8/15/17: After a quick trip to Walgreens in the morning, we were ready to head out. We left the wall where we tied up at about 9AM, and Middleport was 30 miles away. We should be there about 3PM. Did we make it by 3? No! Why not? What else – more rain!
The canal is about 100 yards wide (if that), so navigating is easy, just stay between the two banks. Just outside Tonawanda, there are a lot of houses and businesses along each side, and the shoreline is littered with powerboats, docks, and boathouses. Further along, however, it turns to scattered houses among farm fields and tracts of wooded land. It’s quite scenic! There are many low Bridges and the channel winds quite a bit.
The canal has 35 locks from end to end, and we hit our first two today. These were connected locks: you enter the first, then the fist opens directly to the second. The total drop in elevation was 49 feet. The lock master was quite helpful, and gave us a lot of information about the canal and what was to come. As we were waiting for the first lock to empty, the skies opened and drenched us (Kate more than Pat as Pat was at the stern under the Bimini, but Kate was at the bow right out on the deck).
After these locks, there are a series of 16 lift bridges, which must be raised to go under as they are only 3 feet off the water when down. The first bridge was just past the locks, the second about 4 miles further, and Middleport another 4 miles after that. After we went under the first bridge, we saw dark clouds forming, and brought up weather radar on our phones. A big storm was developing behind us and another just in front of us. We knew we wouldn’t make it to Middle Port, but we hoped to make it to the second bridge, where there was a wall to tie to so we could let the storms pass. We could see the bridge and the wall when the rain started and about 100 from the wall the skies opened (again), and dumped on us as we were tying up. We got drenched again. Nothing left to do but have lunch! We ate our ham sandwiches and waited for it to stop, which was about an hour later.
We pulled into Middleport about 4:30, took showers, and are now writing this as we are doing laundry (oh, the joy)! This town doesn’t have much to do, so we are going to get some burgers at the local pub and then just call it a day.