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Memorial Day Weekend '22 on the Erie Canal

Friday morning began with an early departure by TRANQUILITY with Peter Wiles, a former partner in Midlakes Navigation, at the helm. Peter wanted to be "Out of Dodge" and heading toward Syracuse before the Pushtug Edna A, and the 150-foot Barge 82 came through the locks and possibly slowed down traffic. Pushtug Edna A had docked overnight in Newark and left the Newark dock promptly before 7:00 AM. It was necessary to lower the pilothouse as it passed under the CSX bridge and continued to Lyons and onward to its final destination, Rhode Island.

The beautiful CAPRICE, owned by Dave and Joann Wahl, arrived on Saturday afternoon. Dave and Joann are frequent visitors to Lyons and the Erie Canal. They are also members of the Lyons Heritage Society. Dave has acted as Dockmaster for the Lyons Peppermint Days celebration for many years. He is an outstanding advocate of the Greeter Program. Dave is a retired Buffalo Fire Chief.

On Sunday evening, the hire boat FREEDOM, a sailboat named SAILBOAT, and the Trawler BUSHRANGER from Australia graced the Lyons dock. Aboard FREEDOM were brothers Mike, Steve, and friend Lynn. In previous years, they have visited Lyons and hail from Virginia, New Jersey, and Buffalo. I reminded them that when they serenaded from the dock, they played the guitar, fiddle, and banjo last year. Old-time music- it can't be beaten... Wonderful folks. SAILBOAT was traveling from Florida to Cleveland.

BUSHRANGER, a 38-foot Marine Trader Trawler, was captained by Mark and Heather Rutherford from Australia. This is their fifth year on the water. Because of international laws, they must return to their homeland after five months. After five months in their homeland of Australia, they return to continue the Loop. As a result, sailing the 6500-mile Great Loop has taken several "timed" segments.

Mark and Heather even attended the memorial service in Lyons Central Park. They were fascinated with the town's history, walked and read every Canalway walk sign, took photos of murals, and plan to soon return for an Erie Canalway Land Tour. They have posted on their international blog a beautiful tribute to Lyons...

On Monday morning, the Lock 27 area was the place to be for local spectators and cycle tourists. At different times, FREEDOM, SAILBOAT, BUSHRANGER, and two transient boats...."locked thru" and headed west. One of the spectators asked the transient boat, "Where are you headed?" "Said the first mate, "On our way home to Minnesota- been on the water for four years!"

While the boats were heading west, cycle groups started to appear: a group of 10 from Buffalo heading to Syracuse, a group of 12 heading from Syracuse to Rochester, a group of 6 traveling from Ohio to the Hudson, and a group of 21 with Cycle the USA!.... This is the first of 4 visits that Cycle the USA will make this summer. As Director Diane Kolifarth said in parting, "Well, we have caught each other for the past seven years; maybe we will catch you on our next trips, too" By my count, 67 cyclists passed through Lyons on Saturday and Sunday- probably many more!

Perhaps you wish to follow Bushranger on their blog at Bushranger's Legs. It is a perfect example of a "boater blog" posted by most transient boaters. All boaters have a story, and they are proud to tell it- especially when they visit communities like Lyons here in Wayne County!

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