Sunday, August 25, 2013

Canal Cruising

Passage slipped away from the dock in Tonawanda at 8:20 a.m. on Friday, August 23rd.  We motored the 18 miles to Lockport, where we shared the lock with two boats, one a large tour boat, which made the locking interesting.

Once through the locks we continued on to Gasport for a planned one hour stop for lunch and a quick look.

It only took ten minutes to see Gasport.  We had told the bridge tender we would be an hour, so he disappeared for two and a half hours!  We spent waaaaay too much time in Gasport.

Once freed by the bridge tender, we chugged on down to Medina, some 10 miles further down the canal.  This is the view from the helm as one steers the canal.

 Like most towns on the western Erie Canal, Medina offered free dockage  with power, water and showers.

  For 80 years Medina was famous for its sandstone quarry. 

The western portion of the canal is protected from wakes by sandstone.  It is lighter colored stone near Medina, and darker near Albion where their quarry produced darker sandstone.
Friday night is antique car night in Medina.  We were entertained by a DJ and checked out the old cars.  My favorite was a 1956 Chevy.

She was spotless.  A person could eat off her engine.  The show broke up early, and we had a very quiet night at the dock.

We cast off the lines at 9:33 the next morning, fresh with anticipation of things to come.  First was the only aqueduct on the Erie Canal.  Culvert Road passes under the canal at this point.

We made a short stop in Albion, which everyone knows is famous as the home of George Pullman, the inventor of the Pullman Railroad car.  It is also famous for its dark, reddish brown sandstone, which can be seen on many of the churches and other buildings in town.  I am not sure how many churches are right in town, so let's just say there are plenty of them.

Some secular buildings used the stone too.  Click on the pics to enlarge.

Even the sidewalks are sandstone, though I am not allowed to publish that particular photo.

Anyway, we jumped back onto the boat and continued down to Holley, one of the great secret treasures of the canal.  We discovered Holley back in 1999 when we took Journey through the canal.  The village is very tired indeed, but the park like setting of the waterfront is both beautiful and tranquil.  Holley was the first town on the canal to use a grant to develop its canal front.  They provided power and water, and beautiful octagonal bathhouse, and a well maintained park leading to their water falls.


It is very romantic down at the falls, and beautiful women can be found there.
Some even get married there.
The bride had a long walk from the RV to the ceremony!
On Sunday the 25th we travelled from Holley to Spencerport, a distance of 10.6 nautical miles.  We found a new wall here that was not around in 2011, as well as restrooms with showers under the adjacent Canal Museum: all free of course.  The village is small but very well maintained.  The new strip mall shopping is within a block of the canal. which is unusual.  The Tops supermarket is superb, as is Albert's Custard a short walk from the dock.

The locals are extremely warm and welcoming here.  I was forced to rest in the most amazingly comfortable rocking chair at the museum by two extremely charming mature women.  Folks stopped to ask about our trip often.  Interestingly, three days into the canal we have not seen one other boat travelling east.  If you are planning to visit Spencerport by water, stay at the west docks unless you have a shallow draft vessel like Passage, because we have only 4 feet of water here.  We only need 30 inches, so no problem, mon!
Well, there is a concert at the gazebo, so I have to go.  Feel free to keep in touch through the comments section of the blog. 


  1. We ran into the same issue at Gasport last year. The short lunch stop turned into a couple of hours because of the bridge operator. We should have gone through then when he was available. Apparently you are ahead of the fall travelers. They have good donuts at the Spencerport grocery store.

    Roger and Carol Globig

  2. You are really making good time. We will be back in Castleton Tuesday afternoon and if you can find time we would love to have you visit.