learning what we were doing. So, there we were out in the Bay, smashing into 5-6’ waves with two important systems running on backups. Are we having fun yet. With all the fuel sloshing around I sure did worry about clogging my only racor fuel filter and I sure didn’t know how to change it if it did clog (though we did have spares). Fortunateely we made it to Calvet Marina in Solomons MD for the night. Dinner at Vinchenzo’s – a bit expensive considering the slow service.

 

Thursday June 7, 2007. We parked Summer Triangle at dock CC 12, rented a car from Hertz and drove home. We left shortly afternoon, drove straight thru except for combined gas and comfort stops and Steve dropped me at home by 10:00 PM. I was tired.

 

 

 

June 27 to July 4, 2007

Marilyn and I drove to visit Summer Triangle and enjoy our Chesapeake Bay frontage 2 bedrooms – 2 baths place on the water. We enjoyed the local seafood every night but still got some work done. We also arrange too have the VHF radio antennas replaced and a vacuum gage installed on the Racor fuel filter. Drove back to Michigan on July 4th. The traffic was light.

 

July 21, 2007

Nick and I arrived late Saturday night with a Hertz rental car from Cambridge MA to drive Summer Triangle to Albany. We estimate we will be in Albany on August 1 or 2.

Sunday we provisioned the boat and waterproofed the fly bridge canvas. Mile 97.5

 

Monday July 23, we turned in the rental car and returned by “Friendly Taxi” to Summer Triangle. No wheels, talk about commitment. After doing some last minute make ready, we cast off the lines and pulled out of the slip. We traveled nearly a mile before making our next landfall at the pump out station. We pumped and then moved over and filled the water tanks. We finally got out of town around 4:30 PM. We anchored Monday night at Mile 67.6 – Herring Bay. It was about 9:30 and very dark.

 

Tuesday July 24 we got up early and got going by 9:00 AM. On the way out of Herring Bay we saw all the crab pots we ran thru in the dark on the way in. We stopped at mile 18 - Sassafras River. This anchorage is what I dreamed of. Nick swam laps around the boat and then grilled steaks for dinner while I wrestled the computer.

 

Wednesday July 25. We hope to get up early and make it to Cape May. That is a full (very) full day.

We made it. We did our engine checks last night, got up at 6:00 AM and started thru the crab pots to the main channel. We got to the Delaware River around 11:30 AM and turned south.. We got to Cape May at 6:00 PM and docked by 7:00 PM just before the Utsches Marina office closed for the night. We had a great dinner at the Lobster House. It was even in walking distance for me. On the way, I checked my new vacuum gage on the Racor and noticed it was just on the edge between yellow and red.

 

Thursday July 26. We had Utsches replace the filter element in the Racor and replace a blown fuse for the bilge pump. Nick went to the Wawa station for groceries and to a local bar for beer. He remarked that the bar had some local customers at 9:00 AM. The were probably just getting off the night shift. Nick made a lunch run back to the Lobster House for clams and crab sandwiches. We noticed the bilge pump had quit working again so had to wait until after lunch for a mechanic to come back to the boat. A wire had fallen onto the bilge pump float switch, making it run continually and burned out the pump. The mechanic replaced the pump and put a tie wrap on the wire so it won’t fall down again. We added 100 gallons of diesel at $2.499 and got under way at about 2:30 PM. We ran to mile 89.0 and anchored at the intersection of “Main Channel” and “Whale Creek” near Strathmere NJ. Nick did another masterful job of grilling steaks and summer squash for dinner after his swim.

 

Friday July 27, 2007 We ran from mile 89 to mile 22 and anchored for the night in Barnegat Bay near Tices Shoal in about 15 feet of water and sheltered from the 5-10 MPH South wind. Early in the evening while we were making ice for the evening the generator sounded funny so we shut it down. Later that night shortly after I went to bed, my CPAP machine quit. I have an awful time sleeping without it so I spent a very fitful night and had a hard time getting started in the morning.

 

Saturday July 28, 2007 When I finally struggled out of bed I found out the engine wouldn’t crank. All the batteries (except the generator start battery) were dead. We started the generator and it seemed OK so after a brief wait, the main engine started. We made coffee and hit the road. We went thru Manasquan Inlet into the dreaded North Atlantic Ocean. Driven by the 5-10 knot breeze, we had about 2 ft. swells to contend with to New York harbor. Trust me the boat wakes were much higher than what Mother Nature was putting in our path that day. With 26 miles (3-4 hours) to go, I laid down to take a nap and was delighted to find my CPAP machine working now that power was restored. Nick finally woke me when he was ready to turn into the New York Harbor and there was a “BIG” ship coming at him. We pulled into Atlantic Highlands Marina at Atlantic Highlands NJ at the South end of Sandy Hook Bay and took a transient slip for the night. I was excited when I saw that “our” slip was a stern tie. But, I handled it like a pro. Well, maybe not quite that well, but I did a pretty respectable job. We tied down for the night (and plugged in) and Nick walked into town for Calzones.

