18 May 2011

What almost wasn't

This is a trip that very nearly did not happen.  And, it might yet end up dry-docked, so to speak.  Rain has been falling for some time in New York state.  The Erie Canal has been able to be opened, although one lock might still be troublesome for our ship.  But, the Finger Lakes are draining at a furious rate and the water is so high on the Oswego Canal (which connects the Eric Canal to Lake Ontario) as to make it unusable.

So, the published itinerary has been altered radically, slowing down our progress in hopes that the magic date of May 27th will actually mark the canal's opening for the season.  At any rate, we are aboard, afloat, cast off, underway!

This our first view of the Grande Mariner from the coach which transported us from the Johnson & Wales Inn in Seekonk MA to the dock in Warren RI.  I'll work at getting a better shot from a dock along the way, a shot without junk in the foreground.

I feel sorry for those who planned and who are leading this historic waterways trip -- for the long-established and now undone schedule, for the last minute scramble they're going to have to handle through the coming 15 days.  While I have a disappointment or two related to stops we'll not longer be able to make, I don't feel particularly sorry for myself or us passengers.  We are off on an adventure!

Nancy Hauswald, program manager for Coastal Discoveries in Belfast ME, the company offering this trip for Road Scholar/Elderhostel, wrote us a letter about the situation in the Oswego Canal which awaited us in our cabins.  She included this quote from "The Wind in the Willows" (Kenneth Grahame):
Boats ... in or out of 'em, it doesn't matter.  Nothing seems really to matter, that's the charm of it.  Whether you get away, or whether you don't, whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy, and you never do anything in particular, and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you'd much better not ... The Mole waggled his toes from sheer happiness ... 'What a day I'm having!' he said.  'Let us start at once.' 

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