Sunday, November 15, 2015

Niagara Falls

The trailer is still in the driveway and is half packed for Florida.  However – the truck is in the body shop and the insurance company has issued a rental car that happened to have UNLIMITED miles AND gets 40 miles to the gallon.   You know H cannot resist putting miles on a vehicle that gets that kind of mileage – especially when it’s not his!

Niagara Falls, here we come.  It had been a long time since we’ve visited and on our last few trips, the falls were covered with sparking ice and snow! This time the sun was shining and temps in the 50’s.  The traffic was not too bad until we reached Buffalo NY where we missed our turn and ended up winding around thru downtown.  We caught back up with Rt 190 that zoomed along the eastern edge of Lake Erie and headed north once more to Niagara.  Lodging was secured at Motel 8 and we quickly made our way to downtown Niagara Falls to refresh our memory and tried to determine what had changed.  The indoor mall with the greenhouse attached was gone and the state parks that line the American side are in the process of being upgraded.  Parking was free the last time but even in the state parks the fee was $8 and up!   By the time we drove out onto Goat Island and wound thru the construction areas to find the falls overlooks, the sun was setting and the twinkling lights across the river in Canada were sparkling against the dark buildings and ever darkening sky.  The colored beams of light began to shine on the misting waters as they plunged over both the American and the Canadian side of the falls.
Lockport NY

Tuesday’s weather was threatening rain so we had our coffee and breakfast and headed out to explore.   In one of the books we had picked up was an article about Lockport and the remnants of the Erie Canal and the restored historic locks that were right in the middle of town.   Cobblestone buildings still surround the deep canal and are well preserved.   On to our next point of interest before the rain got any heavier!  We headed back northwest to where the Niagara River meets Lake Ontario.  There we found Fort Niagara and the 3 flags she flies – one for each of the countries that claimed ownership at one time – England, France and America. The rain was coming a bit heavier now.  We missed the turn lane for the bridge to Canada, and instead, ended up enjoying a scenic ride south along the tall cliffs of the Niagara River with stops at the Devils Hole and the overlook for the huge power dams that line both sides of the river.  On south we found the Whirlpool and it’s swirling waters and finally got the correct lane for the Rainbow Bridge and Canada.  Our passports were ready!  The gentleman at the customs booth gave us directions to reach Niagara on the Lake and once again found ourselves on another scenic (albeit wet) road that skirted the western edge of the swift river below.  Back up on the coast of Lake Ontario, Niagara on the Lake is still the pretty little town that we remembered – just way wetter!  We did manage locate the Canadian Fort George that matched the fort on the American side.
Niagara on the Lake Ca.
 Time was running out and we wanted to be able to see the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side so we set the GPS to get us back down to Niagara Falls.  By then it was raining so hard that at times you could not even see the falls.  Traffic was getting hectic and the roads were dark and swallowing up all lights – except the headlights that were aimed at us!  One more slow drive along the park that border the falls and I was delegated to quickly jump out and snap whatever pictures that I could get, in spite of the “No Stopping” signs that were painted in the curb lane.   Enough! – time to head back over the bridge and find our home for one more night.
Wednesday we reversed our route and headed back south thru Buffalo, making all the right turns this time and easily found I 90 West.  We exited it again at the Pennsylvania border to enjoy a slower pace of traffic and enjoy the small towns and the views of Lake Erie.  Back on again at the Ohio border, but we detoured once more to follow Rt 6 thru downtown Cleveland and then on to Sandusky Ohio.  We endured rain on and off thru New York and Pennsylvania but the sun was shining when we reached Rt 2 that led to Toledo and home.

The very next day the winds picked up and hit gusts of up to 50 mph.  Now that that has passed, it’s time to get serious about finishing up the mowing and cleaning up leaves and getting everything secure for winter.  Time to finish packing the trailer!  I better not forget the sewing machine!