The Hudson River Valley has some very beautiful scenery. It was lovely going through the mountains. We passed West Point Academy and on the Stadium roof they had written in block letters “Beat Air Force” when AFEICA passed going south it was “Beat Navy”. The one thing that stood out was the amount of train traffic, passenger and cargo. It seems that there is one every 30 minutes blowing its whistle. Most of the passenger trains are empty, whether they are heading into or out of New York. The tracks along the river bed are not even 100 yards from the shoreline. They are very noisy and loud. I had mention along the way to someone about how disturbing this was. Most people are of the opinion that this is what has killed the small towns along the water. There is not one person that thinks the trains have been good for the economy. The towns are like ghost towns that you see in old black and white films. Sometimes I think that Kathy Bates or Jack Nicholson may come around the corner. There are no amenities, no gas stations, no convenience stores, restaurants, drug stores, no libraries just boarded up store fronts and houses. Sometimes you will find a bar with a dog or cat or both where the sign on the door states “Sorta Kinda Open”. Wow, small town America.
We left Saugerties on Esopus Creek and made the 35 mile run to Castleton-on-Hudson and arrived at the dock and tied up by 1300.
The first order of business was to see if the mast supports that were left there in the fall were still stored behind the Club. Yes, they were still where Chris and Brian had left them. That was huge; we would not have to build another support system. Immediately, Brian started to pull the rig apart in preparation of pulling the mast. But wait, it wasn’t long before the Club Stewart came out of the Club and said “Captain, would you like to come and register before you start your work?” Oops. He went inside and paid for dockage $54.00 and the use of the gin pole $50.00. Now, we were cleared to work. We got the entire rig taken apart, pulled all of the pins, all of the lines we could wrapped up, did everything we could to the point of actually pulling out the mast. Nope, we weren’t quite ready for a break yet. The next thing was to move the supports out of the storage area. I wonder just how many other boats had piled their supports on top of the ones we had to dig out. As it turned out it wasn’t as bad as we thought. O.K. now can we take a break? We went into the bar for a drink.
There seemed to be a lot of activity around the Club, fisherman and club members at the bar. Alright, this is a good sign. Chances are there will be some bodies around in the morning to help with the mast. We couldn’t be that lucky. There was not a soul around. We were on our own. It was very scary but we got it done. I wish there had been someone there to take a picture. We got everything secured. It had taken just about 2 hours to complete the job. AFEICA now looks like a spider web. The boom is sitting on the port deck along with the jerry cans and there are straps and ropes running everywhere making it difficult to navigate up and down the decks. I’ll have to watch my step. Very proud of ourselves we left Castleton-on-Hudson by noon.
I thought we could relax (our nerves were shot) and enjoy the trip to Waterford where the Erie Canal and the start of the locks. We decided to stay at the Waterford Harbor Visitors Center on the dock in Waterford for the night. Relax? Boy was I mistaken.
I had another first of the day. The first one being taking down the mast, now it was time for my first lock experience. Oh crap. I wasn’t prepared for it but Lock 01 was in Troy, NY before the visitor center in Waterford. I had read it somewhere and it was in the back of my mind. All of a sudden, the Captain was giving orders. Get out the docklines. Get out the fender boards. Get out the fenders. Get out the boathooks. Get out the work gloves. The lock was about 1 mile away, I could see it. My first lock did not have ropes hanging to grab on to. It was a lift up about 14 feet with pipes to wrap a line around. Of course my position is on the bow where it is my job to make sure that the mast that is hanging over the bow of the boat does not get hung up on the wall of the lock. Did I mention that now instead of the boat being 37.5 feet in length, it is now 55 feet in length? So it took me a while to get co-ordinated enough to move the line up the poles and fend the bow off the wall and watch the end of the mast. Waterford was still 3 miles away. I was really glad to tie up on the wall in Waterford right next to Lock 2. We still had to walk one mile to the grocery store before calling it a day. It was a very full day.