Day 7: Sylvan Beach to Ilion
Tuesday, August 10, 1999
When we woke, Oneida Lake was perfectly calm. Perhaps it would
have been better to cross early in the morning. We couldnít have
known easily ahead of time.
We ate pancakes (of course) at Dellaís Pancake House.
||Oneida Lake, calm. || |
||The submerged breakwater.
||As usual, there were people who were curious about the steamboat. || |
||Many of them!
One thing that I didnít anticipate about the trip was bug bites.
I got a great many of them. Perhaps spiders hid in my sleeping bag.
I guess thatís what happens if you carry a lot of wood. Somehow,
Al didn't get any.
||The tugboat Urger is the oldest tugboat still in use in the state's fleet. It served on the New York State Barge Canal System for sixty-four years, retiring in 1984. It s now used for educational purposes. |
We passed through a long wooded stretch of canal.
||Hydraulic dredging. || |
||Hydraulic dredge and tender.
At Lock 22 (lift 25.1 feet) near New London, we stopped to pick up our
wood. The lockmaster let us stop just past the lock (we were going
up, as we did for Locks 23, 22, and 21). The people there had a wheelbarrow,
which was convenient for getting the wood to us. We had more than
we needed, so Al gave the lockmaster the extra wood and the tarp, which
Lock 21 (lift 25.0 feet), about a mile further on and also near New
London, marked the summit level. On the Erie Canal from Rochester,
we had descended 149.6 feet, then ascended 57.0 feet. . After this,
we would descend 390.2 feet.
We docked at the Rome terminal wall so Al could look for filters.
The boiler pressure was high and the pressure release valve went off.
Al asked a fisherman how long it would take to walk to a NAPA car parts
store. He said it was about ten minutes. The distance actually
turned out to be about two and a half miles. He stopped in a different
store and got four filters, one of one kind (which worked) and three of
another (which didnít). The storeowner didnít have any more of the
first kind. This stop took about an hour. He did get a glimpse of
the reconstructed Fort Stanwix during his journey.
It is about eighteen miles between Locks 21 and 20. When Clintonís
Ditch was being built, they started at Rome because they could build a
long flat stretch and start out successfully with the fewest technical
difficulties in construction and good economic prospects upon completion.
On the original canal, the "long level" stretched seventy miles from Syracuse
to Frankfort without any locks.
At Rome, we saw the Mohawk River for the first time. It makes
a great bend here, flowing from the north, then turning to the east.
Here, the Mohawks used to portage over the divide between the Mohawk River,
which flows into the Hudson River, and Wood Creek that flows into Oneida
Lake and, via the Oswego River, into Lake Ontario.
The Mohawk River Valley, as the only natural passage through the Appalachian
Mountains, was the route for Indians, fur traders, and westward-moving
From our vantage point, Utica held little of interest.
||Leaving Lock 21. || |
I needed to call Mary because people at school were trying to get in touch
with me. There was a canal park at Lock 20 (lift 16.0 feet) near
Whitesboro that was supposed to have a pay phone, so we planned to stop
there. It turned out that the pay phone had been taken out, but the
lockmaster said we could use his phone for a credit card call. So
we pulled into the lock and stayed there while I called her.
||We blew our whistle. || |
In this area and downstream of it, there was a lot of debris in the water,
with large logs and branches to watch out for.
||Sailboat with windmill. |
The nature of the canal changed after a while. We could see a hill
in the distance, our first glimpse of the Mohawk River Valley.
||The steel-hulled icebreaker tugboat Gov. Roosevelt. || |
||Dump scaw and dredge.
At Lock 19 (lift 21.0 feet) near Frankfort, we locked through with two
large boats from Mystic, CT. A little beyond this, at Frankfort,
the Mohawk River flowed into the canal. From here through Lock 16
at St. Johnsville, we were sometimes to be on the river itself and sometimes
not. From St. Johnsville on, we stayed on the river.
||Our first view of hills in the distance. || |
||Hills of the Mohawk River Valley.
We had decided to push on to the Ilion Village Marina. We arrived
there about 8:00 p.m., having left at 10:00 a.m. Al had kept
the boiler well stoked. We went along at perhaps 6 m.p.h. We
were using wood faster than he had estimated, so he had to be slightly
concerned about the amount we had. We were probably okay and had
coal as a backup.
We had a late dinner at Sorrentoís in town, consuming a cheesesteak
sandwich, Buffalo wings,and salad. I was really ready for sleep.
Number of locks: 4
Approximate distance for day: 44 miles
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