Niagara Falls…Slowwwly I Turned…

Niagara Falls…Slowwwly I turned, step by step, inch by inch… 

Who else remembers the ‘Slowly I Turned’ routine from The Three Stooges?  The general gist of the routine is that Moe is telling Curly the story about how Larry stole Moe’s girl and then lead Moe on a cross country chase until Moe finally caught up to them in Niagara Falls.  I remember it from after school TV on TBS, our local Turner network station and I’ve seen the routine so many times that when ConnieLou first suggested taking a trip to Niagara Falls for our 30th anniversary, it immediately popped into my head.

Fast forward about eleven months…

We booked a hotel through my friend Brian Levine, who is starting a new career in the travel business (more about that later), packed our bags, boarded the pups and then boarded a plane bound for Buffalo, New York.  Flying can be an adventure for us by itself.  ConnieLou work for one of the airlines and, while we fly for free, we also fly standby.  Sometimes we get on a flight, sometimes we don’t.  This time around all went smoothly and by 10:30 Friday morning we were waiting for our Uber at the Buffalo airport.  By 11:30 we were checked into our room at the Doubletree, munching on Doubletree chocolate chip cookies and trying to decide what to do next.

We decided to go grab some lunch then walk over to the falls area which was about half a mile away.  We’d noticed a tour desk down in the lobby, so we decided to stop by and see what they had to offer.  One of the tours they offered was a tour of the area from the Canadian side.  Since we’d thought to bring our passports and had not rented a car, we decided that this would be the best option to see things from the Canadian side.

The tour van wasn’t supposed to pick us up until 4:30 so we headed out for lunch and then to the American falls.  We stopped at the Anchor Bar for lunch.  You may have heard of Anchor Bar in Buffalo…you know, the place where Buffalo wings were invented?  Same folks.  They now have a local chain with a location in Niagara Falls.

By now I’m sure some of my regular readers are wondering whether there would be any geocaching on this trip.  Fear not, there was, and I logged the first virtual cache shortly after we reached the falls.  OK, I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about caching around Niagara Falls other than to say I managed to log four EarthCaches and a traditional cache on the U.S. side of the border and an EarthCache and an Earthcache on the Canadian side while we were there.

That first glimpse of the falls is a bit difficult to describe.  We’ve all seen photos and videos but, needless to say, they don’t come close to the real thing.  In reality, we first started to experience the falls when walked out the front door of the hotel as a dull roar in the background, much like a freight train passing on a distant set of tracks.  As we walked closer the volume grew until we were at the overlook and almost had to shout to be heard.  The amount of water pouring over the 180-plus foot drop is almost mind boggling…and then one learns that only about 10 percent of the water in the Niagara River flows over the American and Bridal Veil Falls and the other 90 percent flows over the Canadian or ‘horseshoe’ falls.

We’d just walked back into our hotel room, kicked our shoes off and plopped down on the sofa when we received a call from the guy at the tour desk letting us know that the van had arrived early, and we could head out whenever we were ready.  We pulled our shoes back on, headed downstairs and climbed into the tour van (OK, it was really a mini-bus).  We picked up a few more folks at other nearby hotels then headed for the border.  Once we’d cleared Canadian customs we headed upriver to pick up a few more folks on the Canadian side and began the tour.

During the course of the tour we saw the falls from the top…

From the side…

From behind…

And even from above from the observation deck on the Skylon Tower later that evening…

Below the falls we got to see a large whirlpool caused by the erosion of silt from an ancient glacial scour…

And the Niagara Escarpment where the edge of the falls originally stood some 12,300 years ago.  We lucked up and got back into the U.S. just in time to park and see the fireworks over the falls before being dropped off at our hotel.

We slept in Saturday morning (hey, we can sleep in on an anniversary trip if we want to…) then headed back over to the park at the American falls where we met up with Connie’s niece Julie, her hubs Dan and their kids Noah and Abby to take a ride on the Maid of the Mist.  Dan is a Buffalo native and they recently moved up to Buffalo where he works.  He went to college just up the road and we were all surprised when he told us that he had never ridden the Maid of the Mist or the other tour boat at the falls.

If describing the falls as viewed from the top is difficult, describing them as viewed from the bottom is nearly impossible.  Try to wrap your head around this:  at the horseshoe falls, over half a million gallons of water falls over a 2,500-foot-long cliff every second.  That’s right, over half a million gallons every SECOND.  And…that cliff is 175 feet above the river level at the base of the falls.  Words and pictures simply don’t do it justice.

After our ride on the Maid of the Mist we decided to grab some supper with Dan, Julie and the kids.  Dan grabbed my attention when he said he knew of a good barbeque place called The Brickyard Pub and BBQ a few miles up the road in Lewiston.  He sealed the deal when he mentioned that they also served several really good craft beers brewed in-house.

Sunday was a slower day.  We spent the day exploring Goat Island where we could see both falls from a couple of additional angles and then did a little souvenir shopping before heading to the Red Coach Inn for a late lunch/early supper and then on back to the hotel to rest some very tired feet.

Monday morning found us up early to check out and grab an Uber back to the airport in Buffalo.  Since we hadn’t had a chance yet, we grabbed some coffee and donuts at the Tim Hortons (think Dunkin’ Donuts) at the airport before getting on the plane to head back to Atlanta…

Fortunately I had the in-flight progress map to keep me entertained on the way home.  Yes, I’m a nerd.

Finally some familiar landmarks appeared…

Remember me mentioning my friend Brian Levine near the beginning of this tale?  Time to circle back.  Brian is one of those folks that I’ve ‘known’ for several years but we’ve not yet met face to face.  Brian is the host of the Pipes Magazine Radio Show, a podcast about all things pipes and pipe tobacco.  Brian’s show, along with a few others, have helped to make my daily commute to and from work tolerable for the last five or six years and we’ve corresponded a bit over that time.  He’s also the guy that’s caused to me be a bit disappointed when I hear the into to Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train on the radio and I realize that it’s not the intro music to the show.

For the past twenty-plus years Brian worked in the premium tobacco industry and has travelled all over but recently decided it was time for a career change.  With his extensive travel experience and a desire to help folks, the travel industry seemed to be a logical place to land and he landed with MEI-Travel.  While Brian can do something as simple as book a hotel room, like he did for us, he specializes in cruises, international travel packages and in travel to the theme parks like Disney and Universal.  What’s the best part?  His work is at no cost to you.  Want to get out of town for a few days, give him a shout at brian.levine@mei-travel.com.  Just for the record, neither Brian nor MEI-Travel requested that I include this plug and I’m receiving nothing in return.  I’m just doing something nice for a friend.

Want to see a few couple more photos of the falls?  Sure, why not…

This entry was posted in Earth Cache, Earthcache, Geocaching, MEI-Travel, Mouse Fan Travel, New York, Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls New Youk, Niagara Falls Ontario, Niagara Galls Canada, Virtual Cache. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Niagara Falls…Slowwwly I Turned…

  1. Clare says:

    Happy Anniversary guys! Looks like an amzing trip, maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to make it out there.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: First Impressions – Tensa Outdoors’ Tensa4 Hammock Stand | Get Out!

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