Well, 355 days, and 5312 Nautical Miles later, we are almost in our home waters, at least there are signs that say we are. We are back in the chart books we have used for many years, and the half dozen or so we needed for the rest of the trip are neatly stored, nostalgic thoughts of a great trip are starting to comer up, and our Gold Loop flag is ready to hoist in a few days.
The Erie Canal was another trip through history and also a look at what has happened to many of the towns that built our nation. We met dozens of friendly people in the small towns we stayed in, and were greeted almost everywhere by a group of volunteers who's sole purpose was to make us feel welcome.
The Canal is well marked, but not well charted, in fact the AAA roadmap is probably the best resource for the final miles from Lyons to Tonawanda. During this 100 miles stretch, there are no charts, no buoys and lots of narrow spaces. Along the way there are road signs, since the canal system parallels major highways, it is on the map.
Most of the communities have low cost or even free dockage, many have great restaurants and dock staff or local willing to help you get there. Some highlights.
The town dock in Fairport, NY, note the ICW mustache has not magically vanished, and the EdE J needs a good buff and wax this fall. Fairport is a bustling and growing community, with a busy downtown area right off the docks. Great Ice Cream is within a 2 minute walk, it also has a great meat market and specialty grocery store. For all else there is a Wegman's.
The famous Beardslee "Haunted" Castle in St. Johnsville. The harbormaster will drive you to dinner, and the restaurant brings you back. Also the cheapest fuel on the Canal, Diesel 2.509 a gallon, shades of the Carolina's were fuel was at the 2.00 point.
Lyons bridge wall highlighting their history in the candy business. The town today is a small community without industry, and most people drive 40-50 miles each way to work.
The free bike program at Brockport.
The Gasport welcome sign.
The free dock at Gasport
The entrance sign to the final Erie Canal Locks.
Now to re-rig the boat and begin the trip home.
See you soon,
Ed and EJ