Saturday, December 03, 2016

Erie Canal Day 4 Addendum - Old Lock 60 park

As promised, here are more pictures from the historic Lock 60 park. The Erie Canal I've been sharing with you recently is actually the 3rd version; the original one that opened in 1825 was immediately overwhelmed by its own success, with the amount of cargo being transported quickly exceeding the amount the planners had projected, and an expansion got underway in 1834. The first upgrade did involve some straightening of the original route in places, but a lot of the project just involved enlarging the original canal to allow for more traffic. This particular lock actually went through 2 separate improvements, first being enlarged, with a second lock being added later to allow vessels to lock through in both directions simultaneously. 

The final version of the Erie Canal, in 1918, saw the old canal replaced by the New York State Barge Canal. By this time the canal builders had learned more about flood control methods, and digging technology had improved, so in this version they were able to put many of the natural waterways to use. Where this meant the old route was abandoned, a lot of the old facilities are still there to see. This was one of them, and we really enjoyed taking a look at the lock. 

Most information from Wikipedia's Erie Canal page (although you'll see a good bit of it is on the info sign I took a picture of there).

BTW, reading about the work that was put in to allow the Erie Canal to achieve its maximum potential reminds me of a fascinating article I read in the NY Times recently. Not much commercial shipping on the Erie Canal these days, but there is a lock on the Ohio River that dates back to not that long after the final version of the Erie Canal that shipping does rely on heavily -- and that is evidently getting to be a problem.

Here are the photos! Click on the first one for a slideshow view. 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Erie Canal Day 4 - Fairport to Newark

Rainy-morning breakfast

Eastbound, locks 30 and 29. 17.3 nautical miles.

10/13/16 - The day began with rain, so we slept in and then just lazed in bed for a while enjoying the sound of the rain on the cabin top for a while before we went for our morning ablutions. Back on the boat, TQ asked me what I was thinking of for breakfast and I said "How does French toast, chorizo, and eggs sound?" and surprise, surprise he was OK with that. I even customized our French toast - the grocery store where we'd picked up our provisions had King's Hawaiian dinner rolls, which I of course insisted on getting, and I made my French toast with a couple of those, and TQ's with sourdough (he's lucky, he hasn't got half the sweet tooth I do). Came out delicious! And yes, that's real NY state maple syrup. 

We finally got underway around noon, by which time the rain had mostly stopped. It stayed overcast for a while, but the wind picked up and it gradually turned into yet another lovely day. 

Eastbound now, back where we came from.

Our first stop for the day was at the Mid-Lakes Marina, which Cruise-USA had recommended as a good place to stop for fuel; we'd been told that the fuel gauge was accurate, and it wasn't giving us any cause for concern but we were getting into the range of engine hours at which point we'd been told it was a good idea to refill, so topping off here made sense. The marina manager was a very nice lady, this was not our most graceful docking and she didn't raise so much as an eyebrow, just caught our lines, gave us a friendly greeting, and asked how she could help us today. We got the gas, we also decided to go ahead and pay for a pump-out here (most of the towns have free or very cheap pumpout facilities but we just figured we might as do that too while we were there, one less thing to worry about), I got a few more postcards, and then we headed on our way. Good recommendation.

This turns out to be one of the places where you can rent one of these English-style narrowboats, and they also offered day cruises on the Emita II. Seemed to be a nice operation. 

My journal says "No problems at Lock 30" - I think we may have been a little unnerved by our klutzy docking at the marina because by this time we were fairly comfortable with this procedure, so it's kind of odd I even mentioned it. Went fine though. No particular mention of (or even photos of) Lock 29, I may at this point have been feeling like I had enough lock pictures. 

Another heron. So many herons! 
Old Erie Canal Lock 60 park, with remnants of Erie Canal, version 2. This was cool enough that I'm going to give it its own post, we'd spotted it as we were heading for Fairport the day before but since we were meeting folks there we didn't want to stop; today we had a shorter distance to travel and no particular time we had to be anywhere, so we did.  

We got to Newark a little after 5, went for a little stroll after getting ourselves all sorted out. We met one very friendly local - he was sitting on those steps looking very photogenic, but when I stopped to take a picture of him he came right over to say hello. 

We just wandered around for a while

Came back to find the moon rising - getting closer to full. 

End of another fine day.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Erie Canal Day 3 - Lyons to Fairport

Morning in Lyons

Day 3, 10/12/16 Another unhurried start in Lyons, breakfast, hot showers in the very nice boater facilities provided by the Lyons Fire Department, and a walk into town to get something or other (oh, I think this was the day we plugged the galley sink and the one thing we couldn't find on the boat when we needed it was a plunger, so we went to a hardware store to get one), then we set out for the town of Fairport.

