Thursday, July 2, 2009
Kingston to Peterborough on the TSW (Jun 29-Jul 7)
With Canada Day looming, we'd had trouble finding marina space in Kingston. As it turned out, the main problem was that we're too fat - beamy in boat-speak. We would've taken up two slips of what remained at the Confederation Basin, the best downtown location. So, we ended up at Portsmouth Olympic Harbour Marina, built for the 1976 Olympics - and not improved upon since. That's not really fair. It was very nice, but their electrical could use an upgrade.I had my eyes peeled as we cruised through Campbellford - home of the giant Twoonie. It's behind the trees in the picture. I had heard that the dollar coin in Canada is a Loonie. There is a loon on one side. Just for fun, the two dollar coin is called a Twoonie. The designer of the coin is from Campbellford.
Remember that great view of the Parliament building from the boat in Ottawa? In Kingston we were right next to the penitentiary. It actually has a pretty good museum. Fred and Linda on Young America joined us there and delivered the much anticipated computer, which seems to be running fine - as it was when Travis received it when it was supposed to be broken. Fred and Linda took up the role of Canada Day celebrants and Joe and I ended up spending the day doing chores. I think we'd sight-seen ourselves out in Ottawa - and the Kingston trolley tour was out of commission.On July 2, a cloudy and off and on rainy day, we started the next leg of our journey. From Kingston we went basically west, heading for Trent and the Trent-Severn Waterway - another canal-river system with lots of locks. Some of these are "special" though. We, and Young America, anchored in a quiet little cove along the way and were rewarded with a rainbow before sunset.
The next day as we approached Trent, we heard a radio transmission from Jack on Still Busy. We were glad to meet up with them, but not happy to hear the news that there would be a wait for the first Trent-Severn lock. When we arrived at the lock, there was a nice waterfall coming over the lock door. Evidently there was dam trouble and repairmen had been summoned. We ate lunch and Jack and Pia walked down to check things out. They'd opted to stay in Trenton for the day.
Canadians don't use their radios much while boating - something about licenses - so I was surprised when I heard Scruples calling Overindulgence. The irony of the names gave me a chuckle. Shortly after, Call to the Bar called Overindulgence. I never heard a reply - sounded like good and evil competing!
We finally locked through lock one - and five more before ending our day. The Trent-Severn is not as old as the Rideau. It actually took about 80 years to complete. Interest would come and go, so it wasn't worked on constantly. Some of the locks are completely automated now and some still operated manually. Instead of the cranks we saw on the Rideau, the manual doors here operate like some swing bridges there.
The landscape has changed again. Along the canal here there are layers of rock showing. Somehow the trees manage to grow right out of the rock. Since we've been in Canada we haven't seen much unusual wildlife - although we have seen lots of black squirrels and a few loons. We've also seen actual Canadian Canada geese!We had topped off the fuel in NY, but decided it would be a good idea to pick up some in Campbellford. We'd heard from various sources that it would be the cheapest available. So, how much was it really? The price on the sign was for gas, diesel was 89.9 - per liter. After significant research and calculations, I think that comes to about $3.09/gallon in US dollars, maybe. It is fun to see Esso signs, though. Anybody know why they're not Exxon?
It turned out to be long day - 8 locks, 166 feet total lift. We finally stopped at a lock wall in a rural location. We had a plan for the next day. All the guide books recommended at stop at Healey Falls to see the water fall. There are three locks there lifting you a total of 76 feet, so it sounded pretty good. We slept late, after seeing a few 4th of July fireworks from a house flying an American flag, and then tied up after the Healey Falls locks. One guide book had said to ask the lock tender if you could tie up to the yellow hand rail, which would shorten the walk to the falls. The lock tender assured Joe that it would be a bad idea because the dam is right there and we'd risked being sucked into it. So we stopped on the other side, walked across the lock door, then along the top of a concrete seawall with poison ivy and other plants encroaching over the narrow walkway. Finally, we reached the dam and looked over at the waterfall. Basically it looked like a dam spillway (damn spillway?). Joe talked to the lock tender on our way back to the boat. He assured Joe that with less water it is more impressive. There were various reasons why there was a larger than usual volume of water going out. Anyway, Rocky enjoyed the walk - at least the first half. I had to carry him back. And, it would have been perfectly fine to tie up to the yellow railing. Then we had a nice picnic lunch with Fred and Linda before continuing on to Hastings. For those of you planning to make this trip, Hastings is a good stop. It's a small town, but the lock is literally in the middle of town with room to tie up. Within a few blocks are a grocery store, post office, laundromat, hardware store, hair salon, LCBO (wine & liquor store), beer store and several restaurants - also a good ice cream place (Sheila's). This place is so small, Joe didn't take his bike off the boat!
Unfortunately, it seems you never have a camera when you need it most. There was a cute little dog on a boat near us. The owners were taking it for a walk on a leash. After a hundred yards or so, the dog jumps up and grabs the leash handle from the owner's hand. Carrying the handle in his mouth, he trots back to the boat and jumps on!The next day, under clouds that did more than threaten off and on, we made the trip to Peterborough. The rain came gently off and on, but there were no locks so it wasn't a problem. The only lock of the day was just before Peterborough. We had planned to stop after locking up, but Chad, the lock tender, insisted that we go to the bottom of the next lock. He assured us it was a much better spot, gave us a town map marking a trail to town, told us what restaurants to go to, etc. Then he asked if had a camera on board. We gave him the camera and he told us to get off the boat so he could take a picture of us opening the lock door for ourselves!
We got tied up and made sure to leave space for Young America, who had left Hastings later than we did. Word came that they were locking up with two other boats who also intended to spend the night where we were - one of the was Still Busy. We got everybody in - the lock tenders allowed some to stay on the "blue line" which is reserved for boats ready to lock through. After everyone was settle, a group of us gathered at a picnic table for happy hour. If you'd like to see more pictures, follow the link to our picasa albums: http://picasaweb.google.com/joseph.pica. (it's not always updated at the same time as this one, but I catch up eventually!)