 

Sunday July 29, 2007 Nick hoofed it to the grocery and replenished our supplies. He got ears of corn so I hope I will see his corn roasting talent demonstrated. He also bought a Maptech chart of the Hudson River and New York Harbor so we can see where we are going. We added water to the batteries. The “house” group 27 batteries took about ½ liter each and we noticed one of the two was disconnected. There are some wires attached to the dead battery that may be the sense wires for the charger. I hope not but when we leave the boat in Albany for 2-3 weeks I will try to get an electrician to specifically address the situation. The “Engine Start” batteries took almost ½ liter of water for each cell. They probably haven’t been serviced since they were installed. Clearly, the circuits diagram the electrician in Solomons MD drew for me leaves something to be desired.

 

In spite of the rosy forecast, the harbor was very foggy so we decided to stay another day in Atlantic Highlands. Nick took the high speed ferry into Manhattan to meet some friends. With luck the weather will co-operate and we can get going in the morning. We really would like to be in Albany Wednesday night or Thursday morning so we have run out of slack days. They say the most dangerous thing on a boat is a schedule.  I’ll try not to do anything too silly.

 

Monday July 30, 2007 Nick got back from Manhattan around 10:30 AM and we were steaming out of the marina by 11:00 AM. It is a long way across the harbor. There was actually very little traffic in the small channel we were in. We heard a VHF radio call from an army landing craft in the main (Ambrose) channel to the coast guard asking for assistance moving a probable heart attack victim to shore. We could see the landing craft and we watched as the coast guard boat reached the army boat and then sped off with the victim and an army corpsman.

 

Traffic by Manhattan was busy, but not as much big shipping as I had expected. But, there were many sight seeing boats and water taxis that I had not expected. It seems like the tide was against us most of the way. Around 7:00 PM we pulled into Tarrytown Marina for the night. Nick grilled some huge steaks he had bought in New Jersey and we retired for the night. Tarrytown is as far north as our chart-plotter charts (chips) reach. Now the displays are radar only.

 

Tuesday July 31, 2007. We got off to a little bit of a late start after nice (cold for me) showers. We pulled into Kingston NY about 6:00 PM and went about 3 miles up the river to anchor. We tried out the dingy for the first time, and grilled the other two huge (these were really big) steaks and retired for the night. I left the generator running because I was still nervous about the flat batteries we had experienced. I don’t sleep so well when we are anchored.

 

Wednesday August 1, 2007, is it August already? We got underway early. We drove from the upper station until we got clear of Kingston and then we moved to the lower station to get away from the sun. Also, we can use the laptop at the lower station as a chart-plotter. We got to the Albany Yacht Club at 5:00 PM and tied up and took showers. Why do showers on shore rock so much? Nick went out for dinner with an Albany friend and I took a nap.

 

Thursday August 2, 2007 Nick called a cab and left around 9:00 AM to catch a bus to Cambridge. When he gets home Marilyn will drive to Albany and spend the night. I have one more night on the Summer Triangle and then back to Birmingham to catch up with the mail and the bills. I signed up for three weeks of dockage and am having an electrician come look at some battery issues and fix the anchor windlass switch on the flying bridge. When we were in Solomons, the electrician there told me the wiring to the aft AC had a problem. Perhaps he can fix that too.

 

Marilyn picked me up and we went to a Faifield Inn for the night. Both air conditioners on Summer Triangle were acting up and it was up to 100 degrees inside during the day.

 

Friday August 3, 2007 After a slow start, we cleaned out the boat and started back to Motown. Watch for the next installment in about three weeks. Marilyn and I plan to do the Erie Canal.

 

 

Marilyn and I take Summer Triangle to the Niagara River

Tuesday August 21, 2007 Marilyn and I got off to our usual late start and drove to Amherst NY, a suburb of Buffalo NY. We arrived late, but fortunately Hoolihan’s restaurant was still open.

 

Wednesday August 22, 2007 We inspected a variety of marinas in the Tonawanda area and then drove to Rochester NY. We tried to have dinner at Dinosaur Barbeque in downtown Rochester but there was a 1 ½  hour wait so we went for steaks at Bugaboo Creek, on the south side of Rochester.

 

Thursday August 23, 2007 We inspected a couple of locks (E32 and E33) in the Rochester area and then drove to Herkimer (Lock E18) and on to Little Falls where after some searching we found lock E17. Boy, is that a big one. We ducked into Syracuse for lunch at the Dinosaur Barbeque. It was worth the trip. Since it was getting late, we went straight from there to Summer Triangle at the Albany Yacht Club in Rensselaer NY.

 

Friday, Saturday and Sunday

It was too darned hot. The air conditioners on Summer Triangle were having problems so staying on the boat during the day was uncomfortable. We stayed on Summer Triangle in the evenings but spent the days in air conditioned stores and restaurants.

We visited the Waterford visitor’s center and watched a couple of boats lock down on Lock E2. There is no E1 because the Federal Lock in Troy is Lock number 1. At Waterford are locks E2-E6 in a flight of steps around the Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River. Here is a link to the official New York Canal system website. http://www.nyscanals.gov/

 

 

We found the Federal Lock in Troy but you cannot get close.

