We spend an enjoyable night in Troy, New York, at the Starbuck Island Boat Club, hosted by the owner, Joe Berlino. This guy is unbelievable. Not only does he treat us like we’re family, but I think he would do anything for us. I ask if he could drive us to Wal-Mart.
“Here’s what’s gonna happen,” he said. “I’m gonna drive you to my house, and you’re gonna take my car and do what you need to do.”
Like I said. Unbelievable. We are total strangers to him, and he gives us his car to use.
On the way to his house we get the nickel tour of Troy. Joe is like the Ambassador Mayor of Troy. He knows everything and everybody. Later, he shows up at our boat to hang around with us and share a bottle of wine.
We are about to go through our first lock of this trip and enter the 200-year-old Erie Canal. There is some trepidation. Mostly because it’s been ten years since we’ve been in a lock. But we make it through, and discover it’s pretty much the same as we remember it. You cruise slowly into the lock, grab lines hanging on the sides, wait for the doors to close and the lock to fill with water, then when the door on the other side opens, leave the lock. Ya gotta have gloves because the ropes and everything is slimy.
The canal itself is fairly skinny, about 12 feet deep, and lined with thick forest. I won’t say it’s boring–it is boating–but sometimes you get excited when you see a house. There is no current to speak of, so we get spectacular fuel mileage.
After about 30 miles we decide to try a municipal dock in Scotia, NY. It’s right off the canal, and for ten bucks a night you get water, electric, and really fast WiFi. We decide to stay 2 nights. The sign on the dock says that someone will come by to collect the fee, and if not, there are envelopes and a form to fill out and deposit in a drop box, honor system style.
I’m a bit surprised that we are all alone in Scotia. Here is this beautiful dock, next to a beautiful park, next to a beautiful village, and no boaters. If this was in our hometown of Wareham, Massachusetts, or anywhere near Cape Cod, it would be full all the time, and they would be charging and outrageous 5 dollars a foot! I hope the rest of the Erie Canal is as cool as this. SOCOBO 8/18/17