15 Years on the Erie Canal…


One of the first songs I ever remember learning:

I had a mule, his name was Sal
15 years on the Erie Canal.
He’s a good ol’ worker, he’s a good ol’ pal.
15 years on the Erie Canal.

We’ve hauled some barges in our day
Filled with lumber, coal and hay.
And every inch of the way we know
From Albany to Buffalo.

Low bridge, everybody down.
Low bridge ’cause we’re going through a town.
And you’ll always know your neighbor, you’ll always know your pal
If you’ve ever navigated on the Erie Canal.

At Rocketfest we talked with Andy Platko and he told us about the Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath Trails. They run up into the Cuyahoga National Park and through Cleveland but there is no overnight parking in the park. When we were on our Seville/Westfield Center tour with Franklin, we stopped at the trailhead at Sterling and talked to some folks who told us we could pick up the trail right around there near Canal Fulton.

Jim went into action and found a spot at Clay’s Park, just two miles from the trail. We motored over there and got set up so we could ride for a few days. Our view from the bus, not too bad…

The next day we took off on the bikes for a nice 20+ mile ride. As soon as we had gone about 10 miles and turned around, it started just pouring down rain. There was nothing to do but keep riding, so that’s what we did. By the time we got back to the bus, we were soaked and the bikes were soaked. We were so dirty from the chat on the trail making a stripe up our backs and all over our packs, that we hosed ourselves off in the outdoor shower at the bus, bikes, clothes and all. Good thing we have that shower, it has saved us a lot of black tank fill-up. We used it all the time at Marni and Eric’s.

The next day rain was also called for but not as likely. We took off in the other direction and after our picnic lunch, it started to rain a little, exactly like the day before. You think, “Oh, this won’t be too bad.” Next thing you know, you are inundated. We headed back. I don’t mind getting wet all that much, but two days in a row was a bit of a stretch. We made it back to the bus and the weather was beautiful the whole rest of the day. Go figure.

The towpath ran between the canal and the Tuscarawas River so we got to see some of both. The remains of the locks at Canal Fulton and Clinton were really interesting and made you feel like you were back there in time with the mules hauling the barges. .


The remaining canal boat, the St. Helena, was at Canal Fulton but out of the water. The canals were really narrow, probably dug with not much clearance on each side. No margin for error.

Tusawara River and the Ohio-Erie Canal.

DSC_9960 DSC_9964

The sunflowers, Joe Pye Weed, rudbeckia, echinacia, liatris and other flowers made for a  glorious mid-August display.
DSC_9957 DSC_9939 DSC_9954
Thanks to Andy Platko and Franklin and the people at the trailhead for the suggestions. We have other towpaths on our radar now.



4 comments on “15 Years on the Erie Canal…

  1. Pingback: The Great Allegheny Passage | Mighty Bus

  2. Pingback: The Great Allegheny Passage | Mighty Bus

  3. Pingback: The Virginia Creeper Trail | Mighty Bus

  4. Pingback: Clovis: Saving Us From Ourselves, Part I | Mighty Bus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s