 

Monday August 27, 2007. Finally, we fueled up, pumped out and got underway around 1:30 PM. About 8.4 miles upstream is lock 1 on the Hudson. We got thru without any problems. Just after lock 1 we pulled into Van Schaick Marina to have the mast lowered. While we were home, away from the boat, the folks from Van Schaick fixed a connection for the house battery that had come loose and also got the fly bridge anchor windlass switch working.

 

It only took a few minutes to lower the mast but I asked them to do a couple other things on the engine, replace the pencil zinc and check the water strainer. On the generator, check the water strainer. And on the AC, check the water strainers. The strainers for the engine and generator had a lot of grass in them. The basket on the forward AC strainer was rusted thru. The marina says we would have much less problems with the Air Conditioners if they rearranged the supply lines, but they need parts (new water pumps and strainers) so we are docked here until Wednesday morning. It seemed to be worth doing to get the AC finally put right. They have been a pain all the way up the coast. Marilyn and I are not in a rush so spending an extra day to get it finally fixed (I hope) seems like a worthwhile thing to do. Marilyn took a stroll and found an historic Dutch home called the Van Schaick Mansion. Built in 1735, it was used as a Revolutionary War headquarters along the Hudson.

 

We should be at Waterford and the official beginning of the Erie Canal by noon tomorrow. I hope and trust we will do as well on them as we did in the Federal Lock.

 

Tuesday August 28, 2007 Opps, did I say leaving Tuesday, make that Wednesday.

 

Wednesday August 29, 2007 Opps, did I say leaving Wednesday, make that Thursday.

 

Thursday August 30, 2007 Around 3:00 PM, 3 mechanics descended on Summer Triangle complete with parts. They were done by 5:00 PM and we have wonderful water flow out both pumps. It was clouding up as they packed their gear and headed for the office. When I walked up to settle my bill, the skies opened and I got soaked on the way. While in the office, the power went off, so Ron Bloom had to use a small hand held calculator to figure the total, When the rain died down, I walked back to Summer Triangle and realized the dock power was out too. It was too hot and muggy to go without our expensive new AC so I fired up the generator with the clean strainer and let it rip. Life is good. But there was one more disaster to overcome. Suddenly the generator was seriously overloaded and something tripped. Then it had no load at all, and we had no electricity. Marilyn thought it happened just as she turned on the microwave. I noticed the dock power was back on and I thought it happened when the dock power came on. We found that everything still worked from dock power and so went to sleep for the night.

 

Opps, did I say leaving Thursday, make that Friday, maybe.

 

Friday August 30, 2007 I studied the schematics for the generator and figured I might have tripped a breaker. Tried to check the breakers but couldn’t get to them. Need to lose a hundred pounds or so. After removing the generator cover, the mechanic found a 3 amp control circuit breaker tripped. After reset all was fine. We tested to see if there was any conflict between shore power and generator power and it worked fine. We walked back to the service building and discussed it with Ron Bloom. He leans to Marilyn’s theory that the microwave, in combination with other loads, caused a temporary overload.

 

It’s blowing pretty stiff from the north but I’m out of excuses so time to untie and get going. I looped a spring line around a dock cleat and untied all the other lines one by one, handing them to Marilyn. The breeze pushed us out of the slip and turned Summer Triangle so she was pointed out the fairway. I let go the loose end of the spring line, pulled the line back onto Summer Triangle and we were free to go. My adrenalin pump was working overtime from fear and anticipation of the unknown. By the time we got to E2 I wanted to drop anchor and wait for the wind to die down. The gods were with us though. I contacted lock E2 on channel 13 and he said he would be ready so we went past the Waterford visitor center (which was full) and straight into the lock. Once we got close to the lock, the wind was blocked. Marilyn did a great job grabbing a cable and I scrambled down to help. It worked so well we did id again for E3, E4, E5 and E6. We had a nice long ride to E7 and did a good job with that one too.

 

We stopped for the night at Schenectady Yacht Club so we could get to a shower. Van Schaick facilities had been pretty limited. Life is good.

 

 

Saturday, September 1, 2007 Marilyn hopes to make it to Fonda tonight. From mile 16.4 to mile 48.2 and 5 locks. We made it. The fair is going on across the street but we are behind a fence at the Erie Canal District Headquarters for the night. All the good (beef) groceries are gone so we had Tuna and frozen mixed vegetables. According to the Skipper Bob Cruising Guide there are grocery stores near lock 15 and lock 17 so we should be able to stock up. I am told there is an electric outlet a little further down the wall but it was easier to just run the generator to nuke the veggies. The bollards are so far apart, our 35’ dock lines barely made it from bollard to boat to bollard. I had been hoping for cleats nearer the wall but no luck. Fortunately, a fellow from the only other boat here walked over and held a line for us while I secured Summer Triangle.

 

 

Sunday, September 2, 2007 Our stretch goal is Little Falls, mile 78.7. Woke up just before 9:00 AM and it was 60 degrees in the cabin. I had to start the generator to make coffee so I also ran the aft cabin AC in “Heat” mode to warm the place up a little. No shower this morning.

 

We made it to Little Falls. We tied up at the Rotary Park just west of the guard gate.

