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Happy 120 years old, Urger!  I urge you  to read the note at the bottom of this post.

And . . . .Oops!  I read the timer wrong. Bidding for Grouper, in Lyons NY,  ends about six hours from now. 

Lyons is a county seat, but it’s possible to take a photo of lock E-27, right in the town,  such that it appears to be rural.  A row of buildings to the right separates the canal here from a major street, Water Street;  to the left, there’s a strip mall along NY-31.

Lyons is the home of Muralmania, and it shows;  this was one of two murals just west of lock E-27.  The next lock, E-28A, is about a mile away.

Just before getting to lock E-28A, you see the section workshop buildings.

That’s Route 31 paralleling the canal.

At the top of the lock chamber, you have a great view over into the Lyons Dry dock.  Whatever is in the dry dock during the navigation season is surplus, in need of repair, or beyond repair.  Grouper is there, its rusty stack with its yellow ring visible in the foreground.

Staged and waiting for deployment are a set of tugboats, dredges, and a quarters barge aka “floating lodging,” like the one being auctioned off with bidding ending late this afternoon.  To repeat, I’d misreported closing of bidding in an earlier post, but today it ends.

We negotiate another low rail bridge before coming up to lock E-28B, about 4 miles to the west of E-28A.

 

In the port of Newark, I catch up to Sweet Love, a small trawler I caught at the Narrows last August.  The lovely storefronts in the village disappeared thanks to the misguided efforts in the 1960s called “urban renewal.”

West of Newark at Wide Waters is the hamlet of Port Gibson, Ontario County’s only port along the Erie Canal.  During the 19th-century iteration of the canal, this was a port.

The bridge here has just been refurbished.

From there, the canal narrows as we head west.  The rain started falling as well. 

 

 

We had miles and locks to go, but we called the trip “over” when we got to the Port of Palmyra, because of a breach in a spillway ahead. 

All photos, WVD.

Sign the card here to celebrate Urger‘s 120 years.  Its future too is threatened.

Here I get to prove once again that you can never step into the same river twice, or you can never see the same stretch of canal the same way twice.  Click here to see what I did with previous set of photos.

The photo below was taken from the NE corner of the triangular island I’ll now call Midway Junction (the CS and Erie Canals meet here), Midway Triangle, or (my contribution) Tadadaho Island,  if you want to learn about this indigenous spiritual leader, click here.

Two miles west from Tadadaho Island, we approach Lock E-25 in

May’s Point NY.  Click here to see the location of the lock relative to the NYS Thruway.

What would you expect to see when the lock is in a National Wildlife Refuge?

A small boat could cross here and enter Tschache (“shockey”) Pool. 

There’s a campground and marina here.

Lots of these and other wildlife are here.  Someone on the boat saw a coyote on the south bank.

The Clyde River intersects the Erie Canal several times.  Follow the channel markers. 

About six miles farther, lock E-26 appears.

See that rusty bridge a quarter mile beyond the lock?

It’s the E-93 West Shore RR bridge;  see both outside and inside here. It’s the bane of any boat that exceeds 15′ on this stretch of the Canal.

But we made it through. 

Along long portions of the Erie Canal the railroad follows along the bank.  Chances are quite strong that these containers not long ago were at sea, transferred onto railcars in the sixth boro.

Again, follow the channel markers.

Right around that bend is the village of Lyons, county seat of Wayne County NY.  The small boat Cayuga ahead of the captain’s view is a “drive it yourself” rental from Erie Canal Adventures.

All photos, WVD.

What I said about the futility of trying to step into the same river, you have a “three-fer” here: here is my post on my canal bike ride from October 2020.

 

Taken from the east end of Van Cleef Lake, we’ve now traveled less than 10 miles from Seneca Lakes/Stivers Marina.

C/S lock 2/3 is a double lock:  you descend in lock 3 only to find that the lower gate of 3 is the upper gate of 2.  In the photo below, we’ve exited the lower gate of 2 and looking back at the closed lower gate of 3. 

Technically, the C/S Canal here follows the created path of the Seneca River.  A dike along the left side here keeps the river separate from the Montezuma Swamp, allowing navigation of a vessel as large as Colonial Belle. 

Cottages along the right side are mere inches above the surface of the water.

