Sunday, August 11, 2013

Lockport Cave

I had never actually seen a firehose attached to a hydrant until we pulled up to the Lockport Cave in Lockport, New York. Thick black smoke filled the sky and seemed to get closer with every turn Google Maps told us to take. The smoke was coming from an old building directly across the street from the caves, but we had no trouble signing up for the last tour of the day at 4:00.

15 minutes later, we got some bad news: potential arsonists had the police asking the Lockport Cave operator to refund the money for the 4:00 tour. With the structure of a nearby railroad bridge in danger, and the thread of changing winds blowing smoke into all of our faces, the last tour of the day wasn't going to happen.

We did get to take a self-guided walking tour of the locks along the Erie Canal. Balki and Ginger graciously put up with me recalling one part of Low Bridge on an almost infinite loop:
I've got a mule and her name is Sal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
She's a good old worker and a good old pal
Fifteen miles on the Erie Canal
While walking the enormous locks we saw Miss Jenny Lynn and another small boat go through. The wait time for a lock to fill up is long enough that I could ask the boaters a few questions. Apparently, they head out a few times a year on a season pass to get through all the locks, and you don't need to have appointments ahead of time. If you're looking to rent a boat for the weekend, a 2-day pass is also available.

We also talked to the the lock operator. He is now working 11 hours per day, typically running 15 boats through in that time. Some of the boats get up to 50 feet, but usually anything over that will run into height issues with the bridges along the canal. It's mostly tourists and vacationers now, not too many barges of iron ore these days.

As we were leaving, we noticed a cutout. We can't resist cutouts.

More on flickr.

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