Thursday, July 29, 2010

Erie Canal Village - Rome, NY - Part 3

While I am busy tracking history and planning our trek from day-to-day, Kate seems to be on her own agenda. She seems to have an affinity for those quaint little pubs in the canal towns we pass through. She was excited to see Bennets Tavern, expecting more friendly patrons and a pint of their home brew. But, alas, this pub was built in 1835, but currently was not serving a drop of dram in this restored village.

And with that small bit of news, we headed out for Oriskany and ended our trek in Utica for the day, and the week. We're taking a couple of weeks off to deal with our other lives, but we'll be back in Utica soon to continue our fun trek to Albany.

Erie Canal Village - Rome, NY - Part 2

Here they are. The source of silent energy that towed our heavy canal boat along the Erie Canal attached to about 125 feet of rope. Horses could travel faster than mules, but both were limited to a speed limit of 5 miles per hour. If they exceeded that their handlers got a ticket. No radar back then, just a "You travelled too far, too fast" kind of ticket.

Erie canal Village - Rome, NY - Part 2

Here they are! Those silent sources of energy that pull the boat along the towpath attached to about 125 feet of rope. In the 1850's those horses or mules towed heavy boats at about 4 miles an hour. Horses were faster than mules and could actually get speeding tickets if they exceeded 5 miles an hour. No radar, just "You covered the distance in too little time" tickets.

Erie Canal Village - Rome, NY - Part 1

It was back to Rome to do what the Romans DON'T do. And it was another boat trip on the Erie Canal. This time it was in an 1850's era "packet boat" - or passenger boat. It was an interesting 40 minute ride - quiet, smooth and comfortable. It was so quiet because of the power source - no steam, no gas, no noise. Perhaps we should all turn to this mode of power.

Check Part 2 to see this form of silent transportation.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On the way to Rome

The directions said to go to Lock 21 and enjoy the persective as we crossed over a VERY narrow bridge over an operating lock. It was a few feet down to the water on one side, and a whole bunch of feet on the other side of this VERY narrow bridge. It wasn't quite an Indiana Jones kinda bridge, but it was narrow.

So when we got to Rome, we did what the Romans would do. We went out for a burger and a couple of beers!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reached Canastota, NY

Today we got east of Syracuse and are now in Canastota, NY with Rome in our sights tomorrow. We toured the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse today and actually walked through a full sized replica of a canal boat. It is actually housed in the last remaining building that was once a weigh station. This is where canal boats would be weighed to determine their tolls based on weight.

The photo to the right was taken at Camillus Landing along the trail roday. It's just a cool old steam tractor.

We're on schedule and it's Albany or Bust! It's just a matter of how much more fun we have along the way.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Confusion on the Erie Canal

It was an uneventful day as we traveled about 30 miles from Savannah to Camillus just outside of Syracuse. It was uneventful except for my back being out in the morning, then there were the confusing trail signs in Weedsport that forced us to backtrack in the afternoon. And the day ended with a woman backing into the side of my truck. It was just that kinda day. :-)

But the good news is that we found a sign along the trail that said, "Buffalo - 170 miles." And that's where we started. 170 down and only a little more than that to go to get to Albany.
And the photo here is of a beautiful little park in Port Byron, NY from today.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Your concerns about - The Heat

Thank you to the many friends and colleagues who have expressed concern for our welfare as we bike across New York during the hottest summer on record. Yea, we're "hot."
And it does wear on us on those hot and humid days. As a result, we are not covering the miles we would like to.
But we are still having fun. We are drinking several bottles of water a day, and we are only riding the mileages we are comfortable with.
We were actually "happy" the other day when we had the coolest day of our travels. It only reached 82 that day!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tales of the Trail - Good, bad and ugly

As we travel along the Erie Canal bike trail we meet other travelers. As a jounalist, I listen to the tales of their travels. There were the travelers from Pittsburgh who encountered this "Trail Closed" sign in Lockport, NY. With no clear "detour" signs, they headed off as best they could. After miles of being lost, they finally ended up back on the trail via the Canalside Inn in Gasport. They had biked several miles out of their way to cover a mere 6 miles of the trail that was only closed for about a 1/4 mile.

