October 19, 2005 Lois McClure
Ship's Log
 
 

CREW MEMBER

Bill Balling

Bill Balling is an upstate New York resident living on a small farm in the St. Lawrence River valley about 20 miles south of the Canadian border. He became involved with the Lois McClure project during the second year of construction and spend many weekends in the Burlington Shipyard over the following years helping with the work. This is his third week sailing as a rotational crew member since June of this year.


Join us for a
Welcome Home Party!

The crew of Lois McClure and the Trustees and staff of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum invite you to enjoy music by Atlantic Crossing, refreshments, and great company.
We hope you will join us at Burlington, VT's Perkins Pier in celebrating the boat's return from her Grand Journey!
October 19th
4pm - 7:30pm


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Many Thanks to our Sponsors, without whom this trip would not have been possible:



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GREETINGS FROM THE CREW!

Whitehall, NY
Bill Balling

After several hours of travel on the Champlain Barge Canal under less than ideal weather conditions and transiting Lock 11, Lois McClure and crew arrived dockside for a return visit to the village of Whitehall. I had not been on board for the first visit, but had heard several stories from other crewmembers about the enthusiasm and hospitality of the local residents. The storied turned out to be well founded and we were greeted dockside by many familiar faces. The weather cleared for a bit during the afternoon and chores both above and below deck were taken care of. The boarding ramps were secured and all was made ready to receive the public on Sunday.

Crewmembers spent Saturday evening at a picnic dinner reception put on by village residents at the Arts and Recreation Center. A wonderful selection of home-cooked dinner and dessert items were provided and this particular crewmember had a difficult time trying to decide which taste treats to sample. A great Visitors Center just south of our dockage was open during the daylight hours providing much- appreciated toilet and shower facilities for the crew. The local rescue squad building was opened for us 24 hours a day, also with washroom and shower facilities. The squad building provided an added bonus of bunkrooms for those who choose not to sleep aboard the ship. I personally took advantage of this offer and spent several nights off the deck of Lois McClure and in a comfortable warm bed.

The village of Whitehall is an interesting place to visit with a new canal front area containing a visitors center, the Skenesborough Museum, an outdoor amphitheater, picnic area, and boat launch. This canal front area also contains Lock 12, which marks the transition point from the Champlain Barge Canal into Lake Champlain. The village contains many old interesting buildings and structures that front the canal, and several are now undergoing positive renovation. Skene Manor, on the mountain overlooking the village, is also a very interesting place to visit.

Sunday dawned cold and raw and the showers soon started. So did the visitors, however, and over 100 folks braved the unpleasant weather over the course of the day to tour the ship and talk with crew members. The wind picked up by mid-afternoon with gusts reaching 20 to 30 mph. The possibility of 50 to 60 mph gusts was predicted and the ship creaked and groaned for many hours during the night. The rain stopped and the wind died down by morning and clear but much colder conditions greeted the crew Monday morning.

Three school groups containing nearly 100 students toured McClure between 10am and 2pm and participated in our educational programs. Erick Tichonuk, our top educator, tried a new demonstration in which 4 students using a block and tackle easily pulled the ship along the towpath. The project was well received by students and crewmembers alike.

Monday afternoon held a bit of a sad note when Barb Bartley, whose great-grandfather in law Theodore Bartley’s journals have been printed by the museum, left the ship after a two week rotation, on her way to visit her grandchildren. She made many new friends among both crewmembers and visitors alike. She was constantly on the move both above and below deck and served in many different capacities. Barb’s energy and enthusiasm were a boost to all on board and she is already greatly missed.

6pm Monday came and went without much fanfare even though it meant the unofficial end of the Grand Journey. The ramps and gear were stowed in preparation for the remainder of our trip north the following morning. Tow more days transit on Lake Champlain to Burlington will bring the Grand Journey to an official end and the close of the season for the Lois McClure.


Phone: 802-475-2022