Sunday, June 3, 2012

Over The Top

Today we crested the top of the "hill" and started back down.  But picking up where we left off, yesterday morning we departed Fonda and kept heading west.  At Lock #16, the Mohawk River splits off and you enter the purely man-made part of the canal.  The picture below is the approach to Lock #16, and you can see the river forking off to the right.

Divergence of Canal and Mohawk River
There are one or two scattered placed where they rejoin briefly, but for the most part the river is just a side body of water feeding the canal.

Along this section, there are also a number of Guard Gates.  They are partly about flood control, and partly about traffic control, but most of them are left open all the time.  The picture below shows a typical gate consisting of two side-by-side lift gates.  In this case, the right gate is closed.

Pair of Guard Gates
A large part of the canal parallels I-90 and there are a number of stretches where the boats can see the cars and the cars can see the boats.   I know this because I've driven I-90 a number of times and seen the canal.  I also know this because I got a call from sister-in-law Deb saying "hey, I just passed you!"  What a hoot.  She was driving out to see her mother and just happened to be driving by as we passed one of these mutual-visibility regions.  We made an attempts to coordinate a stop for lunch, but by the time we figured it out she was already too far down the road and would have had to backtrack quite a bit.

Speaking of cars zipping by, even the freight trains are going faster that us.  Boats give a whole new meaning to slow.  We figure a wagon train would be slower, but that's about it.

After a long day, we cleared Lock #18 and a few miles stopped at the town marina in Ilion.  It's the town's old barge terminal which has been turned into a marina and RV park and isn't a bad place to overnight, except the train traffic is pretty loud.  Anyone who thought railroads are dead should think again.  There was a freight train every 30 minutes on this line from dawn to dusk.

This morning, we set out for Lake Oneida with plans to stop at one end or the other.

Yesterday I was playing around with making a time-lapse video of a lock-through and quickly discovered that I didn't know how my camera worked for video.  The unfortunate outcome is that I can't show the highest lock (50'), but today I got it figured out so here's a video of us locking up in #19.


Lock #20 takes us to the highest elevation on the Erie Canal - 420 ft - then we start locking down towards Lake Oneida and Lake Ontario.  Here's the sign post at Lock #20 marking the "pass".

Lock #20, Highest Elevation On Erie Canal

We finally arrived at Sylvan Beach at the east end of Oneida around 3:30 and decided to go ahead and cross since the marinas on the other side are more attractive.  The skies were looking a bit menacing at the time so we took the opportunity to run the engines up for an hour and scoot across to the other side.  By 4:30 we were tucked into a slip in Brewerton and ready to fire up the grill.

Tomorrow we plan to take the day off, sleep in a bit, and catch up on a few little projects on the boat.  It's lots of fun being underway, but surprisingly tiring, and a day off every now and then is definitely needed.


  1. the video was a brilliant idea! But I was expectantly waiting for your comrade to appear and wave in silly rapid fashion...
    BTW, I would be happy to offer such services in any upcoming Canadian flicks!

  2. The crew was dutifully handling the lines during the lock procedure, so only the lock operator got to parade about for the video. But rest assured that you will have an assigned duty.


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