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

June 13, 2018

June 11 - Bridges, Bridges, Bridges

Spencerport Town Dock

Low bridge, everybody down, low bridge for we're coming to a town, and you'll always know your neighbor, and you'll always know your pal. If you've ever navigated on the Erie Canal” -Thomas S. Allen

The last 100 miles of the Erie Canal from Fairport to Tonawanda most resembles the original Erie Canal. Miles and miles of straight dug canal with towpaths on both side. This section of the Western Erie has more dockage points with electric and miles of developed walking/biking paths along the old towpath than the previous 246 miles. The little towns along the canal are so pretty, with nice canalside parks, gazebos, walking trail, restaurants, shops and very nice people. The towns are clean and there are beautiful flowers everywhere...very picturesque.
We went through two more locks today and only have two more towards the end of the canal to deal with...the new thing added today was lift bridges...very small, very low bridges. There are 151 bridges and guard gates, from Fairport to Tonawanda, including 12 lift bridges. We went under 64 of them today (a new record for us)...most were pretty low and some much lower than the stated heights in the guide books. We remeasured our height (again)...with the bimini up we're 15', there were many places where that was too high, so we removed our icinglass and lowered the bimini so we didn't have to worry about getting under any of the bridges. We are now down to 12'.

Leaving Fairport this morning we went under our first lift bridge
A cute little boat we saw this morning
Can you see how many bridges and guard gates there are in this picture...and how low they are?
There are four bridges in this picture. We went through Rochester and by the airport...lots and lots of bridges in this area.
 Guard gates and bridges...everywhere
Pedestrian bridges in Rochester 
The bridges are very old...and very low
The section of the Erie Canal just past Rochester is referred to as the "Rock Cut", because it required the most extensive excavation of the whole canal. The deep cut was made through solid rock. Definitely not the prettiest part of the canal, but very interesting. 
People in New York and New England love their ice cream, so we figured we deserved to indulge after a long hard day on the Erie Canal. 
 Our dock in Spencerport
A Lift Bridge is a low bridge designed to lift up out of the way of canal boat traffic. These short bridges carried the towpath over a canal slip, a small canal perpendicular to the main canal, built to provide access to docking areas or mills. A closed lift bridge would enable traffic to cross the Canal at the same grade as the towpath compared to the slope on either side of a regular bridge. Since the slip was used much less frequently than the canal itself, the bridge was only open occasionally and traffic was rarely affected. Lift bridges also were used in cities where it was inconvenient to raise street levels to cross the canal.

Lift Bridge in Spencerport
The lift bridge going up in Spencerport

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