 

Monday, September 03, 2007 Showers this morning at Little Falls, Rotary Park. I called ahead and made an appointment for an oil change and fuel filter change in Rome at Riverside Marina. We had expected to stop earlier so we pushed the big American Diesel to 7 MPH for most of the day. Riverside Marina is at mile 113.5. We got in around 5:00 PM. A total of 34.8 miles and 3 locks. There was a Labor Day crowd with live music at lock 20. There is a raised platform for viewing the lock and it was full of spectators. Fortunately, we did a reasonably good job and looked good doing it.

We pulled into Riverside Marina around 5:30 PM and tied near the office. Sam, the mechanic and manager came down to the dock and said he would change the oil, oil filter and fuel filters in the morning because he had a doctor appointment in the afternoon.

 

 

 

Tuesday September 4, 2007 Sam got to us about 11:30 and after a couple of trips to NAPA he figured he had the right parts and got started. About 2:30 PM he had to go to the doctor’s office and back to NAPA. Fortunately we had a filter for the Racor so he didn’t have to order one in overnight.  We got done around 4:00 PM. We pumped the holding tank and Sam threw in a free night of dockage. Marilyn and I took a Taxi into beautiful downtown Rome and had dinner at the Plaza restaurant. It was also a bar and was celebrating 100 years of being in business. Marilyn and I both had Lasagna. She had hers with Italian sausage and I had mine with meatballs. Both were great. We started by splitting an Antipasto salad so we were satisfied soon enough to both have leftovers. That was good since we were running low on some of the groceries. We called the cab and the same driver took us back to the boat. That may be the only cab in Rome NY.

 

Wednesday September 5, 2007 After taking advantage of a second day with showers, we got a early 10:00 AM start. On the way out of the marina I noticed the bridge depth sounder was showing dashes instead of numbers. Since it had done that before when Steve and I were running the boat I figured it would come back. It didn’t. We went thru Sylvan Beach where we had hoped to spend the night and out onto Oneida Lake around noon. It is over 20 miles across the lake and the markers are far apart. Marilyn is pretty good at spotting buoys with the binoculars so the trip was another success. We tied up at the Brewerton free dock (mile 150.1) and Marilyn went looking for the convenience store mentioned in the Skipper Bob book. She didn’t find it and so we dined on Lasagna from the Plaza (leftovers). It was even great the second time. I studied the Datamarine manual to see if the set of dashes that was coming up had any special meaning.

 

Thursday September 6, 2007 In the morning I put contact cleaner on the transducer connection at the display unit. No help. Marilyn noticed we were low on water. We should have tanked up when we pumped. We pulled away from the free dock and back in at the Winter Harbor Marina (mile 151) to get the depth sounder looked at. It turned out the cable entering the port side transducer had been damaged and was not repairable. I remembered there was a transducer in the on board spares so we connected it, hung the transducer in the water and the depth sounder worked again. What to do, what to do? I called the previous owner to find out more about the history and why there was a spare, and we decided to replace the existing bronze transducer with the new plastic spare, which had originally been delivered with the depth sounder but never installed. Summer Triangle is scheduled to be hauled in the morning to have the replacement transducer installed. While we were waiting, we filled the water tank and connected the shore power. Also, we used one of the courtesy cars to go to Wegman’s Supermarket. On the way there we sinned and stopped at McDonald’s for lunch. Now it is cocktail time. The air conditioners are cranking away, the water tanks are full and life is good.

 

We are about half way to Buffalo. The adventure continues.

 

 

Friday September 7, 2007 Winter Harbor Marina hauled Summer Triangle around 8:00 AM and installed the replacement transducer. It took a long time and we couldn’t get back on her until around noon. We had expected about 2 hours from start to finish. They had a hard time getting the old transducer out and then the new one was too short to fit on the fairing blocks. So, the new one is at a slight angle, flush to the hull. They had a hard time snaking the transducer cable back to the fly bridge and so they didn’t finish until around 2:30 PM. We also had a small scoop attached to the hull to push water into the rear AC pump to solve (?) our continuing loss of priming problem. They also lowered the pump. With 2 and sometimes 3 people working on it we ran up a pretty good yard bill. Since we had used up most of the day, and it was too darned hot, we decided to stay plugged in with the air conditioners running (hard) for the rest of the day. Syracuse (nearby) set a new record temperature of 95 degrees. I rested in the aft cabin until cocktail hour to cool off. After our snacks and adult beverages, Marilyn nuked Wegman’s Italian sausage for dinner. Spicy, and good. We didn’t make any forward progress, but life is good. Perhaps we are through with repairs and we can make some progress tomorrow.

 

We are still at mile 151. Life is good.

 

Saturday, September 08, 2007 I got my cabin down to 70 degrees F and then turned the air conditioner off before I went to bed. I think I had the best night’s sleep of the whole trip. As I cooled off, the cabin warmed to around 75 degrees so in the morning I pulled a flannel sheet over me. I slept so well that I was the first one up and I turned on the coffee maker for a change. We got untied and moving shortly before noon with a goal of Baldwinsville NY at mile 172.1. We made it around 4:00 PM and went to the west side of the lock and tied up at the floating dock on the south wall. After a little rest Marilyn decided to take a walk before dinner.

