Log Erie Canal: Brockport September 8-12, 2005
Middleport early on the 8th. It was cloudy and the weather reports called
for rain in the afternoon. We thought we could beat the rain to Brockport,
we couldn't. Oh well.
PM in the afternoon we arrived in Brockton. The community had recently built
a "Welcome Center" for the boaters on the Canal with laundry and showers to
entice people to stop at their town. We were merrily greeted by one of the
several volunteers, "The Professor". He taught Poly Sci at SUNY @ Brockton
for many years and he was very knowledgeable about the community.
day we bumped into the former Mayor Jo Matela who believes that she was voted
out of office because of the "Welcome Center" that became a major campaign
issue. Evidently, the same members of the community don't support boaters.
is great. They have a wonderful bookstore called Lift Bridge Books,
a coffee shop with WiFi, Bitter Sweet, a boutique clothing store and Mythos,
a lovely Greek Restaurant. The real reason we stopped in Brockton was for
the movie theater named the
Strand. They had four screens. We had a lot of movies to
catch up on.
With clear skies, we reluctantly headed out of Brockport to Fairport. The
bridge tender at Brockport mentioned as were we leaving that we should stay
center channel when get to Rochester because the Genesee River dumps a lot
of silt where the Canal Crosses the River and we were warned that it could
be a problem for our vessel at 6 foot 3 inches draft. As we made our way down
the Canal, at first the
water was clean, with lots of fish and birds, and people swimming and fishing.
Then, as we got close to Rochester, all that changed. Rochester is the home
of Kodak, Dow Corning, and numerous refineries and other toxic industries.
Downstream from the city, the water gives off a stench, and there are no fish
and no birds. There are expressway ramps where the banks of the canal used
the Genesee River crossing, Mike aimed for the center channel and accelerated
to hull speed and had both of us brace ourselves, and just went for it. Charging
ahead, we felt a thump and we lifted 6 inches and almost came to a stop. It
is a good thing we did not have masts on board. Then, in an instant, the momentum
and thrust from our Perkins engine pulled us through.
down, the canal widened and wetlands flourished on both banks. Wetlands help
to clean the water and as we got closer to Pittsford, home of the Ryder Cup,
the water became cleaner again. We tried to dock at the town dock but it was
silted there as well. So, off we went to Fairport. We pulled up to the Town
wall and walked about 10 feet and went to the Lift Bridge Café - the Seafood
Bisque was heavenly and the sandwiches were pretty good. Then we went off
to do some exploring. The Main Street lift bridge, built in 1912 is the only
lift bridge in the world built on an incline. Just off Main, stands the Green
Lantern Inn, built in 1876. We found a statute of "Sal" the mule in the Erie
Canal Song. The Village was an active canal port, but developed into a booming
industrial town with companies like the De Land Chemical Company, which produced
baking soda, and the Fairport Vinegar Works, which developed pectin, and Cobb
Preserving, which became American Can. None of those companies survived here
we went to the Fairport Village Coffee House and Wine Bar to listen to the
Maggie Mullens Jazz Quartet. They were very good and the guitarist was excellent!
dawn, Mike looked out the side porthole. Even though he was foggy headed,
he could tell that something was wrong - he was looking not across the canal,
but down it's length!
During the night, someone had cast us adrift. Mike dashed to the deck,
found that the power cord was still attached and pulled us back to the bank.
Another boater had seen our predicament and was rushing to our aide. He said
that this had happened to him three times before he got smart and started
chaining his boat to the dock. We chained Raven to the dock immediately and
later noticed that many boats were also chained. As the ex-Mayor had learned,
it seems that there is a variety of feeling toward boaters among the Canal