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Old 06-10-2012, 11:50 AM   #3
alekkas OP
Studly Adventurer
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Joined: Dec 2010
Location: Far West Chicago Burbs
Oddometer: 737
This bridge is from that time. Instead of disregarding or letting it degrade, the deck was poured in fresh concrete (fresh as in this year so it must have been updated at least one other time in the past) and the people in the area use it. A useful remnant of times gone by:

While the canal was active, there were lock masters employed to open and close the locks, raise or slide the bridges. They were given houses to live in. Only a few remain. Here is one:

This was one of the many locks with a walking bridge. It was pretty cool to walk over the top and get a good view of the water pouring over.

Lock 17 was something I really wanted to check out. It has a sliding bridge. The way it works is that you drive up from the side, turn in to the bridge and transverse the canal. When a boat came, the bridge slid out on rails and allowed it to pass. Currently, it is in the bridge mode and I crossed it on to dirt roads. In the pics, the bike is on the rear edge of the bridge for scale.

And the rails:

The full view:

Lock 21 also had something I really wanted to understand – a lift bridge. These were added to help farmers travel to their fields. The idea is that the weights help counter the weight of the bridge. As the gearing turns, the bridge physically lifts allowing boats to pass. Too cool for a geek like me!

There are some places where new roads have been built over the canal. Mounds of earth and road were placed on top of culverts allowing the canal waters to still flow. Here is one example:

Since the canal pretty much goes at an angle and Illinois pretty much has perpendicular roads, there was a lot of zig zagging. The canal also created many creative roads in VERY rural areas. Led to a lot of dirt roads like this:

And this. Can you see the tractor coming from on high and meeting me in that turn almost taking a piece of me with him? I sure didn’t….

All told, I probably rode almost 10 miles of dirt on a street bike chasing this thing. A few fish tales made me feel right at home remembering the old CR 125 days….

... more to come ....
Some ride reports:

Why do I keep thinking I'm gonna wind up in a love / hate relationship with a Guzzi?

alekkas screwed with this post 06-10-2012 at 12:00 PM
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