THE BLESSING OF BEING *STUCK*

Hi friends! Sorry about the long blog post, but it’s been a while and there’s so much to catch you up on!

Ever notice how the unexpected turns out to be a blessing in disguise? That’s exactly what happened last week.

After cruising the amazingly gorgeous Hudson River, we ended in Waterford, NY to begin our 160 mile trek thru the Erie Canal. Our route had us navigating 23 locks, which would then lead us to Lake Ontario and eventually into Canada. You guys, I am taking my own boat into ANOTHER COUNTRY. I thought cruising by Lady Liberty was a huge deal (which of course it was), but this just blows my mind!

One of us had the stupidest idea of walking across the Mid-Hudson Bridge. For me, it was 3,000 feet of sheer terror. Ok, maybe a small part of me liked the bridge music, but I was holding on to Rob for dear life! There are two listening stations on the bridge’s towers.  You push a button and hear the music of the bridge on the bridge.  The sounds were actually created by recording the sounds of the bridge’s surfaces (guard rails, girders, etc.) with various mallets. It was actually really cool.

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What was I thinking?!?!

We found a beautiful, secluded anchorage on the Hudson River.

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Our first 5 locks, called the Waterford Flight, would be within a span of 2 miles and each would lift us 34 feet! 😳 Tidbit: The Waterford Flight features five locks where vessels are lifted or lowered the greatest height in the shortest distance of any canal in the world. I definitely had some locking jitters. We’ve only locked a couple of times before and they weren’t even close to the size of the Erie Canal locks. Think of a lock as an elevator for boats…lifting and lowering them between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways. Locks are what make the Loop possible.

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We’re hanging left here.
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Even the big boys  lock.

Our first day we travelled 35 miles and went through 10 locks. I wouldn’t say we are experts, but we definitely felt much more confident about our locking abilities.

We ended the day with news of a storm coming the next day. We met some really neat guys who were on a research boat. They had the inside scoop…leave first thing in the morning and continue moving West, or risk being stuck with lock closures. At 6:45am, off came the lines and by 7:00am we were in Lock 11 with the research boat. It was probably one of the most tiring and mentally and physically draining days we’ve had so far. It rained a ton, debris was floating down the Canal and we spent most of the day locking in the rain. The locks aren’t that big of a deal, but they really monopolize the day.

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Lovely!

Even the Amish get a kick out of the locks.

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Lock 14 – Canajoharie

Lock 17 lifted us 40 feet.

The research guys were spot on. The locks below us and two above us closed. We hung out in Little Falls, NY waiting for the water levels to recede and the upper locks to reopen.

Impossible to travel…

 

But I’m making new friends!

That gosling followed me for 2 miles!!! No…I am not your mother. Thank God it eventually found its family cause I don’t think I could’ve just left him there.

After 20 locks, we were at the highest level on the Erie Canal – 420 feet! What a cruel, cruel joke cause after all that work, Locks 21 and 22 were DROPPING us 25 feet each. Grrrrrr.

No sooner did the locks open and we were making forward progress, did they close again. The water level on the Erie Canal is extremely high right now and even the smallest amount of rain is troublesome.

For the next four days we made Brewerton, NY our home. What originally was a “we’re gonna be stuck where, for how long” moment, turned out to be the ahhhhhh moment. I definitely would say that the best part of being a Looper is the community. Everyone is in it together. Everyone shares a common interest. Everyone is looking out for one another. The friends we made in Brewerton are now lifelong friends.

Docktails all day, everyday.

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Summer Lynn, Sunshine Rose, Sand Dollar, Vitamin Sea, Crows Nest and The Blessing.

Dockside yoga. Waiting for locks to open is stressful…lol!

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Taking bets on when the locks will open.

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And a fantastic dinner hosted by Winter Harbor Marina!

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And the winner of $13 was…Nancy on Summer Lynn!

Thursday morning at exactly 6:45am we made our way out of Brewerton. Eight more locks ahead and we will soon be on our way to Canada! The only thing standing in our way is Lake Ontario!

See you soon, Canada 🇨🇦

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

 

DON’T WAKE ME IF I’M DREAMING

While there is a certain amount of disappointment when each section of the loop ends, there is excitement of what lies ahead. I was sad to say goodbye to the Chesapeake Bay…we had such an amazing time, but I was giddy with child-like enthusiasm as we were about to say hello to the Jersey Shore. Being a Jersey girl, I was home!

From Baltimore, we cruised to Chesapeake City which set us up to transit the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal, to the Delaware River then the Bay, eventually making our way into Cape May. We’ve heard some stories about that portion of the Loop being tricky. Another place where current and wind dictates the comfort of your ride. Fortunately for us, it was UNeventful. Our weather was perfect and we had a great push from the current behind us. The only traffic on the C&D Canal was floating debris and just a few freighters on the Bay.

