In this blog, we pop back and forth between the US and Canada, trying to get a refrigerator. We start the Trent-Severn Waterway and take a ride in a big bathtub! This is a long blog entry as I am working to catch up.

To see where we are now, check the Map and Log Book by using the buttons below!

Day 64 – Friday, 7/28 – In Clayton, NY – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

Today, we took a tour boat from Clayton, NY, to Boldt Castle, back up in Alexandria Bay, NY. The boat takes a back channel route into Canada, under the Thousand Islands Bridge, past some large “Summer Cottages”, before docking at Boldt Castle. The tour leaves from the far side of Clayton so we started the day with a brisk 1.5-mile walk to the boat.

Boldt Castle is a large castle home on Heart Island. It was started in 1900 as a 120-room summer home for the millionaire proprietor of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The castle was a gift for his wife. However, when it was about 80% complete, she died. Boldt sent a telegram to the contractors ordering everyone off the island; construction was never completed. The Castle has had several private owners and is now owned by the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority, who have completed construction, furnished the first two floors of the home and maintains the grounds. There is a clause in the purchase agreement that the castle can never be fully completed, so the upper stories are still as the workmen left them when ordered to stop construction. You can read all about Boldt Castle on their website

Brenda and I visited the castle in 2019 on our first Loop trip. A few new rooms are open, but by-in-large, not much has changed. After the tour, we returned to Clayton on the tour boat, again passing a few large ships during the trip, then walked the mile and a half back into town for some dinner.

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Day 65 – Saturday, 7/29 – In Clayton, NY – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

As I mentioned, we were having issues with our refrigerator; it had not been cooling below 47° for a couple of weeks. We’ve had this issue in the past and it has been related to a fan on the cooling coils failing. For the past five days, it had pretty much failed completely and was hovering around 65°. We had moved all of our food into the small refrigerator on the flybridge or our standalone freezer.

I had ordered a replacement fan to meet us in Clayton, and on Saturday Morning, I took an Uber to the UPS store to pick it up, then spent the rest of the morning installing it.

While I was doing that, the two Brendas and Tim went to the Antique Boat Museum. This is a huge draw for the area, with hundreds of antique wooden boats, motors, and related items. They do restoration work, and you can even get a ride in one of their reproductions of a 1940s cruiser. Check them out at:

After I pulled out the refrigerator and replaced the fan, it was clear that the compressor had failed. I’m unsure if it overheated because the fan failed or if the overheating compressor caused it to fail. Regardless, the refrigerator was dead. I looked online for one that I could have shipped to one of our future ports in Canada. However, our model (is a custom size) is not sold in Canada. The shipping and import duty would be over $1000! I found a seller on Amazon that said they could ship it to Clayton, NY in 3 days if we paid an extra $80 for expedited freight. So we ordered it and hoped it would arrive in a few days.

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Day 66 – Sunday, 7/30 – In Clayton, NY – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

Sunday, Brenda and Tim H took a bike ride for a winery tour, and Brenda and I went to the Farmers Market and then for a walk around town. When we got back to the boat, Brenda and Tim were still gone, and Riggs was “anxious” to go for shore patrol, so I took him for a beer at the pub next to the marina.

We returned to the Wooden Boat Pub for dinner in the evening.

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Day 67 – Monday, 7/31 – In Clayton, NY to Kingston, ON- 22.3 miles, Travel Time: 2hrs 30min

We were scheduled to leave Clayton on Monday. The new refrigerator was not scheduled to be delivered until Wednesday or Thursday, so we left Clayton on Monday morning and headed back into Canada to Kingston, Ontario, with the plan that Brenda and I would leave Kingston on Thursday and return to Clayton for the night to pick-up the new refrigerator.

The run to Kingston is only 22 miles and we took our time going across but it was only two and a half hours. We went past the main Kingston Marina and to the Kingston Olympic Harbor marina, just a mile farther on. Kingston held a Speed Boat Race on the weekend, so the main marina was full.

Kingston was one of our favorite stops on our first loop trip. There is much to see and do there, including an old British Fort where they do re-enactments, the Canadian Prison Museum, and many shops and restaurants. Great public transportation is also available, with a bus stop just a short walk from the marina.

