African Connection links are now in the sidebar to the right, just below the My Travel section.

Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Go West!

No, it wasn't Horace Greeley, but John Soules (now that's "erie") who encouraged all of us youngsters to head west. And, after touching the easternmost point of the cruise yesterday afternoon, today would bring us all the way to the western extreme. Our longest day "under the sail" such as it was.

Except for being longer, it wasn't so much different than the last day and a half on the canal. More great weather, more serenity, more waters disturbed only by our passing. Ahhh…..

Our first stop was Palmyra, another pleasant town with a great marina. We pulled out of the canal into a little cove with a low wall for easy docking. There was shore power (which we plugged into for no really good reason) and water (which we didn’t need). It was early - that is, before 11 a.m. - so nothing was open. Nonetheless, we had an enjoyable stroll around town before returning to the little cafĂ© above the marina. We sampled the blueberry lemonade which hit the spot as it was already quite warm. Being in no hurry, we sat in the cool dining area for a while then headed back to the boat to continue our westward journey.

Boating note: I got to toot the horn as we pulled into the canal. This is something you are supposed to do, even though there wasn't another boat to be seen. But hey, any excuse to blow your own horn!

We went through 4 locks and cruised by the marina at Macedon where we started the adventure. It wasn't long before we were in the "wides," a fairly large expanse of water in canal terms. The canal itself hung up close to the north bank and was identified by the red markers on the right (we were returning) and the green on the left.

Just a bit later we got into the area around Bushnell's Basin. There was a nice looking inn and restaurant at a big bend in the canal, but the most interesting thing in this stretch were the guard gates. Pretty much guillotines over the canal. Big gates that could be lowered into the water, something that would obviously make passage just a bit more of a challenge. I pictured hoards of wild-eyed terrorists in zodiacs, their intention to wreak mayhem on the canal towns of Fairport or Pittsford foiled by these inanimate guards. It was a bit of a letdown to discover that their purpose was more along the lines of flood control. Oh well, I guess that's plenty exciting if you live next to the canal.

I had to call the bridge tender in Fairport so he could raise the lift bridge for us to go under. It was like so many things on the cruise - interesting in a serene way. The bridge, which sloped across the canal, went up slowly with only an occasional soft creak. When it was ready, the signal light turned green and we went under.

My impression of the Fairport lift bridge

About an hour later we pulled into our destination: Pittsford. According to the Canal Guide, we would find shore power and water at the south wall in the canal park. I pulled up to the east end of the wall, but did not see the familiar power/water service points. Moving slowly up the wall, we finally reached the far west end and there found a single station with two power outlets, one of which did not work. We were the only boat there at the time. And for the rest of the day. And overnight. But I wondered, what if a lot of boats came in looking for power. It would be crowded at our end of the wall, that's what. But, as noted, we were the only boat so we might never know…

I went off on a solo exploration walk and found that Pittsford has a Starbuck's near the park and just a block away, a Ben and Jerry's. This was looking good. Crossing the bridge, I found Towpath Bike, but was disappointed to find that they didn’t have a signature jersey. The last stop was the highly touted Aladdin's restaurant, situated right on the canal. It looked like the place for dinner and offered a pretty good selection of vegetarian dishes. We did end up there for dinner and enjoyed it thoroughly.

After dinner we went to Ben and Jerry's for desert then to the very nice public library where we found a free book table that allowed us to replenish our supply of mindless vacation reading material. After returning to the Onandaga we sat looking out over the canal for a while, enjoying the youthful energy displayed by the local rowing clubs as they practiced in the still waters of the canal.

We had come west and it was good.

Pictures from our third day on the canal:

Cruising westward out of Newark

On the way to Palmyra

Tied up in Palmyra

Church Street in Palmyra
Literally a church on every corner.

Railway station in a canal town

Caribbean or NY state?

Cafe near the marina

Returning to the Onandaga

Guard gate near Bushnell's Basin

What the Fairport bridge REALLY looks like

Our escort flotilla

Aladdin's in Pittsford

Tied up for the night in Pittsford

Cruising the hard way

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of numerous bike trips, except on water! Small towns, restaurants, & townhalls . . . now, if you'd just had a local band playing in the park!