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Rainy Days and Thursdays

A slanted lift bridge in Fairport, New York.

September 16, 2010

I’m on my way to Seneca Falls today. It is an overcast, cold, damp morning, the kind that calls for another cup of hot “Joe”. I start in the town of Fairport, New York. Fairport is known for its slanted lift bridge. The bridge is an irregular, ten-sided structure and crosses the canal at a 32-degree angle. No two angles in the bridge are the same, and no corners on the bridge are square.

I ride along singing the “Erie Canal Song” by Thomas S. Allen.                                                                          

I’ve got an old mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal
She’s a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen years on the Erie Canal

We’ve hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal, and hay
And every inch of the way we know
From Albany to Buffalo


Low bridge, everybody down
Low bridge for we’re coming to a town
And you’ll always know your neighbor
And you’ll always know your pal
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal

I’m cycling in the boonies so my screeching doesn’t disturb anyone around me. When I enter Macedon, New York I ride by Lock 30. Along with locks, canals have stop gates. A stop gate divides long stretches of canal into smaller lengths in the event of a break in the canal.

If a break occurs in a section where there are many miles between locks, water will drain away before the break is repaired. Stop gates are closed in emergencies, to isolate the area where a break occurs, thereby preventing the water in the entire section from flowing out. The gate can pivot from the bottom of the canal or the sides or can be a guillotine overhead structure.

When I arrive in Palmyra, the Erie Canalway Trail diverts to Aqueduct Park. Here I find the reconstructed Aldrich Change Bridge No. 35, which allows horses or mules to cross the canal when the towpath switches from one side to the other without being unhitched and re-hitched. These were used during the Enlarged Erie Canal era (1840-1905). The trail finally leads me back to the waters of the canal.

As I cycle east toward Newark, it starts spitting out. The sky ahead looks dark and threatening. I pedal faster hoping to get to Newark without being rained on. When I arrive in Newark, the clouds open up and dump buckets of rain. Rodge is there to rescue Destiny and me. As a storm front coats the radar screen with green, yellow and red, the rest of my cycling day is rained out.

From Newark, New York on, the Erie Canalway Trail leaves the waters of the Erie (Barge) Canal and continues along the road or along bike paths. We pass through the towns of Lyons and Clyde on SR 31, then drop down to Seneca Falls on SR 414. I hope tomorrow is a dryer day.

God Bless,


Romans 8:38-39 

A stop gate along the Erie Canal.


Lock 30 in Macedon, New York.