After locking through Lock 27 within 1 mile we came to Lock28A there was no time for breakfast yet. Lock 28B follows pretty close at 4 miles. We managed to get some breakfast but the dishes would have to wait. Our destination today was Spencerport located after going through Lock 33. This was where it was a little confusing. The cruising guide and the paperwork get got from the NYCS did not show a Lock 31. Everything went from Lock 30 to Lock 32. Was there a misprint in all of our paperwork? No, everything was correct. Instead of a Lock 31 there is a lift bridge. Lock 31 does not exist currently. But there is a Lock 28A and 28B. Go figure.
There was another sailboat with us in Lyons by the name of Petronella from Bayfield, ON. They did not leave with us. It was their plan to do an oil change on the boat, a Roberts 41. Once again we seem to be out of sync with everyone else on the canal. We are travelling on our own. In one way it is not too bad because we don’t have to wait for another boat to lock through or go under the lift bridges.
It was a pretty uneventful day and we arrived at Spencerport at 1630. The Visitor Information Center was not open but there was a number to call the Dockmaster which Brian did so that we could get the key codes for the very nice showers. We had just finished tying up and plugging in when Jane one of the Bridgetenders came along with her rescue dog Anna to say hello and tell us that the Lift Bridges would be passable at 0700. That was a different time than the Locks at this area of the Canal. A short time later the Dockmaster arrived to make sure that we had everything we needed. We were the first visitors in Spencerport and the Tourist Center did not have regular hours starting until June. Spencerport was the first town to have a Dockmaster that we had come across.
There is a great grocery store in Spencerport a short walk across the parking lot of the waterfront. It is a TOPS Family Grocery Store, this is a huge grocery chain like Zehrs at home or Publix in Florida. Brian and Chris thought it was a large ladies support group or clothing store. They did not provision here. We topped up our provisions here for the rest of the trip home. You do it when you can because you never know when you will have the opportunity again.
Spencerport is where we met the Travelling Foxes, Julie Anne and Ken Fox. They are a couple from New Zealand cycling around North America. At the time we were entering the grocery store we noticed that Julie and Ken were on bikes with gear carts. Is was a sunny but cool day so we introduced ourselves and told them about the free hot showers at the canal front. They were aware that there are amenities along the canal. We told them where to find the showers and by the time we got back to the boat they had found them and were taking advantage of the hot showers. We spoke to them briefly when they came out and exchanged cards. They wanted to travel another 10 mile along the canal that night so did not delay to long before they headed out again it was around 1900 and they had a couple of more hours daylight before they set up camp for the night. Their destination the next day was Lockport then the next day they hoped to cross the Peace Bridge to Canada.
The Travelling Foxes.
Travellingfoxes Epic Cycle Adventure USA 2014. You will find their blog at www.travellingfoxes68.wordpress.com. We thought we might see them in the next day along the Erie Canal, but sadly we did not. We wish them well and safe travels on their adventure.
About 2 hours after we tied up, Petronella arrived in Spencerport. Brian spoke to them and they were headed to Gasport, NY the following day. We would make a stop in Middleport, NY which is one lift bridge before Gasport. Their plan was to be in Tonawanda at Wardell’s to put up the mast on the boat on Saturday. That is our goal as well.
Friday morning Petronella got the first bridge opening at 0700, we were about an hour behind them when we left. We would probably see them at Wardell’s.
Our last stop on the Erie Canal was Middleport, NY. To me it was not my favourite stop.
They really don’t have anything to offer. They have showers available at the Public Works Department. A very nice laundromat, a coffee shop that closes at 4:00 and Pony’s a bar. That’s just about it. It was a good place for us to get a good night sleep before the job of rigging the boat tomorrow. That is just what we did.
We were on our way on Saturday morning at 0645 to get the first lift bridge at 0700. Well, we got there just around that time and we were too early. The Bridgetender did not start until 0800. So what time do the Bridgetenders start work? We still don’t know. We reached the last two locks on the Canal. Lock 35 and 35. These last 2 locks use to be a “Flight of Five” but now you are lifted up 52 feet in two locks and the gates to the locks are back to back. The current is quite swift and it is hard to hang on. In the second lock there were two baby ducklings that got separated from their mom and siblings. They just kept peeping for them. After we had lifted up the 52 feet and were ready to leave the lock, the gates failed to open. Oh no, that is not a good sign. The Locktender was able to troubleshoot the problem quickly and he determined that a fuse had blown. He went to the supply shed to retrieve a new fuse. On the way past us, told us that it was the first time in his 18 years working that lock that is had happened. Would this be the way our day was going to play out?
We left the last lock and Brian had me take the helm. Immediately, he started to remove the straps and undoing things that included taking down the bimini in preparation of putting up the mast at Wardell’s Boat Yard in North Tonawanda. We would be a sailboat again. We pulled up to the fuel dock at Wardell’s at 1115. Brian had called the day before to say we would be there around 1100, not a bad ETA. Petronella was already at the ginpole wall. We fuelled up and Dennis Wardell told us to tie up at the wall across the river. We got tied up and Brian scarfed down some lunch and ran over the bridge to see if he could lend a hand to the crew of Petronella putting up their mast and maybe just maybe they would return the favour. That job didn’t take too long so Brian came back and we switched places with them. After Petronella tied up on the wall, the guys did come over to lend a hand. They were there to help as long as it took us to drop the mast in and went back to their boat to finishing rigging it. We finished rigging the backstay and forestay and shrouds Brian went into pay the bill. Surprise, surprise the cost had gone up a dollar a foot since last September. Dennis told us we could stay on the wall overnight. Gee thanks. It was hot and noisy and lumpy so we decided to get out of there and head to Buffalo Yacht Club and finish our job there.