Just before Little Falls, there is lock 17. This is the largest lift at 40.5 feet and has a guillotine gate for the low side entry. The lock is so high, you drive your boat under the raised door. It's recommended that the crew stay inside while passing under the door unless you like getting rained on.
The filling of the lock can create interesting currents that will move all 28,000 lbs of the boat forward, backward, away from the lock wall or into the wall which can make it interesting when holding onto a 40' verticle length of slimey line to steady the boat. Usually lots of bubbles and current means an express ride. Many lock have lights that indicate the valves are 1/3 open, 2/3 open, or all the way open. A 2/3 ride perhaps starting at 1/3 is typical. For the locks with smaller rises, you'll see all the lights on showing a full open fill or emptying.
Our plans called for stopping at lock 15 to explore the ruins and an historic tour by bicycle. Because of the time to cover and uncover and reload the bicycles, we chose not to do this but to proceed to Herkimer terminal. There was a shop and a restaurant in what looked like a restored terminal building. The shop was actually a combination of shops all in one place. It was all new, but there wasn't anything the crew or I wanted to buy. It's a great place to find dust collectors. Herkimer is the site of "Gems Along the Mohawk" and the shops had several on display. The restaurant looked good and it was an option for that night. They were kind enough to sell us some ice for the boat so we could make some cold ice water.
From the terminal, we walked into town. There was lots of construction along the way, but it was passable and there were shops where you could get ice cream and such. A left at the first light and up to the next intersection brought you to strip malls where there were supermarkets, a new Dunkin Donuts (Herkimers very own, it said), and other fast food outlets.
We decided to walk back to the boat and see what was further up the canal. The information we had showed there were other restaurants, Remington Arms rifle factory, and other things of interest at Ilion Marina on the opposite side of the river.
At Ilion, the people there were very friendly with their welcome. They too had a shop, selling music of the area. It turns out that their restaurant nearby is really a "we'll drop you off and the restaurant will bring you back" arrangemet. What's more, the restaurant they drove us to was in Herkimer just past the Dunkin Donuts shop a little further north. If we had known that, we would have just walked there. However, the Ilion location gave us a chance to explore the Remington Arms factory where they gave tours the next morning.
Fair warning, after dinner as he was leaving, the dock master mentioned to me that the guys that he was talking to talked alot. There were 3 of them that had my crew and I cornered for at least 2 hours. Although I usually enjoy talking with local people, this was a little more than I hoped for. Apparently they like to come there just to talk to the boaters.
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