Aug 17 - A beautiful morning today!! First morning we didn't feel as if we were racing in front of rain for ages!! It didn't take us long to pedal ourselves to Dunkirk, where we stopped at a lakefront patio family diner for a spot of breakfast! I think we found a winner so far for the Best Cinnamon Roll Across America Taste Test! Yum! Add a breakfast special of bacon and eggs and we were well nourished to see us thru to our destination for the day of Hamburg, NY and my friend Laurie Kitchen!! An easy riding day, one long road all the way along the rest of Lake Erie! It was so beautiful! An interesting ride thru wonderful relaxing rural residential areas, pretty quiet traffic wise and we managed quite well to get ourselves where we needed to be! We would be going off route just a bit to find Laurie's house.
What a wonderful welcome we had when we managed to finally roll up to her house! Laurie and I met 8 years ago when I worked at Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge and Laurie was on a "ski-holiday" that turned into a ski-less holiday due to an injured shoulder! That brief moment in time has lasted as a friendship all this time so it was very exciting when I was able to tell her we would be headed her way by bicycle!! She has been a great cheerleader and supporter of our trip, it was hard to believe we were really going to be able to see each other after 8 years!! What a fun welcome we all enjoyed! Laurie's sisters Jean and Marlene were an added bonus, Mike was quite the odd one out in a bevy of beauties as we all sat in the cool of the patio and breeze of the fan enjoying a few cold ones and great company, great conversation and catch up!! Time passed so quickly!! Being the man of the house, Mike was put in charge of cooking the delicious steaks on the BBQ!! And the first night ended on a good note as we all had a soak in the hot tub . . .life is good!!
We had a action packed day two planned with Laurie!! As luck would have it, Laurie and Jean were on their way to Niagra Falls to go to a concert for the afternoon. It worked out beautifully that we could go along and see one of the 7 wonders of the world, Niagra Falls. I have been very excited to see the falls, and decided that I was going to see them one way or another so this was perfect!! We headed for Canada because the show the girls were attending was at the Niagra Fallsview Casino and we have heard from many people that the Canadian side of the falls are much better for viewing so again it was all a perfect plan! It was decided last night that Mike and I would take the boat trip, The Maiden of the Mist, right up to the falls while Laurie and Jean go to pick up their tickets.
What an incredible international melting pot of visitors Niagra Falls is!!!! I thought sitting in an airport was interesting and eye opening, this was outstanding!!! And just so many people!! HaHa, you think I would talk about the Falls first, wouldn't you????? This trip has been so fascinating with all the different people we have met and watched!
But yes, Niagra Falls . . . I felt the thrill rise up as we approached and only the mist was visible at the point that the water disappeared over the edge. Just driving along the Niagra River impressed you with the sense of the extreme volume of water that we would soon see crashing over the falls. First view was breathtaking!!! So emotional really to witness with your own eyes, one of the wonders of the world that have only been a photograph or image seen our whole lives. And there it was in front of us not only to be viewed but to be heard!!
We could not get out of the car fast enough! (Well, I couldn't!). Laurie dropped us off so we started the long process of getting from the curb to actually walking onto the boat! It involved waiting in line for tickets for the voyage, the long walk down the walkways to the elevators, the long wait to get on the elevators, the steadily moving line to be handed a red poncho (why did people put them on immediately in the 80 degree heat and sun???) wait in line some morgen and then to finally be ushered onto the deck of the boat!! Not being a tolerant person when it comes to waiting in line, even I knew when I just had to grin and bear it . . . This is just what you have to do if you want to get up close and personal with Niagra Falls! Unfortunately, you get onboard where ever it is in line that you may have been stuck with. We were at the end of the crowd for this voyage so any hopes I had of being in the best spot at the front of the boat for photos were squashed!! My last glimmer of hope was a thought that certainly the boat was designed to give everyone an equal opportunity for great photos. Unless you can put holes in the floor for tall people to stand in, there will always be someone taller than you and even greater chance that he is right in front of you!!!!! And even better chances that there will be several taller people in front of you!! But what are you going to do???? You do the best you can, that's what!! The trick is to be sure to LOOK at the fallsand really take it all in, not just worry about the photos!! I stuck both arms straight up in the air and just took pictures, who knew what I was getting!! I took time to really stare at the God given, majestic sight in front of me. It was easy to forget about the hundred or more red plastic-poncho covered bodies all around me as the sheer volume of water rushing over the edge above helped put it all in perspective! How small we all are in the scheme of things!! It was really a great experience and I am so glad we got to do it!! And wait til you see the photos I got!!!!
And if that wasn't perfect enough for one day, when we met up with Laurie and Jean as arranged, they had two tickets for us to join them in the show they were attending!! The four of us rocked out to Ricky Nelson Remembered at the Niagra Fallsview Casino. Ricky Nelson's twin sons, Gunnar and Matthew have created a tribute show singing their fathers' songs and showcasing the influence he had on Rock'nRoll as we all know it today! Great stuff!
And if THAT wasn't perfect enough, then we headed to the Casino Buffet!! And most of us know how outstanding the food is in a Casino and this was no exception!! In fact it was fantastic!!!
What a great day we had!!! Thank you Laurie and Jean for you exceptional hospitality and entertainment!!!! We had a wonderful, wonderful time and look forward to our reunion time in Texas!!!!!