November 2, 2012
This third day of our cross-country road trip began with another visit to the hotel restaurant for a buffet breakfast. The things I remember are a chatty waiter and a made-to-order omelette that ended up going to someone else. The man in front of me ordered an omelette with peppers, I ordered one without, and somehow the chef got the two mixed up. It probably didn’t help that the man’s kids crowded around the omelette station and made a lot of noise. I didn’t want to wait again so I kept silent and accepted the omelette that wasn’t mine. Overall, the experience from the previous night spoiled us and we thought that breakfast was just so-so.
We still had a few hours before checkout, so we used the time to stop by Walmart to get some supplies for the road. One of the items we procured was a car charger for my phone; over the past two days I learned just how much using GPS navigation drained my phone’s battery (and actually, the charger only slowed down the drainage). The other things we got were just daily necessities like hand lotion and mouthwash, and some paper towels and bottled water for the car.
Once we checked out, we drove around and explored the parkway a bit before finally parking at the main lot for the falls. It was amazing to finally see the falls up close in daylight. The powerful flow of the water demanded respect. Standing just a few feet away, I imagined what might happen if I fell in…
A different perspective:
I suppose if I did fall in, I wouldn’t have long to enjoy the cool, crisp water – I’d either be smashed against the rocks below or frozen to death. Anyhow, here’s a panorama of the whole thing:
Depending on the weather and the time of year, the size of the mist cloud over the falls varies. At the time that we went, it was pretty cold with the remnants of Sandy still around (you can see the rain clouds in the photos/video above). This New York Times article suggests that the difference between the water and air temperature is what affects the size of the plume. If that is the case, then the water must have been a lot warmer than the air on this day.
We hung around for just under two hours before returning to the car for lunch. The timing was perfect because just as we started digging in to our peanut butter sandwiches, the rain started coming down, heavily. It turned out to be a pretty nice experience, eating food that we had procured for Hurricane Sandy, inside the cozy cabin of our car, while rain poured down outside.
We still had a long drive ahead of us, so we said goodbye to Niagara Falls and hit the road for Farmington Hills. After a few minutes on the highway out of Niagara, we passed by what looked like a pirate ship. Turns out it was a replica of a ship called the Grande Hermine, wrecked in that location since 1997 and burned in 2003.
The rest of the drive was mostly uneventful, save for one more stop at Tim Hortons in Brantford, Ontario. Since that day, it’s been 557 days since I’ve been to Tim Hortons. I wonder how much longer I’ll have to wait until the next time I enjoy an Iced Capp?
We crossed the Blue Water Bridge just after 1700 and once again entered the United States. Our car had New Jersey plates and we were driving into Michigan, so we definitely stood out, and our conversation with the immigration officer was probably a bit longer than usual. His eyes widened when I told him we were driving back to California. Once everything checked out, he wished us a pleasant journey and welcomed us home. That’s always my favorite part when entering the U.S., when the officer says, “Welcome home”.
After about another hour of driving, we checked into our hotel in Michigan. It was Friday night so there were some basketball games on TV. We ordered Chinese delivery (no chow mein this time) and watched the games while planning the route for Saturday. Got a chance to do some laundry in the hotel laundromat as well.