 

Along the way we passed thru the three rivers intersection where the Oneida, Oswego and Seneca rivers converge. We passed on the opportunity to see Lake Ontario and took the westbound Seneca. After the three rivers junction we passed a turn that could have taken us to Onondaga Lake and beautiful downtown Syracuse. When we drive the NY Thruway we see Onondaga Lake as we pass, but we have fooled around too much on this trip and need to make some time.

 

Baldwinsville is a nice little town. A bunch of boats pulled in around 5:00 to go to a seafood restaurant next to Lock 24. But, Marilyn and I are going to have Dinosaur Barbeque (from Wegman’s grocery). After all, the next half of the trip should go fast, we have fixed everything by now. We need to use up the groceries.

 

Our goal for tomorrow, Sunday, is Lyons NY at mile 220. That is lock 27.

 

The end of the canal is at mile 342.0, therefore we are now just a tiny little touch more than half way.  Hooray.

 

Sunday, September 9, 2007 Called on account of rain. It rained pretty steady nearly all day. We stayed tied to the floating dock at Baldwinsville. Marilyn and I read books.

 

Monday, September 10, 2007 We got started just before 11:00 AM and cranked it on to 7 MPH. We pulled in at Lyons NY, mile 220 around 6:00 and tied up to the city dock. The dock had two 30 amp outlets so we have electricity for the night. With some luck we can get off to an early start in the morning, maybe by 10:00 AM.

 

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 The flags on the locks are at half mast. We didn’t quite make it out by 10:00 AM but we were on our way before 11:00 AM and through the first lock. The weather forecast yesterday had been for glorious weather but it was a little chilly and before long we had light nylon windbreaker jackets on. We are trying to make it to Spencerport at mile 270 on the west side of Rochester, but might stop at Fairport at mile 246 on the east side of Rochester if we can’t make good enough time.

 

At mile 238 near Macedon NY the sky got really threatening. As we came up to lock 30 we looked at the wall to see if there was a place to tie up temporarily to wait out the weather but the wall was in rough shape and there were no apparent cleats. I hailed the lock operator and asked if it was any better above the lock and he said no. By then the blackest of the clouds looked like they had passed us so we decided to lock through and continue. As we approached the open lock gates the deluge hit. By then we had the front of the boat inside the lowered chamber and we were committed. It was raining so hard that when Marilyn grabbed a rope I couldn’t see her and I started backing up to try again when I noticed she was holding the rope on the bow, straining to keep the boat from drifting back. I goosed it forward to stop our rearward motion and Marilyn sat down hard on the forward cabin. After we grabbed the ropes I asked the lockmaster if he could hold the lift and let us ride out the burst in the (comparative) shelter of the lowered lock. I guess he had started the cycle though and we went up. The little micro-burst had passed by the time we got to the upper level. The lock operator told us there was a marina about a mile ahead where we could tie up. As we were starting in to the marina dock, a couple of boats that had apparently hid there for the storm, came out and while we were waiting for them to get clear, the rain slowed to light rain so we decided to keep going.

 

The charts were wet, the cruising guide was soaked, I was wet, and Marilyn had taken the worst of it on deck when the storm hit. She was soaked to the skin and had splotches of mud from the lock wall. Even some of the stuff in the cabin was wet because the doors were open when the storm hit.

 

We decided to call it a day at Fairport, mile 246 and tied to the south wall right behind a dinner cruise boat. The facility is maintained by the city and $9.00 covered the fee for dock, electric, washroom, water and pump-out. We only have 1 30 amp electrical outlet, the dinner cruise boat is plugged into the other at the power stand between us. While handling, and separating the power cords I noticed one of them has a pretty big cut in it. The weather has cooled so much that we won’t need the air conditioning. We may wish we have heat. Downtown Fairport is crowded with lots of big boats using the Erie Canal. This is more like what I had expected. Some other parts of the canal seemed under utilized.

 

Wednesday, September 12, 2007    Good golly, is it Wednesday already? We are enjoying Fairport and as of 11:30 we are still tied to the wall. The wind is fairly strong at 15 MPH and forecast to remain there for the rest of the day. We are going to decide at noon if we should proceed or not. The washrooms are nice and we could not have picked a better spot to tie for convenient access. Marilyn found a good wine store, Fairport Wine and Spirits.

 

Life is good.

 

Oops, around 1:00 PM a sucker hole opened in the sky and lured us away from our nice location. Spencerport calls us from mile 270. Enough of this goofing off. It never did warm up. Marilyn and I both had to add layers of clothing but we are now the only boat tied to the dock at Spencerport. We got here at 6:00 PM. We are going to register (free) with the dockmaster/bridgemaster and then go to the Galley restaurant for dinner as soon as I finish sending this update. The bridge tender told us about several restaurants in town. We went to the Galley anyway. It turned out to have ordinary bar food but it was not expensive. The washrooms are at the visitor’s center which was further than I like to walk so probably no morning shower.