The Olympic Harbor Marina is in a unique location. On one side of the harbor is the Ontario Maximum Security Prison, on the other side is the Canadian Prison for the Criminally Insane, and across the street is the Women’s Prison. Excellent neighbors! The good news is that all three are closed and have been turned into museums and tourist attractions.

After settling in, we took a bus to the city center and purchased our multi-day bus passes, then walked around downtown, stopping for a beer at the “Black Dog Tavern”, Then went to a local tavern down a twisty alley for dinner.

That evening, we were treated to a fantastic moonrise!

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Day 68 – Tuesday, 8/1 – In Kingston, ON- 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

Tuesday, Brenda H. was meeting up with Gayle, a friend of hers who lives in Kingston. We took the bus back into town to go to the Farmers Market (we got some of the famous Wolfe Island Bakery Butter Tarts), then walked back toward the Pump House Museum, where Brenda met her friend.

We took the Pump House tour, which has a huge steam-powered water pump that used to service the city of Kinston. They also have a model railroad exhibit. When we finished the tour, Brenda H. left to spend the day with her friend, and Tim, Brenda, and I went to tour one of the Martello Towers.

A Martello Tower is a round stone tower with an open top with large cannons. They were built after the War of 1812 to protect Kingston from the “American Invasion”, an invasion that never came! The towers have roofs to protect the cannons from the rain and snow. When an “attack” is imminent, the roofs are designed to be quickly removed so cannons can shoot.

After touring the tower, we walked back into town to our favorite pub and had lunch, then returned to the boat. In the evening, Gayle picked us up and we went to The Grizzley Grill for dinner.

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Day 69 – Wednesday, 8/2 – In Kingston, ON – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

Today was Fort Henry Day! We took the bus to downtown, then transferred to another bus that goes close to the fort. When we got dropped off, it was about a half-mile walk up the hill to the fort.

Again, this was a re-visit for Brenda and me. The closures during the pandemic were visible here as many shops were closed, the staff was reduced, and the mascot goat was gone. Fort Henry is staffed by college students who dress up in period costumes and act like British soldiers of the day, walking in lockstep, keeping their hands pointed down, and acting all-military. They have a drum squad and shoot off cannons and muskets. Aside from having to wear full-dress wool uniforms in the summer heat, it must be a fun summer job.

After we toured the fort, we walked back down the hill to the bus stop past the “Guard Geese” and took the bus back into town.

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We walked around town for a while and had some lunch. We dropped off a package at the main marina we had been carrying for another Looper since Baltimore, then caught the bus back to the boat.

The Olympic Harbor Marina was the sailing venue for the 1976 Olympics. It is now a large sailing school. Every morning, at least 75 small sailboats with kids of all ages go out for sailing lessons. The facility is large enough to bring the small sailboats into a large auditorium for training and maintenance. In the evening, I took a walk to the restroom. As I passed the large garage door leading into the auditorium, I glanced inside and saw Phoebe lounging in a corner.

Phoebe is an old Steam Launch built in 1914 and restored to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Rideau Canal. It has been fully restored and sits on a custom trailer at the sailing center.

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Day 70 – Thursday, 8/3 – Kingston, ON to Clayton, NY – 22.3 miles, Travel Time: 1hrs 50min

On Thursday, we headed back to Clayton, NY, anticipating that our refrigerator would arrive later that day. We got back into Clayton just before noon. I called the trucking company (it was coming by common carrier) to see when they would deliver it to the local UPS Store. I was told they had just picked it up that day and wouldn’t be delivered until Wednesday or Thursday of the following week. I WAS PISSED! I tried reaching out to the seller on Amazon and got no response.

There was nothing we could do, no way to get it there quicker, and we could not wait for it for a week. I canceled the order on Amazon (which they honored because the seller misquoted the delivery date). Brenda did a couple of loads of laundry, and I started looking at options for a refrigerator.

I found a regular 110-volt dorm-size refrigerator for $180 at Home Depot that was just a little smaller than the opening for our refrigerator. So I ordered it and arranged for a local taxi service to bring me to Home Depot to pick it up on Friday morning.

