Monday, June 18, 2012

Oswego NY, And Beyond

Days on cruise:  87

Today was a layover day as the wind and weather remain unsettled and not conducive to making the 55-mile crossing of Lake Ontario to enter Canada.  We’re still tied up at the free canal wall between Oswego Canal locks 7 and 8 (the last one before entering Lake Ontario) with no amenities such as electricity and water, but we have a generator we can run a few hours each day to keep the batteries charged, cook at dinner time, and run the A/C if it gets too hot. The adjacent park is quiet, and much less busy today, a Monday, than yesterday. A few folks are out walking their dogs, but otherwise it’s been empty.


We spent the morning puttering on the boat and the afternoon walking around a couple of nearby marinas and  downtown Oswego.  City Hall is the most attractive building in town, built in 1867.


Oswego struck us as a bit more prosperous than some of the canal towns we’ve passed through in the last week, but still not vibrant. 


Bob stopped at one marina while on his run this morning,  we visited  another marina this afternoon, and talked our way into a small, “basic” private yacht club to pick up what’s called “local knowledge”.  As we said before, doing the Loop means you’re always in new territory and without the benefit of familiarity with the cruising grounds.  After our experience getting blown off the Atlantic ocean a couple of weeks ago, we wanted to learn about the weather patterns on Lake Ontario, a 60 by 150 mile body of water that can get as worked up as any ocean.

We talked to four different people, and all told us more or less the same thing, but in different ways, so it was very helpful. It looks like the weather will be less then ideal for several days, but we’ll watch the weather and go when it’s reasonable to do so.

The only other highlight of today involved a conversation with Verizon Wireless.

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We’d been told previously in a Verizon store that we could pay an extra $20/month to add Canada to our cell phone service area, so called today to arrange that. We then learned that Verizon wants to eliminate all “basic” (what we call “dumb”) phones and force everyone to switch to smart phones with data plans that make more money for them.  Dumb phones (like ours) don’t have Canada capability, and they won’t sell us a smart phone without a data plan, which is expensive if you don’t want or need it.  So we’re unhappy that we both just bought new “dumb” phones that can’t be used in Canada. Eight years ago our daughter went to India for a few weeks and our cell phones worked from home to there, at no extra charge because of something called GSM.  Some things are worse now than then.

The only reason we’ll remain with Verizon is because we travel a lot, and they have the best service area coverage in the U.S.; otherwise, at this point we’d switch to a competitor as Verizon is both more expensive and working to make you buy what they want to sell you, not what you want.  Heavy sigh.

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A call to Canadian provider Rogers Wireless reveals that we’re better off (cost wise) buying a Canadian cell phone and MiFi device for our cell and internet needs (with no contract required) during the approximately two months we’ll be in Canada.  So we’ll find a Rogers Wireless store when we arrive in Canada and get set up.

While we won’t be able to afford to answer our Verizon phones in Canada (at international roaming rates), we will be able to send and receive text messages at no cost.

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