Erie Canal redux

From Oswego, we began our trip back down the Erie Canal on Saturday Sept. 9 with our first stop at Ess Kay Yards in Brewerton where we had spent time in July, so a little over two months later for our return. We arrived early afternoon. We had previously scheduled mail delivery, so we picked up our mail, some parts ordered for us, borrowed the courtesy van and did a circuit to refill both propane tanks, pick up prescriptions, grocery run, Lowe’s to replace mats that went overboard in Penetang, and some takeout pizza. A very busy afternoon! Our Sunday began foggy, but we weren’t in a big hurry to get going. We took on about 300 gallons of fuel and bid farewell to Kim and Ethan, and headed to Sylvan Beach. Finally, warm weather! We enjoyed strolling in tee shirts and shorts in the evening, and moved on the next morning.

A few overnight stops down the Erie at Little Falls where we enjoyed another warm stroll and walked past some interesting buildings downtown. The architecture from the 1880’s-early 1900’s is very interesting, and some of the buildings still retain some of their original grandeur. The Masonic Temple pictured was built in 1914. and was sold in recent years. It was converted to a residence, and was sold again within the past few months. It appears to be in good repair, but as a heating guy, I can imagine the beast of a boiler that lives in that huge building’s basement! I can also appreciate that heating and maintaining that system involves costs that would leave most prospective buyers slack-jawed when they learn about boiler replacement! Still, an impressive building! The incredible prosperity of the whole Mohawk Valley and surrounding area during the turn of the century boom years of the Canals and industrial expansion is clearly reflected in the architecture of the region. Likewise, the downturn in fortunes in the time since. It’s very sad to see those former monuments to prosperity fall into ruin, yet encouraging to see some of them preserved in their original condition.

Amsterdam, our next stop shares a similar experience as a once-thriving industrial center that now struggles to stay afloat. Once the home of Mohawk Carpet Mills, the mills now sit empty, many demolished, and jobs sent far away. The area has seen some revitalization since our first visit in 2008 with evidence of improved prosperity. The Riverlink Park in Amsterdam features a well-maintained park with floating docks and free laundry! Not expensive at $1/ft., it’s a short walk across the lovely new pedestrian bridge to the opposite side of the river. We planned to dine out at a local small italian restaurant, the Armory Grille, but it was closed Tuesdays. Alternatives involved re-crossing the bridge where we found Chinese take-out in a repurposed 80’s mall. Not the tastiest chinese we’ve ever sampled! One the plus side, there was no line!

From Amsterdam we completed our transit of the Erie Canals, arriving in Waterford on Wednesday, Sept. 13 in the last locking. At this writing 9/14, we’re located in Kingston, NY where we arrived around 1545 hrs. in time to raise the mast and put the boat deck back in order. Tomorrow we’ll clean up fenders, deflate and stow the ones we use in the locks, and over the next few days we’ll make our way toward New York City. At this point we plan a layover in Great Kills on Staten Island for a day or two while hurricane José decides its path and we can plan ours!

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