 

Thursday, September 13, 2007 We slept well and long. Without the second power cord we didn’t run the air conditioners (in heat mode) so it got a little cold during the night. Marilyn took a morning walk around beautiful downtown Spencerport. I untied the dingy from the aft deck so we could get to the water fill fittings and when Marilyn came back we filled up with water and then washed down the flybridge deck. We still had some Carolina dead flies up there. An eastbound trawler came in and tied up. They had spent 3 months on the canal and were heading (slowly) to Winter Harbor for storage. There was no wind blowing so I did a masterful job of swinging to the north wall and tying to use the free pump out dock. We finally got under way around 12:30 PM, cruising slowly so the Spencerport bridge tender could drive to the next bridge and open that one for us.

 

We traveled through Brockport, Holley and Albion which all seemed like pleasant stopping places. Around 6:00 PM we were heading directly into the setting sun so we were glad to stop at Medina. I met a fellow on the dock who had also retired Feb. 1 this year, from Ford in Ohio. He bought a pretty large (looked like 40+ feet) steel hulled sailboat and was traveling with two other sailboats to the Bahamas. Living the dream.

 

Dinner out at a small mom and pop place near the dock, and another good night’s sleep. It didn’t get so cold last night.

 

Friday, September 14, 2007 I woke up first and turned on the coffee pot at 7:30. Perhaps we will start before noon today.

 

Well, we got started around 11:30. For some reason the roving bridge operator didn’t answer so we tied to the wall just below the bridge. We tried the phone numbers listed in the cruising guide to find out what was going on but no answer. He did show up at noon and opened the bridge for us and then drove to Middleport to open the bridge there for us.

 

The wind was gusting to 30 knots according to the weather channel on the VHF radio, and pushed Summer Triangle around. I kept the speed up to make it easier to control. When we got to Lockport we tied to the wall below the double lock and waited for the wind to die down a little. I don’t think it did. While waiting we got on the phone and confirmed reservations at Amherst Marina in Amherst NY and confirmed the Enterprise rental car (they will pick you up). At 4:00 PM we decided not to wait any longer and entered the dreaded Lockport double lock. Marilyn had read that there were only cable ties in the lock and she was right. They are a bummer to hold on to when the wind and water swirls are pushing you around. There may have been an eastbound current in the canal to the west of Lockport because our speed seemed to be reduced almost a mile per hour.

 

We did make it through and pushed to get to Amherst before the dark clouds got any worse or any rain hit. The wind was blowing so hard downstream that when I attempted to nose into the slip, I got blown sideways and had to back up and make a second pass. We got tied up and registered and went to sleep.

 

Saturday September 15, 2007 We got up early and got packed for a day on the road. Enterprise picked us up and it was only a short ride to the office to jump in our Taurus for $24.50 a day (plus tax). We drove straight to Albany and Marilyn got in the Trailblazer. Marilyn had reservations at the Marriot next to the SUNY campus where we had stayed before. We went to El Mariachi, a Mexican restaurant we had gone to before, for a great dinner and went to bed with full tummies in a nice fluffy king size bed.

 

Sunday September 16, 2007 Hot showers in our room! We dropped the Taurus at the Syracuse Airport since most of the local enterprise offices were closed on Sunday. We had lunch at Weeedsport at DeVaneys where we could watch the boats go by. We saw several sailboats with their masts on deck traveling east while we ate. We got back to Amherst around 6:00 and had beverages on the aft deck, watching the boaters returning from the weekend. When it got dark we started the cleanup process inside the boat. It got chilly and with one of the power cords damaged we couldn’t run the heat. Brrrrrr, it got into the 50’s in the boat during the night.

 

Monday September 17, 2007 We re cleaning up and we are going to drive to Birmingham today. Marilyn has to let me pick the restaurants today because it is my birthday. Happy birthday Steve.

 

From Amherst to Detroit

 

Monday October 1, 2007 Greetings from the scenic top of the Niagara Escarpment. Marilyn and I picked up Terry Walsh just before noon this morning and we drove to Amherst NY and boarded Summer Triangle around 7:00 PM. After unloading the Trailblazer (which was well and truly loaded) we went to a smokehouse called One Eyed Jacks in Lockport for pulled pork, beef brisket and adult beverages. Summer Triangle’s bow is firmly stuck in the mud so we can’t pull her close to the dock and it is a long step in the dark with full tummies.

 

Tuesday October 2, 2007 It is hard to type “October”. It is a little scary that we are crossing Lake Erie so late in the season. Some of the marinas I called when planning the trip were not open and many of them are only open until October 15. That is just another reminder that we are pushing our luck a little bit. It rained last night and didn’t really finally stop until around noon, but the long range forcast for Thusday thru Sunday is for south winds, small seas and high temperatures around 80 degrees. Marilyn went shopping and Terry and I did maintenance tasks on Summer Triangle. The Achilles dingy has a small scrape in the bow that is causing a slow leak. We sawed off a piece of starboard the engine sea strainer was mounted to so I don’t have to remove the wing nut and lift the cover off. Now I can just loosen it and rotate the cover to the side. One small victory for mankind. We (the both of us) couldn’t figure out how to inspect the sea strainer for the genset. We finally broke down and asked the guy who lives on the boat in the next slip and he showed us how to twist the top and everything is just there. Duh. We didn’t tell him he had just out witted two degreed engineers. With the sea strainers checked, Terry and I powered up the boat and tried to back off the mud to get closer to the dock. After churning a lot of muddy water and seriously rocking the boat, we came unglued and backed up about a foot. That let us tie just a little closer to the dock. Marilyn still wasn’t convinced it was close enough but would admit it was better.

