Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Day 3 Rainy day and (on?) Mondays...


      The weather forecast for today was about 70% chance for rain and/or thunder showers with a high temperature of about 60 so we made the decision late last evening to take today off. It turned out to have been a very good decision since Terry and I both slept about 11 hours. I guess that the busy time loading the boat and then travelling 2 days in the cold finally caught up to both of us.

     After a very late breakfast, Terry and Ann set of in the car for some grocery shopping and a visit for Ann to the museum at the Remington Arms Factory just about a quarter of a (crow) mile from Lucky Us. We get a good view of several of the (old) multi-story factory building from the salon on Lucky Us. We had visited the museum during our stop here on our first Great Loop in the Summer of 2014. The photo at the right shows the sign for the museum that was prominently displayed in the marina (also conveniently about 50 feet from Lucky Us).


      The photo at the left shows one of the informative displays. This one explains the use of “gauge guns” during the early part of the 20th Century. The gauge gun is a perfect example of this model of gun, and it was used as a benchmark to test the correctness of individual parts produced on the assembly line to assure quality. The advent of computers has since made the gauge gun obsolete. Of course, it is a gun museum so they also have thousands of guns just sort of sitting there…
     In the middle of the night Terry heard a scratching and bumping noise outside the hull. When she went outside she discovered this large log wedged between the boat and the dock wall. She managed to get a rope around it and pull it down the dock and tie it off. Nice work! And oh, by the way, thanks for not waking me up to “help”… When we leave tomorrow, we are leaving the tree and our rope here with the marina to worry about (photo at right). However, since we are heading downstream, we will not have to deal with the log again if in fact the marina just cuts it loose after we leave.

      One important kitchen item that did not work when we got back to the boat after the winter was the single burner, induction cooktop. Terry ordered a new one from Amazon to be shipped to Winter Harbor Marina, but it did not arrive before we left. It did arrive yesterday so we spent the afternoon driving some 80 (road) miles back to pick up the burner. We did a stop at Home Depot and Bed, Bath and Beyond as well. Timing was also perfect for an early dinner at a waterfront restaurant near Winter Harbor. We had eaten Walleye there last week, and we noticed a sign for fresh perch so…  If you are new here on this blog or may have forgotten, I really like Perch! It is a small but tasty fish in the Great Lakes. After dinner, we had a nice drive back to Ilion with only scattered rain on the trip.

      The forecast for tomorrow is for a high in the 70s with only scattered clouds. We plan to leave the dock about 8:30 am. Sadly, Terry will depart tomorrow for the long drive back to Texas.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Day 2 to Ilion, NY


      We are backing away from the dock at Rome (photo at right) on our way 25.9 miles to Ilion, NY. I had not mentioned it earlier, but we have long time family friend Ann Mowery from Lorain, Ohio. She will be with me for 2 weeks while the Admiral leaves on Day 4 to drive back to Texas for some family events. She will then fly back to Syracuse on June 7. Ann will be leaving near the end of May to return to Lorain and go to her niece’s high school graduation. So, Lucky and I will be alone to work on Lucky Us. Sound complicated? Yup. Today, Ann will be following along in our car, and tomorrow, Ann will be onboard while Terry follow in her car. There are scattered clouds, and it is expected to only warm into the upper 60s.  So we are bundled up for the trip today.
     The water levels have been high everywhere we have gone, and there were some concerns that the canal might not open as scheduled. Thus, water levels remain high, and there has been some debris, including this whole log with some of the roots sticking up (photo at left). The floating debris is easy to see, but as always, we worry about the “invisible” logs floating just below the surface.
      On our way to the Hudson River Valley we will pass through seven of these Guard Gates, which are used for flood control (photo at right). They can also be used to lower the water level for maintenance in a segment of the canal. They are not beautiful, but they are part of the trip...
      We pass a variety of (old) tugs and their barges in our trip. This is the tug Erie and behind her is a crew boat (photo at left). In the general area of the Hudson River, Erie Canal and St. Lawrence River there are many restored tug boats. There are a number of week long festivals in this area that feature tug boat races, pull offs, etc. Sounds interesting, but we have not been around when a festival was happening.

