Diabetes Awareness Campaign: Trekking Along the Erie Canal.
North Tonawanda
Little Falls
St. Johnsville
Tuesday, October 9
Aldrich Change Bridge.
Aldrich Change Bridge
The next morning we started at the Macedon-Palmyra Aqueduct Park. I had read about the park earlier and was eager with anticipation. It was the location of the Aldrich Change Bridge which had been rescued from the bottom of the old canal near Rochester. It had been sunk due to a terrible storm After it was restored, it was reassembled across a dry section of the Enlarged Erie Canal. The Aldrich Bridge is one of two surviving change bridges left to this day.
Whipple Bridge.
Whipple Bridge
These bridges were invented by Squire Whipple, master bridge builder of his day. Designed to be transported in segments and assembled on site. The bridge had interlocking pieces made it easy to assemble and yet provide strength. They were called change bridges because the allowed the mules and horses towing the barges to cross the canal when the towpath shifted to the other side.
As I have been walking along the canal I often wonder how the his was done. A simple diagram made the explanation clear. The plan is similar to what we would call a quarter clover-leaf ramp on highways. The bridge crosses above the towpaths and has ramps which allow the animals to climb to and descend from the span without the hoggee (mule driver) having to unhook the tow ropes.
Ned from Albany.
Ned from Albany
While inspecting the bridge, a bicyclist came from behind us and got off to examine it also. He had a nice trail bike loaded with saddle bags full of regalia. We got to talking with him and found out that he too had started in Tonawanda and had stayed in some the same towns as I had. His name was Ned and in real life he was a lawyer. He was returning home to Albany.
Ned was married but he was lucky in that he had a woman who let him off the leash. I’m luckier than him because I’ve never been on a leash. Jerie likes too travel and explore new places. In fact she’s the one who encouraged me to walk across Spain. She’s always been my best friend, editor, coach, and now, chase vehicle driver!
Downtown Palmyra.
Downtown Palmyra
Just two miles from the Macedon-Palmyra park, is the town of Palmyra. The downtown section still looks as it did 150 years ago. The first part of the 19th century is called the time of the Second Great Awakening due to the rise of religious revivalism. One of the principal players in that time was Joseph Smith who lived here as a child.
In 1820 the 14-year old Smith received his first “vision” in the nearby woods. Seven year later on a near by glacial drumlin (now called Hill Cumorah) he unearthed the golden plates which he said were given to him by the angel Maroni. This was the beginning of the Church of Later Day Saints, more commonly known as the Mormons.
It is ironic that in an area where a lot of non-traditional religions existed, Mormons were recipients discrimination, hate and violence. In search of a more hospitable environment, Smith and his followers moved to Ohio. Many traveled to Buffalo on the Erie Canal.
On East Main Street is the store where the Book of Mormon was first printed in 1830. Since then it has been translated and printed into hundreds of different languages. Upstairs is where these various editions are still printed, bound, and packaged for shipment around the world.
Bookstore library.
Bookstore library
Since I had been on the road for over a week, my clothes were beginning to acquire, as it is known in Spain, the perfume of the pilgrim. It is a fragrance known in France as eau de sweat. Jerie felt it was imperative that I wash my laundry. After a couple of inquires, we found a small self-service laundromat. We threw my clothes into a machine, fed some quarters, and headed down to the landing at the canal.
Palmyra Landing.
Palmyra Landing
While we were there, we saw a boat pull up to the dock. It was one of those imitation packet boats like I had seen the day before. Filled with curiosity, I went down the ramp to find someone whom I could interrogate. From out of the nearby coffee shop appeared a couple who followed me down the ramp. They were quite pleasant and weren’t offended by my questions.
Pacet Pilot.
Packet Pilot
The rental is $2400 per week which includes fuel. Also, the company provides a pair of bicycles, which solves the problem of a lack of public transportation. I asked the skipper where’d they stay? In the boat which is equipped with berths and a galley He said that there are plenty of moorings at most every town marina and at the locks. They also told me that they could cruise not only the Erie but also the Oswego and Seneca branches of the Barge Canal. And they also were able to go onto Lake Oneida and two of the Finger lakes—Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga.
From the landing I continued on the towpath in the direction of Newark. Jerie went back to the laundromat to dry the clothes. She would then drop them off at a motel in Newark on her back home to Massachusetts.
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