Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Survivor: Erie Canal - A Perspective

In 3 days we will have been on the Erie Canal for one month.  What do we have to show for it?  88 miles and 18 locks.  That's an easy 2-day run, 3 max.  Here's a summary.

- 4 days at Waterford and waited out the first heavy rains upstream.
- 1 night on the wall at Lock #7 after the water eased up a bit.
- 3 days at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam with significant rain and flooding again.
- Moved into Lock #11 for our safety per the Erie Canal Authority with significant rain and flooding coming.
- 14 days in Lock #11 for repairs to be made all over the canal system and floodwaters to recede.
- A "hasty" 50-mile and 7-lock run to Ilion to avoid more anticipated problems with more flooding expected.
- 4 more inches of rain fell putting the water over the dock wall at Ilion.
- 5 days at Ilion Marina waiting for floodwaters to recede.
 - 3 to 4 more inches of rain last night bringing the water to within 3 inches of going over the dock wall again.
- More rain forecast for the next 4 days and 8 of the next 10 days.

You would think that we are discouraged, but you also have to consider the positives.

- We have traveled by boat 7004 miles in the past 5 1/2 years.  (The picture above is of our last boat leaving Ft. Smith, AR on the Arkansas River as we traveled from Muskogee,OK to Galveston, TX).
- Traveled from Alabama to Oklahoma to Texas and ran the Gulf and Atlantic coasts to here without incident or significant delays.
- Got to run a marina in Oklahoma for 2 1/2 years and made friends for life.
- Were able to help our older son's family in Texas through a long and very tough battle with cancer.
- Our daughter-in-law survived Stage 3 melanoma and just recently completed a triathlon.
- We have reconnected with some old friends along the way and had other friends joins us for parts of the trip.
- Spent some quality time with family in Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Myrtle Beach, and some road trips home.
- We have seen this great country from a very unique perspective and learned so much about it we didn't know previously.
- We have met many wonderful people along the way - the good far outnumber the not-so-good.
- We have experienced this Erie Canal mess with some of those wonderful people.
- As we look around and see the devastation the local communities and residents here have experienced the past few days, our "plight" is not so bad in the big scheme of things.

We spoke with the Utica section of the canal authority yesterday, and they are confident they can get us underway again, hopefully sometime this week.  There is no damage to the system west of here, they just need to move lots of water before we resume our travels.  We are so appreciative of the Lock #11 folks who made some special efforts and planning to get us from there to here in that one-day window of travel that we had.  There is lots more damage east of our location now, and we are very concerned for those still waiting for that section to reopen.  Many have now opted to take the alternate Champlain route and we wish them safe travels - hope to see you in Canada in the weeks ahead.

In the meantime, we are safe and secure at the Ilion Marina and wish everyone the best.  We'll keep you posted.

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