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
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.
So...it was back to the dock, but not before one
Then, it was first things first, and we were hungry. So, it was off to find Subway before heading out to adventure #2.
Much better...now we are off 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
We even had the chance to visit with
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.