A bit of a prologue might be in order. Over the years my parents had a few sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay, from a small day-sailer to a “Delta Class” boat we both cruised in as well as raced in weekend races sponsored by many CBYRA (Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association) clubs. Then one my two uncles bought a “Mailbar Jr” in Chicago, and since he lived in Baltimore he wanted it on the Chesapeake. His choices were limited shipping it by truck or have his sister, my mom, and her family help sail it. The trip was split into two parts, he brought it through the Great Lakes and we were to bring it from Buffalo, NY the rest of the way.
That was many years ago, many more than I want to count, or even admit to, my family’s big trip was to ‘sail’ my uncle’s boat from Buffalo, NY to the Chesapeake Bay. Sail was a bit of a stretch, for the first 400 miles we had stepped the mast onto a cradle so we could pass under the many low bridges that cross the Erie Canal and used our Grey Marine engine. We actually started somewhere near Lockport, NY and did eventually end up in Annapolis, but owing to some difficulties along the way I didn’t go all the way by boat, only missing the last leg across the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal down the northern part of the Chesapeake Bay. But parts of that could fill another story.
Then many years later I was once again in western New York state and came across the canal. This finally piqued my interest in it, as a youngster I didn’t realize what an adventure that summer was. It took me another dozen or so years before I once again became interested. I’d seen mention of a bicycle ride from one end of the canal to the other, but it was too last that year to join. But in 2000 I did join the ride for the first time, then again in 2001.
The ride started at the Nichols School and wound through the city of Buffalo on a cool Sunday morning till we reached the western end of the Erie Canal. By lunch time we’d progressed as far as Lockport, and by late afternoon we arrived, and about 150 riders on the tour built a tent city on one of the ball fields of local high school. A local group cooked us a wonderful dinner, and breakfast the next morning.
Before breakfast the tents packed and the support trucks before we took time to eat. When we headed out by bicycle the second day one of the sights and sounds brought out old memories. I remembered that as we passed through this area on our first day by boat so many years ago I heard the sounds of running water. Neither mom nor dad knew what it could be, so at that time I had to leave it as a mystery, now I solved it. The canal formed a hair-pin loop to the south, taking advantage of the hills of Medina, and to allow Old Orchard Creek to pass under the canal, as it drops into Glenwood Lake in a cataract that could be heard up on the canal. The mystery of the running water was solved.