At the 3.5-mile mark, the right side opens:  that 39-mile lake, averaging less than 2-miles wide and at deepest point 435′ deep, will get you to Ithaca.  But Ithaca remains for another trip another day far in the future, as C. P. Cavafy would recommend….

In 1800 a wooden bridge traveled from the point of land to the left, and crossed 5412′ to the opposite side, to the distant right.  It lasted until 1808, when the winter destroyed it.  Two subsequent toll bridges replaced it.

We turn north into C/S 1, aka the “mud lock” because of the water there.

A few miles north of the lock, we approach the I-90 NYS Thruway Bridge.

Less than a half mile we arrive at a triangular island, carved off the NW corner of Kipps Island,  that is the approximate midpoint between Tonawanda and Waterford. 

The darker water here

comes from the Montezuma Swamp and Clyde river;  to the right is the water that comes from Lakes Cayuga and Seneca.

Here’s a satellite view of the triangular island. In the next post, we’ll turn to the west, to the left here and toward Lock E-25.

All photos, except the satellite view, WVD.

Postscript:  In the satellite view above, upper right corner, one the “Richmond aqueduct ruins” mark, below is one of my photos of it, although we’ll heading to the left, aka west.  Getting back to the last three lines of Cavafy, referred to above and slightly modified:  “And if you find her [in poor condition], Ithaca has not deceived you.  Wise as you have become, with so much experience, you must already have understood what Ithaca means.”

Unrelated;  As of this writing Friday morning, Grouper high bid is $150, Chancellor is $310, QB tugster clubhouse is $520, and bridge erection boat is $890.

 

Since I’m again on a gallivant-away from home, outside, and looking for scenes and boats and trucks to photograph-the next four days will be posts of this one-day trip.  Below is my ride that day.   It was an 8-hour ride the length of the Cayuga/Seneca Canal and then about 25 miles of the Erie Canal, and nine locks.  Stating point was technically Waterloo NY and ending was Palmyra.  In all we dropped over 100′ from Seneca Lake to the junction with the Erie, and then heading west, we rose about the same distance to the east side of Palmyra.

Below is my conveyance.

In the enclosed passenger cabin, this builder’s plate is proudly displayed.  Since June 1961, this boat has worked on both US east and west coast;  in fact, when the current owners bought this boat about 25 years ago, it was working in San Francisco and they decided to take the 60′ boat back to the East coast and onto the Erie Canal on its own bottom!!  It did have a pilot house at that time.  For photos of Colonial Belle‘s engine and more, click here on this report from tug44.

Before we go on this leg 1 of 4 reports, other 1961 products of the Blount shipyard include Las Cruces in Panama, Michael Cosgrove in the sixth boro, and Kasai, probably sunk somewhere in the DRC. Another 1961 sister vessel Martha Washington worked many years in Boston, and may be out of service.  Any info?

The photo below was taken at the dock at Stivers Marina in Waterloo.  Beyond the research vessel William Scandling ahead of the sail boats, Seneca Lake stretches slightly more than 35 miles southward to Watkins Glen.  Four miles or less wide, it’s more than 600′ deep.   A team plans to survey more of the lake bottom this summer.

From Stivers, we did a 180 degree turn and headed for the Erie Canal, putting us immediately under the first of many low bridges.

Really, there are lots of overhead obstacles that could not be negotiated with a wheelhouse. Note the bimini folder forward and the captain rising back up.

This is a typical scene along the top end of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, although more trees are being cleared, including some for this summer’s idea . . . glamping.

The distance from Seneca Lake to lock C/S-4

is 5.02 miles.

As we head to Seneca Falls, we pass the Ludovico Sculpture Trail. The conception goes back over 20 years when a person of artistic interests moved from Buffalo to Seneca Falls, and installed two sculptures on her front yard, irritating some neighbors.

This one celebrates Gould Pumps, founded by Seabury S. Gould in Seneca Falls in 1848!!

The former Seneca Falls Knitting Mills, which made countless pairs of white socks, is now the Women’s National Hall of Fame.   When I first saw the building, it was windowless and derelict.

All photos, WVD.   In the next mile . . . tomorrow’s post, we’ll travel across Van Cleef Lake to C/S locks 3 and 2.

