You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Erie Canal’ tag.

When this tow came off Oneida Lake headed west, 

I wondered how many folks would interpret this incorrectly, that this was a tow and not a push.

Ditto . . . heading into lock E-23.

 

Of course, regular readers of this blog know precisely what is going on. After a long hiatus at the dry dock in Waterford, Urger has been pushed across the state to the dry dock in Lysander to be hauled out and mothballed, maybe and hopefully to be revived when the time is right, like a cicada or a future astronaut traveling light years in suspended animation . . . .

For more people than not in the “canal corridor” of New York State, Urger is without doubt that best known tugboat, the only one that thousands of New Yorkers have set foot on . . . . 

Who is that unmasked fellow with a t-shirt that reads “tug boating is a contact sport”?

I have it on the best authority that exactly five years ago yesterday, he was in the Urger wheelhouse piloting the now nameless vessel through this very same lock, very much mechanically alive.

 

All photos yesterday, WVD, who offers this post as contribution to #URGERjourney.

Edna A has appeared on this blog by that name;  it was also here as HR Hawk

But first, a reader “read” my mind and asked a question about the image below from this post a while back:  what are the square “hatches” directly below the wheelhouse glass?  Are they square porthole covers?  Another question while we’re back at this image, did that “upper wheelhouse” design work well?  How much additional visibility did a helmsman get?  Did they leak?  How was it raised/lowered?

Canal users have experienced some “section closures” this summer due to gear breakage, rainy-induced flooding, and wall collapse and subsequent low water.   A healthy attitude for canal transits is a willingness to smell the flowers, explore the small towns.

In the photo above, the small sailboat is second from the left.  Bravo to anyone who does long journeys in a 25′ sailboat, as here in the port of Lyons.

Next stop, Port of Newark saw a two-week “making merry” as shallow areas to the west made it prudent to stay put between E-28B and E-29.

Rarely has Newark seen this many boats, tied up on both walls.

 

To the west, water levels were still low between E-29 and E-30, because of a breach.

And this has to win some awards for Bob, as a heron stands guard while Knotugal enters.

All photos, Bob Stopper.  And for full disclosure, these photos were taken in Wayne County NY, where I grew up.

 

 

See the caption on the photo from 1963.  Eugenia Moran is in the foreground.  Off its stern is a tugboat that looks a lot like Urger, but has the name Seneca on it.  Which Seneca was that?

Eugenia herself is quite interesting.  She would be wearing Moran colors for only a year here.  She’s from 1938, Jakobson, Brooklyn.

Many thanks to Jason LaDue for the photo.

Here’s the Seneca I know . . .

And talking about the Erie Canal, central NYS has seen a lot of rain the past few days, draining it all through the Mohawk Valley, making some current (understatement) and resulting in string of locks being closed. Check the notices and alerts.  Cohoes Falls might be looking mighty these days. 

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.

 

Quick post today, almost on time.  I’m resting up after travels, reunions, summits, setbacks, ravines, tech glitches that turned out to be excessive cookie of the electromagnetic sort, and  . . .  more.

I took all these Lyons, NY photos in the past few weeks, although I missed all the excitement of the sixth boro, including a few CMA CGM boats . . .  Magellan this morning.   If any of you got photos, please get in touch. 

Tug Syracuse may be looking for a captain.  Contact me if you’re looking for a tugboat.

More on all this soon. 

Happy to be back . . .  WVD.

In six days, the gates along the NYS Canal system will be staffed and lifting/lowering vessels across the state.  This is the third in a series of posts about the vessels that have worked to keep the canals functioning. 

Not all these vessels, like Wards Island below, remain;  it’s now over 50′ under surface of salt water on Hempstead Reef, scuttled.  The bow of the tug here, Syracuse, does continue to work as she approaches her 90th birthday.

Below you see the 88-year-old tugboat Syracuse towing a group of canal vessels late in the season back in 2014.

Tender #1, along with most of the other tenders, are now in their 10th decade.

Ditto #9.

Curvaceous boats are out, and state-of-the-art boxy ones are in. 

Boats like Waterford approach their eighth decade. 

Grand Erie and Urger, both inactive, have been featured here many times.

And boxy, mostly nameless replacements have replaced them.

Urger here exits the lower side of Lock 17 in Little Falls as the sun illuminates the chamber.

All photos, WVD, who salutes the crews who operate these boats, even the finicky old ones.  If you’re sailing the canal this summer and see these boats and crews, give a wave but also give them wide berth, as they diligently work to keep the waterway open.

Of course, if you need a guide, check out my virtual tours based on my boat transits and my one bike trip.

Here was T-23 days.  Now, in less than two weeks, the canal will be open.  Some of the vessels operated by NYS Canals to perform maintenance were featured in the T-23 post;  more are in today’s post.

Let’s start with Tender 2, T2, in Utica, nose to nose with tug Erie.

Tender #3 is tied up here just west of the dry dock in Waterford.

Left to right here are a self-propelled scow (SPS 60 maybe? the number) and Lockport.  That land derrick marks this location as Fonda.

Port Jackson is one of the new boats operated by NYS Canals.  The location is just west of lock E-13, and Grande Caribe, as well as her younger sister Grande Mariner powering her way west to Chicago will likely never be seen in the Canal again.

Tied up here in the shade east of Utica is Governor Roosevelt.

At the Utica section yard, it’s Erie again.  Note the NYS Thruway maintenance vehicles in the background.

Just west of lock E-19, the Dragon dredge gets support from Tender #4.

