On our last day in NYC Glenn joined us on Heartbeat. Glenn and Kent have known each other for 30 or so years and Glenn traveled with us last fall for 2 weeks from Columbus, MS to Mobile, AL. Apparently he wasn’t scarred by that trip and was ready for more nights spent on Heartbeat's pull out couch.
Our distance on the Hudson River was 120 miles. We had envisioned this portion of the trip to be hot and humid, after all it was June in New York. Fortunately the weather was mild, a few days of rain here and there but overall very nice weather to travel and be a tourist. We stopped in several small towns along the Hudson but our longest stop was 3 nights in Poughkeepsie. It took us at least 1 day to learn how to pronounce the town's name, it is not a name that easily rolls off the tongue until you learn it. We ended up here for several not so fun reasons but then got a rental car to explore West Point Military Academy and some of the historical homes in nearby Hyde Park.
Once the two unplanned items above were finished we were ready to do some exploring.
To see West Point we needed to be a part of a tour group. We did not feel that we were able to see as much when compared to our Naval Academy tour in Annapolis but the location of West Point is stunning and there is an extensive museum where you could spend hours if you had the time (we did not have the time so rushed through it).
Poughkeepsie was close to Hyde Park and several historical homes. We chose to visit the home of Franklin D Roosevelt. This is where after visiting over a dozen National Parks in the past several months we FINALLY bought a yearly parks pass. Not great planning on our part but we finally have the pass. I am sure that we now have it we will be nowhere near a National Park for several months, it is just Murphy's Law.
We spent the afternoon on a guided tour of FDR's home and the following morning self touring the Presidential Library/Museum. Another very well done museum and many interesting artifacts from FDR's private collection where on display. These included the desk he used at the oval office and the Ford Phaeton which he had retrofitted so he could drive it himself. We spent a quick hour on the guided tour of FRDs home and a total of 4 hours in the Library/Museum learning a ton about our only President to serve more than 2 terms in office and the challenges he faced. Not knowing what to expect of the Library/Museum we were all very impressed with it.
We wanted to visit a few other historical homes but we did not have time to visit the Vanderbilt Mansion in Hyde Park during business hours so we settled for a quick walk around the grounds one evening.
There were several other places which we could have explored but time was limited. Given the opportunity for a 2nd visit we would try the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and tour the Rockefeller Estate.
Back on the Hudson River we passed by several super cool lighthouses. Unfortunately we did not have any buddy boats with us as it would have been cool to get some pictures of Heartbeat and the lighthouses.
As we left the Hudson River for the Erie Canal and needed to think about locks again. We had traveled though a dozen or so locks in the river system (Tennessee/Alabama) last Fall, 2 small locks in the Dismal Swamp Canal (NC>VA) last month but we were going to be traveling through a total of 22 locks as part of the Erie Canal. Locks are not complicated and these are relatively short compared to the river system locks but due to high water and debris this year the NY Canal System was needing to close locks and they could be closed for several days at a time. When the locks close the boats wanting to transit through back up. It is a good thing we have not been traveling faster as we might have just been sitting for several days waiting. Our timing/luck has been impeccable up until this point.
We would travel 160 miles on the Erie Canal. The Lockmaster would inform the lock ahead when we were departing and as long as we traveled at the speed limit the next lock would most likely be open and ready for us. Unlike traveling in the south on the rivers there there has been little to no commercial traffic for us to tend with on the Erie. Each night we were able to stay at a free dock and explore the small towns. We got in a groove – get to the first lock when it opens at 7am, travel through 4-6 locks, arrive at a town dock mid day/early afternoon, explore the town we were in and then repeat the same thing the next day. Some towns have more to offer than others but we all made a point to get in some sort of exploring.
Once through the Erie Canal we made the 20 mile transit across Oneida Lake to Brewerton, NY. It was here that we said goodbye to Glenn and waited for the Oswego Canal to open (it had been closed almost a week due to high water). Once the Oswego Canal opens we (and many other boats who have been waiting) will move through to Lake Ontario and through the Oswego Canal.