"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

June 18, 2012

June 17 - Waterford, NY

The Erie Canal
Waterford Canal Welcome Center Dock

Waterford has a farmers market right on the dock every Sunday morning...very convenient. It was fun having so much activity right outside our door. Stan went to a local diner (Don & Paul's) for breakfast. They're known for their $1.75 breakfast...it was full of local characters and boaters.

It was great just hanging around the dock visiting with people. One boat on the wall left this morning so we rode our bikes to the top of the first lock and enjoyed seeing them lock through. There was actually quite a crowd watching the show...hopefully that was a weekend thing and we won't be the entertainment when we leave! The first lock raises you up 34'. We also picked up our seasonal lock pass while we were there. There is a fee for using the locks in New York, but it is very nominal. The pass also lets you take advantage of free docking. You can actually spend most of the season moving through the Erie Canal and the canals in the Lake Champlain area without ever paying for dockage. Most towns have a free wall, some with electricity/water and some without. From the locals we talked to today there are a lot of cute, boater friendly places to visit along the way.

After lunch we spent a few hours exploring the area on our bikes. There are bike trails that run along the canals. Part of the original Champlain Canal runs through town, so we rode a few miles along the path to look at one of the old locks. The ride was nice, mostly through wooded area, then we rode up the Erie Canal and looked at a few of the other locks we will be going through. The bike paths along the canals in New York use the old mule paths that were used to pull boats through the canal in the early days.

We had happy hour on Gallivant and then grilled steaks on our boat for dinner. We really enjoyed visiting with the people walking along the dock. We've gotten a lot of good ideas of places to explore from other boaters and locals in the area.

Eric Canal Facts:
  • It took 8 years to build the Erie Canal. The original Erie Canal was constructed between 1817 and 1825.
  • The Erie Canal is 363 miles long.
  • The Erie Canal spans from Albany to Buffalo.
  • There are 83 locks to solve the difference in elevation from near seal level on the Hudson River to 565 feet at Lake Erie.
  • More than 300 bridges crossed the canal along its route.
  • Mules and horses pulled the canal boats at 4 mph.
  • Costs to transport goods across the state on the canal vs by road were reduced by 80% to 90%.
  • Toll receipts paid back the $7.5 million construction cost within ten years.
  • The canal was enlarged due to increased traffic demands with construction occurring from 1836 to 1862.
  • Tolls were abolished in 1882 because of increasing competition from railroads. Tolls  have been reintroduced.
Looking from the dock to Lock E2 - first lock on the Erie Canal
Wait you see when you exit the first lock...very nice
Waterford Welcome Center Dock
Farmers Market being set up on the dock this morning
This boat is about the same length as our boat...we are going to look like a toy in a bath tub
Going Up! When its time for them to exist, the water will be to the dark part of the wall.
Part of an old lock next to E2, it is now used as an over flow channel.
This will give you an idea of where we are going in the next few months

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