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Day 71 – Friday, 8/4 – In Clayton, NY – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

On Friday morning, we pulled our broken refrigerator out of the boat. There was no local place to dispose of an “appliance,” so I pulled out a hatchet, saw, and disassembled it on the back deck. We kept the front door, shelves, and trim kit. Aside from the stainless steel front door and the compressor unit, the rest was just plastic and spray foam. After cutting it up, it all fit into two large garbage bags. Brenda came to the boat and said that the local trash truck was picking up at the marina office, so we threw the bag into a dock cart and dumped it right into the truck! Easy-Peasy!

At 11:00, the driver picked me up and drove about 25 miles to the Home Depot, picked up the refrigerator, and returned to the boat. The fridge slipped right into the hole, and we plugged it into the 110v outlet. Brenda actually likes it better because it has no freezer compartment and, therefore, more room. The only downside is that only running on 110 volts, we have to keep the generator or battery inverter running all the time when we are not connected to shore power. We usually run the generator when underway anyway, so it’s not a massive inconvenience unless we decide to anchor out or end up at a lock wall with no power. We can use this one until we return to the USA in Michigan about a month from now, where I can have one shipped to a West Marine well before our arrival.

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After we installed the new refrigerator, we walked up to the local supermarket to re-supply, as we only had a small amount of “fridge stuff” from our little refrigerator on the fly bridge. The supermarket offers a service where they will drive you the 1 mile back to the marina if you shop there. We had several bags of groceries and two 24-packs of water, so Brenda asked me to make arrangements while she checked out, and I said, we’ll borrow a shopping cart (something they allow) and walk back. The echo of my words had not even died out when there was a flash of lightning, a crash of thunder, and the skies opened up! So much for walking back. Fortunately, one of the off-duty employees was there, heard our request, and offered to drive us to the marina on her way home. Very nice of her!

We unpacked the groceries and had dinner at the Wooden Boat Brewery, one of our favorites!

Our friends Tim and Brenda on Indigo left Kingston on Friday morning and moved on to Trenton, Ontario, where we will catch up with them on Saturday.

Day 72 – Saturday, 8/5 – Clayton, NY to Trenton, ON – 90.4 miles, Travel Time: 8hrs 50min

Saturday, we had a pretty long run from Clayton, NY, to Trenton, Ontario. Trenton is the start of the Trent-Severn waterway, our next canal and series of locks. We left Clayton at 7:00 a.m. and headed back toward Kingston. The weather was great and we made good time, arriving in Trenton just after 3:00 in the afternoon.

We had to sit on the boat for about 30 minutes until we could get a Canadian Customs person on the phone to check back into Canada.

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Day 73 – Sunday, 8/6 – In Trenton, ON – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

On Sunday, we got the bikes out and went for another ride. This time, we followed a trail called the Millennium Trail. The trail is mostly packed gravel, with a few parts paved. It follows an access canal from Toronto to Trenton. The day was pretty hot, in the 80’s. After 16 miles, Brenda and I turned around and headed back. Our bikes have 20″ tires and are smaller than Brenda and Tim’s 26″ tires, so we use more battery power for the battery assist, and our batteries were starting to run down. We had not planned on that long a ride, especially on a hot sunny day.

Tim and Brenda continued on another couple of miles to a winery for lunch. (When Tim gets hungry, he is on a mission.) Brenda and I had had enough and headed back to the boat, making it back with only one bar of battery remaining. We did just under 32 miles, which is not a bad range for mainly riding on gravel.

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Day 74 – Monday, 8/7 – In Trenton, ON – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

Brenda and Tim’s friend Lloyd was planning to visit and ride with them on part of the Trent-Severn Waterway. Lloyd lost his boat in Hurricane Ian, that hit Fort Myers last fall. We visited his new boat being re-fit in Deltaville, VA, back in the Chesapeake. Lloyd was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, so we extended our stay in Trenton to wait for him.

Monday was a dull rainy day, so I spent the day washing the boat, and Brenda did cleaning in the boat.

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Day 75 – Tuesday, 8/8 – In Trenton, ON – 00 miles, Travel Time: 0hrs 0min

On Tuesday, we were getting ready to head out on the Trent-Severn waterway. Lloyd was experiencing a travel odyssey by Plane, Train, and Automobile! He was flying from Florida to Toronto, taking a train from Toronto to Trenton, and then a taxi from Trenton to the marina. As with all travel today, things never go as planned and he didn’t arrive until about 8:00 in the evening. Lloyd was joining Tim and Brenda to experience some of the Trent-Severn waterway, especially the Peterborough Lift Lock and the Marine Railway. He grew up in Georgian Bay right at the end of the Trent-Severn waterway but had never done the locks. He was scoping it out to see if his new boat with a 5-foot draft would make it through.

