Monday, July 7, 2014

It was Friday, the 4th of July, Independence Day in the States, and for the first time in recent memory, our celebration did not include participating in the Dahlonega parade with other members of CAREing Paws, visiting booths around the Square, and watching the fireworks from a prime spot along South Chestatee Street near “the college.”  Instead, after the nice folks at the Trenton Chamber of Commerce
printed the absentee ballot application our Lumpkin County Registrar had emailed to us, then faxed it to her after we completed and signed it on Thursday, we started the day by mailing our ballots for the July 22nd run-off for the Republican Senatorial nomination.  The local library opened at 9:00 and we were there, ready to pick up the ballot that Marian had printed remotely by using the library’s web-site, mark our choices, sign the ballot affirmations, insert them into the appropriate envelopes, and mail them.  Remote printing is a great service, and the librarian told us that we could mail them from the postal service branch in a nearby pharmacy. 

 Fraser Park in Trenton, ON was a great place to play Chuck-It, and all we had to do was step off the boat. Midas loves having a grassy place to run and roll, and nothing's better than Chuck-It.
The flowers in the background are much prettier in person.  We've enjoyed flower gardens from Maryland to Delaware to New York, and Canadians are equally dedicated gardeners.

Like many of the towns where we've stopped, Trenton is very walkable.  We visited a Farmers' Market about a block away for fresh strawberries, rhubarb-strawberry jam, and rhubarb-apple jam.  We also walked to a nearby Metro grocery store for provisions, including a liter of milk. Yep, Canada is on the metric system.  A few blocks from the Metro, we found a great place to replenish our wine supply.  

 Chuck-It can wear out a fella, and the cool grass is a great place to take a break while Mike got some nice close-ups of the flower garden in the center of the park.      
Midas Touch had a prime spot at Fraser Park Marina.  When we arrived, we saw friends Burke & Stehl, with their son Sam, on Estrellita.  It was great to catch up with them, and Stehl walked us through updating our iPad2 so that we could download Garmin Blue Charts and overlay information from Active Captain. These two programs will make navigating the Trent-Severn and Georgia Bay much easier.  Below, Sergei and Katja enjoyed touring the boat on their way to dinner with their mom and her friend.  They have moved to Canada from Ukraine, and Katja makes up songs in Russian.  They were great guests, lively and very well-behaved.

After a lovely cruise from Trenton, we docked at Lock 8 (Percy Reach) in the Trent-Severn Waterway. It’s quiet and secluded, with plenty of grass where Midas can roll and lots of sticks to chase and chew. It was a beautiful and refreshingly cool evening. The Lockmaster told us there are only a few houses nearby, and we were on the top side of the lock, with a key to the washrooms. [In Canada, restrooms are called washrooms.  We haven’t had a chance to ask anyone the reason for the term, but when you think about it, it makes sense.  Most of us don’t rest in the restroom; we answer the call of nature, and if we had good “home training,” we wash our hands.]  Midas wore his pinwheel flag collar as we passed through a couple of the locks, and I wore my American flag earrings. On Saturday during his morning trip ashore, Midas made friends with four local dogs (a mature Chocolate Lab and a puppy, a yellow lab, and a Chesapeake Bay Retriever) and had a great time chasing and chewing sticks and competing unsuccessfully with Tyler, the Chocolate Lab puppy, for ownership of the tennis ball in several rounds of Chuck-it.  
Views from the top of Lock 8: looking back across the lock, ready to receive a southbound boat; barge tied up across the water from us; Midas staring back down to the area where he had played with his four new friends.
Below, another view from the top of the lock.


Then it was time to continue our cruise up the Trent-Severn to Campbellford, where we’re tied up in front of the dock office and taking advantage of a good wi-fi signal to catch up on email, work on the blog, and wait out a day of rain, predicted thunderstorms, and strong wind.  
But how did we get here?  Since our last entry, we’ve completed the eastern half of the Erie Canal, spent a few days in Brewerton on the west side of Lake Oneida, where Mike had to have a badly decayed tooth pulled and where we reconnected with Lon and Pat (C.A.R.I.B.E. II) and Gerald and Cherie (Takes Two), turned north into the Oswego Canal, spent one night tied to a lock wall when the lockmaster told us it was his quitting time after a large southbound barge went through, cruised across the eastern end of Lake Ontario and through part of the Thousand Islands in the St. Lawrence River to Clayton, NY, visited Boldt Castle, ( ), then turned back south on the St. Lawrence toward the Trent-Severn Waterway.