Giving these guys the WHOLE channel…

This guy was wayyyyyy too lazy to flap his wings so he hitched a ride with Rob. He actually travelled with us for miles!!

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Laziest dragonfly ever!

Our original plan was to spend 2 nights in Cape May, but Mother Nature had different plans. It turned out to be 4 nights.

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The gorgeous sunsets never get old!

What does a Jersey girl do when stuck in Jersey?? Can you say helloooo boardwalk! Eek! Since moving to the West Coast and living in San Diego for 20 years, its been a long, long time since I’ve enjoyed one of my favorite pastimes…”going down the shore.”

We met two other Looper couples and shared a Lyft to Wildwood. It’s always fun watching others experience the boardwalk for the first time. Nothing will ever compare to your first…visit that is!

We walked the boardwalk end to end.

Indulged in all the amazing crappy boardwalk food.

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Cheesesteak and sausage sandwich for the win!

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Grab A Wiener…only in New Jersey!

And walked the beach.

The day was absolute perfection!

There was definitely plenty to do while on weather watch. Cape May is super charming. It is America’s oldest seaside resort at the southern tip of the State. It’s known for its grand Victorian houses, shops and restaurants and some really spectacular views.

Saw this gem while strolling the streets of Cape May.

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Who doesn’t need a unicorn bike!

We finally got our weather window, and high tailed it 38 miles to Atlantic City.

Even better than the Jersey Shore was seeing the bestie! Angel and I have been sisters for over 40 years! She lives in New Jersey and the timing couldn’t be better.  Her and her husband, Ray were down the shore. Had some drinks onboard and then hit the Golden Nugget Casino for dinner and gambling. No big winners among us, but we had a blast!

Love these guys to death!

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Killed it in the casino!

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I want my money back!

Fortunately, the weather held and 112 miles later we were in New York! The Big Apple! Seeing the Statute of Liberty from my own boat was incredibly emotional! Who in a million years would’ve thought that I’d be cruising by Lady Liberty IN MY OWN BOAT! I sang New York, New York the whole time!

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We must have circled around the Bay for 20 minutes, just staring at her presence, her beauty, her symbolism. I cried. I’m grateful for my amazing life and grateful to be an American.

The *new* New York skyline. The One World Tower is the tallest building in the United States and the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. It is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex. It is huge, 1776 feet tall, and it is beautiful!

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We immediately went to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. It was something we both were eager to visit. I took only one picture at the memorial and spent the next 2.5 hours immersed in the museum tour and the surrounding area.

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Memorial North Pool.

It is impossible for me to put into words the feelings I had while walking through the exhibits. I was flooded with flashbacks of that day. The experience was somber but beautiful. Enormous but intimate. And showed that love is always stronger than hate! It was very humbling to see the exhibits with personal belongings and stories of survival and memories. It was a beautiful tribute to the men, women and children who lost their lives on 9/11.

So hard to believe, but Rob has never been to New York City. This man has been to China, Poland, Jerusalem and everywhere in between, but never to the concrete jungle! We had two days to fit it all in.

After 43,800 steps and 20 miles we…

Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Magets??? I opted for the $2 Magnet…lol!

Ate deli at Katz’s Delicatessen and Pastrami Queen.

Drank at McSorley’s Old Ale House, the oldest Irish tavern in New York City.

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You still with me?!?! Good, cause Times Square here we come!

The city that never, ever, ever sleeps! What a blast we had. Rob was definitely overwhelmed. Me? I was soaking in the smell, the sights, the sounds and the energy! I needed this! After some of the sleepy, sleepy towns we’ve visited, I felt alive again!

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Oh New York City, you’ve outdone yourself now! Buddy, the Cake Boss is here?!?! Buddy, you had me at chocolate!

By the way, that was just day one!! We arrived back at the boat at 2:00am completely exhausted. That night Rob couldn’t stop talking about how crowded the City is.  I dreamt I was a Rockette!

Day two in the Big Apple we took a bit more leisurely.

We checked out Trump Tower. The security and crowds were INSANE.

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And strolled Central Park.

We stumbled upon the most beautiful church I’ve ever seen. The Church of Saint Vincent Ferrer.

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Goodbye New York City. I’m totally in love with your attitude. Rob says “no way are we moving here.” He’s probably right, but we will definitely be back – soon!

The Erie Canal is right around the corner and a whole new portion of the Loop starts. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral

 

FAMILY…THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING!

This past week has been one of the best times in my life. Watching my parents step into my new boating life, has filled my heart beyond words. My folks are my biggest fans and always jump in feet first to partake in things that bring me joy…this week was no exception. They cruised 120 miles in the Chesapeake Bay, anchored out twice, sat through a huge storm that included a water spout, and docked in places with fixed docks that made it nearly impossible to get on and off the boat. They handled it all like a 3-Star General and Rear Admiral would! They are honey badgers…bad asses!