But that is contrasted by other bikers from PA who arrived in Weedsport to spend a week going along the canal trail to Buffalo and back. Their dilemma was about where to park their car in Weedsport where it would be secure for a week. Somehow they ended up talking to the Mayor of Weedsport who arranged for them to have a parking space for the week, without charge. Hail to the Mayor!
We'll keep sharing their stories with you as we keep heading east toward Albany.
Thanks for checking in!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Glass

Now, when the image of the day is a photo of a beer glass, you just know there has to be a story behind it. And there is.
It begins in the Erie Canal town of Clyde as we continue our bicycle trek across New York. After our first 14 mile segment, it was 1 pm and we were looking for lunch. In our quest for food, we had to wait for a pizza, and there was this littleplace across the street called the Little Barrel. And it served beer; one of our weaknesses.
Well, Kate fell in love with the charm of the small town bar - and the $2.25 price tag for a pint of draft beer. Oh, yea, AND she really liked the the logo on the glass. She offfered to buy one, but the owner would have none of that and just generously gave it to her.
It is now her most prized trophy of this entire trip. It is now apparently incidental to her that we also passed today through the towns of Newark, Lyons, and Savannah, but they don't count as much as her fond memory of her new favorite bar, the Little Barrel in Clyde, NY.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Seneca Falls, NY and stranded

The threat of severe thunderstorms kept us grounded today. But we were able to get out and scout along the Cayuga/Seneca Canal, as well as scouting our future routes once the storms let up. In between raindrops we managed to get over to the Women's Rights National Historic Park and tour that national facility and museum. While I'm highly in favor of women's rights, this was "manhater central" in my opinion if you read some of the material. Luckily, Kate and I completely disagreed about the issues. That's okay, it's her right to disagree with me. But then I snapped her picture at the Sculpture Trail along the Canal. You have to guess which one of the women in the photo is Kate.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fairport to Newark - Maps 11 & 12

As we continue to bike eastward we continue to see great views, meet great people on the trails, as well as enjoying great wildlife from ducks to deer. We're leaving the Erie Canal trail tomorrow to explore the Cayuga-Seneca Canal side trails. Eventually it will be a 19 mile trail connecting to the Erie Canal. But we're going to go down to Waterloo, NY and explore what they have done so far. Oh, yea. This little critter says, "Hi." We think it might be Bambi's Aunt.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cruising the Erie Canal

While we are choosing to "bike" the Erie Canal this year, we are seeing rental boats "cruising" the Erie Canal. They may have bikes onboard to access services at the various ports and towns, but they just "cruise" between towns, staying tied up in a different port every night. So we're thinking that might be fun for next year. We could rent a boat and just "cruise" the canals, having our various friends and relatives join us for a few days here; and a few days there. Could be GREAT fun! Let us know via e-mail if you might be interested in "cruising" with us for a day or two here and there.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

100 miles down - 300 miles to go!!!

We made it to Fairport, NY today east of Rochester. That put us over the 100 mile mark on our trek to bike the whole 400 miles of the Erie Canal trails. This photo is of the Trail Junction at the Genesee River and denotes the end of the Buffalo Segment of the trail. We're taking a short break to go home and take care of our real world things. But, as we leave Spencerport we want to thank John Lodge, the owner of Friendly Motel, for his hospitality. His motel certainly lived up to its name in the last few days!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brockport, NY - Bambi and Mom

As we biked a leisurely rural stretch of the Erie Canal today, we came across this scenario of a Mother deer and her new baby. The photo was taken across the canal, so we are presenting it as a larger photo than usual. You can still click on it to see it even clearer. We think there is no greater love than the one expressed in this photo.
Times like these are why we love to explore the great outdoors, along the canal, or not.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Gasport to Albion along the Erie Canal

This rural, 20 mile stretch of the canal passes through lush farmlands with the crops of corn, etc in full growth. It's New York's heartland. We managed to dodge torrential rains we found out about at the end of our day! So life is good. Perhaps the most interesting encounter along our trek today was built in 1823, and not surprisingly, LEAKS! It's called the Culvert Road and it is the only road that goes UNDER the Erie Canal. It's in Ripley's Believe it or Not, and here is our photo to prove it. We walked through it, both ways, and we can attest to the fact that it leaks; a lot. We were so traumatized by the leaks that we were forced to back to Gasport and eat Beef on Weck and drink beer at the Canalside Inn.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 3 - Part III - Lockport to Gasport, NY

