September 12, Middleport, New York
Late last night a fierce storm blasted through Tonawanda, packing gusts up to 64 mph and snapping substantial tree limbs as if they were mere matchsticks. Keith and Loren scrambled to attach extra dock lines for insurance.
Today dawns bright and clear, cooled by a refreshing breeze. Dog days and record-breaking heat give way to rain and then crisp fall days with temperatures dipping overnight. Apple-laden trees and corn stalks radiate in neat rows from the red barns that dot the rural landscape. Small swatches of red and orange begin to decorate the lush green leaves on either side of the canal. The trees cling to rock ledges at the shoreline and we revel in God’s created beauty.
Our calm reverie is interrupted by an adrenaline rush when we enter the second lock at Lockport and are blown off the wall by the wind. We stage a dramatic show for the onlookers on the tour boat ahead of us—our second-most-exciting lock experience ever. They cheer when we secure our boat to the wall and lock down. No harm done.
The quiet little town of Middleport is our stop for the night. Stately churches, constructed in the mid-1800s of beautiful native sandstone and brick, anchor the street corners and bear solemn witness to the changes that have occurred over the past century. Dinner is delicious at the historic Basket Factory, originally a manufacturer of bushel baskets for farmers’ produce in the canal’s heyday.