An ongoing adventure of travel and living while using a wheelchair. Tim has been disabled from birth. Darryl is his father and caregiver who travels with him.
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All content, images, and video copyright 2009,2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 - Darryl, Letty, and Tim Musick
Thursday, July 5, 2012
CLASSIC TRIP - East Coast Odyssey - Niagara Falls, Canada/NY
I was really prepared to hate this place. I'd heard about its Vegas like character (there is even a casino on the Canadian side), its endless tourist traps, and tacky gift shops. The "what a shame they had to ruin a natural spectacle" whispers and the endless development.
Yes, this is all there in abundance, but you know what? It doesn't diminish from the falls one bit.
I'd seen the thousand-plus foot plunge of Yosemite falls up close and wondered why a puny drop of less than two hundred feet hogged all the press. I know now...it's not the drop, it's the power and the sheer mass of water plunging over the precipice that is so astounding.
I've read many articles, visited many web sites, and seen hundreds of advertisements for the falls over the years and responded with a ho-hum. Nothing you see in print or any other media does this place any justice.
It's something you have to see right in front of you with your own eyes.
We left the ho-hum city of Toronto in the morning on our way to Ohio. Our plan was to stop for a few hours at the falls (my wife really wanted to see them, as you can probably tell I thought it would be a waste) and continue driving on towards Cleveland before overnighting somewhere.
It's a little over an hour from Toronto to the Canadian side of the falls. First tip: see it from the Canadian side. The falls face Canada - not New York. You'll get a much better view here.
Just across from the American Falls is the park police station for the Canadian side. There are about a dozen free handicapped parking spots here. Use them if you're eligible, they are the only parking you will find withing easy walking distance.
It was sprinkling on and off that day. Our quest was the dock next to the Rainbow Bridge where the small Maid of the Mist boats set sail for the falls.
We worked our way in where we were guided to an elevator that would take us to the dock level. Thin blue rain panchos were issued to us. We put them on and boarded the boat.
As luck would have it, our boat was only about a third full. Every other boat we saw was packed to the rafters, but we had plenty of room and got a spot right at the front of the boat.
The Maid of the Mist Edges up to the Falls
It's a short but amazing trip. The boat puts you right at the foot of the Horseshoe falls. Mist my eye! We were drenched. It's like standing in a driving, hard rain. Many people on board thought it was rain but, no, that's all from the falls.
On Board the Maid of the Mist
After lingering in the spray for about 10 minutes, we turned around and headed back. The views of the falls from the boat were astounding. The true force of millions of gallons of water thundering over the falls each second is a sight to see.
Afterward, we walked up to the Horseshoe falls taking pictures. It really is a breathtaking sight and I was not so jaded anymore. We loaded up on some tacky souvenirs and went to a local Harvey's for lunch.
The Crew in Front of Horshoe Falls
Let me just say that Harvey's serves some of the worst burgers I can remember along with some of the best fries. I was glad that this was the only knock I could give to this incredible visit.