Subj: Lockport, New
Date: 9/7/02 7:46:52 PM Pacific Daylight Time
Sometimes it's hard to believe how events happen and unfold without any
anticipation of what's about to occur. Yesterday was one of those days.
It happened after I had walked to town and was in the local cafe eating a
late lunch. I had visited with the pastor earlier, and was planning on
spending the night inside the local church. The waitress recognized me from
the story in the paper that day, and was showing the article to the other
waitress on duty. I placed my order and was busy reading the news in USA
After the meal arrived, and after I had devoured it, the waitress informed
me that someone had already paid for my meal. I asked who it was, and she
pointed to a couple sitting at the other end of the restaurant. I asked her
why they paid for it, and she said they wanted to visit with me. So I went
over to their table and we started visiting . They had heard about my walk
and wanted to buy my meal, so they did. Then they asked me if I'd like to
stay at their house, and I said sure.
So we hauled me and my stuff out to their house, and we had a great
afternoon together. Dick and Sharon are super nice people, and they drove me
around and showed me all the surrounding towns in that area. We went out to
eat at another restaurant that evening, and after that we headed for the fire
dept so I could ask them for a patch. Not only did they give me a patch, but a
sweatshirt, and some stickers for my 4th graders. And it just so happened that
on friday nights, the fire station has bingo, and in the room next door was a
crowd of 200 people playing their luck. The fire chief went over there and
announced over the mike that I was walking across America, and when I left
there, I had a sweatshirt, a patch, a bunch of stickers, and $97 in my pocket.
I was so amazed.
Later that evening I was telling Dick and Sharon that I was going to be
staying with some lady in Lockport on saturday night, and when I showed them
the piece of paper with the ladies name on it, they busted out laughing -- it
was a good friend of theirs! So Sharon called Sally up and teased her for
taking strangers in and told her how we met at the restaurant.
Meanwhile, the way Sally heard about me was at some birthday party where
someone else from the Epilepsy Association office in Buffalo was also at, and
the lady from the Ep Assoc asked the group if anyone knew of a place where I
could stay at on saturday night -- and Sally said yes. Isn't it wierd how
things work out?
So today, since I was heading for Lockport, I walked down the Erie Canal,
and that was really neat. Plus Dick walked with me, and he's been in this
area all his life -- so he had great stories and interesting tidbits of
history to tell me as we walked along the canal. We saw quite a number of
boats pass by and I enjoyed the walk tremendously.
The Erie Canal, they say, is really the reason why the city of Lockport
came into existence. Hand-dug to connect the Hudson River with the Niagara
River, the 363-mile Erie Canal is truly an engineering feat. Originally, 83
stone locks overcame the 571-foot difference in the level between the rivers.
Enlarged in the early 1900's, now 35 locks allow larger vessels to travel
across New York State.
Local resident Jess Hawley first came up with the idea of connecting Lake
Erie with the Atlantic Ocean, and Governor DeWitt Clinton liked what he heard.
State legislation authorized the building of the Erie Canal in 1817, and it
was completed and opened up in 1825. Known as "Clinton's ditch," it was later
recognized as a tremendous boon to commerce, transportation, and the very
development of this young nation.
After I got to Sally's house, she and another friend took me for a boat
ride on the Erie Canal. The boat ride was 2 hrs long, and included "locking
through". We were raised 49 ft in 12 minutes while we were going through the
locks. They also had to raise several bridges along the route to let us
through, and it was easy to see where the rock was cut and the canal dug out
and built. The weather was beautiful out today, and the boat ride was fun.
On monday I plan on crossing Rainbow Bridge and entering into Canada. Poor
ol' Mom had to Fed-Ex me a copy of my birth certificate (at the tune of $45)
so I can get across. I'm looking forward to getting into Canada, but I'm also
a little bit nervous. I have both my license and birth certificate, but
because I look like a bag lady, I think I'll really be interrogated and will
probably have to empty every item out of my cart. Oh well, I guess that's part
of the journey, right? Everyone around here thinks I'm worrying too much and
that they'll let me through without any questions, but I have my doubts. Oh
sure, I'll get through without a problem, but I think it'll be tedious and
time-consuming, that's all.
Anyhow, I found out today from the Epilepsy Association office in Buffalo
that they made some phone calls for me and the Econolodge in Niagara Falls,
Canada, will let me stay for 2 nights for free on monday & tuesday, so that'll
Y'all take care and have a great weekend! KB
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