July 27, 2012 Clayton, NY - Kingston, Ontario

We arrived Kingston, Ontario, after departing Clayton, NY--our intended 2 day stay lasted almost 2 weeks, enabling us to get lots of reading done.  We also enjoyed the Antique Boat Museum and the Concourse de Elegance.  Bottom line--we were awaiting the arrival of a Garmin chip for our plotter for navigation into Canada. Our phones and MiFi are "on vacation" so other than occasional public WiFi we'll pretty much be incommunicado for the next month.
Quebec Head Light

Kingston was founded in 1673 as a fur trading post and an important military stronghold.  As we approached Kingston’s outer harbour, we had a beautiful view of the city.

The skyline is dominated by elegant heritage limestone buildings, giving it a unique ambiance.    These historic forts and fortified stone shoal towers still guard this once major port, Kingston’s military and naval importance during the War of 1812. We visited the beautiful campus of the Canadian military academy with is on par with West Point and Annapolis.
                                              Entry to the campus

Kingston’s key position at the eastern end of Lake Ontario affords it gateway status to the historic Rideau Canal which is next on our itinerary; the St. Lawrence River and Thousand Islands regions from whence we came, making it a very busy port of call.
Main building on campus

The city’s historic stone railway station located in a beautiful park with a fountain has become the visitor’s center.  There are at least 17 unique museums here and a fascinating one is the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes.  A ship building yard, built in 1790, showcases marine history and displays old boat models.

After clearing customs in Kingston, paying duty on our larder, and catching my breath again ("they say" we got by easy), we've enjoyed our visit here. A beautiful city and people are so kind, friendly, and helpful. I'm trying to ward off the Internet DT's by shoving the homeless off a park bench this morning so I could snag an Internet connection. Missing the Olympics, especially the swimming, is killing me!!!   Bill visited the Pumphouse Steam Museum, home to Victorian era pumps and steam operated equipment.  There are also 20 custom built model trains complete with interiors and passengers riding 1200 feet of track with 52 switches.
Kingston City Hall

Fountain in downtown Kingston park

Kingston is home to Old Market Square behind City Hall, which has occupied that block since 1780 and is home to Canada’s oldest continuously operating Farmer’s Market.
City Market

Kingston Harbor was the sailing venue for the 1976 Olympics.  This is one of the sculptures from 30+ years ago.

Too busy playing to write about what we're doing but trying to catch you up.  Wall space for docking at the locks is enviable and first come first serve. One afternoon at the Smith Falls Visitor's Center we met a couple who are into 4 1/2 years of touring the world on bicycles. I thought we had a spartan lifestyle but all their worldly possessions are on their bikes. They were fascinating and we can't wait to read their blog.

We love Smith Falls, ON. Spent the morning at the Rideau Canal Museum and the Railroad Museum. We love the people! So many impromptu conversations have ensued by people strolling by the boat and asking many questions. A tear-jerker this afternoon---a little 4 year old girl walking with her mom who was pushing a baby in a stroller with a baby called out, "Excuse me. You're from FL. Do you know Mickey Mouse?" I started talking to them and the little girl said, "we were going to see Mickey but couldn't because my dad passed away." WOW!!! Her mom didn't allow any more info except that they didn't know she was pregnant with the little boy and had planned to leave for Disney the next week when her husband died. That sort of took the 'happy' out of 'happy hour'

After a 45 minute walk down a hot and dusty country road in search of public wifi in the little village of Merrickville, ON, I found the library which is open only certain days of the week and today's not one of them. We didn't expect to be able to get a slip here but were most happy to find there was one left!!! This is a busy time of year in Canada when most Canadians are on "holiday" and take to the water. Montreal has had the last 2 weeks off--they return to work on Mon. Wonder who holds the fort down when they're on vacation? Merrickville is having Rideau Canal Festival here this weekend right in the park where we're docked so that should be entertaining!

Smith Falls

Wooden flume

Waiting for lock to open as we leave Smith Falls

Ruins of grist mill in Merrickville

A few observations from the past few weeks---

* Boaters up in this area of fresh water are scared spitless to take their boats south into SALT WATER. The way they talk about it you'd think the bottoms of their boats would drop out! They say they'd love to cruise to FL, etc., but they just are so afraid of salt water. I'm sure Kindred Spirit's loving the fresh water and probably feels she's in a spa!

* I continue to be surprised and amazed at the number of people--and women seem to catch my eye in particular--who are still smoking!!! Seems there are more smokers than non up this way.

* Sometimes I feel I must've just crawled out from beneath a mushroom, but tattoos on women who are long in the tooth are dominant! And they put them everywhere younger gals have them--and an advantage, I presume, at having one when they're grandmothers---the rose won't have to far to droop. The tats on the lower leg look to me like varicose veins. They should've just waited and let nature take its course. And they paid good money for that!!!

* I'd venture a guess that 9 out of 10 of these men who could pass for a Sumo must forget to put their shirts on.  What a sight to behold and apparently they didn't pass a mirror on their way out the door.

*  Speaking of great grandmother aged women (of my era)---the body piercings make me do a double take!  Along with their false teeth they are wearing sparkling jewels on various body parts and I'm not talking a bout ears!  I just guess I've been on the boat way too long.  Seems I need to get busy with some appointments at piercing and ink parlors!!!

*Canadian money makes for heavy pockets. $1 is a coin with a loon on it---called a Looney. The $2 coin has a bear on it. No! It's not called a Bearey--that'd be too fruity--but it's a Tooney! Go figure!

* "Hydro" up here is electricity and the Canadians boaters are hell-bent on being "hooked into hydro".  Had Bill not done the marvelous job of converting our freezer and refrigerator to 12 volt, we'd probably be vying for those "hydro" receptacles, too.

* All of these villages are very quaint and have a definite European flavor.  It isn't unusual to see an old TV antenna (circa 1950's) sprouting from a roof top. (And I'm whining about no Internet!)

* This is a spectacular area and the Canadians are so friendly and welcoming. Along the canal we've seen (and heard) loons, deer, little mink, and have been serenaded by a chorus of birds.

* We're feeling a need to quit tarrying so many places and get to our most northern destination point so we can head south before there's a nip in the air.

* Not too inclined to maintain our blog spot at this point. We go through quite a few locks each day and that keeps us both busy. No sitting around reading novels, sipping mint juleps and filing my nails! I wear heavy gloves and spend my day adjusting fenders, fending off the walls and heaving lines. Maybe as we head south through familiar territory I'll continue it. Klepped some of what I put on Face Book to try and keep you abreast of where we are.

* In case you've any doubt, we're absolutely loving this trip!!!

Bill and Laura
Merrickville, ON

Notice the boats down below waiting for us to descend so they can lock UP.


Bill said…
Hi Bill & Laura,

Staci and I are really enjoying the updates - keep 'em coming!

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