It’s an easy run from Phoenix to Oswego. Phoenix is lock O-1; we cleared lock O-7 at Oswego and decided to stay put. We arrived on Friday July 7, and planned to stay for a few days waiting out some wind. The hop across Lake Ontario is around 70 miles, so a full day on the lake, and we would rather sit tight and see some local interest rather than push across a sloppy lake! Oswego is a great place to wait out weather, the canal wall between lock 7 and lock 8 is perfectly calm since it’s isolated from the lake by lock 8. There’s easy access to town, a park adjacent to the wall, and the mooring’s free! With the addition of solar last year, we’re able to fully function on 2 hours of generator time per day if the sun shines! So we can easily get by with no shore power. We were more fortunate in Oswego than we were in Brewerton, only a few passing showers! So much rain! The canal system was shut down for several days around July 4th due to high waters. Our stopovers have coincided with the closures, so it had no effect on our progress.

Oswego offers a downtown with a number of shops and restaurants, an easy walk from the canal wall. The Colonial laundromat is just 3 blocks away; it boasts large numbers of machines, with aisles of regular, large, and HUMONGOUS capacity machines. The largest was a whopping 75 pound capacity! So we caught up on laundry in short order. Cruisers are real laundromat aficionados!  While in Oswego, we decided to deploy our bikes for a day. Our handy folding bikes are a must-have piece of cruising gear for us. They extend our range immensely, enabling us to visit places we just wouldn’t want to walk to. Although Molly doesn’t get to go along biking, she enjoys running alongside the bike. But a 6 mile run is an unreasonable challenge for a 9-year old! But with the park just a step off the boat, she’s happier with just jumping off the boat to play ball every 20 minutes! And, of course, she gets to greet all the dogs who are walking by- it’s a popular dog walking route! After completing the wash, we took the time to walk to the Richardson-Bates House Museum. Built in the 1880’s, it represents one of the finest homes of Oswego’s boom period when industrialization was made possible by use of water power provided by the Oswego River. Myriad factories and warehouses lined the banks of the river, and construction of hydraulic canals made possible the development of several miles of riverfront for production. The house is partially restored, most of the furnishings in the restored portions are original to the house! Very interesting step back in time!

Our bike tour took us about 6 miles. We started out by visiting Fort Ontario along the confluence of the Oswego River and Lake Ontario. The original fort was constructed in 1755, and the site underwent many changes in construction as well as occupation during the years. Between 1839 and 1844 due to the threat of another war with Great Britain, the present-day fort was constructed. This construction never saw battle, and served various functions over the years, and was abandoned in 1901. Between 1903 and 1905, the fort saw more use as part of the reorganization of the army during the early 1900’s, and continued to expand over the years. By 1941 over 125 buildings comprised the fort, mostly outside the fort walls.  Between 1944 and 1946 it served as an emergency refugee shelter for survivors of the Holocaust, the only shelter of its kind. Today the fort is maintained by New York State as an historic site.

Other stops on our tour included the old railway tunnel that runs under the east side of town, the rails crossed to the west side of the river. The tunnel now is a pedestrian walkway and part of a rail trail. We crossed the river and followed the river trail past a hydroelectric plan, and down river to the International Marina located just inside the harbor breakwater on the lake. We witnessed the problems the unusually high lake water levels are creating; several of the docks had makeshift extensions to elevate the walkways to the floating docks, and some areas of the parking lots were just becoming accessible with the levels finally beginning to recede a bit.

With the winds predicted to lay and veer around to the SW, our window for departure opened, and we decided to head across the lake on Tuesday morning, July 10. We were up early, lines off at 0650 hrs. in time to make the 1st locking at 0700. Winds out of the W at 10-12, not too bad if it holds!

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