      Lucky Girl spends most of each trip in her kennel on the flybridge. However, she does wonder around to stretch and in this case, get some loving (photo at right). The center window in the enclosure was open today so I had a chilly breeze blowing on me. Thus, a nice warm dog in my lap was actually a good tradeoff for some serious scratching of Lucky’s ears.
       The Admiral took this picture of Lucky Us in Lock 19, which was the second and final lock for today. She took the picture while standing on the catwalk across the gate at this end of the lock. The photo gives a good perspective of the size of a typical lock chamber. What you cannot see is the 10 to 15 mph wind blowing toward Lucky Us. The wind makes it difficult to hold the boat up against the lock wall as the water goes down. These locks were built to hold a commercial tug and two barges, but there has been almost no commercial traffic on the canal since the early 1970s.
      This photo (at right) of Ann Holding the line near the bow. The lines are tied off at the top of the lock and hang down along the wall with a small weight at the bottom.  My job is to get the boat close enough for her to grab that line, and then I have to bring the stern over to the wall so that I can go (run?) down and grab a line near the stern. I am sure that it looks like one of those crazy fire drills in an old silent movie, but it works well most of the time…
     …and as if on que, there I am at the stern holding my lock line (photo at left). I look pretty relaxed, but that is because I have already been there a few minutes. In most canals it is possible to actually go through the locks singlehanded (i.e. with no crew), but I would think that would not be very easy unless the boat was fairly small.

      Our series of photos of a typical lock through ends with this photo looking back at the lock after we have exited (photo at right. You can also see some water leaking through the gate on the upstream side. The bridge is a railroad bridge, but there is also usually a road bridge near the lock as well. There were no boats waiting to enter the lock, but this channel is narrow so if you had to pass boats anxiously trying to rush into the lock, it would be quite close maneuvering.
   After about 5 hours we reached our destination of City Marina (and RV Park) at Ilion, NY (photo at left). We had first docked opposite the office so that we could get a pump out, and then we pulled the boat back to where she is moored for the night. We went into town and had a nice dinner at a local cafĂ© called the Knight Spot. Their specialty was ice cream, and as you entered, you had to walk past several coolers full of ice cream. Well… After dinner, we all abandoned our will power and sampled really excellent ice cream. Ya gotta love these small towns!
Gonna sleep well!!!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Loop 2 - Year 2 Day 1


      We delayed our departure until after 9:00 am when the fuel dock opened so that we could get fuel. The photo at the right shows Lucky Us at the fuel dock with Lucky Girl giving the attendant the benefit of her extensive cruising experience. The attendant asked about how much fuel we were going to get, and I replied "I think a little North of 350 gallons." The final tally was 349.65 gallons. What's impressive is that we have 4 fuel tanks and no fuel gauges. We have clear plastic tubing that runs down the sides of each tank, and we have added reference lines every inch. "Experience" has taught me that each inch represents about 6 gallons. So, a guess of anywhere near 350 gallons was at best pure luck...

     The folks and facilities at Winter Harbor are great, but in a cool 58F with partly cloudy skies we departed at (a rather late) 11:00am  to head east on the Erie Canal. The photo at the left also shows most of their limited docking facilities. Their main business is winter storage, but they do have dock space for about 15 transient boats in the summer. They also have a fuel dock with usually the best prices around. The view is from Lucky Us looking back to the west.

     As we headed east on the canal, we are also travelling upstream on the Oneida River that flows out of Oneida Lake a couple of miles ahead. In about a mile we passed the reproduction of Fort Brewerton (photo at right), which was taken earlier from the road. This fort and several others that we have seen along the canal actually date from the Revolutionary War. The original earthen works were laid by the British in 1759. We are heading east to the Hudson and Champlain River Valleys. Those valleys run N-S and much of the War of 1812 was fought up and down that region. Lots of history along the way...

    The video at the left shows Lucky Us cruising east about at the location of Fort Brewerton. The video is in real time and gives you a good idea of just what our 8.3 mph cruising speed actually looks like. About 20 mph faster and we could water ski... Seriously though, when we talk about how relaxed it is to travel at this speed, maybe this video will give you an appreciation of what that is like.


      We had 3 bridges before we entered into Oneida Lake, including the railroad bridge in the photo at the right. Once out into the lake the Admiral and I settled in for a delightful 2.5 hour cruise down the nearly calm lake. This is when it finally settled in for both Terry and I that our next Great Lakes adventure was truly underway. Indeed, it was a VERY good feeling.
      Four miles past the east end of Oneida Lake we came to our first lock for this year. Initially we are headed up until we cross a divide and head down over 300 feet into the Hudson River Valley. The photo at the left is looking out from the lock as we are abut to exit after a lift of 20 feet. There were 3 pleasure craft waiting to enter once we had cleared the lock. Construction equipment at the lock is not an unusual sight since maintenance is pretty much ongoing all year. This was the second day that the locks were open so it was a treat to have new lines hanging down the lock walls. To steady the boat during the locking operation it is best to have someone at both the bow and stern to grab lines. After the lines have been in the water for a few weeks, they tend to get very "slimey", and they only get worse as the summer goes on...

