Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Erie Canal, New York

The Erie Canal is a series of locks that transits you from the Hudson River to many different destinations.  We are forced into the Oswego Canal which leads to Lake Ontario route due to a 15 foot bridge clearance that we can't make.  Everyone starts at the Hudson, but there are other by-ways you can go including Buffalo, Seneca and Cayuga or Champlain.  Our journey will take us through a total of 31 locks.
As always in my blog...let me explain by showing you with photos how this happens. When you approach a lock the doors are usually closed and you call the 'Lockmaster' on VHF channel 13 and request a 'lock through.' They all have lock numbers near the top too...this is #7.
 The large doors open and you make your way into the lock chamber.
 Once inside the captain positions you alongside the lock wall.  The locks aren't real wide so you need to be very accurate when driving in.
 Crew (with rubber gloves and dock pole in hand) either grab the lines that hang off the walls, or tie a midship to the steel rod provided. The dock pole helps with grabbing lines and fending off debris when entering. Gloves are for touching the slimy lines and better grip!
Captain usually stays close to the helm, but can grab lines when needed.  You know Craig always in his bathing suit ready for anything.  Not a good time for our bow thruster to be broken, but he keeps the boat in control even with the turbulent waters and currents he contends with. You can experience a 2-10 knot current force going into some of the locks. 
 Morgan was an essential part of the crew and filled in when ever and where ever needed.
 The Lockmasters seem to all be middle aged men with blue shirts, medium builds, hat and sunglasses, big smiles, helpful and nice. 
 Once the lockmaster fills the lock chamber with water....up, up, up we go!  Each lock is a different height, size, etc. Some locks take you up to the very top with only a few feet to spare and made it feel like we could float over the edge. 
 Then the doors open and we safely make our way out.
 The whole thing usually takes around 30 minutes from start to finish. 

 Each lock there is a dam. So interesting to see that we are truly traveling uphill. 
Security gates are set up in certain areas near the locks to stop water if needed.  The boat pictured here is an 80 foot Hatteras, so you can see how very large this gate really is.
 Cute little tug boat behind the larger one. These are some of the ships that keep the mighty Erie flowing.
My new friend, Cheryl, ran all the way up to the second lock wall to wave goodbye to us. We met in Waterford and she's so sweet and thoughtful.  The day before we left she brought me a rose when I wasn't feeling well. She's just a gem and I'm going to miss her and Gabrielle her dog.   
 Goodbye sharks, alligators and jellyfish....hello turtles and snakes.  This one went through the lock with us.
This is one of the many low bridges we went under. Some are very narrow and have debris alongside.  Luckily, no worries about depths here....yet.
 Beautiful huge home on the shore.
 Ruins of the original canal that was built back in 1825.
 Trains, trains everywhere again.  As I type this there is one going by...loud and fast! New York is one of the first states that we've seen trains being used constantly.
 Strange place to build a smoke stack.  It's right in the middle of a parking lot.  
 Not exaggerating, 20+ semi trucks drove by us in the course of one day and everyone of them honked their horn and waved out the window. 
 Your not always by the road. In fact most of the time the surroundings are very serene, beautiful and quiet. Mountainous areas from the Adirondacks and green trees that look like we're back in Michigan again. 
 This is the view Craig had of me all day. We make a great team and had fun. 
 After a scorcher hot day of over 90 degrees we tied up to a free wall in Canajoharie with power. 
 The kids ran and ran and ran in the grass. This is where the Beech Nut plant is (see sign upper left) and they make Lifesavers, gum and babyfood here. 
 Morgan seized the opportunity to find more driftwood before sunset.  Pictured behind her is lock number 14. 
 I spoke with many local folks who pointed us in the direction to town to have ice cream.  It was a great way to cool off after a long day and made for a good chance to stretch our legs. 
Although we're not even halfway through our Erie Canal experience, I wanted to post some of these fun pictures.  I hardly took even one photo all day.  Craig and Morgan did a great job and I have hundreds of photos and a dead battery after it it!!

Back to Waterford as I forgot to post these photos.  Pictured here from the bridge above as are still waiting for the Erie Canal to fully open.  Portions still have flood advisorys and high waters to deal with.  People getting antsy move forward to the bottleneck of boats waiting to lock through at various points. 
On Peebles Island by 1942 this building was the worlds largest manufacturer of shirts.  In 1972 NY State purchased it to house any historical items that need to be refurbished including artwork, jewelry, furniture, automobiles, etc. are sent to this location.  One morning we had a nice conversation with a local police officer that said the inventory is priceless.
 Jaxon took this photo at the laundry mat. His prospective of something interesting to photograph. Multiple days with temperatures over 90 degrees.  We played a lot of ball too. 
 Every once in awhile Ryann will move out to the couch to sleep for the night. When we have power the kids like the fan on....except Ryann doesn't like the noise.  We truly believe it's so she can stay up later.  Evenings still hold temps around 80 degrees. 
More Erie Canal adventures to be had today! 


  1. Although I haven't commented in quite a while, I have been following your progress northward and now eastward and have been enjoying your frequent posts very much.

    I was in Florida in late March in the motor home and seriously thought about visiting you while you were navigating up the coast. I believe you were in Jacksonville at that time. My timing didn't allow it as I needed to make my way back to St. Louis.

    Thanks so much for your interesting posts and sharing all of your family's adventures with us. Enjoy the rest of the Erie Canal experience, the Great Lakes are just a few miles ahead.

  2. Oops! I meant to say "Westward".

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