Thursday, September 19, 2013

Canal Experience

This red square on the map is a fun stop and well worth the visit.
We stayed at Mary Jane Thurston State Park on the Maumee River.
 If we were here more than one night, I'd have put my kayoo in here too.
The day use lodge was built by the CCC in 1936.
This picturesque roller dam maintains water in the restored section of the Miami and Erie Canal that we came to experience.
There are miles of trails along the canals. 
We came to step back in time to discover what life was like along the canal in 1876.
The 60-foot Volunteer is a replica of a mule-drawn "government" boat commonly used in 1876. 
Canal boats carried freight and passengers along the Miami & Erie Canal 249 miles between Toledo and Cincinnati.
Characters in period attire welcome us aboard and tend the boat and mules just as they would in 1876. 
There was a tour group of "old" people. I don't know why the crew thought Carol and I were part of that group... but since it was only $5 for seniors, let them think what they want, haha.
The rudder that steers the boat is secured between the legs. 

Some work must be done atop the boat. Sure hope no fighting is required. 
Passing under the modern-day highway. 
The long pole is used to fend off the sides of the canal as needed. 
We're approaching Lock#44, one of the last functioning 19th century limestone locks. On the left is the Isaac Ludwig Mill, a working water-powered saw and gristmill.

These photos of the lock I took after our ride was over. 

As we approach the lock, the rope is released from the mules so they don't get pulled into the lock. 
Entering the lock. 
The humans have to pull the boat into the lock. 

And they have to manually close and open the lock gates. 

 Once through the lock, the ropes are hitched back to the mules.

The new railroad bridge was just completed this year (1876) we are told. 
 Mules along the towpath. The handler, called a "hoagie" was usually about 16 years old.
 Low bridge, everybody down...a conch horn was sounded here.
As we rode, the costumed interpreters described how many days our journey would take, and the hardships we might expect living aboard. 
But those hardships never happened because here we turned around....something the canal boats never did back then.  
The mules begin our turn around. This replica is shorter than the 80 to 100 foot canal boats of the era that would not be able to turn around here. 

 Back by the mill. We didn't get to tour the mill or browse the General Store because they closed before we got back.
Back through the lock. 

 Going down.
Great Blue Heron flying by.  
One more turn around back at our starting point. 
And everything is left shipshape until next time. 
Hope you enjoyed your canal experience.


  1. What an interesting tour! You always find such neat and unique experiences on your travels.