Monday, August 29, 2011

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

Your chainsaw engines, that is! It has been a wild week thanks to Hurricane Irene. First it went right through the Abacos, and we had our fingers and toes crossed that everyone was okay and damage was minimal. My eyes were also crossed from spending so much time on the computer trying to get any and all information available off the internet. Luckily several people were able to still post updates on their Facebook pages, including pictures and videos. Hope Town Volunteer Fire and Rescue has a website that they were posting reports on also (click HERE for their website). When the Category 3 hurricane continued on its way, and the damage was assessed, it wasn't as bad as expected, with no injuries or deaths, which was wonderful news. Clean up is immense as it seems that most damage was to trees and plants, and chainsaws are even being brought in from the States to help clear the debris. This I can certainly understand after watching the video of the storm, and wonder how any trees or buildings were left standing at all.

For a video taken by Neil and Phyllis during the storm in Hope Town, click HERE.

For many pictures posted on Facebook by Cookie at Firefly Resort, click HERE.

Power and phones are starting to come back into service, but we still haven't heard anything about our boat in Green Turtle Cay. However today, the boatyard posted on one of the message boards that told of several boats that fell off their stands, and New Horizon wasn't on the list. They are still checking all the boats inside and out for any damage, so we have to wait for them to contact us. This is a huge job that takes lots of time, so we figure, "no news is good news."

As Hurricane Irene made its way up the eastern shore of the U.S., my eyes were still glued to my laptop screen, waiting for the three hour updates as to what her path north was going to be. There seemed to be a constant clicking of the mouse back and forth between hurricane updates and the latest Abaco message board news. Unfortunately the predictions didn't waver much as Irene headed almost directly between us in upstate New York, and my sister near Manchester, NH. For once the rest of my family in Florida wasn't in the 'cone of doom' (although my nephew in Daytona has really enjoyed surfing the big waves)!

The day before the now Tropical Storm Irene was due to pay us a visit, it was absolutely beautiful out and we all wondered if we should take the warnings seriously. I did store away anything that might blow away, or clank around outside, "just in case". Dave helped our friend Jim haul his boat out of the water up at Sacandaga Lake, since the lake's water depth really varies, and the winds were predicted to be 35-60 mph. It was such a calm evening they almost went for a ride in the boat instead. We are all so glad that we took the precautions that we did, because Irene showed us no mercy.

We woke to howling winds, driving rain, and trees crashing. After about 8 hours the weather had eased enough to go check the damage. In the end the high wind gusts and 6-7" of rain took its toll around the property. Trails were barely accessible, and a huge tree size branch fell in the backyard along with another tree out front, blocking the driveway.

Although overwhelming at first, clean up has begun, and we put a huge dent in the mess, thanks to Chris, Suzanne, James, Jim, their chainsaws, and the New Holland!

When we finally got out and around the town, we realized that the tree damage in our whole area was intense, with roads not only closed because of downed trees and power lines, but also because flooding is occurring in many streams and rivers, including the Mohawk River. The media is calling it a 500 year flood. Many bridges over the river were closed and the 10 knot current is dragging huge trees, debris, and even a few sheds, down the racing river. Below are a few pictures of Mohawk Park where the boats were hauled out when they knew flooding was going to occur.

Also, here is a picture of Jumpin' Jack's Drive-In Restaurant that was sent to us.

This is where our local water ski team is based out of (Click HERE to see them featured on CBS). Their docks have floated downstream.

Vermont also has major flooding issues and roads are washed out. All of this makes our downed trees seem very insignificant.

All I can say to summarize this week is to quote what so many people are saying..."Good Night Irene!" I'll just add good riddance to it too.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Antique Boat Museum

We really enjoy going to the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, N.Y. each year for their boat show and auction. The museum itself is awesome and worth the trip just to go through it. Add on this annual event in the Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence Seaway and it makes for a spectacular day...or two or three. We even got to see a couple of freighters go by, which added to the ambiance of the whole scene.

Although all the boats in the show are exceptional, below are a few photos of some of our favorites.

When One Door Closes

Another Opens! This door led to the Rideau Antiques property. While trailering 'Full Circle' to Jones Falls we passed this antique store, which is definitely an understatement. Dave looked at me and asked if we should stop. Are you could the 'Pashley Pickers' pass up this opportunity?

The outside piles went on for acres, but everything was organized according to item category.