It was another beautiful day, we cruised around 25 miles and went through locks 27, 28 A and B, 29, and 30. I did a little bit of a journal entry partway through the trip, saying "Not to curse us since we haven't hit 30 yet but we are getting reasonably good at these". I also mentioned that the weather was continuing to be spectacular and that there were more jumping fish and herons and kingfishers and some nice foliage too - that was about all I got in at that point before something (possibly Lock 30) came up to distract me. We made good time and got to Fairport by 3:30, which gave us a little time to relax before Dave and Lenore, who we'd sailed with in the US Virgin Islands back in January 2015; we did a little walking around scoping things out, checked in with the dockmaster and paid our exorbitant docking fee - seven dollars for our little 24 foot cruiser, no, not $7 a foot, $7 for the whole boat for the whole night!

After that we went back to the boat and got out our books, but that's when I remembered I'd brought a sketch pad along, and with a bridge quite nearby and the canal not being very wide here,  this was a perfect setup for actually trying to draw our boat, so I did, and was happy enough with the result that I'll share it again. :) Mostly when I draw anything that's more than an actual doodle (all of my artsy stuff gets labelled "doodles" here, but there's real doodles and then there's the stuff I actually spend some time on) I'm copying from a picture so it was interesting to actually draw our boat from life, and with something of a time limit too (the thing I find the most frustrating about my attempts at drawing and painting is how unbelievably slow I am, so doing this with the clock sort of ticking was a good little challenge). 

Lenore and Dave showed up right on time - I think it was 5 - one of the things we'd done in the scoping-out-the-area process was get some more beer, because I'd envisioned us maybe having some cheese and crackers on board before we headed out and I wanted to be able to offer some nice local beer, but as it turns out, four adults on this boat turns out to make for a very crowded Nomad, so we dropped that idea and just showed them the boat (which took all of 5 minutes and even that was kind of superfluous as it turned out Lenore's dad had done the exact same kind of trip as we were doing at some point, so they'd seen it before) and then headed out for the fun trip to Powell's that I'd already shared as my Halloween post. After that, we came back for dinner at Mulconry's Pub, which had some really good Irish pub grub (I had a steak and mushroom pie that was just wonderful), then repaired to the Fairport Brewing Company for one more round, they have a great setup there for pleasant Fall evenings with an outdoor seating area where there are tables with firepits to keep you nice and warm. It was great catching up, I think the only thing that could've improved that would've been if there were marshmallows to roast over the firepits. I suppose that could get messy, though.

Another fine day on the canal. This was the westernmost spot on our travels.

As usual, click on any picture for a better view, but I did put some captions and additional info that you might find interesting in amongst the pictures this time

 Fire department heading out for a call - boater facilities for Lyons are here in the firehouse.

More morning in Lyons shots as we go to the hardware store

Lock 27, leaving Lyons

There were tubs of peppermint at the stairs up to the firehouse, prominently labelled "Peppermint"; I didn't recognize the significance of that until we were leaving town and saw the big sign - remember how I was learning about each of these canal towns having a manufacturing specialty of one sort or another? It turns out that Lyons was "Once the Peppermint Capital of the World". 

There's another canal boat,
 This old tug caught my eye - turns out she's caught my friend Will's eye too, more than once, her name is Grouper and Will's done a whole series of posts about her over on Tugster

Cruising, lovely day, lots of people out fishing

Lock 28 B - going up

Newark, NY, loved these murals they had on the bridge - wish the brush hadn't been allowed to grow up over the one on the side, it's neat how it shows a mule team walking right where the towpath would've been.

More of these later in the trip.


More Foliage


Speaking of towpath, a lot of the old towpaths are now maintained as recreational trails, and there were tons of bikers and hikers and joggers out enjoying the day. This would be another great way to explore the area - you can cycle town to town, inn to inn - I'm not even a cyclist and that sounds like a lot of fun to me.  

The railroad follows a good bit of the Erie Canal route; I wish I could've gotten a shot of one of the Amtrak trains coming through because I'd seen a canal boat from the train when I went home from Michigan that way during the summer and it was fun now to be seeing the train from a boat - they all came through too fast though, so this CSX locomotive will have to do. 

Rower a little ways outside of Fairport

Same rower in Fairport heading home again.

Fairport foliage

Canal from the lift bridge - we're on the left, up by the smokestack and the reddest tree (that's the one shown above). 

This is when I went across the canal to draw our boat - didn't have time to do the whole scene but at least I took a picture. 

A couple more pix of Fairport's  waterfront, and that's it for today.