It’s Not All Fun and Games

Hello virtual crew members and fellow adventurers!

So what do you do with spare pump casings and impellers you ask?  Well the Gould Pump Company of Seneca Falls sponsored this sculpture on the Ludovico Sculpture Trail.


Summary of Week:

Seneca Falls

The crew travelled four days last week making the following stops along the way:

1 – Monday, they stayed on the Lock E20 wall near Marcy, NY

2- Tuesday, they travelled to Winter Harbor Marina in Brewerton to get some work done on the boat

3- Thursday, they officially entered the western Erie Canal and stopped at Baldwinsville for the night

4- They then started a side trip to the Finger Lakes Region and stopped at Seneca Falls on Friday

Click here to read the day-to-day travel log. This includes weather report, sea conditions, captain’s log, a summary of the day’s experience, and a few pics of the route.

The voyage of discovery did answer the following questions this week:

  1. What is the highest point above sea level of the Erie Canal?
  2. When was the last time the Lock E23 power plant was used?
  3. When and where was the first Women’s Rights Convention held in the US?
  4. How did the Haudnosaunee Nation influence the Convention?
  5. What is the ‘bridge scene’ in A Wonderful Life based on?

At the Box Office

No new video this week, the skipper has been busy with other boat projects.

To see past videos, click on the link to the Still Waters II Vimeo site.  The library contains videos of Still Waters II cruising America’s Great Loop.

Monday, July 9th

The Admiral was off to the Post Office to mail the youngest granddaughter her birthday gift. While she was off on her errand, the skipper pulled down to pump out the holding tanks.

The forward holding tank vacuum pump has developed a leak and human waste has dripped into the forward bilge. After pumping the forward tank out, the skipper ran the hose through a window, through the salon, and down into the bilge and got that stuff out of the boat. (Probably a good thing the Admiral was not present to witness this activity.) He will have to repair or replace the pump upon arrival in Brewerton. Now there is a task to look forward to.

When the crew shoved off the wall, there was another boat approaching.  The skipper allowed the other boat to pass and then fell in behind them and followed them to Lock E19.  When they arrived at the lock, they learned that Island Time had just entered the lock, so the crew would lock thru with two other boats this morning.

Arrival at Lock 19, port gate was broken, lift up 21 feet

46 Lock E19

After exiting the lock, the trio of boats were off towards Lock E20, ten miles away.


The crew decided to pull off the canal at Utica for lunch.   The dock side restaurant was closed so the crew hiked about a mile into town and found a Denny’s open  After lunch they had one more lock to negotiate and then they stopped for the afternoon.

Lock E20, letting out water, lift up 16 feet


After exiting Lock E20, the boat has climbed to 420 feet above sea level from New York Harbor. This is the high point on the Erie Canal.

The crew stopped in front of Governor Roosevelt for the evening.

50 Gov Roosevelt

The skipper got the bikes off the boat and the crew rode the Canal Trail for a little exercise.  The Canal Trail could be an adventure in itself.  The Trail consists of just over 220 miles of paths along the canal.

Tuesday, July 10th

Today the crew had two locks to negotiate and then needed to get across the open waters of Lake Oneida before the afternoon winds picked up.  The morning was calm though and made for glass like conditions on the canal.

Mirror reflection of bridge over canal


Arrival at Lock E21, step down 25 feet

53 Lock 21

There was a little excitement upon leaving Lock E21 though. The port main engine decided she would not start. The skipper had to leave the lock on the starboard engine which made getting off the lock wall a bit difficult.

A virtual crew member, Scott, asked last week, how do you normally get off the lock wall?.  The short answer is that we shove off the wall to get some space (about 1-2 feet) then use the engines to move further off the wall and get underway.

However, with only the starboard engine running, and the boat up against the lock wall on the port side, the skipper delicately bumped the starboard engine a few times to get some forward momentum while steering to starboard.  Once some water started to flow by the rudder, he was able to steer the boat to the center of the lock.

After they exited the lock, the skipper went down in the engine room and checked the cables to the starter on the port engine. He managed to get about a half a flat turn on one nut. When he got back up in the helm, the port engine started right up.

Passed this little canal work boat on the way to Lock E22.  Do you see the guy riding the tow?  If that tow line breaks, he is in the ‘line of fire.’


Safely in Lock E22

55 Lock 22

There were no issues exiting the second lock. The crew made way to Sylvian Beach and then into Lake Oneida. The lake runs east to west for about 20 miles and is not all that wide. The crossing of the Lake went well. The Lake was fairly calm except for the occasional boat wake, but the waves did build to one foot as the wind started to blow from the west. The crew exited the lake and entered Oneida River before conditions got to bumpy. They then docked at Winter Harbor Marina with about eight other Looper boats.

