Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 74: Niagara Falls (Ontario)

Well, having never been there before, I'm willing to say that Niagara Falls is pretty neat. Yes, it's touristy and crowded, but it deserves to be -- it really is a spectacle of high order. It is a truly endless cascade of tons of water, pounding into the river below and billowing up non-stop clouds of mists. I'm not sure it tops Iguazu Falls in South America, but for something in my home state that I've ignored all these years, it's pretty terrific.

Of course, I did the obligatory touristy things -- riding the "Maid of the Mist" into the spray of the falls and taking the "Journey Behind the Falls," which takes you to vantage points beneath, below and behind the falls. And, continuing the two-day luxury interlude of this trip (last night's B&B on the shore of Lake Erie was the start), I'm staying at a Marriott directly overlooking the falls, in a 19th floor junior suite, with a 2-person in-room jacuzzi bathtub (unfortunately, overkill in this instance -- Laura, I miss you!) and a separate sitting room with sofa. I actually had not booked such luxury, but when I arrived at 1:00, seeking an early check-in with my bike, which, of course, necessitated a quick recital of the whole cross-country bike thing, I was given the free upgrade, as well as gratis wi-fi (otherwise $10 a day). Thanks for supporting us bicyclists, Marriott! Of course, they're still making a hefty profit margin, especially since I'm also eating in their highly-overpriced restaurant while composing this post (the sad entertainment of the solo cyclist - I miss you too Bob).

Oh, right, the biking. Well, it was nice, but it wasn't really what I was focused on with Niagara waiting. It was "only" 21 miles, so I allowed myself the pleasure of sleeping latish (7 a.m.) and the indulgence (necessity, really) of some overdue bike maintenance (rewrapping my slipping handlebar tape and cleaning/oiling my chain after the rain). I didn't get on the road until about 10:30. The route was right along the river, with low traffic, and it was kind of cool that the first sign of the falls, from about 5 miles away, was the plume of mist arising from their crashing into the water below. But the biking almost counts as a rest day -- I really didn't work up much of a sweat, especially since it was overcast, with the sun not coming out until I was deep into tourist mode in the afternoon. It may be in the TMI category, but I'm even going to wear the same socks tomorrow without washing them out (they're Smartwool, OK, so quit your gagging).

There's a lot of this area that I haven't seen, like Niagara-on-the-Lake and the tankers going through the Welland Canal between Lakes Ontario and Erie, so I toyed with staying put another day and doing a loop that would take me to both of the foregoing. But, in the end, my desire to get home (and my cheap gene - it's expensive here) won out, so I'm off to Medina, New York tomorrow. Yes, I'll be back in the U.S. (assuming customs doesn't hold me up over my Swiss Army Knife) and my home state. It's pretty exciting. I've even got an estimated home arrival date: September 8th (the Transportation Alternatives Century ride is September 9th. Hmmm.)

Here are today's route and metrics:


1 comment:

  1. Great photos, pretty much postcard quality. The first one really gives an impression of the awesome mass of water.
    So tomorrow you re-enter New York State. Very cool. You mention you'll be staying in Medina. That little town holds a large place in our family's heart. It's the home of the Forrestel Farm Camp. Both kids had many happy times there over the years, both as campers and counselors. Right on Main Street.