We started our whirlwind tour of the Chesapeake in Annapolis. We docked smack dab in the middle of downtown in an area known as “Ego Alley.” Big boats, big egos…lol! I like big boats and I cannot lie!

I fell in love with Annapolis.  The beautiful historic buildings, a walkable downtown, and a city full of history and tradition, had me saying – again – “I wanna move here.” Not to mention, the food is the bomb!

First up was the United States Naval Academy.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It was definitely a Loop highlight. Our tour guide was so informative. The stories and history we learned on our tour made the experience so much more meaningful.

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The Academy grounds were gorgeous! Over 300 acres of lushness and exquisite buildings. You can’t help but get caught up in the sense of pride and awe as you step on the grounds. To know that on these grounds are some of our country’s future leaders, gave me goosebumps!

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Billy the Goat

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The day we toured was graduation day. Halfway through our tour, the Midshipmen returned to the Yard, dressed in their formal whites. The graduates had a week off before reporting to their new assignment and the Midshipmen had a week off before starting summer training. It was a scurry of activity and the energy was palpable.

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Their football case has the game-winning ball from each time that Navy beat Army.

The top floor of the Academy Museum was filled with a spectacular display of bone ship models.

For the first time ever, the Naval Academy band and the US Coast Guard band played together. They set up at the City Dock right where we were docked. Nautilus was the backdrop and will definitely be in everyone’s pictures.

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From Annapolis, we traveled to the Eastern Shore and gave my parents the experience of anchoring in the Wye River. We anchored in the Wye with my bother the week before and loved it so much that we took my parents there. We played endless games of Yahtzee and tried to distract them from the fact that we were anchored, in a storm…in the middle of nowhere! I may have put an extra shot or two in their drinks…wink, wink!

Of course I had to take the “kids” to St. Michaels. After all, it is on my “I’m gonna move here list.” They loved it and it reaffirmed my love for this quaint and quiet Colonial village.

The British attacked St. Michaels in an attempt to destroy their shipyards. Legend has it that the residents hoisted lanterns to the masts of ships and in the trees, tricking the Brits and causing cannons to overshoot the town. Who knows, maybe “The Town That Fooled the British” will be my new home! We strolled the adorable village, ate ice cream, visited St. Michaels Parish and ate an insane amount of crabs!

I seriously wanna live in one of these historic homes!

We spent most of the next day exploring the 18 acre waterfront campus of the Chesapeake Maritime Museum. Such a fun day discovering how people live, work and play on the Bay!

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View of the ship building facility.
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1879 Hooper Strait Lighthouse.

Never a dull moment with these two!

On our way back to the marina, we found a wayward turtle. My new friend Tank, as we called him, was wandering the streets. We scooped him up, brought him to the waters edge and watched him safely return home. Yay for us…and for him! He was the cutest thing ever and I so badly wanted to keep him! My Captain told me that boats and turtles don’t go together…grrrr such a party pooper!

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Tank the Turtle.

After St. Michaels, we cruised to Swan Creek, just outside of Rock Hall, and took a mooring ball. My parents did it all…docked, anchored and now moored! Against our advice, my mom was determined to go for a dinghy ride. Given her bad ankle and having to navigate her way into the dinghy, we were nervous. No need to worry, remember she’s  a honey badger. A bad-ass.

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The next day we moved into the marina in Rock Hall. We weren’t that impressed with Rock Hall so it turned into a lazy, restful, ice cream eating, kinda day.

I really loved the hometown recognition of our country’s heros!

We were obviously enjoying the calm before the storm when all of a sudden this crazy, crazy storm came through. First rain, then wind, then a WATER SPOUT! White caps In. The. Marina! It was insane! The dock and boat were pitching up and down in opposite directions.

Unfortunately, we ended up with some damage…$900 worth to be exact, but hey it’s a Boat…Bring Out Another Thousand!

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My poor baby!

Sadly, our chasing the Chesapeake was coming to an end – time to head to Baltimore. My parents have been to Baltimore numerous time, but Rob and I have never been. We were again excited to say goodbye to the small *villages* and head to the big city!

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The beautiful Inner Harbor.

Baltimore did not disappoint. Our marina in the Inner Harbor was a prime location to take in the sights – day and night!

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That’s us!

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My brother lives in Arlington, so once we were settled in, he came up and we had the most amazing family day! Everyone together…that doesn’t happen very often!

We got tickets to an Orioles game. Camden Yards was super cool!

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Crew reporting for duty!

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Ugggggghhhhh, the day I dreaded! My folks were leaving. I love my parents to death, but was surprised by my own reaction when they were leaving. I cried like a baby! We had such an amazing time together and saying goodbye was hard. Really hard! Having them on board brought a sense of normalcy to my life.

And lots of laughter.

They might be back in California but the memories will last a lifetime! Love you mom and dad – you’ll always be my honey badgers!

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Next up, Nautilus takes on the Jersey Shore and the Big Apple! Lady Liberty, we’re coming for you!

Over and out!

xo, The Admiral