Monday, August 14, 2017

Canada, Buffalo and Along the Erie Canal

I promise I'll be talking about art again soon!

But right now having fun exploring for another week.

I took the short cut through Canada on my way to NYC.

I crossed the Ambassador Bridge into Canada - be sure to take your passport! When growing up all you needed was a drivers license - but times have changed.

Sunflowers for as far as I could see. Lots of wineries, big tall green houses for growing every vegetable there is and strawberries and other fruit. They produce all through the winter.

I stopped at Niagara Falls, it's been about 30 years since I've been there. The Falls look the same of course but the flowers are more beautiful than ever - this trip seems to be a lot about the flowers! 

I still wonder how there is so much water going over year after year and it doesn't run out, where does it all come from? And just what is the Niagara escarpment?  It is a long ridge of rock cliff that runs from New York across the top of Michigan and into Wisconsin. And it seems that the US and Canada control how much water goes over the falls at any particular time - technology!

I stayed on Grand Island for the night then drove to Lockport.

Ancestors on both sides of my family worked on the Erie Canal and were early settlers of Ohio. It's fascinating to me that both sides were in the same small towns in Connecticut  in the early 1700's. Then to have my Mom and Dad marry some 250 years later.

I've always been interested in transportation - railroads, canals, air, and automobiles.

My interest in railroads started with railroad architecture, then while admiring the depots I saw the locomotives so started drawing them too. The canal boats, the locks, the buildings along the canals are also fascinating to me.

The original canal was four feet deep and 40 feet wide cut through fields, forests, rocks, swamps, crossed rivers on aqueducts and went up hills with 83 lift locks. Most of the people building the canal were US born and it took eight years to build. 

The Erie Canalway National Park was established in 2000 and stretches 524 miles across upstate New York.

The first or last locks, depending on which way you are going, are in Lockport. I took a boat ride and went through locks 34 and 35. When originally dug there were many more locks but through the years they have been replaced with larger ones.

I loved seeing the 5 locks to the right of of 34 and 35. "Lockport’s staircase of five locks, ascending a height of 60 feet within a distance of only 550 feet, is one of the best-preserved structures remaining from the Enlarged Erie era." When built there were 5 locks on the left and 5 on the right. As boats got bigger the ones on the left were replaced by 2 larger locks.

I made a quick stop in Rochester and liked these light poles with mosaics.

And I saw lots of neat houses with flowers. I love flowers but what I REALLY love is flowers combined with architecture or structures, like walls, sculpture, fences.

As I went further east I saw many other locks and also stopped at the Canal Museum in Syracuse. Interesting to note, one of the buildings is an the original Weighlock Building. This was used to weigh boats as they went by. It turns out that the canal brought a lot of growth to Syracuse and a second canal was dug to the north and the original part of the canal that went through downtown Syracuse was filled in. 

The next day I went to an amazing place - The Sonnenberg Garden. That will be in my next post!

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