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Traveler's Column: Boating is fun with family, friends

Pictured are boaters Maxine Russell, Al Russell, Mike Taffe and Roe Taffe. In the back is Ron Russell.

The Barge into Baldwinsville event coincides with Lock 24's 100th anniversary, and many boaters are present throughout this celebration, while others are just passing through.

Mike Taffe of Liverpool and his friend Ron Russell of Fair Haven were sitting on the dock relaxing and taking in the festivities.

"I've been boating for a long time," Taffe said. "Friends started me off water skiing and now I have this," pointing to his 41-foot boat called the "Mike-Roe-Wave."

"I started off with an 18-foot boat for four or five years, then a 24-footer for 17 years, then a 30-foot boat for about 10 years, and I've had this one now for about five years," Taffe said.

Russell has been boating since he was 5 years old.

"My brother and I got a floating boat, and we'd sit in it and paddle," he said.

When he's not working, Russell has been boating with his parents, Al and Maxine, who own a boat called the "Material Girl."

Just then, Russell's parents came back from a walk with Taffe's wife, Roe.

Roe calls her boat a "motor home with props my home on the water."

"We can go anywhere," she said. "I leave all my consciousness behind!"

She started boating when she met her husband.

"One night I was sleeping and Mike came home and put a boat prop on my stomach. I woke up and he told me he bought a boat!" she said, smiling.

Maxine Russell tells a story of how they were trapped between two locks once because the power was off for a week.

"The Harbor Master would come and take us to the grocery store in his car." she said.

Al and Maxine boat for six months a year, then head south for the winter.

Maxine's favorite part of boating is " getting in the boat and taking everything she needs with them."

"We don't worry about hotels or motels or packing or unpacking -- (We) just start the ignition and we leave!" her son said.

Her husband Al chimes in: " It's a boat-el!", and everyone laughs as they get up to go for another walk on Lock 24.

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