During the day, Brenda and I went to the local Grocery Store (a short walk from the marina) and then downtown to pick up some extra candy for Brenda’s Lockie Treat bags. (The bags of candy we hand out to the Lock Keepers as we go through the locks).

In the afternoon, we watched a large transport plane from the Canadian Air Force doing practice landings at the airport near the marina. When we were here in 2019, we had a similar airshow!

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Day 76 – Wednesday, 8/9 – Trenton, ON to Campbellford, ON – 31.8 miles, Travel Time: 8hrs 25min, 12 Locks

The locks on the Trent-Severn open up at 9:00 a.m. The first lock was only a mile from the marina, so we didn’t need to leave super early. Our target for the day was Campbellford, Ontario. Thirty-two miles and 12 locks away.

When we got to Lock #1, we joined On Duty, an old steel trawler with two guys on board, moving it up to Georgian Bay for the winter. On Duty was not very maneuverable and much heavier than our boats, so they went into the locks first, then we went in against the wall with the Frog, and Indigo rafted up to us. We would keep this arrangement for all 12 locks that day.

We were lucky at most of the locks and didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes or so for the doors to open. There was downbound traffic on a few, so we had to wait a little longer. Still, we only moved for just over five hours in an eight-and-a-half-hour day. Once you get into the lock and settle, it takes about 15-20 minutes per lock for the doors to close, the water to raise (or lower), and the doors to open, untie, and move out. Many of these locks are still hand-operated by the Lock staff.

Our last two locks for the day #11 and #12 are “Staircase Locks,” meaning that you rise in the first and exit right into the chamber of the next. These were the biggest locks of the day, with a total rise of 48 ft!

We were beat by the time we finished our 12th lock and pulled up to the wall in Campbellford. There is no marina here. However, the walls along the canal have cleats to tie up to, and power and water are available. We had a nice surprise with personalized “Welcome” signs at our mooring spots.

They use $1 and $2 coins in Canada, no bills. The $1 coin has a picture of a loon on it, so it’s nicknamed the “Loonie.” The $2 coin is called a “Toonie”. The artist who designed the Toonie is from the area, and they have a giant Toonie in the park across the canal from where we tied up.

After settling in, the five of us walked across the bridge for dinner.

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Day 77 – Thursday, 8/10 – Campbellford, ON to Hastings, ON – 20.5 miles, Travel Time: 5hrs 30min, 6 Locks

From Campbellford to Hastings is a relatively short trip in miles, but it takes a long time due to the locks. In the morning, we walked to the local bakery to pick up some breakfast and stock up on sweets for the next few days. Brenda, Tim, and Lloyd went for a bike ride to the suspension bridge near the last lock we did. Brenda and I had walked it on our last trip, and it is a must-see!

When they returned, we pulled out of Campbellford at 11:30, heading for Hastings. About halfway through at Lock 17-18 (another big stair-step lock), the sky was darkening, and the radar showed some heavy rain was just about to hit. While we were in the lock, the lockkeeper advised us that we might want to pull over to the wall above the lock and wait for the worst of the storm to pass.

We thought this was a good idea, and the rain started just as we pulled up to the wall. It was very heavy with lightning and high winds. We waited about an hour for the worst to pass, and the rest of the trip there was pretty smooth. We pulled in at around 4:30.

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Oh… And I found a beer named after me!

Day 78 – Friday, 8/11 – Hastings, ON to Peterborough, ON – 38.8 miles, Travel Time: 4hrs 30min, 1 Lock

The trip from Hastings to Peterborough is pretty easy, and there is only one small lock just before you get to Peterborough. Peterborough is one of the larger cities on the Trent-Severn Waterway and the home to the famous Peterborough Lift Lock. We planned to spend an extra day in town so that we could visit the lift lock and allow Lloyd to arrange for a rental car so that he could visit with family in the area.

It was a beautiful day, just high, puffy white clouds. When we arrived in Peterborough, we took a walk around town and went to a local brew pub for dinner.

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