 

We drove to Lockport before it got dark and showed Terry the double lock we had passed through on the way across NY, and then we went to a restaurant in Middleport NY called “The Basket Factory” because it was originally, drum roll please, a basket factory. Food is good.

 

Wednesday October 3, 2007 Well, we are once again out of excuses. It is time to get underway. After showers and loading unnecessary stuff in the Trailblazer, Marilyn left and Terry and I got underway at 10:00 AM. For me, that is an early start. The wind is strong and out of the west so it was blowing us around even while we were backing out of the slip. We got to the end of the canal (about 10 miles) at noon and pulled into Wardell’s marina for 100 gallons of diesel, water, pumpout and mast raising. We were back under way by 1:00 PM and into the mighty Niagara River.

 

In the Niagara the wind hit us quite a bit and there was a noticeable chop. I don’t know if it was entirely from the current or if the wind helped, but we were slowed to around 5 ½ miles per hour at an engine speed that should have been 7 or better. The federal Black Rock Lock was easy and ready for us when we got there. The Bascule bridge opened promptly and away we went. On the other hand, the Buffalo Harbor was full of chop and really windy.

 

We pulled into Erie Harbor Marina (which is inside the Buffalo breakwall)  and still had to make three passes at the gas dock (which is inside their breakwall)  to sign up for a slip. Good news, the slip was easy to tie to. Even better news is that the winds died down and the sun came out. There is good Wi-Fi at the dock so Terry could check his email. It looks like a peaceful night and a nice day tomorrow. Maybe we can run all the way to Erie PA. Transient dockage is $1.90 per foot with no Boat US discount.

 

Thursday October 4, 2007 We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there. Watch old bandit run. Well, maybe not run, but walk real fast.

 

We got up early. Terry got up so early the showers were not open yet, nor the breakfast restaurant. He wound up eating cereal on the boat. I, on the other hand, got up when the coffee was ready. After extensive engine checks, including two seaweed removals from the engine strainer, we were on our way. We cast off around 9:30 and were out at the Buffalo light by 10:00 AM. Seas were 1 to 2 feet and the wind was less than 10 MPH from the south so things looked promising. We knew we had a long day and had started later than expected so we cranked the big diesel up to 8 ½ smph.

 

About half way to Erie it looked like we might be getting in late (after sundown) and so we really poured the coal to her and got up to 9 smph. By the end of the day the waves had dropped to 6 inches and the temperature was near 80 degrees. We pulled into Erie harbor just as the sun was going down and went straight to a very nice floating dock at Wolverine Moorings. Marilyn would have liked these docks. We got tied before it got dark. Rates are only a buck a foot for boat US members. It turns out there is a restaurant at the north end of our dock, Smugglers Wharf, and a keyed exit gate to give us a short walk. Not bad. We got there about 8:30 which was a good thing since they quit serving at 9:00 PM. They did a good job on my “charred rare” steak and Terry enjoyed his lake perch. Perhaps we won’t push so far tomorrow. Might not start so early either.

 

 

Friday October 5, 2007 We measured the level in the fuel tanks and they went down 4” (or 50 gallons). That is more diesel than I have ever burned before in a single day. Shows you what happens when you honk on that big sucker. Terry was amazed when he took his shower by the number of doors and corridors to walk through to get to the shower room. He said he felt like Maxwell Smart visiting HQ.

 

We were out of Erie by 10:00 AM and ran about 7 smph to Geneva State Park in Ohio. We got here just before 7:00 PM when the sun goes down. The distance is around 50 miles. Transient dockage is $1.10 per foot, again, no Boat US discount but $39.60 was a lot easier to take than $68.40 at Buffalo. Fuel here is cheaper too. Diesel is $3.12/G where it was $3.49 in Tonawanda. Wi-Fi here is pay per use and Verizon doesn’t work so I will upload this installment when we get to a working connection. We hope to be out of here at 7:00 AM (my alarm is set for 6:00) so we can run 70 miles to around Vermillion OH on Saturday. The weather today was fantastic and the forecast for tomorrow is still great. The weater was so good that I put some Bristol Urethane varnish on a little section of rail on the flybridge. I had sanded it earlier. It looks good, but I found out that disposable brushes should not be re-used. When I cleaned the foam brushes the glue came undone and the foam fell off the stick.

 

Saturday October 6, 2007 If summer has ended, nobody told these folks. Vermillion is jumping. We are docked in the travel lift well for the night because everything else is full. In spite of our early (7:00 AM) start, it was darn near 7:00 PM when we pulled in. The Vermillion channel is narrow and lined with boats. Fortunately there was no wind so I was able to come in at idle speed while Terry took a bunch of photos. We ran about 7.2 smph for an estimated 70 miles, plus the in and out time.

 

We hope to get going early again on Sunday morning because it is going to be another wonderful day in paradise and so we want to make some time. Our stretch goal for Sunday is Michigan, near the Ohio border.

