Jr's trip north on the trailer from Hampton was pretty uneventful. We were pleased to find an inexpensive and easy-to-get-to storage lot at Bull Run Regional Park in Centerville, not far from where we were staying in Reston. Another pleasant surprise was the small Mid-Lakes Marina on the canal in Macedon, just a short distance from Dave's parents. They were very accommodating, even letting us stay on the boat on the trailer for a night while we readied her for launching. It took us about a half a day to rig the new mast, put the canvas back up, mount the rudder, tiller, outboard, anchors, fenders, etc. Just after lunch the next day, we were ready to launch. However, we weren't ready to use the truck to do it.
Once in the water, there were only a few tasks left to get going. We wanted to take the bikes with us, so Dave lashed 2 x 2's on the foredeck to support the bikes on either side of the deck. We topped off the water, and got the refrigeration going so we could stock with food. That was pretty much it. Ready to go.
For such a momentous occasion as our first trip on the canal, we needed crew to witness it. So, we recruited Dave's dad to join us for the first leg. It was going to be a marathon trip from Macedon to Fairport – all of about an hour and a half, with no opening bridges and no locks. Pretty mild stuff. If it weren't for the withering heat, it would have been a nearly perfect run. We knew our speed wasn't exceeding the canal's 10mph speed limit, when we saw runners on the canal path pass us easily. This part of the canal is very green, with trees on either side. There is not a lot of boat traffic, since this is now a recreational waterway, so our fellow cruisers were mostly local boaters or the popular canal boats that are available for rent – many of them from Mid-Lakes Marina.
But we have no complaints. This waterway is absolutely beautiful and its towns are welcoming to us at every stop. We've met locals and other boaters with lots of their own stories. The family from South Africa who were escaping the heat by jumping in the canal. The local boater who docked his boat near work during this July 4th week, so within a few minutes of leaving work, he was on vacation. You get the idea.
Since we used to live along the canal, we always had an awareness of its importance in forming the towns and cities in upstate New York. However, what we started to learn in the process of reading about it, was its wider influence on regional and national events. The Erie Canal made New York City a major city, as it became a hub for imports and exports. It was the first time America's frontier became easily reachable and the idea of further expansion took hold throughout the country, as the canal's success was studied and envied. Not only did the region flourish economically, the canal corridor became the engine of ideas as well, with social, religious and progressive movements sprouting in the towns along its banks. Abolition, Women's Rights, utopian communities were ideas that were formed and incubated here. Although the canal's critics were many as New York's Governor DeWitt Clinton promoted and obtained funding for this grand engineering feat, they were eventually silenced by its stunning success.
There will be more discoveries as we travel, if our first 3 days are any indication. We're looking forward to it.
Since arriving in New York, we've had the chance to visit with Dave's parents living nearby in Victor, NY. However, that will not be true for much longer, since they are moving to Pennsylvania at the end of July. Our travels on the canal have been split between time with them, some just visiting and some to help with pre-move tasks. We also worked in our dentist visit as well.