The New York State Canal System

Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Champlain Region Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Oswego Region Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Niagara Region Rochester Region Map of the NYS Canals
Utica Region Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Albany-Troy Region Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Cayuga-Seneca Region Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals
Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals Map of the NYS Canals

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A Cruise In The Past Lane is the log of John & Judy Gill, Skip Haskell and Norm and Lynda Beatty who cruised on the Erie Canal in September 2006 aboard an Erie Canal Cruise Lines rental boat -- Website: <>.

Part 1.  West Bound.

Saturday, 9 September.  We met up with Lynda and Norm Beatty at the Erie Canal Cruise Lines docks in Seneca Falls, NY and loaded all their gear into the Durango.  With all the Two J’s gear and all Norm and Lynda’s we were a bit crowded (that is putting it mildly), but squeezed everything and everyone into the SUV for the hour trip to Fairport.  In Fairport we met up with Skip.  We walked into town and had lunch while our rental boat named “FAIR DINKUM” was being cleaned and resupplied with linens, towels, etc.

We were a little late getting underway because the crew to clean the boat and check us out was late getting to Fairport.  Once we got checked out with all the boats systems, we left the dock and went a short distance to pump out the holding tank, then John drove the boat back to the dock to let the cruise line crew off.   We finally began our cruise at 3:45.

We had planned a short trip for our first day and went 6.5 statute miles to the town of Pittsford, NY.  Docked and hooked up shore power to a 15 amp receptacle located on one of the lamp posts along the dock.  Finished unpacking and settling in and went to dinner a short walk away.

Sunday, 10 September.  We were awakened at about 7:30 a.m. by Lynda who couldn’t seem to get the coffee maker to work.  We quickly diagnosed the problem to be a lack of electrical power.  It seems that when the automatic timer shuts off the lamp posts, the power to the boat dock receptacles is also turned off.  The Two J’s had brought along a spare 50 foot 30 amp power cord from their boat.   Skip and John looked around and found a live receptacle on a corner of a building along the dock which housed some gift shops, plugged in and coffee pot turned on.

Got away from the dock this morning at about 9:00 a.m. and were not sure how far we would go.  Plans were to go to either Spencerport or Brockport.  We passed by Spencerport after going 14.1 miles because it did not look too interesting and decided to go another 7.6 miles to the town of Brockport and check it out, since we still could go back to Spencerport if we wanted to.  Arrived in Brockport at about 3:00 p.m. and immediately decided to stay.  Brockport is a nice little college town (State University NY at Brockport).  Great town dock, facilities with washrooms, 30 amp electric, water, etc.  Skip and Norm even found a place that offered free coffee and ice to boaters!  Dinner tonight was aboard, pepperoni pasta made ahead by Lynda.

Part 2.  East Bound.

Monday, 11 September.  We got up at about 7:30 a.m., had breakfast and were ready to leave Brockport by 9:30 a.m.  Lynda told us that it was a bit brisk outside - only 10 degree's.  We had to remember that being from Toronto, her thermometer was in Celsius, so it was really around 50 degrees F.  We met an AGLCA Looper that arrived in Brockport just as we were leaving.  Today was a long but leisurely cruise of 32 miles covering the distance between Brockport back East to Fairport with two locks.  We docked at 2:30 p.m. on the East side of the Fairport lift bridge -- it’s a unique bridge because it lifts straight up on both sides versus only lifting on one side.  Also, the bridge is at different heights on both sides, so it raises on an angle.  Cruising the Erie Canal is a lot like cruising the narrow sections of the ICW except that there are fewer homes and cottages along the banks, mostly wilderness.  You see the occasional boater and lots of people using the tow path along the North side of the canal for riding bicycles, jogging, walking their dogs or just taking a leisurely walk.  Every so often you will see park benches and picnic tables for rest stops and most villages have a park along the canal’s bank.

