Back on the Boat

May 27th, 2010 john

Here we go again!  The Emery El is back on the water.

This has been the longest winter of my life.  I have just lived for the day when I could return to continue this journey.  It seems like I worked on preparing for the return every day while home in Memphis.  But as the days came closer, there was more and more to do.

My worst fears were realized.   Barbara has decided that she will “pass” on this half of the trip.  She dedicated twelve months to the trip and just did not want to be away from the grandkids for another six months.  I sure can understand her position and am very thankful that she wanted me to continue the trip.  The good news is that I have several good friends that have stepped up to the plate and have volunteered to do portions of the trip so I will not be alone.  (It would be very difficult to do it alone.)

Andy Nuckolls, a good friend of mine from Memphis, offered to come back with me to the boat and to help me get it in order, and maybe travel a few days on the Erie Canal, Oswego Canal, and Lake Ontario.  He will then drive my car home to Memphis on June 6th.  The same day Fran Kenny from Houston TX will fly in and stay with me for eight to ten weeks as we travel into Canada, up and back down the Rideau Canal, then up the Trent-Severn Canal.  Last, a boating couple from FL, Maggie and Gary Nosbusch, will join me in Canada for a ride up Georgian Bay and the North Channel (both in Lake Huron), then down Lake Michigan and the inner rivers back to Memphis.  I know it sounds complicated but we have it all worked out.

With all that said, I already miss my first mate. Of course I miss her friendship, and companionship, but the Emery El misses her daily cleaning and care.  It is sure to be a different trip without Barbara.

We arrived at Winter Haven Marina, Brewerton NY, on Saturday and the Emery El was sitting there in the water patiently waiting for us.  And then the work began.  We never did leave the marina and it has now been a week.  There was just a long list of things to be done to the boat.  And then there was the readjustment to “boat-time”.

First of all, the new transmissions have been installed and look wonderful.  Of course after what they cost I would expect them to be decorated for Christmas.  There were two rain water leaks that we spent days trying to resolve, a new WIFI antenna that we had to install. (As Barbara would say, just what we need is another antenna!) 

I won’t continue down the entire list but we did have a funny event yesterday.  We had worked so hard on the fly-bridge gear shifts that every muscle in my body was hurting.  So we decided that we would have a little fun.  We lowered the dingy off the top of the boat with the crane and placed it into the water.  We had totally serviced her before launch, replacing the drain plugs, charging the battery, filling the oil, etc.  When we got in and were ready to go, I started the engine and it kicked off at first try.  Wonderful!  I reached up to move the gear shift into reverse and the entire gear shift handle fell off, luckily into the boat.  Andy and I just looked at each other and laughed.  So for the next hour we were upside-down in the dingy trying to remount the lever.

Job done, we finally had a refreshing ride up and down the Erie Canal with a quick jaunt out onto Oneida Lake.  Then on the way back we stopped at a little waterside restaurant and enjoyed a great dinner viewing the river.

Today they are replacing the gearshift cables on the Emery El that run from the fly-bridge to the pilothouse.  Hopefully that is the last job before departure other then to clean the boat.

So currently the schedule has been modified to depart on Monday depending on weather.  We will head West on the Erie Canal and then North on the Oswego Canal.  We will wait in Oswego for a good weather window to cross Lake Ontario.  I can’t believe that we will go directly across one of the Great Lakes.

It’s great to be back.

By the way, for those of you that don’t know,  I had a knee replacement operation in February and it was a great success.  At the end of this week with all the walking, stair climbing, getting up and getting down, my knee is the only thing on my body that does not hurt.  I’m thinking of going back to ask for a full skeleton replacement next.

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