Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cycling the Erie Canal - Day 1 - Buffalo to Medina

What a fantastic first day I had today, despite the little downpour of rain I had leaving Lockport!  It started off with everyone gathered at The Nichols School in Buffalo. After breakfast and a welcome, we all hit the road. How cool it was to have a mass start like that, with the Buffalo police manning all the intersections for us. We rode down to Lake Erie and along the Niagara River for a while and then met up with the canal. We were in and off the canal trail with some riding on roads too. It was cloudy, and sometimes breezy, but a nice temperature and mostly dry. 

In Lockport I visited the Canal Discovery Center with a short multimedia presentation about canal history and the "Flight of Five" canal locks in Lockport that raised (or lowered) boats 50 feet up the Niagara Escarpment. Then I also toured the Lockport Caves. This was a manmade cave through which water from the canal was run, to use hydro power to run a series of factories. We actually entered the cave through one of the huge pipes that brought water down to a water wheel that powered mill stones to grind wood pulp. This was a very interesting, very cool tour. I had heard about the Lockport Cave but had no idea why it was created or what it was used for. 

Leaving the cave tour is when I hit some rain, but it only rained heavily for about 20 minutes, then was a very light drizzle for a bit, and by the time I hit Gasport, it was no longer raining. And by the time I made it to the afternoon rest stop in Middleport, the sun was peeking out. From there it was a short distance to our tent city in Medina and a refreshing shower and dinner. There is even a cycle powered ice cream truck and a smoothie-mobile here in the tent city!

This evening there was a great presentation about canal history and now I'm sitting in a cool breeze by my tent listening to music from the live performers in the center of the tent city. Once I finish this blog post, I'm going to hit the recharging station to charge up my phone. 

I'm trying to be very good about eating regularly and drinking lots of water as I go. Both are kind of hard for me, but I know how important they are so I'm trying to make a conscious effort. And by the time I got to dinner, I was very hungry and at a full plate!  At dinner I sat with a very sociable 12 year old who is also making his first Erie Canal Tour. He is from Lansing, Michigan and is riding with his grandmother with his grandfather manning one of the sag wagons. We had a terrific conversation while we ate!

Below are some pictures from my first day. Not sure if I'll be able to resize them using the Blogger app on my phone, so they may be large. Sorry about that. 

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