 

The lake was so calm this afternoon that I spent several hours standing on the forward cabin sanding the teak trim on the front of the flybridge. I went through a bunch of 80 grit sandpaper smoothing out the old peeling varnish. Tomorrow I will hit it with 160 grit and finish with 240. Seems like a shame to run the generator just to run the sander, but some ice got made while I was doing it.

 

Sunday October 7, 2007 We got out of Vermillion a little after 7:00 AM. We even beat a lot of the fishermen out of the harbor. Of course they quickly caught up and passed us. There was quite a bit of dew on the boat and the front of the flybridge was facing away from the sun so it was late in the day when I applied the first coat of varnish. As it turned out, that was the only coat. I thought the brush would stay soft and pliable in mineral spirits but it hardened up and had to be thrown out. Oh, well, at least I got one coat on. Going by Kelly’s Island and South Bass Island was a maze of crisscrossing boats and ferries, and then the fun started. Dodging fishing boats was almost as bad as dodging crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay. I think everybody was trying to take advantage of these last few unseasonably beautiful days.

 

We called ahead to Toledo Beach Marina for a transient slip and they told us if we got in after five the office would be closed, just stay free at the gas dock. Darn, we couldn’t get there by five. The dock attendant wasn’t in on the deal, but we explained it to him. He was a little confused because the gas dock is open until 8:00 PM. There was a little traffic around us but it died down after about 6:30. We gave the gas dock young man a tip and thanked him for letting us tie up and all was well with the world. I don’t know how that boy gets on and off boats all day with his pants that low. He must be agile. Dinner was at the “Sandbar”. Terry ate healthy food. We got to bed around 9:00 PM and set the alarm for 6:00 AM for an early start.

 

Monday October 8, 2007 “Up in the morning out with the sun” isn’t the next part, “everyone thinks that I’m crazy”? Well, whatever. We were out of there at with engine start at 7:00. Up the Detroit River and under the Ambassador Bridge about 1:00 PM. Our speed dropped from 7 to 5 ½ smph because of the current. I wonder what will happen in the Saint Clair River. Hmm. We saw a bunch of US Border Patrol RIBs all the way up the river, and one Canadian Coast Guard patrol boat. We got passed by a northbound ore boat north of the Ambassador Bridge and by a southbound ore  boat in Lake Saint Clair. Terry enjoyed the perspective of seeing Great Lakes Steel and Mc Louth Steel from the river side. He has been involved in several projects at those plants and had some war stories to tell. I had visited Great Lakes a few times but never Mc Louth. We got a transient slip at Millers Marina on Lake Saint Clair. Our wives and some friends joined us for dinner (at Jakes at Emerald City Marina). The weather is not going to be quite as nice tomorrow. We will see what the new day brings.

 

 

Tuesday October 9, 2007 It was a dark and rainy morning. We got rain about 6:00 AM with fairly strong west winds. We decided to modify our planned 8:00 AM departure and see what the weather cooked up. Around 9:00 the weather cleared some. The rain stopped but the wind kept blowing. When the office opened at 9:00 I stopped in and paid our slip rental and off we went. By the time we got to the mouth of the Shipping Channel the waves were about 3 feet and from the beam as we lined up with the markers. Quite rolly. Once we got into the channel, we had Seaway Island on our port side blocking the wind and waves. Thinks got peaceful. Terry and I had a long philosophical discussion about whether the theoretical head current would be greater or lesser depending on the width and depth variations of the channel(s) given a constant flow of water. Engineers you know!

 

The Saint Clair river divides into three main branches once you get below Algonac MI and we were heading up toAlgonac. Pretty soon we came to Harsens Island and the amount of water coming toward us increased. Summer Triangle slowed a little. Once we got to Algonac we were facing the whole flow of the river and Summer Triangle slowed a little more. Fortunately the river is fairly wide here. As we went further north it turned out we could gain approximately one smph by staying out of the channel and in near shore. By the time we got to the town of Saint Clair and the Pine River, that was really important. We had to wait for the bridge to open on the hour and so I went north and south along the seawall to get an average speed with constant engine/prop rpm. We were travelling 6.9 smph according to the GPS downstream and 2.4 smph upstream. That gives a current of over 4.5 smph near the seawall. I hear tell it is even stronger where the Saint Clair River flows out of Lake Huron under the Blue Water Bridge.

 

At 3:00 PM the bridge opened and we entered the calm of Pine River. We stopped at the municipal marina and took on the last load of diesel for the year. We added some Startron fuel stabilizer just before topping off the tanks. It was just a short trip up the river to Rivers Bend Marina where Julie directed us to a dock. Marilyn drove up a few minutes later. We unloaded all of Terry’s stuff and a little of mine and drove Terry back to Saint Clair shores where he had started just 8 days earlier.

 

Wednesday October 10, 2007 Marilyn and I returned to Summer Triangle to begin the unloading process. I stopped in at the office and signed the contract for Summer Triangle to be stored indoors, but unheated. Rivers Bend will change the fluids and winterize Summer Triangle for me.

 

Thursday October 11, 2007 I went back and got some more stuff off the boat. Still I forgot some tools. I’ll probably have to go back one more time. Julie gave me the name of a canvas shop. I will call them to see about getting the top repaired or re-sewn during the winter.

 

Link to 2009