The Amazing Grace

Let Your Dreams Set Sail

Eastern Half of the Erie Canal

“What do you know about the Erie Canal?” you asked.  Well, where do I begin? With just the facts, ma’am and a few of our stories thrown in too.  ;)   There are really 4 canals that make up the New York State Canals and with connecting rivers and lakes total 801.3 miles.  We will be doing the Erie Canal with is 340.7 miles with 34 locks rising to 564 feet above sea level. 

obtained official sanctions, later became our first president,  and was acclaimed by early writers as the Father of the American canals.  The original Erie Canal was started in 1817 and was completed in 1825.      It was 363 miles with 83 locks.  As we entered E2 we joined up with Bob on the John Russell from Boca Raton, FL. 

        So we begin in the beginning with  lock two (left), of course.  It was decided way back that if locks were omitted they would not renumber them.  So #2 is the beginning.  New (below left) Old (below right) Before the Revolutionary war, one of the first surveyors/engineer who

We just found out at this lock that between lock 28B and 29 there is a barge that sunk on June 13.  They had lifted it once but it sunk again.  The New York State Canals management have hired a professional salvage company to come and raise the barge.  So the day that we got here we found they had basically closed the canal. They are lowering the water level between these locks to try and repair then re-float the barge. 

We have decided to stay tied up here in Baldwinsville, NY ,on a free dock,  since we don’t know how many boats there are between here and there.  Every available space on the wall has been taken with boats that have arrived today.  God provided for us again and today the city people hooked up the power to the last brand new 110v outlet, that we are parked next to.  So now we can sit here with computer and TV and not have to start the generator.  Who knows how many days we will be here??? They are saying until at least July 15.

 Within the first 2 miles there are 5 locks that raise you 169’, which is twice as much as the total lift from sea level to summit of the Panama Canal.  We then traveled the rest of the day getting to know Bob.  Since we both tied up at E8 we had him over for dinner, fajitas.  The next morning he was up way before us, so we traveled on alone. 

We had gone about 15 miles when we passed this wonderful looking park. 

We went on by since we really hoped to average 30- 40 miles each day.  We debated amongst ourselves for a few minutes and finally Scott decided to go back.  Luckily he did.  We were greeted by Bob and we tied up.  For just a dollar a foot we could tie up with electricity and internet, get pumped out, and use the showers and laundry in the café.  What a deal, especially since we haven’t done laundry since Charleston.  Since we were the first ones this year to pump out, we figured it out together.  As we started to add water, Scott noticed that our fresh water tanks were empty.  Thank you, God, for convincing Scott to stop.  With further investigating Scott figured out that a water line had blown off the hot water heater and dumped all the fresh water into the bilge which then is pumped overboard. Within 500 yards over the RR bridge overpass, there is a small mall with a hardware store.  Once the leak was fixed, then Scott found out the heating element had gone bad too.  So back to the hardware store we went just before closing time on July 3.   Scott finally got it all fixed and everything put away around 8:00 so off to the café for dinner, even though we had already eaten lunch there, how could we clean up without water?  For dinner we shared a 16oz NY Strip that was grilled to perfection, but it was topped by the killer Kahlua Cheesecake.  As we sat enjoying the view, sunset, and full moon rise we met another couple sitting next to us.  They were originally from Muskegon, MI and had done the loop and many portions of the loop many times since 1993. 

We really planned to leave the next day, but since it was calling for thunderstorms, (the same forecast we had had for the last 10 days in NY) we decided to stay another night and celebrate the fourth with our new friends at Riverlink Cafe.

Riverlink Park

We spent the day updating the website.  Cindy downloaded Internet Explorer 8 and, suddenly our web site wouldn’t work.  So Scott searched the internet and found it was a known Microsoft problem and was easily fixed with a patch.  We had burgers at the café and took a hot fudge sundae for Scott and another kahlua cheesecake for Cindy back to the boat and listened to a jazz band playing in the park. 

We got up to a chilly 50ish temperature fall like morning.  The weather people were calling it June-uary.  It seems like every time we are in a canal lock, it rains.

         So what do you do in a lock?  You pull in slowly.  On the walls there are ropes, pipes, or cables. 

Cindy uses a boat hook and catches one rope at the front of the boat.  Then Scott puts the engine in neutral and catches another rope to hold at the back.  We hold on and let out line or pull in line as the water goes up/down.  Then you wait for the doors to open, push the boat away from the wall and drive out the other side. 

We have found that the most turbulent water is when we are lifting up, since the lock is filling up with water.  We have already gone through the 3 locks that go down out of the 34. We have found that going down in much easier as they are just letting the water out of the canal.   The largest lift of 40.5 ft. was at E 17 in Little Falls.  At this lock we felt the most turbulence as we tied up port side for the first time. 

Between 1825 and 1882 the canal earned forty-two million dollars over and above its original cost.  At that point it became a free canal.  It cost us $50 for a 10 day pass to complete the canal. 

Now we have crossed the twenty mile Lake Oneida and completed half the distance of the Erie Canal and are up to lock #24 at 374’.

The John Russell waiting in the lock ahead of us.

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