Hopefully the marina has the breaker the boat needs to replace the failed Main Line 2 Breaker.

Wednesday, July 11th

Today the skipper had several projects to complete around the boat as well as have the marina replace the Main Line 2 Breaker.  The electrician found that the breaker had a loose connection that had arced and sparked.  The arc caused some of the breaker’s molded case to break off and also burnt some surrounding wires that will be replaced.

The bad breaker and wire


The skipper finally managed to get the radar dome down so that the air draft of the boat is now 15 feet. This will allow the crew to slide under a 15.5 foot bridge on the western Erie Canal. He also built a measuring device to put out on the bow to verify they can clear the bridge. We shall see how it works in a week or so.

The skipper also replaced that forward head vacuum pump. Let’s just say that was the nastiest job completed on the boat to date. Where is Mike Rowe when you need him?

With the projects around the boat complete, the crew took a courtesy car to town and bought a few provisions for the next leg of the journey, The Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

Thursday, July 12th

After topping off the fuel tanks, the crew initially headed towards Syracuse where they had planned to visit the Erie Canal Museum.  After a few miles they arrived at Lock E23. The lock master made them wait for a second boat because the first lock on the Oswego Canal had a problem with the 7 foot lift bridge. They are having to manually open the bridge.  The crew mentioned that they were not going to Oswego, but they got to wait for the second boat anyway. While waiting the crew did learn some interesting things about Lock E23.

Lock E23, step down 7 feet

1 Lock E23
This lock is the busiest lock in the entire system because of its proximity to the eastern Erie, western Erie, and Oswego Canal Junction. The lock master said he locks about 100 boats on a Saturday. On July 4th, he said he locked 132 boats.

Power House for Lock E23

1.1 Power Plant

Another interesting feature of this lock is that its original power house is still onsite and available.  The generator is maintained and ready to supply power if required as a back-up. However, the lock master said they had not fired up the power plant since the Northeast Blackout of 2003.  There were four boats trapped in the lock when the power went out in 2003, so they started the power plant up to operate the lock equipment and let the boaters out of the lock.

Looking out of Lock E23

1.2 View Looking down

The crew soon arrived at the Canal Junction and officially entered the Western Erie Canal.

Canal Junction

2 Canal Junction

They were not on the western Erie Canal long though, the skipper diverted toward Syracuse across Lake Onondaga. However, when they arrived at the entrance canal to Syracuse a RR Bridge, which shows to be 17 feet on the charts, turned out to be less than 15 feet. The crew could not get under the bridge so they headed back to the Erie Canal and decided to stop at Lock E24.

Nope, not getting under that bridge


While making way to Lock E24, the crew saw several swans.  Including one cygnet, or baby swan.



Upon arrival at Lock E24, the Admiral spotted a Cake and Ice Cream store.  They agreed that they would make that the first stop while exploring the town of Baldwinsville.  A little historical tidbit, Lock E24 was the first lock completed during the modern Barge Canal era of the Erie Canal.  The lock opened May 9, 1910, almost eight years ahead of the canal completion.

Lock E24, Lift 11 feet

6 Lock E24

After clearing the lock, the crew found a spot along the upper lock wall to moor for the night.  The skipper did find the ice cream store.  He bought a big kahuna, two peanut butter cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream.


Friday, July 13th

With the crew unable to make Syracuse, and the unscheduled stop at Lock E24 in Baldwinsville, the skipper had to recalculate the next few days moves.  He has decided to head to Seneca Falls for the weekend.  The crew headed down the western Erie Canal to the Canal Junction with the Cayuga-Seneca Canal at mile 201.

A few sights on the western Erie Canal



One surprise caught the crew a bit off guard.  However, it did give the crew a chance to use their new air draft tool for getting under low bridges.  The skipper was approaching a 17 foot bridge, which should have been no problem.  However, he noticed a bunch of cables dangling below the bridge.  As they approached closer, he could tell there were people on a platform working under the bridge.

12 Men at Work

The skipper slowed to a near stop, had the Admiral go raise the air draft tool, and then proceeded slowly towards the bridge.  Turned out the crew still had a foot of clearance to the dangling cables below the bridge.  The skipper did notice that the work platform the guys were working on was really an extension ladder.

12.1 A few more miles down the canal, the crew crossed the remains of the Montezuma Aqueduct.  The Aqueduct was built back in the 1862 expansion when the canal designers were having issues with the canal crossing the Seneca River.  The solution was to build this 900 foot long Aqueduct over the Seneca River.

Aqueduct remains

17 Aquaduct

Just a few more miles and the crew reached the Canal Junction with the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.  The crew headed south (left) to start their side trip into the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

Canal Junction

18 C_S Canal Junction


The crew traveled along the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge where they saw many birds and a deer along the bank.

