The two boats got through Locks 21 and 22. Thank you, thank you Mister Superintendent. After leaving Lock 22 John picked up his speed and headed out into Oneida Lake. He was going to make his 0705 flight in the morning to Fort Myers. We could still see them on the lake but could not keep up with them. Brian and I decided that we would head for the same marina, Winter Harbor in Brewerton, NY. It was a sunny day but still cool. We actually got our Mustang float coats on again. The wind and waves picked up and we were motoring into the waves, Brian was worried about the mast shifting on the boat so he added a few more straps. Once we crossed the lake and got into the protection of the islands and into the canal things settled down.
We were just about 1/2 hour or so behind Our Time. In fact they were still at the fuel dock. We needed to fill our tank and the gerry cans. Even though Brian had made a walk to the gas station in Rome with one can, everything needed to be topped up. Both diesel and water. Then John and Gail moved inside the harbor and we were told we could remain at the fuel dock. We got there just in time the hours in the marina are around 0830 to 1600 sharp. The ladies in the office stuck around to check us in. Brian went into the office to tell them we wanted fuel. They let him know which pump to use. Now, I did not mention this before, but I think that it is the coolest thing that most pumps along the Hudson River and the Canal are self-serve. Hmmm do you think that would work at the City Marina? At least you could fuel up after the staff goes home at the end of their shift. What a novel idea.
We fuelled up and ran up to the office to register. Brian had talked to John the first trip up and he asked if we would like to join them for dinner at a restaurant. Boy would we. Beside all of the amenities Winter Harbor also has two courtesy cars. Undecided if we would stay in Winter Harbor one night or two they ran instead of paying the bill we would wait until the morning. Brian did buy a Winter Harbor t-shirt though.
After hot showers, we met John and Gail at 1800 to go to dinner. It was about a 7 mile drive to another town. Once again there is nothing in Brewerton. The ladies in the office recommended the Coppertop in Cicero, NY. The time limit on the courtesy car is 1 hour, but we figured that if the office suggested the restaurant, we were good to go. Dinner was very enjoyable and we got to know Gail and John a little better. Very nice folks. The waitress accommodated us with two checks which was awesome. Brian went to take out his credit card and he did not have it. This is a common occurrence lately. He uses it and doesn’t put it back in his wallet. And then he panics. He last used it in the office, had on different pants so it must be on the boat. Oh well, just use the other one. It needs to be kept active anyway. I’ll let him tell you the Winter Harbor Credit Card Story. You must remember to ask him.
We got back a little after 2000 and said our good byes to John. We did not see him in the morning, but promised to see Gail before we left.
It was chilly again in the morning thank goodness we had electricity and could plug in the heater. The locks were still closed. Period. No coaxing will change the status. We decided to remain at Winter Harbor another night. We borrowed a car and made a trip to Cicero to the Walmart for a few groceries. We managed to get there and back in the allotted hour. I made a huge pot of bean soup for our dinner. Just before dinner Gail came for a walk to visit with Stanley. We told her that our plan was to leave in the morning and tie up at the wall by Lock 23. Maybe, just maybe they would let us through. We said we would see her in the morning before pulling out.
We checked the Notice to Mariners on Wednesday morning. Nothing had changed. We were going anyway. At 0900 we checked out of the marina, said our good-byes to Gail and Stanley gave her some soup for her lunch and left to move the 1 mile to Lock 23. By this time Brian had gotten to know Tim the Lockmaster over the phone pretty well. We tied up and he went to formally introduce himself in person and see if there was any change in the lock status. The walls at the Locks are free but once again there is no Wi-Fi, no water or electricity, no washrooms. It is actually very peaceful at Lock 23. I compared it to being in the middle of the woods. There were no trains nor was there any street noise, just people fishing off the walls. Not too crowded though. The locals don’t bother you at all either. So, we just relaxed and read. So we were on the wall for the night. Thursday morning the status was the same. Brian tried his hand at fishing and caught a couple of blue gills. Some of the locals were fishing with bow and arrows. One of the guys actually caught a big sheephead and kept it. We spent Thursday night at Lock 23.
Friday morning Brian went to have coffee with Tim when he came on shift. He went to check on the canal status. He came back to the boat and I was having coffee. I figured it was a good day to make some bread. We were out and I wanted to warm things up, it was another dreary cold day. Just as I started the get thing measured and out. Brian yelled we’re leaving untied us and jumped on the boat. The Superintendent was there and they were opening Lock 23 for us and another boat. We could get as far as Phoenix, NY on the Oswego River and go to the free dock there. The other boat was heading to Lake Ontario anyway and that was his route and it was open. Tim waved and said good–bye and you’ll like Phoenix. It’s a nice little town. Nothing would open until Tuesday.