Okay, we started this trip to BIKE the Erie Canal, not to cruise it. But with that 100 degree heat index, we chose NOT to bike the 26 miles we had planned. But, after careful consideration, we decided to complete Map 4 of our guide with a down-and-back, 6 mile ride to Gasport, NY. That would give us 12 miles of riding, even in the heat, and get us 6 miles further along our Erie Canal trek. So we did. As we arrived in Gasport, NY we looked across the canal and saw a building that had two big signs over its front door. They both read BEER and BEER! On a hot day. What were we to do? We stepped in the door and asked if they had beer for weary bikers and were greeted with wonderful hospitality at the Canalside Inn. Turns out the signs actually said BEEF and BEER, but beef wasn't on our minds at the time.
Maybe next week when we return to continue our 400 mile biking tour of the Erie Canal.

Day 3 - Explore Lockport, NY - Part II

So we decided to take the cruise on the Erie Canal. Parked and, just in the two block, downhill walk to the cruise dock, sweat was just dripping off me. We discussed not biking at all when we got back from the cruise. But the cruise was fun, even if very hot with the sun beating down on that top deck. But, we were sharing the experience with all kinds of other interesting people. It was a shared HOT experience. The locks each raised us up about 25 feet. It was an interesting cruise up and back. The photo is of about a 22 foot cruiser entering the lock behind our tour boat. It gives a perspective on how big and high these locks really are.

Day 3 - Explore Lockport, NY - Part I

Stepped out the front door of the motel and a blast furnace hit me in the face. Brutally hot for this northern NY boy! Probably about a 100 or better heat index that day. But went downtown to explore anyway. Lockport is home to Locks 34 and 35 of the Erie Canal. Together they raise and lower boats 50 feet in a very short distance. That's to get up or down from the
Niagara escarpment and up to the level of the Niagara River and Buffalo. Then it would be out to Lake Erie and the west. After learning about the locks and their purpose, we decided we should experience Locks 34 and 35 firsthand on a canal boat cruise.

Tonawanda to Lockport - Hot!!!

Despite the worst heat wave in years, the next day we chose to go through the Tonawanda Gateway and head towards our hotel in Lockport, NY 18 miles to the east. In the beginning it was through shaded parks on shaded trails. But about the last 7 miles we were on open country roadways, with the sun beating down on us. Hot. No, beyond Hot. But we made it in good time a few bottles of water later. Once in lockport, we decided to cool down with an underground boat ride. Yes, underground. It was 96 degrees outside the underground tunnel, but only 55 degrees inside. It was a welcome respite and a fun adventure.

Map 3 - Tonawandas

Thirteen miles into our bike trip we finally arrived at the actual Erie Canal in Tonawanda. There we found a Gateway Harbor" small park explaining that Tonawanda Harbor had been the Gateway to the West in the 1800's. It's all "east" from here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We're on our way!

We started our 400 mile bike ride today with a tour of Buffalo Harbor, the Buffalo River and the Niagara River aboard the Miss Buffalo tour boat. As we pulled out we passed the Chinaman's lighthouse, so named because the top of it looks like a Chinaman's hat. Built in 1833 it still stands today at the entrance to the Buffalo River. After the 2 hour tour we headed out by bike for The Tonawandas and the official start of the Erie Canal.
Stop by for periodic updates as we head east toward Albany throughout the summer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Biking the Erie Canal - and More - 2010

Throughout the summer of 2010 we will be biking along the Erie Canal in NY State. It's at least a 400 mile trek from Buffalo in the west, to Albany in the east. But it's not just about biking the miles. It's about exploring the side canals, the canal boat tours and the side trips along the way.
It's gonna be fun, so I hope you will follow us along the way. Please check in often. You can even subscribe via e-mail or RSS feed. We start July 5th in Buffalo, NY.