How many locks have you noticed since Lockport?

Actually, there are none.  The entire 60-mile stretch with all the lift bridges is at a same level, 513′ above sea level.  And adjacent to lock 32, is a sign of contemporary water use, a kayak park.

The Pittsford Canal Shop  lies west of the village.

The village features some fine examples of preservation and adaptive reuse.  Note beyond the replica packet boat Sam Patch, named for a local daredevil,  is a converted silo complex.  A memory of my childhood is summer Saturday night with a truckload of pickles, some of which I’d picked,  for the Forman’s piccalilli plant.

Several places along this trip already I’ve pointed out that the adjacent land is lower than water level.  This is especially true east (actually SE) of Pittsford on a location called the Great Embankment, and area where–to avoid locks–the canal water is carried on an embankment over Irondequoit Creek.  This is risky, and breaches have occurred. Beside and below the embankment is the hamlet of Bushnell’s Basin, a transshipment point in the early days before the embankment was completed.  Richardson’s Canal House is located in the hamlet.

After we round the Great Embankment, we arrive in Fairport. Here excursion boat Colonial Belle makes her way westbound under the Fairport Lift Bridge, a local landmark currently closed for repairs. Colonial Belle has the distinction of having arrived in this part of the canal on her own bottom via the Panama Canal from the West Coast US.

Enjoy the beautiful pre-0700 morning in Fairport.

In my experience, this stretch of the canal gets lots of use at almost all hours.

Signage helps the traveler see what is no longer here, what led to a here being here.

Commuters use the less-traveled, economy connector between Fairport and Macedon.

Some schoolkids were very enthusiastic as we exit lock E-29 in Palmyra.  I’ve been told by a reliable source that lock E-29 power house used to supply power to both lock 29 and 30, since the Barge Canal dates to a time before the national power grid.  The area near the lock includes a park where you can see a reconstructed 19th century canal change (not chain) bridge, where mules towing barges would change from one side of the canal to the other.  Evidence of three-arch stone Ganargua Creek Aqueduct is also right near the lock.  And, in town, a short walk from Port of Palmyra marina, is a set of five museums referred to as Historic Palmyra.

Palmyra plays a role in a book focusing on the transmission of spiritual ideas along the Erie Canal, Heaven’s Ditch, by Jack Kelly.  Not far from here were the places that catapulted Joseph Smith, the Fox sisters, and more into the spotlight.  The canal itself served as a conduit for religious ideas, social movements, trade goods, and of course many immigrants.  And this part of the canal is sometimes referred to as the “burnt-over district” because of all the spiritual movements stemming for here.

East of Palmyra a spillway captures the overflow form the canal, forming Ganargua Creek, aka Mud Creek, a place that played a wet role in my childhood.

Port Gibson, aka Wide Waters, one of the many ports along the Erie Canal, is Ontario County’s only footprint on the Erie Canal.

The canal into Newark gets quite narrow, as you see with Urger eastbound.  Route 31 runs between the bank and that farm.  And again, driving on 31, you could have no sense that a major waterway can be found below that bank.

Here’s roughly the same location on a very cold morning about four months later.

HR Pike headed through this stretch with brewing tanks from China for Rochester’s Genesee Brewing Company.

Tugboats like HR Pike above and Margot below need telescoping wheelhouses and ballasted barges in order to to squeeze beneath bridges like this one in Newark.

East of town, we get to lock E-28B, where a tender is pushing a deck barge eastbound.

Before we leave Newark, a town of  9000 today, down from 12,000 in 1960, have a look here and here at some of the history of the town.  For a few years, the Mora automobile was made here, until it went bankrupt.  Looking back on the transit we’ve made so far, Rochester once made automobiles as well, including the Cunningham, a 1920 model of which is now in Jay Leno’s mega-garage.   And going back even farther all the way to Lake Erie, Buffalo was the home of Pierce Arrow, many models of which can be seen in the Buffalo Transportation Pierce Arrow Museum.  Pierce began making bird cages, then bicycles, and then automobiles.   One of two Moras still extant can be seen in Norwich NY.  

And maybe someone can comment on why there is no E-31 and E-28 has a part A and a part B?

Some Newark photos, thanks to Bob Stopper.

 

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