And on another occasion, it’s the same dredge assisted by Tender #5.  I took the photo between locks E-6 and 7.

And closing this out, how about a shot above the culvert of the tugboat that turns 120 years afloat this year, Urger.

All photos, WVD.  If you’re planning to transit the canal beginning on day 1 of the season  . . .  May 21, these are some of the maintenance vessels you’ll see. But don’t postpone a trip along the Canal because some of these could disappear any year now.

WVD is solely responsible for any errors of fact.

Empire Line . . . is that a rail service?  A fashion design?

You’ve seen Erie Canal posts on this blog many, many times.  Erie Canal.  I grew up near that canal and have played and worked on it in different capacities.  Last fall, I biked along the canal from Tonawanda to Waterford, and because of the isolation of the past year, posted virtual bike and boat tour guides.  People from many countries have transited the Erie Canal;  people from even more countries know of this iconic waterway.  A friend told of visiting a classroom in China and seeing a map there that showed the Erie Canal.

Well, the governor has proposed renaming the corridor for boats and bikes through New York as  . . . the Empire Line.   What!@#$#@@!  Here’s the paragraph:  “Reimagine the Erie Canal: Building on the findings of the Reimagine the Canal Task Force, the New York Power Authority Board, which now oversees the Canal Corporation as a subsidiary, will … integrate the Empire State Trail and Erie Canal into a new “Empire Line” system … along the 360-mile spine of the Erie Canal.”

Check out tug Syracuse below.

Should that be renamed tug Empire #1933?

Or take Joncaire aka Daniel Joncaire.… 

Should it be called Empire 1979?

Rename Niagara Falls  . . .  Empire Falls?  For NYS to suggest renaming the iconic Erie Canal is a worse idea than gilding a lily or painting the abalone….  Write your NYS assembly rep.  Write your NYS senator.  Let them know how you feel.

These photos come compliments of a canal sailor.   The sentiments are entirely my own.

I started out from Schenectady, eager to reach the end of the trip.  Improvised art exhibits covered fences in several areas of this stretch of the trail. I applaud the effort, but it seems an attempt to gild the lily or paint the abalone.  I’m not disparaging the art, just the location.

The text here is very clear;  don’t leave the bike trail.

Besides a steep hill and cliffs, GE Global Labs and Knolls Atomic Power Labs lie beyond the fence and foliage.  A lot of deer grazed there also.

If I read the map correctly, Jeff Blatnick Park has been built on a former landfill. 

It is a very pretty spot.

Trees here, as they do on downstate parkways, mask the subdivisions on either side.

If the Empire State Trail here follows the D&H railbed, then this is Black Bridge between Green Island and Van Shaick Island. 

The storm still had obstacles for me . . .  hastily being cleared by good citizens, they called themselves.  I was appreciative.

And then, I crossed the Second Street Bridge in Waterford, and after 334 miles, it came to an end.  I realized later that the gent who took my photo was a vendor at the Waterford Farmer’s Market.  I still craved an apple, but his were all sold out.

Conclusions?

  1. It felt very good to complete. I talked with very few people, making it ideal social distancing.  Inhaling all that forest-filtered air does the body good, even my 1952 body.  I actually set out, doing so publicly, not convinced that I’d complete the trip.  Doing it publicly made it harder to bail out of the mission of completing it.
  2. Fall is a great time of year to bike it. I sweated, as one would cross country skiing. Summer heat might be intolerable.
  3. It was not about speed or racing. The journey was paramount, but once underway, I stopped more often for gulps of water than for taking photos. I saw many beautiful things I did not photograph.  Most of my focus was up to 50′ ahead of the bike, as I scanned for holes, root heaves, and sticks. I also saw many historical signs I raced past. Momentum eclipsed puzzling out historical signage; maybe I was wrong in making that choice, but I had done my history homework in advance.
  4. My interior sentience was not about solving the world’s or the state’s problems or hearing music; rather, when thoughts coursed,  they were about refuting political slogans I saw on too many signs.  The wooded areas were more inspiring, even in their non-verbal way.  If I do the Appalachian trail, I hope I won’t see those signs. Next year those distractions will be gone.
  5. Calling it the “canal trail” is misleading. “Rail and canals trail” as a name might be more indicative of what you’ll see.  Having transited the canal to a terminus about 20 times, I know what the “canal view” is.  Here’s the virtual tour I put up after numerous boat trips.  A bike trip does not get you a boat view.  It gets you a bike view.  I’ve discovered a new curiosity about the trains that ran some of these corridors.   Here‘s more on the West Shore RR.
  6. If you missed it before or if I misquoted myself since, my total was about 334 miles which I did in 53.5 hours over a seven-day period. The mileage is calculated from a map, not an actual recording device.  The fourth day I made no miles because of the storm. The 53.5 hours is elapsed time from morning departure until end of day leaving the trail, i.e., the clock kept ticking while I did things like take a break as in Little Falls or wait for the electrical line repair crew clear a live wire off the trail
  7. Next year the trail will be better.
  8. Thanks for following along.  I’m not a cyclist really.  I don’t own a bike.  The Trek I used is available through Oswego Expeditions.  But if you have questions about the trail, I’m happy to consult.
  9. Solo v. groups?  I was fine doing it solo.  One benefit of a solo journey is that I was more disposed to enter conversations with strangers, and I met some interesting ones. That is less likely to happen if you’re boating through.
  10. Now . .  isn’t this blog called “tugster”?  This hiatus has reached its end.  Back to “tugster” next.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,490 other followers

If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Archives

October 2021
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031