Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Erie Canal & Old Fort Niagara

Wow, what a great day.

Our adventures for today had already been planned...but thanks to Glenn Avery for calling and affirming that today's trips were a must!

We headed out this morning for


Lockport, NY, which was about a 30 minute drive from Grand Island.  We arrived at


for today's adventure #1.  We purchased our tickets and


tried to wait patiently for our turn to


load on the boat.  We were anxious to get started on our cruise up


the Erie Canal.

  The Erie Canal connects the Hudson River and the Atlantic Ocean at sea level with the Niagara River and the Great Lakes at 570 feet above sea level.

I don't think any of us were ready for what we were going to experience today.

First, we traveled under the


upside down rail road bridge.  Around the bend from there we headed straight for


were we entered the


the first set of locks.  These two sets of  locks would raise our boat 25 feet in each lock to overcome the elevation of the Niagara Escarpment...the same rock formation that forms Niagara Falls.

Once we were


inside the lock and the


gates closed, the


water would start to rise and


rise all the way to the top.

At that point, the gate opened and we entered the next lock and again the lock filled with water.

The only thing that was different from the first and second lock is that the second one


has two sets of gates.  The outside one is a buffer gate...or a safety gate in case a barge gets loose, it doesn't damage the actual lock gate.  This way the system can stay in working order.

Now that we have been raised the 50 feet, we are ready to make our way


up the canal.



shops were located right on the canal.  In the 1800's they did business with the boats that traveled up and down the canal.

We also traveled under


the widest single span bridge, 369 feet, in the United States.

We continued our trip up the canal before turning around.  Our captain said if we kept going we would reach Buffalo in about 3 hours or if we took at right turn we would go over Niagara Falls.  Not a trip we would want to take.

Now, heading back to the locks, we saw the sign for


how the canal system charges for use of the waterway.



lock #35, you would stop to pay the fees.

Once your fee is paid, you enter the


lock, the gates close, and the


water starts going down...


and down, until it


reaches the proper level and the gates open to the next lock.  Again, we went through the same process...and again, the


gates opened and we had been lowered the 50 feet.

I think coming back down the canal was the most impressive because as we entered the first lock...


you could actually see from high above the canal down below and realize the 50 feet that the canal waters would be dropping.

On down the canal we saw yet another kind of bridge.  This one was a


lift bridge.  It raises straight up.  The difference can be seen in

125 this picture.

Once again, it was time for us to turn around.  Again, the Captain told us if we keep heading down the Erie Canal we would soon pass Albany and head on out to the Atlantic Ocean.  He said our $15.00 fare didn't cover a trip like that. was back to the dock, but not before one


last picture.

Then, it was first things first, and we were hungry.  So, it was off to find Subway before heading out to adventure #2.

Much we are off to


and to


for a visit to


Old Fort Niagara.

The history here spans more than 300 years.  During the colonial wars in North America, a fort at the mouth of the


Niagara River and Lake Ontario was vital.  It controlled access to the Great Lakes and the westward route to the heartland of the continent.

With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, the strategic value of Fort Niagara diminished.  It nonetheless remained an active military post well into the 20th century.

The old fort was restored between 1926 and 1934.  We had a fun time

255 walking around the grounds...

221 watching re-enactment after

252 re-enactment.

We even had the chance to visit with

246  a few of the locals around the fort.

Andrew and Lauren wondered what it would be like to


fire the cannons,


buy supplies in the commissary, or


be responsible for


raising the draw bridge.

We had a great time and stayed until the park closed.  All too soon, it was time to head back to the RV Park .  Again, we have had another full day and two great adventures.


  1. My goodness, what a great day. I bet going in and out of the locks were really neat.

    Can't wait to see what tomorrow holds, thanks for sharing !

  2. I love this! I'm getting all kinds of ideas for our trip next year! :) Thanks!

  3. What an awesome day!! I really enjoyed reading about your trip through the locks on the Erie interesting!! I love history so the Fort was fascinating to me. This is certainly an area to put on our "to see" list.

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  4. What a great way for the kids to get a history/geography lesson, and you get to share the experience. What Fun.

  5. I grew up in Spencerport, NY.. which has a lift bridge for the Erie Canal...When I go home to visit my parents there I go right thru Lockport.... It's so interesting to read about your recent tours there. Thanks so much for sharing them. I have been to Fort Niagara, but would love to go on the boat trip.