We were comfortably ahead of schedule when we left Oswego. The few locks we had left were pretty easy, as locks go. No strong currents, high winds, ornery lock attendants or extreme heat. We kept our eyes open for a few places to while away some time at Labor Day weekend. That can be tricky to find an anchor place or tie up without reservations on a big weekend. We checked out many places that were offered in our guide and we turned our noses up at all of them. By 4:00pm we had that uneasy feeling that this was going to be an unhappy Labor Day for us. After the Phoenix Lock we spotted the decorated, and unoccupied Phoenix town dock and park. Were our eyes playing tricks on us? Huh?? No they weren't.
Out strolled a lady followed by several children of various ages with big smiles and hellos and a friendly sales pitch about how grand it would be to stay at their dock - FREE. They'll tie up for us. Provide some free power, free pump out, free water, free delivery of dinners from a close restaurant. They also offer free dog walking (which we wouldn't accept for our darling Cockapoo daughter). And a free park concert on Friday night. They were eager for us to be their first boat for the weekend. Could this be real?
We accepted and had the choice of best spot. Eventually there were about 6-8 other boats that came through the next two days and we all stayed well past the limit of 48 hours maximum dockage. People came from all over. You can see by the photos that this was just another great example of great American small town hospitality.
The story of the Bridge Brats unfolded. Cathy and Carole are the backbone of this group. The children, above 7 years old and into the early teens, join the group wearing their blue shirts and are part of a unique club. They hang out at the town dock and assist travelers, tell them about all the businesses close by that have services that travelers might use. They will walk dogs, deliver meals from close restaurants, and help in many other ways. They tend & tidy up the park. They converse with travelers. They regularly water the flowers in the park and down the side street in front of shops. The children are precious with their good manners and general precociousness. They have been doing this for many years and the children love being part of this "club". A good way to keep the town's young ones busy during the summer.
Our next stop is close to the marina where we will store the boat for the winter, in Brewerton. We are early so we decided to pass some time at a town dock where it is so peaceful and lovely. There's a 48 hr. maximum here also but we'll try for an extra night since there aren't many boats around during the week after Labor Day. We patronize the local businesses so we feel justified. No power here however.
We'll go to our marina tomorrow and have more than a week to do some much needed cleaning and packing up to leave. We haven't had the ability the past few years because of hurricane scares in Maine in September.
We're being lazy right now. Reading, unwinding, napping & making plans for our exit duties and generally thinking about this year's overly ambitious & marvelous trip.
We are so lucky and blessed to have been able to do this.
Who wants to join us next year?