Osprey Nest

20 Osprey

Bald Eagle in flight

16 Bald Eagle

The crew then arrived at Lock CS1 which raised the boat 7 feet to be the same level as Lake Cayuga.  The crew made a right turn upon exiting the lock and headed towards Seneca Falls where they would encounter Locks CS2 and 3.

Lock CS1, lift 7 feet

21 Lock CS 1

Locks CS2 and 3, combined lift of 49 feet

22 Lock CS 2

23 Lock CS 3

The first sight of Seneca Falls is this Episcopal Church along the Canal front.


After making the bend, the crew saw the village walls and found a spot to moor for the weekend.  The skipper noticed a Sculpture Garden Trail Head that was near the boat, so the crew headed down the one mile trail to see the sights.

24 Ludovico SculptureTrail




Saturday, July 14th

Seneca Falls turned out to be an interesting stop.  The village has a rich history.  There number one claim to fame is the location of the first Women’s Rights Convention at the Wesleyan Chapel on July 19-20 1848.

Wesleyan Chapel

33 NP of Women's Movement

It was here that the Declaration of Sentiments was signed and eventually led to the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1920.  The Women’s Rights National Historic Park tells the story of how women fought for equality and the right to vote.


Of the 300 folks in attendance at the Women’s Rights Convention, only 100 signed the Declaration of Sentiments.

32 Seneca Falls Visitor Center

The town also houses the National Women’s Hall of Fame, which showcases great American Women.  Of the women inducted there, the skipper has to admit that he did not know many of them by name.  He did recognize Susan B. Anthony, Lucile Ball, Clara Barton, Amelia Earhart, and Betty Ford, to name just a few.

He did discover a Margret Fuller in the Hall of Fame.  She lived 1810 – 1850.  From 1839 to 1844 she held a series of ‘Conversations’ for women of Boston, encouraging women to think and talk together about ideas.  These dialogues led Fuller to write her most important work, Women in the Nineteenth Century (1845), considered a classic work of American feminist thought that had a profound influence on the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights gathering in 1848. (From the National Women’s Hall of Fame)

Future home of the National Women’s Hall of Fame (under remodel)


One of the interesting back stories that the National Park told was of the Haudenosaunee (ho-dee-noe-sho-nee) or Iroquois.  The six nations make up the oldest living participatory democracy on earth.  Their government of unity and equality go back over 800 years.  The chiefs of the Haudenosaunee were invited to speak at the Continental Congress on June 11, 1776.  Many of their ideas of unity and equality made it into our Declaration of Independence.


There was still a presence of these tribes in central New York in the mid 1800’s.  These Native Americans had an impact on the women of Central New York.  The women began to take notice how the native women already had the rights that were denied by the laws of the United States.  For example, the native women had a Council who actually picked the Chief for the six nation Confederacy.  Then the six nations individually voted (both men and women) on the choice.  The nominee had to carry all six nations to become the Chief of the Confederacy.  If the nominee did not carry all six nations, then the Women’s Council would select a second candidate.

The Quaker and Methodist women of Central New York took notice of the rights of the Native Women and used their observations to form the backbone of the Declaration of Sentiments that was edited and approved at the 1848 Convention in Seneca Falls.

The Iroquois Women would tell the women fighting for equal rights, We

  • Own the Land, the Lodge, the Children
  • Ours is the right to adoption, life or death;
  • Ours is the right to raise up and depose chiefs;
  • Ours is the right to representations in all councils;
  • Ours is the right to make and abrogate treaties;
  • Ours is the supervision over domestic and foreign policies;
  • Ours is the trusteeship of tribal property;
  • Our lives are valued again as high as man’s.

These ideals drove the American Women forward towards the right to vote and buy property.

Statue capturing the meeting of Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

34 Susan B Anthony meets Eizabeth Stanton

On another note, It’s A Wonderful Life Museum is also in Seneca Falls.  The locals believe that Seneca Falls was the inspiration for Frank Capra’s script.  He is known to have visited the area while working on the screenplay.

30 It's A Wonderful Life Museum

Some similarities between Seneca Falls and Bedford Falls of the movie:

  • Both are located in western New York
  • The film makes reference to surrounding areas such as Buffalo, Rochester, and Elmira
  • Originally, Harry Bailey attended Cornell University, in nearby Ithaca
  • The steel bridge in the movie is very similar to the bridge over the canal, down to the detail of the color of the paint
  • The movie has a scene where Harry is contemplating suicide and performs a rescue.  In real life, a lady jumped from the bridge and was rescued; however, the rescuer died.

35 Bridge (2)

All in all, Seneca Falls was an interesting stop.

Boat name of the week


Next Week –

The crew will head into Seneca Lake and then move over to explore Cayuga Lake.

Loop On – Where the road ends, the water begins. The water goes on forever, and the adventure never ends.

Eric the Red

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