Day Two - June 27, 2005
HOTEL - Clarion Hotel Madeley Court
The Clarion Hotel Madeley Court continues to impress us although we didn't sleep well due to jet lag with all of us waking around 4 a.m. Beth and I share a twin room and my mom, Shirley, and Jamee share another directly across from us. Shirley and Jamee get up and have tea and cocoa. Beth and I stick to staying in bed in hopes of falling back to sleep. We are located in the "new" portion of the hotel. The old part was built in the 1600's with a portion of the foundation being built in the 1400's.
Up at 7:30 a.m. and get ready for the day and wake up Beth. Breakfast ends at 9:30 a.m. so I head across the corridor to see how mom my and Jamee are doing. They are still in bed and I have woke them up. Soon we are all ready for a bite and head to the dining room.
The dining room is very old with a large mantle. We are shown to a small dining area off this. There is a buffet available of sausages, bacon, eggs, hash browns, mushrooms, pastries, cereal, prunes, tea, coffee and toast. We all fill our plates and head back to our table. Once we get there Jamee is looking a bit forlorn. She explains that she tripped in one of the "whoop-dee-doos" (uneven/soft floor) and lost a portion of her food on the floor. Beth and I can't control our laughing. I tell Jamee about the cap of my water bottle that I popped off yesterday in the airplane and it went flying over the seat. We all laugh some more.
We have time to relax, sight see and then shop for our groceries as we don't pick up our boat until 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. We head to the medieval town of Shrewsbury find a car park and then walk across the foot bridge to a shopping center. There is a grocery in the lower section so we can come back and get our grub for the boat. Off we go to check out the town, we have only two hours then need to get our groceries and head up to the boat marina.
The grocery store is not large but has most things we want. Prior to leaving the states we planned our meals so we knew what we would prefer to have. We did expect that we may need to alter our choices of ingredients. Our planned menu's for the boat are: baked macaroni and cheese; chicken parmesan; enchiladas; hamburgers; tuna noodle casserole (Shirley brought egg noodles); baked or fried pork chops; plus one unplanned evening meal to try something out on town or pick up. We were able to find macaroni, cheeses all the meats we wanted. Decided to make an enchilada pie since we could not find corn tortillas so picked up a taco kit. Also could not find bread crumbs but Shirley brought along a chili and flour mix and decided to use a small portion of that for the now expected spicy chicken parmesan.
Maestermyn Marina and Mid-Wales Boats
With the directions given by the boatyard we have no trouble finding the marina. Shortly after arriving we unload our belongings and groceries from the car onto the boat. One of their crew directs us in how to use our boat "Montgomery" and gives tips and pointers, he even rides with us to the first bridge to make sure we have it under control. Beth is at the tiller and does a great job.
Shortly after passing the bridge there are some boats heading toward us, Beth moves our boat over to allow way and we become grounded. With the use of the engine Beth gets us underway again, this won't be the last time it happens and Beth becomes pretty good at forward and reversing to get us unstuck.
We arrive at our first lock just in time to see a boat ahead of us finish off. We tie up at the tow path to get our bearings. We will be going "up" the lock but the lower gate is closed with the lock full of water and we really have not a clue on what to do. Luckily we see another boat, "Water Jester," coming behind us. I head back to ask them if they would go first so we could watch. Better yet, they offer to show us step by step how to operate the lock. Beth is invited onboard and the rest of us walk up to the lock to watch the operation. Jamee learns quick. We thank the folks that helped us and meet eight Dutch ladies on vacation who help us finish off the lock. The next lock we are able to work on our own.
Mooring can be done anywhere along the tow path that has space for a boats to pass by. We pass many boats that have tied up for the evening and decide we'd better find a place of our own for the night. We find a place that looks good, it's fairly close to a road though but living next to a highway and busy road the traffic noise doesn't bother us. Have a great meal of home cooked macaroni and cheese, green beans, and bread.
Next day we'll be coming to a tunnel and aqueducts!