     We had one more lock today and travelled a total of 35.7 miles before reaching our destination of Rome, NY. We docked at the Rome City (free) Dock, which also provided free power but no other amenities. We went into town for dinner and then back to Lucky Us where sleep came easy. The photo at the right shows Lucky Us at the dock. The photo is a little misleading since to get from the wall to the boat it was necessary to walk across two rows of 16 inch pilings that were all cut off at slightly different angles and lengths. Executing that maneuver carrying Lucky Girl was not the highlight of my day, but when nature calls...

      All in all, Day 1 was a fine start to the cruising season.

Loop 2 - Preparations for Year 2-May, 2017

     After 6+ months at home in League City, TX, we spent several weeks organizing gear and clothes to return to Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton, NY (near Syracuse, NY)to resume our Second Great Loop adventure. We had a wonderful winter break with the highlight being LOTS of quality time with Bob (son), Jill(daughter-in-law), and the Grandkids (Sarah, Will and Katie) as well as The Admiral's family (her father Jim and mother Carita, in particular). This time has been well documented on Facebook, and I will not repeat that here.
      Over the winter we had some service work done on Lucky Us. The two, huge storage buildings must total several acres in size, and they are heated to 65F to allow for various contractors to work on the boats. We had the aft cockpit door removed and rotten wood around hinges restored and the overhead hatch in the master stateroom was removed and re-caulked as well as treating some rotten wood. The hatch has leaked for years in certain directions of driving rain so that repair was long overdue. We also had several mechanical issues addressed, including re-packing the drive shafts on the main engines as well as the shafts on the two rudders. Lucky Us also had two coats of (blue) anti-fouling bottom paint.
     The New York State Canal System is now under the control of a different state agency, and one of their first moves was to delay the opening of the canal from May 1 to May 19...

     While delay this was a big disappointment, it only cuts our travels shorter by a minor amount since the weather up North is still slowly warming up, and we would have lost some (much?) of this time to weather delays any way.  Oh well, we have learned to be patient and go with the flow.

      We left Texas on Thursday, May 11 fully loaded to enjoy a leisurely 6 day trip to Winter Harbor, including a two day stop in my home town of Lorain Ohio. We had taken only one kayak back home for the winter because the Admiral wanted to buy a new kayak. She bought a really neat Hobie kayak that has a removable pedal powered system. Lucky Girl (our dog) loves the new kayak since it is more stable and wide enough for her to move around the entire kayak. We had to be careful not to use the "k" work around the house as she would get excited and head for the door...

     The photo at the left show the Admiral and me standing behind a beautiful, blooming rhododendron, which is evidence of the late Spring up north. We both had sweaters and jackets on for basically our whole stay in Lorain, Ohio.

    We arrived in upstate New York about 3 days before the opening of the canal system, and we stayed with my brother Hank and sister-in-law Joan. They live on a small bay off of Lake Ontario about a 40 minute drive from Lucky Us. Great accommodation as well as the fact that Joan is a great cook! Once Lucky Us was launched, we could start moving our gear aboard. The indoor heated storage meant that we could leave most of the boat untouched, but we still had to put things away and do provisioning at the grocery store.

   We did have some excitement during the start up process. It was in the form of a hail storm (photo at left). The larger teak board is 3 inches wide, which shows that some of the hail was dime sixed. We did get several holes in the port (left) side windows of the enclosure for the flybridge. Along with Lucky Girl we were huddled in the salon. The noise of the hail hitting on the fiberglass deck above our heads was quite impressive!

     By Saturday, May 22 we were ready for the next big adventure to start. So, the daily blog continues below...

