Friday, June 29, 2007

Ever wondered?

Did you ever wonder if there are ads on the waterways like there are billboards on highways?
Well, here is your answer, at least for the Saratoga National Historical Park. This sign is about at the halfway point between Stillwater and Schuylerville on the Hudson River. It's a 14.3 mile journey overall.
It was professional photographer Marylou Weiner's last day before returning to Canada, so we took a leisurely boat ride along this stretch. Thank you Marylou for documenting the beginning of a wonderful adventure.
Thanks to Marylou we have some great images of the beginning of the trip and of the Common Man. If you need images for your media outlets, let us know. For publicity shots about the Common Man Tour, Marylou only asks that she be given a photo credit. The images can be used commercially for a small fee.
Sunday, we're going to try to complete our journey to Fort Edward!
Thanks for tuning in!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Lock 5 of the Champlain Canal - Dignitaries meet the Common Man

It was early evening when the Common Man Tour arrived at Lock 5 of the Champlain Canal. On hand to meet him was Director Carmella Mantello of the New York State Canal Commission, as well as Mayor John T. Sherman of the Village of Schuylerville. Director Mantello offered complete support for our tour, while Mayor Sherman offered advice on eating establishments for our dinner. Overall, this was a win-win-win meeting for everyone.
Onward and upward, the Common Man Tour is headed North toward Fort Edward after a few down days of weather. But we will be there for our July 5th presentation at the Rogers Island Visitors Center, in spite of any weather delays.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Upcoming events on the tour

We're actually ahead of schedule, but some events are fixed in stone. Please join us at one of these upcoming events:

June 30 - Booksigning, 2-4 pm Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa - signing of our Saratoga area hiking book and more. See our EVENTS calendar at for more info.

July 5 - We will have reached Fort Edward and will do a Powerpoint presentation on the French and Indian War - The Basics. Location is Rogers Island Visitors Center. See our EVENTS calendar at for more details.

July 8 - Booksigning, 2-4 pm at Skene Manor Castle in Whitehall. We'll be there to talk about our trip and to sign any of our books. Books will be available for sale at that location. And free tours of the castle will be conducted.

So come on out and join us! We're having a great time on this trip and want you to enjoy it as well. See you when you get there,

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day 2 - The Locks

"If anything CAN go wrong, it will," is a phrase I've always prepared for. And the start of today was an example of that. Set to head to Lansingburgh to launch from the Troy Boat Launch, I headed out in my 1750's attire and found my truck had a flat tire. AAA to the rescue. Got to the boat launch and backed over a curb at the edge of the ramp and dumped the Gheenoe on its side. Locals got it back on the trailer. no apparent damage.
A little late, I finally headed north. headed for a boat launch site about 8 miles up the Hudson River that was on the Champlain Canal Chart. Problem 3 for the day according to my support team; such a boat launch does not exist. So, these thing come in three's so all was over for the day.
Had an enjotyable day on the Hudson, going through 4 locks headed north.
A lock is a giant concrete tank that you enter from one end and then it closes behind you. Then there is a 20 foot wall of concrete all around you. Then the water starts rising, turbulently. But you hang onto the riope and the water gently raises you about 15 feet. And you quietly drive out the other side onto the higher water level. It's all quite painless, but a unique and fun experience. We highly recommend it if you have a boat, but don't try it without one. lol

The Launch - June 23rd, 2007

It was "media day" at 2 o'clock pm as TV Channel 10, the Times-Union and Schenectady Gazette newspapers arrived for stories on the start of our 300 mile canoe trip. And the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Marine Patrol was on hand as well. It looked as though they saw this character who, Wasn't from around here", but the reality was that they were there, by request, to help the Common Man in case he got into trouble. And glad we were to have them.
The launch went off at 3 pm as scheduled! (The Captain is still a Captain, even if only of a 15 ft canoe.) lol
Despite a stiff wind and an outgoing tide, we got underway and made good progress by paddle, rowing and eventually a motor. Then that 50 foot pleasure boat threw us a huge wake. The sheriff's knew what my hand motions meant as I swerved to cut that wake and pounded through it with water coming over my bow. "That's why I wanted you guys out here!, I told them. All's well that ends well.
Eight miles later I'm in the Federal Lock at Troy; my first time "locking through." And a fun time was had by all. Thanks to the Rensselaer Sheriff's Office and Marine Patrol, thanks to all the friends who showed up to wish us well on the start of this great adventure. And thanks to those of you who are following our progress this summer.
Sorry we're a day or so late in posting this Blog entry, but our 18th century expedition was immediately plagued by 21st century computer problems at the end of our first day. But, we're on our way with 10 miles completed on Day 1 of the Common Man Tour!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We're launching!

The Common Man Tour'07- 300 Miles of French and Indian War History is finally getting underway. We wil launch from the boat launch at the Corning Preserve in Albany on Saturday, June 23rd, 2007. Photos and media interviews at 2 pm and we will officially launch at 3pm. Then we will disappear up-river toward the Troy lock.
Please come and join us!