Strange as it seems, the tooth extraction in Brewerton turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. Mike bit into a Tootsie Roll in Waterford, at the beginning of the Erie Canal, and lost a crown. Thanks to dedicated volunteers at the Visitor Center where we had tied up to await the canal opening the next day, Mike had a dental appointment and a re-seated crown within an hour, but returned to the boat with bad news. The Troy dentist found decay under the crown and told Mike he should get it taken care of as soon as he could find a dentist and make an appointment. Helen and Wayne at Brewerton Boatyard knew just the right person to call, and Mike had an appointment the day after we arrived. More bad news: another X-ray showed that the tooth could not be repaired and would have to go.  The Brewerton oral surgeon, who splits his practice between two towns, could see Mike the next day. First thing Tuesday morning, Helen arrived at our boat to drive Mike to the dentist; she brought him back in a few hours, holding his arm as she walked him to the boat and giving him strict orders not to leave until the anesthetic wore off.  Mike was still "feeling no pain," not only from the drug but because the oral surgeon refused to accept payment for the visit.  Mike and the dentist are kindred spirits politically and hit it off immediately, but we don't believe that's the reason for Dr. F's generosity.  Like everyone we have met on our journey, he is simply a good person - warm, friendly, jovial, and a true patriot.  We've made a donation in his name to Fisher House at Walter Reed Medical Center, the charity we learned that he supports. Mike believes that when anyone practices an unexpected act of kindness, he deserves at least a big, sincere thank you; while recuperating from the tooth extraction, Mike spent the better part of a weather day composing a letter to Dr. T.  Here's a link, for those who want to read it:

Dear Dr. T:   You may need to copy the URL and paste into an address bar to open.


 One of the restaurants in Clayton, NY.  We walked by it on our way to a park where Midas played Chuck-It, but it was too crowded and the outside deck was hot. We ended up at a pizza place along the waterfront for dinner - very good pizza, but we had a better one in Rome, NY as we traveled the Erie Canal.  

 Spectacular sunset along the St. Lawrence River among the scenic Thousand Islands

  We really liked this flower garden in front of a small home on the Clayton harbor.  The photo doesn't do it justice, and this was just one of many amazing gardens.


Above left, Attitude Changer, the Loop home of Barb and Ross.  We've met them at several stops along the way - Waterford, Amsterdam, Brewerton, and caught up again at Clayton. We joined up with them and with Tanya in Annabelle to cruise from Clayton to Trenton.        
Above right, the River Dog Cafe, home of a great breakfast.  Midas waited outside while we chowed down.
Clayton is home of the Antique Boat Museum and was the site of the second wedding in progress we saw in two days. We listened to Pachelbel's Canon in D as we cruised by to tent where guests had gathered to the city dock, where we stayed for two nights.

The Antique Boat Museum is now owner of La Duchesse, the luxurious houseboat owned by George Boldt, who built a fabulous castle to honor his wife.  Houseboats from this era - 1890's - 1900's - did not have motors. They were pulled by a separate tug from place to place. La Duchesse had several small staterooms for crew/servants plus a large salon on the second level, multiple bathrooms, and a master suite for the owner. 


Below, a few of the many amazing wooden boats from the early years of the 20th century.  They are works of art.

 An entire building is devoted to speed and the early days of boat racing.  

From Clayton, we cruised to Alexandria Bay, topped off the fuel tanks, and pumped out the holding tank before crossing to Boldt Castle on Heart Island. (Check out the web-site above for details of this American love story and many more pictures.)
Approaching Heart Island; the tower in the front is the dovecote, with the top of the castle visible behind the trees.  Docks are on the left; by the time we fueled up, all the space for privately owned boats was full, so we rafted to Attitude Changer and climbed from Midas Touch, walked through their cabin, and joined Barb and Ross to tour Boldt Castle.

Left: Mike & Marian, Barb (in navy blue) & Ross, and Tanya at the front steps to Boldt Castle.
Below: another view of the dovecote, with the St. Lawrence River visible behind it. 

Below: the stained glass dome above the central atrium, with galleries around all four sides.

The ballroom as it would have been completed if Louise Boldt had not passed away unexpectedly.
Below left: the boathouse, on Wellesley Island, across from Heart Island and about 100 yards away; the largest
section on the right was added to house La Duchesse.  This 8,000 square foot building was completed first.
Center: daughter Clover's bedchamber; her separate sitting room adjoins this room to the right.
Right:  a separate playhouse built for the two Boldt children, a son and daughter.
Tuesday, July 1st, was Canada Day, and we celebrated in Collins Bay, just west of Kingston, by having a late lunch/early dinner at the Canadian Legion Hall while our clothes were washing at a nearby laundry-mat.  We had entered Canada on Monday at the charming small town of Gananoque.  After checking in with Canadian Customs, a simple phone call from a designated phone at the municipal marina, we walked a few blocks to Rib-Fest, sponsored by the Lions Club and Rotary Club. Those Canadians can barbecue ribs; they were as good as any we’ve had in the states, including those from the Big Green Eggs of several family members.  

We're now in Campbellford, mile 31 of the Trent-Severn, where we've done laundry, rented the DVD of Captain Phillips (intense movie), enjoyed another great city park, replaced a boat hook after losing half of one in a lock, and found a local pub, the Stinking Rose. We hung out here for an hour or so on Sunday and we're back tonight, where we were welcomed by the regulars. We'll leave tomorrow for Hastings, a relatively short cruise, after waiting out another weather day with high winds and rain today.  Another adventure, more warm, welcoming people, another pub like The Stinking Rose, where we're having a glass of wine and dinner, and where the people made us feel like members of the family.  Overwhelmingly, the best part of our journey, from town to town and place to place, has been the wonderful people we meet everywhere we go.