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day 137 to Peterborough, ON

      We left the wall at the Littlefield Lock promptly at 9:00 am to begin our journey today. We had a short wait at the gate, but it gave me a chance to get a picture of the Savage Arms Company plant on the town side of the water (photo at right). If we make it all of the way to Peterborough, we will have 7 locks today... The Admiral called yesterday, and we can have a dock today if we get that far. Our original reservation was for tomorrow, but with the rainy weather today we might as well slog along to Peterborough if the weather and locks cooperate.
      When we checked the forecast again this morning, it still does not include adverse weather like lightning or high winds. The rain will be uncomfortable, but at least it is not cold. The photo at the left shows something of my restricted view from the helm out through the windows. I am steering, which I often do in the rain rather than use the autopilot. I need to pay close attention with the thick haze and steering keeps me focused.
      We did not share a lock all day, and we only passed two boats total at all of the locks, and they were both going in the opposite direction. The photo at the right is the campus at Trent University, and it appears that we went right through the campus. There were three pedestrian bridges, which must be fun in snow and/or ice. It was too bad that the weather was bad since the Trent campus is supposed to be know for its architecture.
      We had about four swing bridges today, and the one in the photo at the left was not included in the count since it has obviously been out of service for a long time. The railroad tracks have even been removed, and there were small trees actually growing up through the bridge...
      The highlight of today's trip was the Peterborough Lift Lock, which is the second and last of the lift locks on the Trent-Severn Waterway. The lift is 65 feet, which makes the view from the top both awesome and scary. In the photo  at the right we are approaching the lock with both gates in the up or closed position. The red lights are both lit, which indicates that we, of course, do not have permission to enter. The yellow arrow points to the left indicating that we will ultimately enter that lock. The left lock is in the up position, but it is difficult to see yet in this view.
      In the photo at the left the gate is down for us to enter when we get the green light. After we enter, the gates will come back up behind us. Gates is plural because there are two gates. One will stay in place to act as a dam for the water above. The other gate forms part of the lock or "box" that is filled with water and will carry us down 65 feet. Now you can see that the other gate is still closed because the lock for it is down at the bottom.
      The photo at the right shows us in the lock with Lucky Us securely tied to the side. The view out the front over the bow is awesome! It looks very much like we are flying. At this point we are inside the lock chamber with the gates behind and in front of us in the closed position. The entire lock will now move down, and it is balanced so that the other lock will move up at the same time.
      The photo at the left shows the two locks passing each other at the halfway point. The lock on the left is going up while we are going down. At the top of the picture you can see the two lock gates that are fixed at the top of the lock. They are both holding back the water at the top, and they are hinged at the bottom so that they can rotate down (away from the viewer) when a lock is in the up position.
       In the photo at the right our lock is now in the down position. Before we can exit the lock, the gate in front of Lucky Us must be lowered. The photo is looking back over our stern, and you can see the gate through which we entered at the top. The dark wall has what appears to be a window with bars on it. In fact it is a window, and on the other side of the window is a road carrying traffic from one side of the lock to the other. The stairs on the right side of the photo also lead up to the road from the lower level of the lock. Most of the locks have a bridge from one side to the other, but this lock is so high that they just built what amounts to a tunnel into this wall of the structure.
      In the photo at the left the gate in front of us has been lowered, and we are in the process of exiting the lock. This view is also looking back over the stern of Lucky Us. You can see the other lock on the left is in the fully raised position. The locks are "balanced" not by a lever arm but by a huge piston under each lock, and you can (barely) see the black, round piston under the lock in the up position.
     We are still several miles by water from our destination, but in straight line distance we are only a mile or less from both downtown Peterborough and the marina. The photo at the right shows a canoe on the lock wall advertising the canoe museum at the visitor's center, which is just up the hill. It is actually a modern fiberglass canoe painted to look like a historic birch bark canoe. They offer tours to as many as 18 people (who actually pay) to paddle the canoe for a short trip. What is unique about the trip is that they paddle into the lock and take a trip up and down in the lock. Must be quite a thrill as well as maybe a bit scary (?)!
      The Ashburnham swing bridge is our last bridge for the day. It is unique in my experience in that the bridge is off center on the rotating mechanism. Usually the swivel is in the middle so that the bridge is balanced. In this case, they have added concrete weights to the short side to balance the bridge. Anyway, I did a double take at the off centered nature of the bridge, but it does work as was demonstrated for us in a couple of minutes.
      The last lock for today was the Ashburnham Lock with a drop of only 12 feet. Once again, we were the only traffic, and they were waiting with the gate open for our arrival. Since the Peterborough Lift Lock, there has been a wide bike path and park on the right side and a highway scenic route on the other side. The tourist bureau advertises land travel routes to follow the canal and see the locks in action. The view on the other side of the lock is of Little Lake where our marina is located out of sight off to the right.
      As if we were not already totally soaked from all of the rain, they have this huge fountain that shoots water 50+ feet into the air in the middle of the lake (photo at left). The wind carries the spray from the fountain virtually across the small lake and more importantly, into our path. Just what we needed...
       The last photo shows our destination at Peterborough Marina. The Admiral was already making plans for a nice hot shower, which I might add she well deserves. She spent a lot of time out on the fore deck handling lines at locks, which was a nasty job today. The larger white building on the left is the marina office. Out behind the office is a large covered stage and a several acre area for spectators. Most Wednesday and Saturdays in July and August they have free concerts there with an audience of from 8 to 12,000 people. We already have plans to go see "Hotel California" there tomorrow night. They are an Eagles tribute band that is billed as "They don't imitate, they duplicate". Now, that is going to be good music!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Day 136 to Lakefield, ON


