Aug 20 - Our host Nancy got up with us to give us a send off, we managed to get on the road just as the light was good. It was a funny start to my day, we had not gone more than a quarter mile, I hit a bump and my front light flipped off and onto the ground so I automatically squeezed my brakes . . . Before I thought to unclip my toe!!! In rather slow motion I just tipped over!! I knew I was going down and it felt like slow motion from that moment I knew I was too late to unclip to the moment I actually hit the grass!! At least I landed in grass!! Just laid there and laughed as I am sure the two cars who witnessed it must have been doing as well!! I know Mike was!!
Picked myself up, dusted myself off and things went very well from there! The Erie Canal Trail was waiting for us, it stretched ahead of us for the next 100 miles of our route!!
The Erie Canal, as we have learned was an engineering masterpiece of the late 1800's! What an undertaking!! I am sure when the idea was first vocalized, it must have been met with such amazement and disbelief!! What a role it played in history!! One of those subjects, like the Underground City of Havre, Montana, certainly worth reading more about it!! Not only was it built, but it has been rerouted in several places several times!! The engineering challenges that were resolved with ideas never been used before! What an exciting time it must have been as the canal opened up travel and commerce, encouraging small townships to spring up and grow, especially at the locks.
It is rather sad to think progress has left it all behind as faster modes of shipping and transportation have taken over, but what remains if very beautiful, and the history is carefully and thoughtfully maintained. The Erie Canal Trail is a well maintained recreational trail that runs for 350 miles from Lockport to Albany. It is mostly hard packed fine limestone, flat and runs right along the banks of the canal. The banks vary from heavily overgrown brush to wide verges of mature trees offering welcome shade on a hot day, to historic homes and of course the small townships at the bridge crossings. The bridges have to be raised for any recreational boats, so they are actually manned by a real human being!! The towns line the canal; Lockport, Gasport, Medina, Spencerport and Rochester.
We had lunch at the canal edge at Spencerport. A perfect warm, sunny day, we had a perfect view of the passing boats, operation of the bridge and a very informative waiter! I asked him about the bridges and who raises them. At this particular location the bridge master was in charge of 2 bridges!! Adams Basin was 4 miles away and a recreational boat radioed in, he then had to get in his car and drive the 4 miles to raise the bridge! If you take a barge trip up or down the canal, (you can rent a fully equipped cruising barge) don't be in a hurry!! A great way to slow down and relax a little!! At lunch we had several people in the restaurant that were very interested in our trip. It is always so fun to be involved with people who share local information and enjoy a fun conversation!! Love it! I wish I could have stopped at every little town and enjoyed the company of those that live there!
Not much further now so we had to get back on the trail. The whole day has passed quite easily and comfortably. We had Rochester ahead of us and I was grateful we would be navigating a large city by bicycle trail. Once we left our happy, canal side lunch spot we knew we would quickly be in Rochester. We left Lockport this morning with the weather report warning us that there should be rain by 3pm. One of the ladies we chatted with at lunch checked her phone and said no the weather report has been changed! It won't rain until 6!! The threatening weather loomed in front of us so we started a race with the clouds . . . And lost!! The rain was ahead of schedule but this burst was only a sun shower. Quite a bit of rain fell but there was sun all around, and it was obvious there was more out there and even more tomorrow! Not wanting to get to Rochester and start a search for accommodation in the rain, we took the advice from the information on the back of our maps and booked ourselves a place we could put into Googlemaps and not screw around getting lost!
We did a pretty good job navigating the turns and twists of the bike path as we got closer to Rochester. Bike paths are so good, but they can get so confusing!! Maybe someone should paint a pointed finger and the words "go this way" directly on the path!! It would be so much easier!! The last 2 miles we actually once again called upon Googlemaps and it saved us!! We got to our hotel and just in the nick of time . . . Again . . . Before the rain fell!! We did not get to see anything of Rochester, the trail directed us thru lovely parks with tall trees and no sign of city life at all other than a bit of an industrial area that really was only a remnant of industry of the past!! It was all very easy and we thank Googlemaps for the little extra help!
Glad you are all still hanging in there with us!! Can you believe it, we are so close to the end!! Hope you will stay with us to the end!!