84 Newark, NY to Sodus Bay, NY

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Weeks evaporated as if they were seconds. We settled into idyllic canal living, visiting family and catching up with the details of everyone’s lives. The same weather that closed the Erie Canal because of rains and high waters was a mixed blessing to Cindy and Mike. The rain filled the new pond in front of their planned new home. Cindy is busy trying to track tadpole growth, count frogs and track deer on the property. At home she has managed to pack most of their non-essential personal belongings into well-cataloged boxes for the now-delayed move to their new home. Mike, complete with broken arm keeps rescheduling contractors as rain pushes out their building schedule. It’s tough to get a basement in when rain keeps turning everything to mud. The rain delay at least has allowed Mike’s arm to heal before its time for him to begin to do the wiring of their new home. After having stood in the freezing cold at Christmas helping with the main connection on the power pole, it has been fun to walk the land in warm weather, appreciating the view out over the pond and valley, and seeing the forms for the walkout basement going up.

Last year Debbie and Jeff struggled to get their new lawn to even look green. It seemed like they were growing dirt not grass. All the rain this spring complimented their hard efforts, and they now have a lush green lawn and real grass to cut.
Never realized how special watching a hug, a cuddle, or just mom and dad taking care of their child could be until we watched Debbie and Jeff taking care of Danielle. We’d parted company just after Christmas when Danielle was barely a week old. Now six months later the change is still one of those miracles of life we continually enjoy. Our tiny granddaughter who couldn’t hold up her head when we left now enjoys standing and investigates everything within reach. Watching her loving parents nurture her makes the experience all that more enjoyable.

Fairport became our temporary home as we settled in at their superb dock facilities. For $8/night we had power, water and a prime location in a historic town. Fairport was our home for six years before we moved to Milwaukee. We’d walk the canal bank talking with the cruising boats we’d see and dream about the day we would travel the Erie Canal. Now we answered questions for potential future adventurers about our live- aboard traveling life style. We took care of domestic chores like visits to the dentist along with enjoying living on the canal.

Cindy & Mike's foundation in process

The plan was to stop and see the high tech foundation setup for Cindy and Mike’s home and then go kayaking. Half the plan worked. Linda and Steve helped us load our folding kayak in their van and we were off. At the job site we hung around watching as the foam forms went up to hold the poured concrete and provide insulation afterwards. Our intentions to go kayaking were sincere, but were sidetracked by a chicken barbecue. A sign caught our eye, and we headed down the road where we thought the arrow pointed. Twenty minutes later we were asking directions in a gas station. “Just head down the road, you can’t miss the smell or the church,” we were told. The aroma led us in past a huge grill loaded with chicken cooking. Down in the church basement the ladies loaded each of us up with a half-chicken, two slices of bread, salt potatoes dripping in butter, slaw, and our pick of homemade cake plus a beverage for $6.50 each. We went away stuffed and gave up on the kayaking idea.

Dick's cottage on Seneca Lake

Exploring along the edge of the Finger Lakes had been a favorite day trip when we lived in the area. Now we started exploring by boat. Debbie’s dad, Dick, volunteered his dock as a base. Dick, Pam, Debbie, Jeff and Danielle met us at the head of Seneca Lake by boat. After a pleasant dinner at a waterside restaurant we followed him over and tied 36′ of boat with 5′ of dinghy hanging off the stern across the 20′ width of his dock face. Our small trawlercat suddenly looked huge in its unique setting. Dick’s cottage is snuggled against the shore with a steep hill behind. From Odyssey it looked as if cars parked atop the hill touched the roof. We spent a delightful two days with Dick and family. Jeff and Debbie treated us to Father’s Day breakfast at a pretty restaurant a boat-ride away.

From Dick’s we made a fun ride down the lake with Linda and Steve to visit Steve’s family even though it was yet another rainy day. It was good to renew acquaintances with folks we hadn’t seen in twenty years.

Watkins Glen walk

Not worrying about the puddles we splashed along in our sandals on the Watkins Glenn trail. It was amusing to see others less prepared for the wet attempt unsuccessfully to keep shoes dry. The trail threads itsthreads its way along the stream, around, behind and sometimes through the many waterfalls and gorges in the glen. The trail was always wet, the views always spectacular as we climbed past a new waterfall at every turn.

Seneca Falls has an interesting piece of history. Its claim to fame is the start of the woman’s rights movement. A national park in original buildings chronicles the early history. We learned of a second unique happening at the town visitor’s center. When the canal had been modernized in the early 1900’s the water level had been raised 50′ or more drowning part of the town. It was intriguing seeing before-and-after pictures and learning that this portion of the canal is drained each winter exposing some of the old foundation remains.

The tiny town of Phoenix provided unique entertainment for us one afternoon. 200′ down the dock teens played in and out of the water having a grand time. Some even stopped by to ask questions about Odyssey. A number volunteered to join us. As a fast moving squall hit the area the kids hung around waiting for the storm to pass. At the height of the storm they helped us rescue Odyssey from the clutches of the 88mph gust (max reading from our wind gage when we checked later) that pulled Odyssey partially free from the dock. Two of the three lines holding us to the dock had not been locked against the cleat and slipped free in the wind. The kids hung on to the line I tossed them as Ruth started the engines and pivoted us back alongside using the one secure line as our swing point. In minutes we were again secure as the wind vanished. The fast moving storm served up a beautiful double rainbow as if to apologize for the few minutes of excitement.

Oswego became a fuel stop and a chance to walk the town that for many years had been one of our favorite and frequent destinations. Then in the late afternoon we headed out and west along the Lake Ontario shoreline to Little Sodus Bay and Fairhaven State Park. For exercise we walked the road along the bay 3 miles into town. Fresh bread and cookies from the Fly-by-Night Cookie Company (you have to see it to believe it) kept us from starving as we walked back.

Sodus Bay provided a chance to anchor out. For 20 years we’d kept our sailboats there, and it had a comfortable feel as we came in off the lake. Eager to again just relax and swing on an anchor, we tucked in behind Eagle Island and set the hook. For the first time in weeks we launched the dinghy. It was time to scrub the sides and waterline to get all the canal grime off. Hours later we finally relaxed on a clean boat.

Just as we started to get itchy for something different the cell phone rang. It was Linda and Steve suggesting they bring dinner and kayak out to meet us at anchor. A few hours later we spotted their sea kayak coming around the island. Ruth and Linda put together a wonderful dinner and we enjoyed each other’s company. Then it was time to part. Off they headed back around the island toward land.

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