Sunday, May 24, 2009

#389 Panama vs James River

Since we couldn't join our friends sailing through the Panama Canal last week, we decided to do the next best thing. We visited a restored lock of the James River and Kanawha Canal, a massive public works project envisioned by George Washington in the 18th century to connect the seaport of Richmond, Virginia to the Ohio River and points west.
During our visit, we learned
- the ranger staffing the James River Visitor Center believes his post to be the most beautiful along the Blue Ridge Parkway. - the James River is the largest (but not the longest) river wholly within a state.
- the James River is older than the surrounding mountains.
- the canal reached its zenith in 1851 covering nearly 200 miles from Richmond to Buchanan but was quickly made obsolete by a new technology called the railroad.
- the canal lock we visited, one of 90 along the James River, was only 15 feet wide and walled with massive locally mined stone blocks.

So except for the lack of live web cameras, Virginia's James River and Kanawha Canal and the Panama Canal are a lot alike. ;-)

Yours in comparing canals,

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