After laying up five nights and four full days of work on the boat at Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton NY, we are now going through a pre-departure check as I write this blog entry. Its very early and its raining, but there is no fog or wind. That’s a good sign. Having had so many important issues resolved on the boat, done by such a competent team here, we are extremely confident that Time&Space is finally in voyaging condition.
Owners Tom Pirro and his daughters Noreen and Leslie have a huge investment in the facilities and equipment at Winter Harbor and they live on-site to ensure the business is run properly. The yard staff led by Jim and Rocky would measure up to any marine work force on the east coast. Some photos will be inserted later.
Winter Harbor is a 12-month a year business. Many big boats are stored for the winter in the massive heated buildings here. When we arrived, one of the 95-100 foot boats in the photo below was being repaired from extensive damage to its bottom. The boat had run over a submerged car in the canal, I suppose the flooding this year had floated all kinds of objects downstream.
On our trip north in the Hudson in June, we faced a wall of trees and logs that was almost impossible to get by without hitting something. We did hit one submerged tree but at least we missed the automobile.
Here is Time&Space up on blocks near the shed as ten coats of gelcoat was applied to the bow following my run-in with a dock at Oshwego. We also had the bottom painted. Now I have six more fenders for a bit of protection, four of them being huge 21 inch balls. When we return in the spring, I’ll be considering airbags!
The local towns and cities here — Brewerton and Cicero — remind me of Belleville-Trenton-Brighton along Highway 2 in Eastern Ontario. There is a laid-back vacation vibe but no new construction that I could see. However, the economy appears in better shape than elsewhere on the Hudson and up at Oshwego.
In Cicero, Burdick’s Drivers Village was by far the biggest car lot we’ve ever seen, having some 1000 cars for sale and over a dozen new car dealerships of all kinds, plus used cars in heated showrooms. Returning the rental car to Enterprise at this mall, we even got lost. After 30 minutes of driving around huge buildings full of car dealerships, we had to phone for directions!
We added to the local economy with our purchases at Enterprise, Home Depot, West Marine, Wegmans, Verizon and a couple restaurants. One of these was “All Fed Up” where they made a delicious roast beef sandwich on gluten-free bread.
On Thursday we drove into Syracuse for banking at Key Bank. The old, well-maintained buildings are classic. Judging from the few people around, however, I’d say the city has seen better days.Again, I never saw a construction crane.
As we prepared to depart, I noted that our fuel pump bill was much smaller than on the trip north. The cost per equivalent gallon was half of what we paid in Canada. With the lower speed we’ll be traveling at, and the new bottom paint, we almost certainly will not be spending $1,000 a day to top up. We also noted that the cost of food and beverage was half what we pay in Canada, and the sales tax is 8%, not 13%.
For first-time boaters traveling south, I strongly recommend getting US Dollar denominated credit and debit cards.
I also recommend an iPad/Verizon with Garmin navigation maps. Ours is powered from a cigarette lighter at the helm. This is so much easier to drive the boat than flipping through paper charts. The photos are terrific and you get access to email and phone all on one instrument. I still must learn the phone app though and up-loading photos directly to the blog is another thing to learn. But, we are getting there. Nobody’s rushing!
Its 8am now, and in a few minutes we’ll be underway, headed for the broken locks that ought to be re-opened this morning. Apparently there is an armada awaiting this event, nobody wanting to get caught in the closed canal system with snow on the way. The first hour this morning was taken up with an electrician hooking up our entertainment system speakers — all 10 of them. Previously we could not get the new external speakers to work. The solution was: “Turn on the switch!”
Same thing happened with our hydraulic platforms for the dinghy lift and the garage door — “Turn on the switch!”
Its fun learning about the boat — or should I call it “the machine” — but the learning experience is coming at $90/hour. Pretty soon though we will be true masters of our domain — with the time and the space to enjoy it.
I’ll work on inserting more photos as we have taken a ton.