      We left Buckhorn after eating out for lunch (photo at right). We first went to the restaurant from lunch yesterday, but they were out of pickerel due to heavy demand over the weekend so we went to the third restaurant to try it. Of course, I tried the fish 'n chips, and it was quite good. What can I say, but I'm in a rut when it comes to fish 'n chips...
      We had multiple possible destinations including one just 5 miles away.  After reviewing the weather forecast which is for rain all day tomorrow, considering we have a reservation at a Marina in Peterborough on Wednesday, and considering that we have 11 locks between Buckhorn and Peterborough, we decided on going to Lakefield, Ontario.  This will mean four locks and possibly a fifth lock depending on which side of the lock we stay at in Lakefield.  None of the lock wall possibilities included hydro power so we will be opening windows and using the generator some.
      By the time that we finished lunch about Noon, the traffic through the lock had slowed down, and the lock wall was down to mainly boats that were staying over another day (see photo at left). We had arranged to stay past the 11:00 am check out and had made sure that we had also unplugged the electric so that we did not get charged for another day. We got ready and just waited where we were rather than move over to the blue line on the other side of the channel. We made the next down locking with only one small boat for company.
      The photo on the right shows a view of the dam taken while we were still up in the lock and offers a little different perspective. Aside from the three restaurants and a church there is no development near the lock and dam on either side so our views were always very nice. You also can see the walkway on the downstream side of the dam where I was standing when I took the picture of the spillway in yesterday's post.
       The photo at the left was taken from the flybridge looking back at the lock after Lucky Us and the small boat had exited the lock chambers. A small houseboat has already entered the lock for the next lock up. There always seems to be a rush to enter the lock, and the lock masters do not seem to mind since it keeps the traffic moving quickly. Remember that there is no power on the lower walls of this lock so all of these boats are probably headed up even if they plan to stay here.
      The scenery was excellent, and the piloting had some of the usual tense moments, such as this narrow part of the channel (photo at right). I still exercise caution in narrow places like this, but I am growing more accustomed to having these areas pop up regularly on our routes. At least they are well marked, and most of the small boats simply bypass these tight spots by going around one of the islands on either side so the traffic is often light in the narrow part shown here.
      The photo at the left shows the unusual exit from the lock at Burleigh Falls, Ontario. Even though we came down in the lock, we did not come out into an open space, but we were in a dug out channel with vertical concrete walls and tall trees. It felt kind of tunnel like as we moved along through here.
      The photo at the right shows a fairly large church, which might not sound too unusual, but this church is on an island with no bridge to it. I suppose that there would be no need for a parking lot. However, in our view of the island we did not see even a small dock for boats, which must have been there somewhere (?). Obviously, the church is "open" and well cared for so the members get there somehow.
      We arrived at Lakefield where we were going to spend the night on the lock wall. The last half mile or so was in this narrow, straight, man made channel to the upper lock wall. The channel was cut into bedrock, which can be seen in the photo at the left. The vertical channel wall from water level up six feet or so is definitely bedrock. Then there is a grassy bench with what may be a rock retaining wall above it. The channel was so narrow that I was really happy that we did not pass any boats while we were in it. We are going to stay on the upper lock wall because the access to the town of Lakefield is better from there.
      The photo at the right shows part of the Lakefield Dam and power plant. I took the picture standing on a sidewalk along a road over the actual dam. The power plant is in the center top. The channel on the left carries water to the power plant and also has gates at the end of the channel. The Lakefield Lock is behind the trees on the right. Most of the town is out of view off to the left.
      The last photo (left) shows Lucky Us moored on the very end of the lock wall. We are going through a series of locks where there is no hydro (electricity) available on any of the lock walls. We chose to be on the very end so that when we run the generator, the exhaust noise, which goes out the stern, would not bother the other boaters. Speaking of "bothering", I was barely awake when we got back from dinner and had a hard time staying awake all evening... Needless to say, I slept well.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Day 135 to Buckhorn, Ontario


