You may think this adventure impulsive since from learning of this trip to taking this trip was just weeks. It was a perfect fit for adventures “on my lists” and fit my time schedule. It is all the previous thought and research I do that makes a final decision an easy and rapid one.
Do you remember my most recent Eastern Erie Canal Explorations this July? It was at Herkimer, NY, at GEMS ALONG THE MOHAWK that the visitor center hostess, Melody Milewski, chatted with me for over an hour about the Erie Canal. She had run a canal museum, and told me of Blount Small Ship Adventures in Warren, RI, that she had worked for. They had trips on the Erie Canal she told me. When I got home I looked at the website and dreamed. About the 6th of August I looked at Blount’s website again, and noted a discount on a September voyage – GREAT AMERICAN WATERWAYS – that fit in between my CLARION publishing schedule. I was on the phone on 8 August with Sandi at Blount, and called her back on the 9th booking my September adventure, just three weeks away. The voyage follows the route below, making stops (you can click on the map to enlarge). I was, in one easy trip, finally getting to Mackinac Island, back to Greenfield Village and Buffalo, and see the Oswego Canal for the first time. And, so much more including the entire Hudson River – just try and find a trip the entire length – I dare you.
The voyage began the evening of 3 September from Chicago, and I did not want to “miss the boat.” I booked the optional early arrival (a bargain) on board for 2 September. But how to easily get to Chicago? Not much thought needed to catch Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited. Based upon my cross country and back experiences in June, I realized it best to depart from the Albany-Rensselaer station, just two hours and ten minutes from home, and parking only $30 a week. Then upon return I could ride the train up the Hudson River to get the car – something else everyone needs to do.
The early arrival at the ship gave me a cushion for time, but you know I still left for the train on 1 September with about 8 hours to spare for the two hour drive. What to do along the way? No problem, you know I love Vermont back roads, and I had not yet visited the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftsbury – perfect plan.
check out the website, but the importance of visiting here is:
and, here is the dining room
below you can click for larger views of the entrance from the rear, and the impressive stone work of the house, built circa 1769.
Checking my “paper maps” I found some backroads from the New York State border to Rensselaer I had not previously explored, and do not have to go back on. Arriving at the station, I parked the car in the long term lot, and settled in the station for the 7:05 PM departure of the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago.
The Lake Shore Limited departs from both Boston and New York City, combining cars at the Albany-Rensselaer station for the balance of the trip. In June there was track work on the Boston track, so instead passengers were bussed to and from Boston to the Albany-Rensselaer station – wish I had been told that ahead of time. The Boston train arrived before the New York City train, but with the arrival of the train from New York, the all-aboard announcement was made.
and, here are both sections of the Lake Shore Limited, Boston on the left and NYC on the right.
then the locomotive was disconnected from the Boston train
so the New York train with its cars could back into the Boston section, and connect
I settled into my coach seat. I could not justify the additional “roomette” cost for the almost 15 hour overnight trip, and I wanted to experience overnight in coach – $81 for the one way. I survived, but am too tall to really get comfortable across two seats, which fortunately I had all to myself the entire trip.
and then it was off across the Hudson with Albany in the background.
and, this Water Wandering adventure got underway, heading west to Chicago. Eighteen days? Yes, which means lots to document for my memory, and much to share. I will break the almost 1400 underway miles into logical segments, and the posts will mainly be a photo-journal. Whew!!! you exclaim. In sixteen days I dropped about 600 feet in elevation to sea level, passing through 38 locks – and you will see them all. Here, tentatively, is how I will have you travel with me.
WATER WANDERINGS 3-18 SEPTEMBER 2019
GREAT LAKES, WELLAND CANAL, OSWEGO CANAL,
ERIE CANAL, and HUDSON RIVER
Part 1 – Genesis
Part 2 – Chicago – arriving aboard the Grande Mariner
Part 3 – Underway to Wisconsin and Mackinac Island
Part 4 – Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan
Part 5 – Port visits – Cleveland and Buffalo
Part 6 – Welland Canal – Canada
Part 7 – Rochester, NY and The Oswego Canal
Part 8 – The Erie Canal (may be a part A and B)
Part 9 – The Hudson River (may be a part A and B)
If you have not before “signed up” to get notifications of my new posts, now is the time. And, I really promise to eventually finish up my Coast to Coast to Coast Amtrak Train Trek from June 2019. Yours, RAY