June 2003

Erie Canal - Day 3

06/30/2003 14:09:27 by Administrator

Hamlin State Park
From: Hamlin Beach State Park
To: Lyons
Mileage: 68

Monday morning found us all back in the Brockport diner for a very filling breakfast. I was going to have the traditional New Hampshire Yankee breakfast (coffee and pie) but had a stack of raspberry pancakes. Outside the restaurant we met a group of 10 riders going from Vermont to Seattle Washington. They were staying in the church for the night, and had to make it to Niagara Falls for the night. They invited us to think about making the trip with them in two years. After exchanging eMail addresses, we got back on the Erie Canal Heritage Trail and our adventure. It was a PERFECT DAY, blue blue skies and temperatures in the mid 80s. The canal path was more active, which is what we like to see. We saw a lot more boating activity on the canal including sculling clubs and state boats actively dredging. We stopped to see 3 boats (yachts) go through lock 30. Prior to that we rode through Rochester New York. This is a bike friendly city, with multiple bikeways. The trail through Rochester was paved, but turned to stone dust after the city. The path between Macedon and Palmyra is getting a new coat of stone dust, which made it very challenging to ride. We had lunch at a small restaurant near the end of the trail and headed towards Lyons on route 31 (bicycle route 5) this part of bicycle route 5 is AWESOME, very little traffic and wide shoulders. We stopped for $1.00 ice cream cones (which our local ice cream stand would have charged us $3.50) and rocked in the rockers they provide on their porch. AGAIN we beat the sag wagon into camp. There was a good reason, Dustin and Dad found a college that made Dustin's top two list. While waiting for the "boys" we had naps under the weeping willow trees in the campground so we really didn't miss them too much. Rochester Institute of Technology has a BioTech program that they wanted to investigate further and go back the next day. So when we met after dinner that night, we agreed to meet at Fisher Bay campground in Bridgeport (on lake Oneida).As they planned on being in that area to camp the next evening

Erie Canal - Day 2

06/29/2003 14:05:55 by Administrator

From: LockPort
To: Hamlin Beach State Park
Mileage: 64

At dinner that night, we made a plan to all meet at Hamlin Beach State Park on Lake Ontario. Dad and Dustin had enough colleges in the Buffalo area and they were planning on being in that area to camp the next evening. So after breakfast, we attached the Bob, loaded the panniers onto Clyde and headed back into Lockport to begin The Erie Canal Heritage Trail. Even though we would meet again at the State Park, we wanted to test the feel and weight of the load. We traveled along the canal until Brockport. Temperatures were in the high 70's and it rained 3 times. A good test to see how wet-proof we were. The rain didn't last very long, but on the third go-around, it came down hard. Everything kept dry. It was the only rain we were blessed with on the trip. During the morning, we "raced" a yacht from Medina to Holley. We also saw lots of wildlife including snakes, red tail hawks, large fish, cardinals, red winged blackbirds, oriole, deer, rabbits, ground hogs, muskrats, golden finches, and more. The trail is crushed packed stone and very flat with rolling hills along either side of the trail and some very pretty homes. Holley had a park with showers (for future reference). There was very little foot traffic, but enough boat traffic to keep us company. Had lunch at the Brockport dinner, it was filling which left no room for the many pies and cakes that I was eyeing in the case. The small towns of Gasport, Albion, and Medina look like towns that we could spend an afternoon riding in.

We arrived before Dustin and Dad at Hamlin Park State Park on the shores of Lake Ontario. What a beautiful park, we had a nice campsite and set up the tent (for practice) and waited for the "sag wagon" to arrive. After a great home cooked dinner and a walk along the lake we sat down and looked at the map. It was agreed that we would meet again at Nor-Win campground north of Lyons. The sag wagon team had done 4 colleges in the Buffalo area and planned to do 4 in the Rochester area and planned on being in that area to camp the next evening (Is this starting to sound familiar?)

Erie Canal - Day 1

06/28/2003 14:01:27 by Administrator

From: Lockport, New York
To: Lockport, New York
Mileage: 38

Bright and early on June 28 my Dad, Dustin, Mary and myself took off in the motor home for Lockport NY. Clyde (our trusty Cannondale tandem) was comfortably riding on the back, with stuffed panniers and our Bob trailer tucked in the shower compartment inside. Katelyn had to work, so she stayed with Grandma for the week. Don't feel too sorry for her, she had an adventure, also, but you will see. Our plan was that Grandpa and Dustin were going to spend the night with us at the campground in Lockport, and head on their way visiting colleges on the route back to New Hampshire. On Sunday, Dustin and Kate would come pick us up near the NY/Mass boarder. This would be one week of biking and camping with a hotel or two for breaks and some good hot baths. But as you will see, sometimes plans don't work out the way you envision.

We purchased a book online called Erie Canal Bicyclist and Hiker Tour Guide, by Harvey Botzman. We also by chance came across a very good Canalway trail map at one of the Route 90 rest/service areas. Although we were happy with Harvey's book, we only used his book for calculating miles for the next day ride and for a guide through Schenectady. We found that the free map was more than adequate, except for in the Rome/Utica area.

The Erie Canalway trail has three large completed trail segments; The 70 mile Erie Canal Heritage Trail (from Lockport to Palmyra), the Old Erie Canal State Park trail which is a 36 mile stretch between Syracuse and Rome, and the Mohawk-Hudson bikeway which is a 25 mile paved trail between Rotterdam and Cohoes. The three are connected by following Bicycling route 5 and some shorter trails.

We arrived at 4:pm at Niagara Family Campground north of Lockport. We were greeted by a "security guard" who was right out of the movies (he was probably even named "Billy Bob"). I'm not quite sure what he was guarding, the campground was 4 miles north of Lockport, in the middle of farm country, and the campground was not worth guarding. When visiting Lockport, we recommend finding other accommodations, something worth $ 22.50. After a very brief set up time, Mary, Clyde, and myself got on the road to find Tonawanda, and the beginning of the Canalway trail system. We picked up the trail a few miles away from the campground and rode it to its terminus in Lockport. From there we tried to use Harvey's book to get to Tonawanda and Niagra falls but couldn't understand why he wanted us to go the roads he had mapped. We had a very strong head wind heading to Tonawanda and after a few miles south of getting off the trail, and getting turned around, we just followed 31 towards Niagara Falls, instead of going south. We did not make it to the falls, which was ok because we have seen the falls before. We reached our 20 mile mark, and turned around to avoid biking back to the campground in the dark. With a tail wind, we "raced" home to our campsite. Only stopped once, back in Lockport, by a flock of Canadian geese (about 40) that were happy to be where they were, and unhappy that Clyde wanted to share the path.

Preface - Erie Canal

06/27/2003 14:06:27 by Administrator

The Erie Canal ceremoniously opened in 1825, and at that time was considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the era. The canal was important in that it connected the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes.

This was a unique trip with highlights that include wonderful educational attractions, flat terrain, moderate daily distances and much of the riding on canal paths separate from road traffic