Thursday, 5 September 2013

September 2, 2013

The last few days have been fun with some excitement.
The crossing of Lake Oneida was uneventful.
Pushing off the dock in Brewerton around 7:30am We had quite the lightening/thunderstorm during the night so the morning air was cooler. Expecting only light easterly winds and the day was going to get hot. The waters were less than 1 foot chop and Haven took us for a very comfortable ride. Very shallow lake. In the main channel we were usually reading 16-24 feet all along the way until closer to the east end it went up to 37 at times.
At first I felt like I was back on Bay Of Quinte, The scenery and the feel of the morning was definitely reminiscent of our home stomping grounds.
Al cleaning carnage off boat after storm

Lake Oneida crossing

At the opposite end of the Lake we stopped at a little place called Sylvan Beach. Very much like cottage country or a great recreational holiday destination. We tried up on the free wall east of the bridge and took a walk around town. We were surprised at how quiet it was for a long weekend. Talking to some locals they said they actually had a great summer, very very busy. The State Fair is on in Syracuse which takes away a lot of business while its running.  Sylvan Beach has beautiful beaches with very warm water.  The town is quaint and has a very retro amusement park as a permanent fixture on the point between the lake and the canal. Not sure is if they realize what a fun gem they have the old time rides and games or if they just can’t afford to change but either way it was pretty cool walking through it.

The afternoon did pick up with lots of boaters in the canal and heading to the beach. We've never seen so many pontoon boats in one condensed area before - oh, maybe at the boat show! It's certainly seems to be the way to travel around here. We also saw a couple of sail boats out on the lake with their masts UP and sailing. We did a double take as it seems so long ago that we've seen anyone sailing.
Relaxing on the boat in the hot sun and watching the world go by I decided to pump up my paddle board and go for a spin. Lots of fun and great exercise. While out on the water (in canal) I could see the skies blackening and heard thunder so went back to the boat. Al hadn't heard anything and watching the sky it looked like it was passing us to the north.  Luckily, we still closed our hatches etc. just in case. I no sooner had my board up on deck when the wind kicked up like mad and the rain started. Within seconds the rain turned to a crazy hail storm. We've never experienced anything like it before!!  There a boat on the canal that got caught in it getting thrown around like a floaty toy. He finally made it under the bridge to safety. Cars were all pulling over on the side of the road and the town sirens were going off. Total chaos. It also felt like got thrown into the middle of winter all of a sudden. The hole thing lasted about 10 minutes but it seemed longer.
We didn't get many pictures but Al caught it on video so watch for it on utube.

After the storm we wandered down to a local joint that was just packed with people gathered for a Polka extravaganza! The place was called Yesterdays Royal. An old hotel/ ball room now used as a bar and restaurant with a lot of the charming original features restored and remain a part of the atmosphere.  The people were amazing and we were pleasantly surprised to enjoy the Polka music, even talked Al into dancing!! We had a blast for a couple of hours then back to the boat for a nice dinner and to plan the next day.

The next morning we wondered down to a tiny road side market and bought some peppers and tomatoes then pulled off the wall heading for Utica.

The canal at this point is extremely straight mostly tree lined. Very much like the Murray Canal only it went on for 3 hours. We were tied  up in Utica at Aquavino by 3:30pm. Probably not the best choice for a marina as it was 1/foot. The only bathroom was in the restaurant – closed at 8:30pm, no showers, pump out was broken, barely got the power up dock side, and the internet was down. Some of the issues were due to the storm that had hit the day before with some of the power in Utica still not back on.

We headed into town. Fairly good size, small city really. Again beautiful old buildings but the downtown area was run down with lots of empty buildings. Are main goal was to hit the Matt Brewing Company for a tour. The oldest brewery in USA, celebrating it’s 125th anniversary this year. Unfortunately  they had switched to their fall hours  so were only giving tours Thursdays and Sundays (we were there on Tuesday) Had a nice talk with Sue, the lovely women running the store. We  headed to a local joint down the road that specializes in craft beer from  all over, Nail Creek Pub. So, it turns out we are in the heart of Irish settled community and tonight – first Tuesday of each month- local Irish musician gather at the Nail Creek to jam. Amazing music!  7 fiddles, three guitars, an Irish flute and a percussionist. Mike, the bar tender was a hoot. He was very fascinated by our upcoming travels and when we were leaving he gave me a complimentary  pub t-shirt!! Thanks Mike.

I'll be back...

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