Thursday, August 30, 2012

New York's Neighbors and Pals

Erie Canal Song

Low Bridge, Everybody Down
(Written by: Thomas Allen in 1905)

I've got a mule, and her name is Sal,
Fif-teen miles on the Er-ie canal,
She's a good ol' worker and a good ol' pal,
Fifteen miles on the Er-ie can-al,
We've hauled some barges in our day,
Filled with lum-ber coal and hay,
And ev'ry inch of the way we know
From Al-ba-ny to Buff-a-lo OH


Low bridge ev'-ry bod-y down,
Low bridge for we're com-in to a town,
And you al-ways know your neighbor,
You'll always know your pal,
If you've ev-er navigated on the Er-ie can-al

Listen to full version:

I remember singing this folksong in 5th grade and wondering exactly what it would be like to take a cruise down the Erie Canal. So when it was time to pick a ride in New York state, there was no other place I'd rather be. It's been a long time coming, but now I've had my Erie moment. Mind you, my "cruise" was of the wheeled variety, but a journey to remember none the less.

Elegant homes border the canal.

What a glorious day for a cruise.

Apples to Apples

This device must be what they use to control the volume of water flowing in the canal. Like a giant  Guillotine, this gate drops down to serve as a "valve." 

What does a young man do while having his car repaired in Lockport NY? Why, he just hauls out his bike and takes a little cruise down the Erie Canal. This fellow's name is Nick. He and his brother rode about 300 miles of the canal last summer, and they plan to do more segments in the future.

Speaking of canal wheelmen, here are brothers Alan and Steve from Chicago. They dedicate a week each year to riding from Chicago to New York City in segments. This year they'll log a couple of hundred more miles of bike packing to the Big Apple.

So, what about that "low bridge" thing in the song? How do they handle that it today's world of fancy yachts and such on the Canal? Check out how they do it in Medina.

Going up....
and all the way up... that our friends on Tumbleweed can enjoy their day on the canal...
...along with the skipper of Old Glory, who seems to be having a nice day to himself...
...along with some other sailors...

...and a few dry-landers like BikerBuck.

 Lockport NY has established itself as the headquarters of today's Erie Canal buffs. There is a well run Canal Information Center open daily to answer questions and tell the story of the canal.  I became fascinated with the economics of the Canal when Mr. Nick and I listened to Bill Bryson's At Home: A Short History of Private Life during our Western Union segment of the 50-50 back in May of last year. If you plan to visit the canal I would suggest that a little historical brush up in advance will magnify your Erie experience.

After a quick clean up and checkout of the Courtyard in Buffalo, BikerBuck blasted off on a 7-hour drive to Ludlow VT and the delightful Echo Lake Inn. Stay tuned.

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