Tuesday, 12 September.  We had a leisurely start today because we only planned on a short cruise of a little over 11 miles from Fairport, NY to Palmyra, NY.  Skip and Norm made a quick run for milk, breakfast rolls and ice cubes (two of our cars were left in Fairport).  We left the dock at about 10:00 a.m. and ran a short distance to pump out the forward holding tank which was not done last Saturday when we left Fairport.  We traversed two locks today, but no lift bridges that had to be raised.  Palmyra is a very old town with lots of old Main Street store buildings.  Its main claim to fame is that it is the only city in the USA which has a church on all 4 corners of the main street (Episcopal, Methodist, Baptist and Presbyterian).  The town dock is in a man made basin with a new cement pier which has both electric stantions with twin 30 amp service and one water spigot.  Judy, John and Lynda walked the town while Skip and Norman took the bicycles (the boat came with four bikes) for a spin to check things out.  The consensus was to take the small gas grill out of the anchor locker and see if it worked - it did and we decided to grill the pork tenderloin we brought with us for dinner.  We’ve already decided to eat out at an Italian restaurant in Lyons tomorrow.

Wednesday, 13 September.  Today was another short cruise of only 15 miles to Lyons, NY.  It rained most of Tuesday night and was raining lightly when we awoke in the morning.  When we left Palmyra at 8:45 a.m., it was an on and off light rain to drizzle.  We went down 3 locks and arrived in Lyons just about noon.  Skip was the only one who brought full foul weather gear (pants as well as rain slicker) so he was given the bow locking duty.  The boater’s facilities (head, showers, etc.) are located up the canal bank a short distance away in the town’s fire house.  The scenery was a little different today with several wide areas along the canal and more summer cottage type communities.  A little after we docked, another Looper boat “VALENTINE” from California came in and docked behind us.   This was the fourth Looper we had run into on this trip.  Dinner tonight was at Trombino’s restaurant - everyone enjoyed an excellent meal.

Thursday, 14 September.  It rained on and off all last night and was raining lightly when we got up this morning.  Nevertheless we disconnected the electric power cord and lines and were under way by 8:15 a.m.  Since there was not a good place to stop today, we continued in the rain (sometimes heavy), for the 28 mile trip, with 5 locks (one double lock), all the way to Seneca Falls, NY.  We made excellent time and arrived in Seneca Falls at 2:30 p.m.  Lunch was all about left overs from previous dinners and lunches plus some soup with left overs added.  With the cool, rainy weather, a hot bowl of soup was very welcome and healthful.  It was still raining off and on as we arrived.  Since we were early, and with the lousy weather, we decided to tie up and drive back to Fairport in Norm and Lynda’s SUV to retrieve John and Judy’s SUV and Skip’s Pick Up Truck.  Skip also did some last minute shopping in Fairport to buy Karen a souvenir sweat shirt.  Dinner was aboard and the evening spent relaxing before our last day.  We will stay put if the weather is inclement or take a boat ride and try to be back in port by 3:00 p.m. tomorrow (to secure a docking place prior to the weekend boaters).

Part 3.  Westbound and back Eastbound
on the Seneca-Cayuga Canal

Friday, 15 September.  Our last day aboard the Fair Dinkum!  It stopped raining and we had only partly cloudy skies today despite the weather guesser’s prediction of showers all day.  We decided to take a boat ride under fair skies and warmer weather and end our cruise on a high note.  We left Seneca Falls at 9:15 a.m. and went Westbound on the Seneca-Cayuga Canal (between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes).  This took us through one lock and then into Seneca Lake.  We went across the Northern end of the lake to the Geneva, NY shore and had a beautiful hour ride on the lake before returning back to Seneca Falls -  about a 23 mile round trip.  We arrived back at Seneca Falls, NY at a little before 2:00 p.m.  After docking we started the chore of packing up all our belongings.  Dinner tonight was at Abigail's Restaurant on the outskirts of town.  Great food.  

Saturday we will turn the boat back to Erie Canal Cruise Lines and then go to Connie’s Diner (a 1950’s vintage restaurant) for breakfast located in Waterloo (the next town West of Seneca Falls).  Then John and Judy will depart for Hatboro, Skip for Conway and Norm and Lynda for Toronto.

A great time was had by all cruising this historic canal built in 1825!!!

Overall Statistics: 

We traveled a total of 133.4 statute miles over our 7 day Erie canal boat voyage and traversed 16 locks.  Of that, 118.4 was actually on the Erie Canal, plus 16 miles on the Seneca-Cayuga Canal and Seneca Lake.

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