Cruisin' or Snoozin' - The Triangle Loop!
Well, if we wanna do it...we better do it now.
My wife and I, she 79 and me 81, both knew it's either the river...or the Old Folks Home! So we decided that 2023 would be the year of the Triangle Loop! Last year we traversed the Champlain route from Stony Point, New York up to Rouses' Point, New York, which is next to the Canadian border. We didn't have our passports with us, unfortunately, and Canada wouldn't let us in their fair country on our own recognizance, so we are visiting Canada this year, instead.
A little history: After being boatless for 10 years but travelling extensively and chartering, we found the ideal boat in 2020 at the dock in the marina that I had planned to stay at (delivery distance = zero!).
I worked on minor things until July 2022, when we decided to cruise up to Lake Champlain, a 600 mile round-trip distance for two months at 1 mile-per-gallon...well, in the Bank or in the Tank, and the Bank won't take us cruisin'! To us "Assisted Living" means the dock guy helping us with the lines!
This year immediately after launching the Tarnhelm, we plan on heading up the Hudson, to Albany and beyond into Canada.
The well-known Triangle Loop will take us up the Hudson to the Erie and Oswego canals, across Lake Ontario to the Canadian Canal System (Rideau to Ottawa), calling at Ottawa, Montreal, Sorel and then back down South through the Chambly and Richelieu canals to Lake Champlain, returning to Stony Point on the Hudson for next winter's storage.
The details (culled from "The Waterways Guide"):
Erie Canal (Troy to Three Rivers): 160 miles
Oswego Canal (Three Rivers to Oswego): 24 miles
Lake Ontario (Oswego to Kingston): 50 miles
Rideau Canal (Kingston to Ottawa): 126 miles
Ottawa River (Ottawa to Montreal): 97 miles
St. Lawrence River (Montreal to Sorel): 80 miles
Richelieu River/Chambly Canal (Sorel to Rouses Point): 68 miles
Lake Champlain (Rouses Point to Whitehall): 107 miles
Champlain Canal (Whitehall to Troy): 60 miles
Locks: 99, Rivers: 7, Lakes: 4
Controlling Depth: 6.5 feet (5.0 feet on Rideau Canal route)
Controlling Vertical Clearance to Champlain Canal: 22 feet
Controlling Vertical Clearance (Champlain Canal): 15 feet
We have already traveled on several sections of this route, but this will be our first complete "Loop" trip, 800 miles. about 3 months or so.
For comparison to the Triangle Loop, the famous "Great Loop", 6000 miles around the "Island" (continuous waterways) that is our Eastern United States, has been done successfully by many intrepid boaters, braving 40+ barge tows, swift currents, scarce fuel, crab pots in the Gulf, and the AIW back up the East Coast...pride of accomplishment is theirs!!
Next year we plan to do the Erie-Oswego-Lake Ontario-Trent Severn-North Channel-Mackinac Island-Lake Michigan, perhaps as far as to my birthplace, Milwaukee Wisconsin.
Karen and I bought a 25' Carver Santa Cruz in 1977 when our twins were 9 years old, and the girls grew up on the boat in beautiful Green Bay waters. They still say they enjoyed it, in spite of crusty ol' capt. Phil....I love 'em!!
We crossed Lake Michigan three times, centered on charming little Leland MI, then cruising to many lakeshore towns, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, Mackinac Island, Cedarville....ahhhh, whatta life!!
We also have, with my brother and his wife, taken several rental houseboat trips on the Trent Severn and Rideau in Canada. We love to cruise!