Since May I’ve been working for Mike and Sharon Murphy. They are the founders and owners of Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises which is located in the picturesque small Niagara County, NY city of Lockport. As one of the tourist season deckhands I’ve been shared the responsibility of ensuring that all the visitors have a safe and enjoyable 1 1/2 to 2 hours (depending on lock activity) over a stretch of the history Erie Canal. The Erie Canalway has been recognized by the United States as a National Historic Corridor.
Over the past 12 weeks I have had the opportunity to speak with travelers from across the United States, Mexico, Canada, Eastern Europe, Turkey, India, South Africa, China, and Brazil. I think my favorites have been bikers from their late 40s to early 60s who have appeared in numbers over the last 3 weeks. There was a couple up from Oklahoma who were on their way to the Canadian Maritime provinces. Interestingly on the same trip was a couple from Missouri who were on their way to Canada to ride the roads along the north shores of the Great Lakes to Minnesota and then home. I got the two introduced and they departed the boat together.
Just this past was a group of over 30 riders who belonged to a group called Venture Rider. They came from all over the USA and were pretty much single minded in their mode of transportation. Their web site proclaims:
Though VentureRider is dedicated to the Yamaha Venture, Venture Royale, Royal Star Venture and Royal Star Tour Deluxe motorcycles, we have members who ride many different makes and models. All are welcome.
This was a friendly gregarious, outgoing, personable and inquisitive bunch of people. For me there is nothing better than visitors who get on the boat and want to know about history, people and places. I sure enjoyed them, I hope that they really enjoyed themselves. They seemed like they did.
I mention this sort of thing because locally too many people don’t realize the great variety of travelers that come through and enjoy the area and what it has to offer. All too often we get carried away with the criticism we receive about out winters, even though like Vermont and the Rockies we have a winter sports industry that supports thousands of jobs, and presume people don’t want to come here.
Those people are wrong and people like those affiliated with VentureRider are on track. It’s a big country with plenty to see and do. We here in the Niagara Region are just as viable attraction as most other places.