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Bktourer1 from Da Bronx (living in Mass) on 12/6/2020 12:42:43 PM:
Besides the Locks that allow camping, what towns have parks you can legally camp at? Do you need to call ahead? Can you just camp along the canal when you need to?

wnybubba from Bflo/Roc on 12/7/2020 10:32:08 PM:
So... what knowledge I gained b4 my ride in June was: there really are not specific camping spots that are supported by the Canal Corp (or PTNY). "Better to ask for Forgiveness than Permission" seems to be ideal strategy. Officially, I do not know that there is a rule about camping along the trail (not sure I've seen signage that prohibits it), but there are certainly many, many, options available for such. I always felt that I had that as a back-up option on my tour on any given evening if things didn't work out or if I was just exhausted. Also, as I've ridden many sections since, I've often noted-- why that would be a really decent place to bivouac! So, yes I'd consider on or just off trail in more rural sections to be a viable option. Second item is that Locks generally are a good option, but again, no policy or prescribed places. Most advise to ask a Lock Operator if it's okay (or in my situation) thank them in the AM with much gratitude! They understand. Also, the Canalway doesn't follow the canal the entire way. You are often a mile or so away from a given lock. But... quick mapping will show you and direct you there -- I did a lot of planninf/calculating in the late afternoon when I knew how my day was going, the weather and my mental and physical being. What really worked for me in pre-tour planning was to use the Canal maps online (here and PTNY) and coordinate specifuc locations with Google maps. Find a spot or mileage that looks decent or within where you intend to travel and then scope it out in "Street Mide" on the map app. You can also do this for any Lock. Google Maps knows, for instance, where Lock 32 is and you can scope out the area and surroundings in Street view mode. Gauk around all you want -- 360° and move from one side of a crossing to the other. It's pretty cool. I did ask (and receive) permission a few times to stay on private property next to or just off the trail. I merely approached someone (owner) and explained/asked. Here's one last thought on planning... your best made plans may not be those that you end up following. Take my tour for example -- Day 3 I had spokes break and was delayed 3-4 hours. Well, you never make that up. Every plan for overnight destination was off by almost 1/2 a day thecrest of the tour. So... you re-group, get out a map and see how things can work. Here's what I know or remember... Lock 30 (Macedon) there is a town park next to the Lock intended for Canalway users (didn't know that when I rode), but I asked at the Fire station right next door and got permission to stay over on their grounds. Lock 21 just west of Rome is a really nice setting. Large expanse of mowed grass and a potty (I believe). Lock E-12 worked out well for me. I forgave myself the next morning & was even allowed to charge my phone while I broke camp. There's another Lock along this section that has a park along side if it. There may have been a discussion here that I was a part of. Again... I found out a lot by zeroing in on Maps Street mode. The final lock (E-2) in Waterford is also a park-like setting. The telephone/light pole in the far corner has an electrical outlet and the Lock house has one on the outside wall! Nearly everywhere I stayed I was within a really easy walk/ride of a convenient store or restaurant and easy access to comfort facilities. Never had an issue. Always had a picnic table close by. And, one last item -- I read before leaving that if you are going to be a renegade camper, make a sign to hang out on your tent or bike that explains what you are doing and why you are there. I added my name and cell phone number figuring I'd rather get a call on my phone than someone rattling my tent. Have the best time! It will all come together.