August 10, 2005 Lois McClure
Ship's Log
 
 

CREW MEMBER

Churchill and Jeff Hindes

Churchill Hindes and his son Jeffrey are 6th and 7th generation Vermonters whose family once owned a standard canal boat out of Vergennes, the J. G. Hindes. Both enjoy boating on Lake Champlain. Church is the President of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties. Jeff teaches middle school social studies at the Shelburne Community School and during the summer is a captain on Lake Champlain Transportation Company's cruise and tour boat Northern Lights.


Skulkers, Smugglers, and Contraband!
Rabble in Arms
August 20 - 21, 2005
Join us at this living history reenactment to find out more about the tumultuous lives of those involved in smuggling in the Champlain Valley, from the French and Indian War up through Prohibition.

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GREETINGS FROM THE CREW!

August 10, 2005 Peekskill, NY
Churchill and Jeff Hindes

WARM AND WELCOMING PEEKSKILL

It was likely quieter and darker in Peekskill many years ago when the crews of the Lake Champlain canal boats spent hot, muggy August nights up on deck—maybe after loading up with “kitchen iron” from this town famous for stoves and cast iron cookware. We found modern day Peekskill a little noisy—dozens of trains day and night with Amtrak’s tenor horns and Metro North’s baritone’s—both accompanied by a steady drone from the Indian Head nuclear power plant in the distance. Night on Peekskill’s spacious waterfront park is barely dark—bathed by bright sodium vapor lamps—quite unlike the gas or kerosene ones that must have twinkled here a hundred or more years ago. Our stay in welcoming Peekskill featured days of sweltering heat, very large crowds—and off the port side the contemporary descendents of our Lois McClure threading their loads around the famous S-curve at Peekskill on the Hudson.

Wednesday, August 3
The “Lois” tied up at the Peekskill city dock on Wednesday morning after running down from West Point earlier in the day. LCMM's Elisa Nelson and the provisioning van arrived in mid-afternoon with new guest crew members Nate Cohn, and Jeff and Churchill Hindes anxious to get started with their week at “Camp Lois.” Mark McDonald from Cabot and the crew of Lois McClure hosted an evening reception for the Peekskill Yacht Club. We were treated wonderfully by the PYC members—they even invited us to bring our cots to sleep in their air- conditioned club dining room

Thursday, August 4
Over 250 children from area summer camp programs practiced hauling the anchor and manning the helm as they learned a little about their Hudson heritage and it’s ties to a place up north where maple syrup comes from. A surprising proportion of the young campers boarded a boat for the first time—despite being born and raised near the picturesque waterfront. This was another day of extreme hot weather without a cooling breeze. Prior to spending a muggy night on board Lois and the Churchill , some crew members explored Peekskill and sought out cooler establishments.

Friday, August 5
Today one of the Amtrak’s brought Gwen Zwickel and 8-year-old Emily (Erick’s daughter) to join us. More youth groups toured in the morning then we opened for public visiting by a remarkably broad “demographic”—many ethnic and economic variations. Notable were the numbers of repeat visits from children returning with their parents and other family members—a good sign that they absorbed something of interest during their tour the day before. As the day progressed, Waterfront park bustled as vendors made ready for the annual Peekskill Celebration that got underway that evening— after nearby storms brought significantly cooler weather and a sunset that appeared to have been custom ordered by the Chamber of Commerce. The Peekskill Celebration had a carnival atmosphere— something like “Addison County Field Days at the waterfront.” We settled into bed to the sentimental tunes of Joey Dee and the Star Liters—headliners at the band shell off our starboard quarter.

Saturday, August 6
We awoke with the Celebration vendors again arranging their wares—it was to be a busy day as the adjacent park filled with thousands of visitors who cheered the Dragon boat races in the bay off the side of Lois. Long lines waiting to visit necessitated crowd management on the dock and careful design of a visitor flow pattern on board. By the end of the exhausting day—stopped only due to darkness—we had broken every record—nearly 2,400 toured the vessel—all nationalities from babies to elders, from able-bodied to some with special needs; from the simply curious to some old salts itching to mess around in our boat. We calculated a rate of one visitor every 12 seconds! More entertainment from the band shell—Peekskill is a talented town. A glorious salmon striped sunset preceded an excellent fireworks show and our seats on deck were the very best to be had.

Sunday, August 7
A slow start to this day—Peekskill and we are tired after the big party. Later, a steady flow of visitors allowed plenty of time to explain and answer questions and to visit the museum store. After lunch a number of apparent commuters brought their families for a visit—enjoying their quiet day away from the City. Several came because they heard about us on a local radio station; some had been following our progress on the web; a few had visited during Lois’ construction in Burlington. We pointed out the picture of 19th century Peekskill on page 164 of Lake Champlain Sailing Canal Boats— featuring the same dock where we were tired up that day. In the afternoon Art spent time with the leadership of the National Maritime Historical Society. Channel 12, a local television news affiliate, came by and did a County evening news. The day closed with breaking down the retail tent as we started the process of getting ready to leave for Constitution Island the next morning.

Monday, August 8
One more youth group visited just before we finished packing up for our short venture north. All in all we boarded 3,449 visitors in Peekskill—no wonder everyone felt so tired. Captain Roger declared the wind too light and the weather too warm so we will go with C. L. Churchill power—“it would have been a very slow, hot sail.” Kayaks had spent the night along side after weeks following in our wake down Lake Champlain, through the canal, onto the Hudson to Peekskill; we’ll follow theirs now, as they will surely reach New York harbor before us. After some tender tugging from the Oocher, two hours with the tug at our hip brought us to Constitution Island. A couple of personal thrills—Jeff took turns at the helm of Lois McClure and Churchill does the same aboard Churchill. A few sprinkles forced us inside for dinner but let up in time for some to spend a comfortable night on deck—relishing the dark and the quiet.

Tuesday, August 9
A welcome day of rest for the crew. All savored the quiet and spaciousness of this protected reserve— even the trains, while still close by and frequent, were mute—no horns sounding. Moored on a tight, narrow bend in the river, we watched tugs maneuver their barges at close range and a variety of pleasure craft cruise by. Everyone took advantage of the day in his or her own way—several did laundry, others visited the village of Cold Springs and some toured the Military Academy. Next time we should bring a fishing pole or two—and maybe Mac should be added to our tow! Permanent crew members were busy getting ready for the extraordinary week ahead and we guest crew were packing up and getting ready to say good bye after a remarkable week messing about at “Camp Lois.”


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