      We pulled away from our spot on the wall at 9:15 am.  Our trip today is 16.9 miles to Buckhorn, Ontario.  We our planning on staying on the lock wall, and once again we hope to be able to get a spot with hydro.  Since the hydro is on the approach side of the lock, we won't be going through the lock so today is unusual since we will have no locks or swing bridges to possibly delay our trip. As we departed we went by several houses that each had (exactly) 12 of the new, brightly colored, recycled plastic, lawn chairs (photo at right). Somebody must have had a good deal on a purchase of a dozen. I chose the photograph of this house since they also bought a "fun" oversized version as well.
       Otherwise, our trip to Buckhorn was pretty uneventful if beautiful scenery can ever be describe as "unremarkable". We had no trouble getting a spot on the wall with two 30 amp circuits so we were in excellent shape. The photo at the left shows Lucky Us looking very good on the wall with a park behind. As the day went on, the wall on both sides got a lot more boats, but for now it was very quiet, except for the boats locking through.





       For lunch we walked across the lock to check out the three restaurants right on the other side. This sign in the photo at the right got our attention as (walleyed) pikerel has not been that common on restaurant menus on the Trent-Severn. Sure enough, the pan seared pickerel was excellent! I was actually pleasantly surprised since the restaurant was an unlikely looking conversion of an old house, but I left already determined to go back for more... Just to wet your appetite, I have included a photo of the
$11.99 luncheon special (photo at left). What a bargain!
      After lunch we walked to the church next door for an art show and sale featuring local artists. After our shopping successes yesterday, I was not overly optimistic, but the Admiral found two paintings that she just had to have... Well, after all of that excitement, I just had to take a nap to recover.
      For Lucky there was a nice park along the lock wall between the lock and the dam. There was no beach, but there were several places where she could scramble out onto some big rocks and get a drink. She is still baffled by the clear water, and in the photo at the right it looks like she might try to step off onto some rocks that are way too deep for her.
      The Admiral is standing with a Century 21 Realty moose. Maybe they did not understand that a male moose is a bull not a buck. The name Buckhorn came from a 19th century lumber mill where the owner would nail up deer (i.e. bucks) horns to the outside wall of the mill. People in the surrounding area began referring to the town by the buck horns. Eventually, the name finally stuck and the town changed its name to Buckhorn.
      The town got the deer versus moose issue correct when it came to this statue (photo at the right) on the edge of town. In the western US I have seen piles of antlers used as decoration in yards as well as one arched walkway made out of antlers so I guess that I was expecting to see something similar here... Deer antlers are easy to find in the woods so it would not take a huge effort to make a large piece of "art" out of them.
       On one of our walks we went out on a walkway below the spillway on the dam. The photo at the left shows the rather smooth flow out of one of the gates on the dam. Lucky did not care for the loud noise, but we enjoyed the pretty scene for a few seconds before she pulled us back to shore.
      Also, on our walk after dinner we passed a Hobie kayak out for a ride along the channel to the lock. The rider was using the peddles to power the craft rather than a paddle. Hobie offers a drop in peddle unit that powers a flapper under the kayak for power. We have made an effort to learn proper paddling style, which uses the whole body, including a bit of leg motion. However, it still is mainly exercise from the waist up, which is better than just the arms, which is how many people seem to (incorrectly) paddle a kayak. We have looked at these Hobie kayaks in several stores, but this was the first time that we had seen one in use close up. We asked a couple of questions, and the next thing I knew, the Admiral was putting on her inflatable vest and heading out for a trial spin. For several months I have been pretty sure that she was going to want one, and I guess that the jury has now decided in her favor... Of course, the peddles work well for the lower body, but one would still need to split their time with a paddle for an all around work out.
      For dinner we went to a Chinese-Canadian restaurant on the other side of the dam. It is in an old mansion that had also been used as a hotel in the past. Now the huge first floor and surrounding decks are used as a popular local restaurant.
      The sunset tonight was very colorful (photo at left). We did not travel far today, but we were pretty busy. By the time I took this picture it was all that I could do to stay awake.... A good nights sleep was definitely in order.
      On Day 136 we delayed our departure so that we could go to an early lunch here in Buckhorn. This is a Monday, and it seems that quite a few of the rental houseboats were due to be returned about Noon. These houseboats stopped at the restaurant for breakfast before heading across the small lake to turn the boats back in. There were about a dozen more that came through the lock and headed directly to the check-in.