Monday, July 4, 2022

Unalienable Rights

Happy Independence Day, everyone. We are back under way, northbound in the Hudson River, with no particular stop in mind for the day. We had a late start waiting for the end of the ebb, and we'll ride the flood until the confluence of a good anchorage and a pre-dinner stopping time.

Early fireworks on the Poughkeepsie waterfront from our anchorage. People were setting them off well past our bedtime.

Wednesday evening we did go ashore, landing at the park dock on the Poughkeepsie waterfront. Signs limit docking to 15 minutes in consideration of other boaters, but with the river and dock empty mid-week, we were not too worried about it. We hiked up the hill in search of dinner, scoping out the train station on our way.

Of the three or four restaurants in walking distance, none was appealing, and we ended up at the taco joint right next to the dock, which has a full bar. We were able to get a somewhat shady table on the patio, where we could also keep an eye on the dock in case we needed to move the dink. The food was fine, so we made the right choice.

Vector anchored in the Hudson, as seen from the Poughkeepsie waterfront.

In the morning we weighed anchor just at the end of the ebb and headed three quarters of a mile back downriver to Shadows Marina, adjacent to the fine-dining restaurant of the same name. We tied up on the outside face dock (map), where we were met by dockmaster Keith, who was oddly indifferent about collecting the slip fees.

We spent the next couple of hours going through shutdown and layup checklists and getting ready for our trip, then made the three-quarter mile hike to the train station. We were unprepared for the Ethan Allen Express to be absolutely packed on a Thursday, and we found no empty seats together or anywhere even close to one another; the conductor told me that all the trains were sold out for the holiday weekend. We ended up sitting in the snack car until Hudson, sipping a beer I purchased to justify taking up a table.

Mid-Hudson Bridge as seen from our anchorage. The lights along the main cable cycled through many colors.

In spite of that it was a lovely train ride. Running alongside the river drives home how slowly we move in the boat. Before we left the boat, a couple of loopers passed us going upriver on full plane, doing maybe 15-20 knots, which to us is lightning fast. On the train we flew past those same boats a good two hours later, leaving them in the dust at 70mph. At Hudson the train started to empty out and we moved to a pair of more comfortable seats in one of the coaches.

My cousin Chris picked us up at the station at Fort Edward and drove us over to the VRBO in Lake George, a seven-bedroom affair that turned out to be an early-20th century manor home, complete with servants' stairs and call system leading directly to the kitchen from the back hallway above. We had a lovely room overlooking the lake, and I think only four bedrooms ever saw use during our stay.

Servant call annunciator in the kitchen. The little arrows told you which station pressed the call button when the bell rang. This house likely had a cook and a housekeeper. 

The next three days were a whirlwind of social visits with my cousins and their extended family interspersed with setting up and then tearing down our nephew's graduation party. The party was Saturday afternoon with some 40-odd guests. As I predicted we exercised little self-control and ate far too much of the seemingly endless supply of food. After the party there was so much left over that we carried leftovers back with us which will feed us for days.

It was a great party, a wonderful weekend, and, of course, we very much enjoyed catching up with my aunt, uncle, and cousins whom we see only very occasionally. We all had to clear out of the VRBO by 10am yesterday, and since our train did not leave till 1:30, we spent a nice final hour or so with my aunt and cousin in a coffee shop in downtown Glens Falls before hitting the station. We had our pick of seats for the return trip.

Vector docked at Shadows Marina.

Amtrak was fifteen minutes late getting back in to Poughkeepsie, and we were back at the dock, hauling a couple dozen extra pounds of loot, just before 5pm. Keith came over to collect the fees as we were making ready for departure. With two very large boats inbound for the holiday festivities, he was very appreciative that we kept our word about our departure, and charged us a good deal less than I had expected to pay for our three-night stay.

We were under way at 5:10pm, and with almost two hours of flood left, we ran eight miles upriver to a nice anchorage east of Esopus Island (map), between a yacht club and a state park. It uncharacteristically took us three tries to get the hook set in a spot with good holding where we would not swing into the shallows. Dinner on the aft deck was, of course, leftovers, and we hardly made a dent.

Dinner on deck -- pulled pork sandwiches with fruit salad and chips.

This morning we waited until the change of tide to weigh anchor, which meant we did not get under way until after noon. The plotter says we'll be in Catskill around 4:30, but we'll have plenty of flood left and will probably push on at least to Athens. We've already missed the fireworks in Catskill, which were on Saturday, and Kingston, which has them today, is now behind us. On this, our fourth time through here, we're opting for making distance rather than smelling the roses.

The tug Elk River pushing a fuel barge upriver passes the downbound Erieborg from our anchorage. We were right next to the pilot station and you can see the pilot boat alongside; we watched one pilot board and the other disembark. I follow the former skipper of the Elk River online.

In large part that is to keep our options open. July is a late start up the Hudson for it, but one of those options is to take the Down East Circle route, which would bring us down the Saint Lawrence Seaway to the Canadian Maritimes, then back along the coast into Maine and closing the loop in New York. Lots of ducks have to line up for that, including a timely start into the Seaway, water levels in the lake, and weather forecasts for the maritimes.

We won't make an actual decision until we are well into the Thousand Islands. But it can't happen at all if we don't make steady progress towards them. The point of no return is roughly Brockville, NY, beyond which there is really too much current for us to turn around. If we wave off, we'll be coming right back this way, on a much more leisurely pace.

Approaching the Esopus Meadows lighthouse.

We did have a brief moment of excitement this morning. A sailboat made an abrupt tack right in front of us, and as I was trying to figure out which way they were going to go, I realized they were trying to circle back to their dog, who was in the water. In short order the skipper jumped in after the dog, leaving the mate to try to wrangle the boat. We stopped dead, but as we were noodling on how best to help, a State Trooper boat just happened along right at that instant. All's well that ends well, and we resumed our journey.

A very wet dog and skipper on the back of the Trooper boat, as the mate tries to steer away from the cliff.

Wednesday I expect we will lower our mast, and by Thursday we should be off the Hudson River and into the Erie Canal. My ability to type underway will be more limited, so we will be well into the canal when you next hear from me.


  1. It should be a fun trip on the Erie canal. In my childhood (Chateaugay NY) we used to go to the thousand islands all the time. Our neighbor had a camp on the St. Lawrence at Alexandra NY.. We sure are enjoying your trip. Steve & Carol.

  2. Hi Sean & Louise, we are sure enjoying your trip. I spent a lot of time on the St Lawrence as a kid. My neighbor had a camp at Alexandra NY and we used to go there often. I grew up in Chateaugay NY and we could see the lights of the ships on the St Lawrence at night. We also had our RV in Glens Falls and my old Air Force buddy was from Kingston, so it all rings a bell! We still remember walking Opal at the casino in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Happy travels Steve & Carol

    1. Great to hear from you guys. It's been a long time since that visit in Shawnee; I'm glad you are still enjoying the blog.


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