Although I didn't take any photos, inside the house was the same, with only very narrow pathways between antique and collectible glassware and ceramics, tools, musical instruments, books, clocks, etc. You name it, they had it! Then across the street there was a huge barn filled with more items with paths through the old stalls. Heck, it even still smelled liked cows in there. The people that owned the place were so helpful and explained how Mr. Miller had been going to auctions and collecting for 49 years. Now items were being dropped off to them from others also.

We ended up finding and buying a couple of green glass demijohn bottles (one even had the wicker basket around it still) and a large apothecary jar with glass top, to add to my collection. Dave also bought two wood spoked front wheels to replace the rotting ones on the green pony cart at home. All of this was tightly packed in the van surrounding one of the kayaks. If we found much more we would have had to put the non-running boat to good use and start filling it up.

We may have missed out on going through the locks, but this was quite an experience in itself. We even went back to dig for more treasures a few days later.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rideau Canal, Ontario, Canada

Despite our boat engine breakdown, we still had a great time virtually boating by land through the Rideau Canal System. We met up with the 3 other boats for several evenings of fabulous scenery, food and camaraderie.

Two of the rented boats were old cabin cruisers that were very minimalistic and spartan. It was quite 'cozy' for each of the couples that co-habitated together on these boats for the week. The houseboat was shared by Sharon and Jim, and compared to the other boats, it was a mansion, so we all made it our mothership. This is where we ended up making our meals and if picnic tables weren't available or it rained, the 12 of us cuddled up and ate inside also. Each of the 6 couples prepared dinner for everyone, and it is amazing what came out of the small galley.

Our favorite place we visited was Jones Falls. It was so picturesque with its flight of 3 stepped locks that led to a pretty turning basin, and then another lock before the climb up (or down) was completed.

There were several different interpretation/information buildings on site with walking trails through the park.

Dave and Jim befriended the canal's mascot.

This dam was spectacular and if you click on the picture you will be able to read about how it was built.

While exploring by land, we ended up driving OVER Chaffeys Lock, trailering the boat behind us, of course!

Almost all the locks are hand operated by the park staff.

We stopped and checked out Newboro Lock and launched the kayak to paddle around the islands in very shallow water.

We really appreciated everyone adapting their plans to allow us to join them at each day's destination. The week certainly had its challenges, but it was definitely worth the trip. We will always remember 'Perserverence, Endurance, and Tolerence!'

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Short Circle

I am sitting in a motel writing this quick blog. That gives you an indication of the way things of been going on our Rideau Canal trip in Ontario. I will write details later, but for now, here are some pictures to tell the story.

Happy to be floating and ready for fun...

A few hours later, we were dead in the water and Dave had to tow us to a cove with the kayak...

Our saviors Wayne and Margarite tow us the 8-10 miles back to the launch ramp at the lock...

It was a short full circle on the water. Now we are 'virtual boating' as we meet up with our friends along the canal route by land...

Perhaps we should have bought one of the boats at the Antique Boat Museum's auction! That's a whole different story for a later date.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Heading Out

We're packed and the Full Circle is hooked up to the van and ready to roll. Hopefully it will be ready to float and run again once we get to the Rideau Canal at Smith Falls, Canada. First stop though, is the Antique Boat Museum in Clayton, NY for their annual boat show and auction. I better keep Dave's credit card in MY pocket! Since Clayton is on the St. Lawrence River in the Thousand Islands, there is always a good chance that we will be able to glimpse one of the huge Great Lake freighters that ply the waters. By tomorrow night we will hopefully be floating somewhere in the Rideau Canal, meeting up with 10 of our friends who have chartered boats. I don't know if there will be wifi up there, so stay tuned for a full report when we return.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On Top of the World

Or at least on top of the Adirondack Mountains! We took our friends Paul and Ann on a tour of the area's mountains and lakes and got a bird's eye view from the summit of Whiteface Mountain.

It was a bit hazy, but still spectacular. Lake Champlain is in the background.

Lake Placid is easily seen, and we had lunch in town (which ironically is actually located on the shore of Mirror Lake) and explored a few of the shops along main street.

This is the Adirondack High Peaks, where if you complete all 46 hiking trails you are known as a '46er'.

For the trip back down to the parking area, Dave and Ann were brave enough to go down the nature trail. It was literally breathtaking and they really had to hang on to the rails because of the wind. Well worth the trip down though, but it would be quite a trek going up.

Paul and I took the easy way down, by a 26 floor elevator and back thorough a long tunnel under the mountain.

Temps in the tunnel were 45, 66 at the summit, and 89 at the bottom and in the valley. It certainly was a great place to spend a hot day with some natural air conditioning!