I should probably share a little info about the Erie Canal before I get started on our tale. The Erie Canal is approximately 375 miles long and runs from Tonawanda, NY to Waterford, NY. Some of the canal is just that, a man made canal. But surprisingly, much of it is in bodies of water such as Tonawanda Creek, the Seneca River, and the Mohawk River. There are 34 locks to transit and 16 lift bridges that need to be opened for a boat to pass through. Nearly the entire trip is in a rural setting with the major exception being going through Rochester, NY where you can read the freeway signs as you head down the canal. Traveling west to east, 32 of the locks lower you and the other 2 raise you. It’s quite the trip.
Our Erie Canal adventure started in Tonawanda, New York where we needed to take our mast down so that we could get under the many low clearance bridges on the Erie Canal. We had some frustration with the facilities and treatment we got at Smith Boys Marina in Tonawanda but we got the mast down and secured to the deck without incident. I’ll save the pictures for later but Noodin looked a little different with a horizontal mast. Our crew, Phebe’s brother Paul and his wife Christine, arrived at Smith Boys early on the 10th as we were making final preparations for travel. We set off before noon on our way to Lockport where we planned on tying up before transiting the first two locks. It was trial by fire when we got to Lockport as the promised place to tie up wasn’t going to work and we had to switch gears and transit two locks before tying up for the night. Captain Ron had some challenging moments as the wind was blowing Noodin around in the lock as the tour boat captain was enjoying the show rather than getting out of the way. It took a few locks to get in the rhythm but after that we had a system down and things went really well. We generally averaged about 40 miles a day for the 9 days we were on the canal. Nights were spent tied to the canal wall in everything from quaint tourist towns that cater to boaters, to a rustic dock on the outskirts of town. If we had it to do over again we’d probably take a little more time to enjoy some of the more interesting communities along the way. A giant thank you to Paul and Christine for helping us through the locks. A good time was had by all.