Tuesday, February 28, 2006

06-19 Niagara Falls, Canada and Border crossing

Niagara Falls, Canada

Boarder Crossing

Traveling across Ontario, I’m amazed by the extremely well kept farms. Barns, outbuildings and homes are all freshly painted and the fields are filled with all types of crops. Everything from corn to tobacco. Many of the farm houses are of a light colored brick, with a white brick pattern along the eves. The small towns along the way, vibrant, no Wal-Marts in this part of the country.

I was going to head for Strathroy, Ontario, where my Rv was “born”, but when I called they told me that the plant was closed for 3 weeks. It being a unionized company. So I headed toward the south and east. I stayed at a country campground surrounded by farms just outside of Woodstock. I drove into town to my new favorite place, Tim Horton’s for coffee, and passed through an old residential area that had the most spectacularly maintained historical homes I’ve ever seen on one street. Big homes many of brick with turrets, porches, and awesome landscapes with huge old trees and flowers. Each home uniquely different.

All the secondary roads are so good to travel on, I’ve not used any of their major highways like the QEW. I stayed at one of my Passport America campgrounds, Windmill Point Park. It’s outside of Fort Erie. Turning off of Dominion Road, CR-1, I would never have stayed at this place by it’s entrance. Off a dirt and gravel road, past a couple of wrecked cars and a maintenance shop, then across a well maintained “rails to trails” path, the park opens up and is a great little gem of a park. I particularly liked the spring fed old rock quarry lake. A real old fashioned swimming hole, right on the parks property. A refreshing dip and swim out to the floating dock and the travel miles just melt away.

Niagara Falls is about a 20 klm drive from the campground, and I could see the high-rise buildings of the city sitting on a bluff overlooking the falls from miles away. I drove along the Niagara Parkway past the falls, getting my first glimpse of the falls then headed up the bluff to the city. Thousands of people walking along the promenade overlooking the falls. Ekk, I had lunch at a TGI-Fridays and it was $22.00 American. Yikees. The only good point is, I was able to leave my truck in the parking lot and walk about a mile or so to the falls.

I rode the incline rail down the cliff to the falls overlook and was greeted by a huge spray of mist from the falls, as the light breeze drifted the spray over the crowd. What a great way to experience my first time seeing the falls from the Canadian side. A short while later, after walking along the promenade, the breeze shifted and I was able to view the falls and the great rainbows.

Both the American and Canadian side get hydro-power from the falls, but looking at the massive amounts of water going over the falls, one has to wonder how much power is being wasted by not capturing even more of it for electricity.

Oddly, I think some of my best pictures of the falls are from way on top above the city, rather than from the edge of the falls themselves. But the excitement of feeling the mist, hearing the roar of the water going over the falls and being among a crowd of enthusiastic spectators adds to the whole experience.

I’ve been told that the tall hotels and casinos on the Canadian side are changing the way the mist from the falls forms. Thus blocking the views of the falls. I was lucky that the mist and spray changed coarse while I was there, so I had some great views of the falls. Though the mist sure does block much of the falls from below. Overall the Canadian side is much more spectacular than the American side. Being able to see both falls from the Canadian side.

Crossing the boarder in Buffalo on the Peace Bridge, I got in the wrong lane and drove through the truckers commercial lane. The patrol guard was not happy, but hay, the other signs said “cars only” and I sure wasn’t driving a car, now was I??? Apparently there was a new lane for RV’s, but I didn’t see it. Opps. After the guard had done his job harassing me, I was permitted to go.

Back in the U.S.A.

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