Sunday August 24th, Erie Canal past Little Falls.
Again this morning we got up at about 7am and left the lock by 7:45am. We motored all morning and stopped in Little Falls, NY for lunch. A very cute town, many antique shops and little restaurants.
The canal is blocked from most of the town by the railroad, but they built an underground tunnel, that you can walk through to get to the main part of town. Our stroll down main street, quickly showed that this town was in some kind of economic recession possibly due to the real estate crash . Many closed stores, one was for rent for only $375 per month. However, we found an amazing steakhouse.
Our meals came with all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar, Roxane ordered the lasagna, I had a baked stuffed haddock, the kids also got their own kids meals, the total bill with taxes came to $36! We had enough left-overs (with these American large portions!) for another meal back on the boat. We then walked to the local bakery, and ordered a dozen buns, 4 cinnamon donuts, 2 cup cakes, 4 large cookies, and a special strawberry coconut pastry. Believe it or not, the bill came to $5.50. I thought the lady had made a mistake, but she assured me that it was the correct price. I asked her how she makes any money? She just shrugged her shoulders.
We continued on our journey in the heat of the afternoon sun. We decided to try out the anchor on the boat for the first time, while in the Mohawk river. Our whole family enjoyed a refreshing swim off the boat; Thomas and Alexander had a great time jumping off the swim platform. We successfully dropped and retrieved the anchor using the electric windlass with no problems.
Further down the river, motoring along, carefully following the buoys, the boat came to a quick stop. Our 6 1/2 foot bulb keel had become stuck into mud at 5 foot depth. We were stuck and stuck good. We radioed for help, but we were in the middle of nowhere so we had no response. We called the emergency canal phone number, and the interstate police officer answered, and he knew nothing about the canals.
In the meantime a large trawler was approaching, I hailed the trawler and asked for assistance and he agreed to tow us out of the mud. He used his sonar to measure the depth of the shallow area as he approached. We realized that we had almost made it right through. After Thomas tied a few trusty bowlines (that he learned in sailing school), the trawler was able to tow us backwards out of the mud. We were free, but we had to be on the other side of the mud in order to make it to NY city. So we backed up the boat, and brought her up to about 8 knots, following the path that the trawler had taken. We had no choice, we had to get through. The nose started to go down, but with in a couple of seconds it popped up and we were through.
We lost a couple of hours with this incident, and it started getting dark, there was nowhere to dock for another hour down the river. We continued in almost complete darkness. The radar would have been handy in this situation, but it was disconnected since the mast was down and we could not rely on the accuracy of the GPS chart plotter in these narrow canals. Therefore, we followed the light of our 3 million candle flashlight, Ed used the wireless remote control on the bow, we made our way down the canal. Up on the bow you get the best view at night. We drained the batteries in one of our flashlights, and we were now onto the second flashlight. It’s a good thing I stocked up on all the safety gear for the 300! After an hour of this we made it to a dock that we spent the night on.
P.S. Thomas spent the day writing an employee manual for his new “Brats” business. He wrote about 3 pages, when I told him that Daddy’s business had a 60 page employee manual, he thought he should add some more details. When he got to page 10 of his manual, I explained to him, that it took Radonic Rodgers 11 years to get to 60 pages. This new information made him satisfied with his 10 page manual.