Tuesday, July 5, 2011


For the past 12 days I was on the Erie Canal in New York on my grandparent's steamboat. I was with my grandparents, my sister Andelle, my cousin Hallie, and my aunt Innes. It took us two days to get to Little Falls, which was the first stop for the Great International Steamboat Flotilla. Little Falls was a cute but dead town, which was what I found in common with Canajoharie and Amsterdam, which were two other towns we stopped in along the way to our destination.

Our final destination was Waterford, where they had a weekend full of activities planned for us. We got there on Wednesday, and Thursday was our chill day. Hallie, Andelle and I noticed that other boats had wooden signs that they had on the dock, either for show or to hold their place. Earlier that week a lockmaster gave us Erie Canal coloring books so Hallie bought crayons in Schenectady and we used the crayons and colored on two by fours that we got off our boat. We made one for our boat and for two other boats whose owners we're friends with. Then we started making them anonymously for boats that didn't have any. Soon people who already had signs gave us some of their wood to make them signs on, and two people said they would varnish theirs.

On Friday we called my mom and told her to go to a website that had a live feed of a camera that pointed towards our boat. We all waved to the camera and even pulled in some other steamboating friends. We also had a "parade", where the boats went a few miles down the river and followed behind an old tugboat called the Urger, which dates back to 1901. When we got back to the docks, we had pizza and wings in the visitor center. My grandmother, Hallie, Andelle and I (my aunt left on a train in Amsterdam) were wearing matching French sailor shirts, which impressed everybody. We also got free t-shirts of the Sayonara, whose captain basically commanded the entire trip. For Saturday we got food vouchers to pay for our meals.

On Saturday there were vendors selling just about anything on the docks. The was a lot of people walking around, checking out the boats. The steamboaters congregated in this one area under a shady tree with small fold up tables and lawn chairs. The adults drank gin and tonic while my cousin, my sister, and I played cards. This one boat was firing a cannon and we got to take turns firing it. At night we sat on the boat and watched the fireworks across the water.

On Sunday there was a farmer's market, where my sister bought berries and a strawberry rhubarb pie with the remaining food vouchers. We steamed down to a lock where we parked the trailer in the pouring rain and we were on our way. Two days later we were home where I am now.