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Baltimore by the Sea

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Over the Falls, No Barrel Required

Adorable fact: as you drive into Buffalo, NY, you see big, ole, shiny metal buffaloes. And, as if that isn't cute enough, there are even wee, red, metal buffalo calves. I didn't even know the calves are there until I reviewed the photos I took as we shot over the highway ramps.

Ila and I didn't stop in Buffalo, we were headed for the one time honeymoon capital of planet Earth: Niagara Falls. Born & raised in New York, I've never been there so it's been a landmark day for me.

The whole set up is interesting; you park in a big lot, then walk through the Orin Lehman Visitor Center (whomever the heck Lehman was).

The Orin Lehman Visitor Center
Inside the Visitor Center
Inside the Visitor Center is an information desk, loads of exhibits, a Imax type theater on the falls, massive gift shops and the like. Finally you go downstairs and enter a park, on your way to the falls.

View of park; the white is the river, headed to the falls, thataway--->

The great Niagara Falls, the American side
Awesome falls and LOUD; a roaring that is accompanied by the cries a thousand gulls that loiter at the base of the falls. The buildings on the other side of the river are Canada. Concerning Canada, therein lies a story...

Prior to this trip, it was decided we would visit Niagara Falls on the trip home. Knowing that, we knew we needed passports. Well, I have one, but for the life of me, I couldn't find it. Suspect I stuffed it 'some place safe' then forgot where that safe place is. We decided to try going over to the Canadian side of the falls anyway, and therein laid an adventure.

View of rainbow at foot of falls - pot of gold is guarded by Irish gulls
At the Canadian border, we made it past the American guards & their drug sniffing dogs easily. When we finally made it to the Canadian border gate, I was chewed out by the guard lady in her kiosk. "Why should I let you in with only a driver's license for identification!" she snarled at me. Thought I, "Because I an old bat like me couldn't pull off an act of terrorism even if I had TNT wired to my panties?" Thank heavens I didn't say that out loud. Long story short, after being ordered to pull over to Canadian offices where I was again scolded again, we were granted entry. Hurrah!

The Falls as seen from the Canadian side
Another Canadian view
Parking on the Canadian side of the falls cost $10! Must admit the view was even more spectacular, and a bit quieter than on the American side of Niagara.

We took some time to stroll around the shore front, then we were off, headed for Michigan, overland through Canada. The scenery was flat open farmland and to my amazement, the speed limit was 100kph, which for the shocked is only 62mph. I reckoned, if a Canadian crashes, its the government that has to paste them back together again, hence, the slower speeds.

A few hours later we reached the US/Canadian border and it was time for us to go through the mill again, as I hadn't exactly acquired a passport on the journey from Niagara. This time, it was a tough border guard guy who enjoyed himself giving me the third degree and scolding me like a naughty tot.
Again, we had to pull over, park and enter an American border office where yet another officer proceeded to give me the third degree.

Remarkably, we really didn't have to wait too long for the officer to look up the records, see that yes indeedy, I have a passport, even if I haven't a clue to its current whereabouts. We got to enter Michigan!

We were on our way to Ypsilanti, and along the way we were hit with the worse rain storm I've experience since a trip to Minnesota a few years ago. The rain came down in buckets. I relaxed, concentrated on the road and soon we were maneuvering through Ypsilanti via GPS, where we were greeted by my old friend Susan, who, with her signif. other Jamin, were sweet enough to let me come visit and even bring along friend Ila. Seeing Susan and Jamin is an immense treat and we get to visit with each other all day tomorrow. Joy!

More on our visit tomorrow. Meanwhile, here is a noisier glimpse of Niagara Falls.

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