We left Pittsburgh a couple of days ago on our way to meet up and go to NYC with a bunch of Wally Byam Airstream Club friends from Ontario. There were several potential routes to the meetup and we hadn’t settled on where to stop the first night. Then BANG! “Why don’t we spend a day touring Niagara Falls?” Okay, small route change and no problem. Let’s do it.
Why do things work out really well sometimes? Apparently someone cancelled their plans for an RV site in Four Mile Creek State Park. This is near Niagara Falls and our site backs up to Lake Erie. Four Mile Creek State Park is a gorgeous campground with several hundred sites. The shower houses are very nicely built, although there was no walk path from our loop. The sites are large and have electricity. Water is available throughout the loops for refilling fresh water tanks and the dump station is conveniently located on our way out. Best of all, the drive between Four Mile Creek and Niagara Falls is a pretty and short twenty-mile drive.
Our NY State Park camping fee also covers the day’s parking fee while we’re visiting Niagara Falls. This happens sometimes, especially if we listen and take someone’s advice, are willing to be flexible, don’t let our expectations keep us from enjoying things, and let things work out. It’s not just a freedom of full-timing, but that helps too. Sometimes you wonder what you did wrong. Sometimes you get very lucky.
We checked in for our online-purchased tickets when we arrived at Niagara Falls State Park in the morning. The visitor’s desk lady asked us, “Do you want to get wet now or later?” Our choices were to get wet on the boat tour, or wetter on the Cave of the Winds walk. We started the day at the Falls with the Maid of the Mist boat tour.
The falls almost overwhelmed us on our boat tour. Not capsized us, but it filled us completely with awe. There are 675,000 gallons per second rushing over the Canadian Falls and we were struck dumb by the tremendous power and beauty as we bobbed along in our boat near the base of these falls.
Best laid plans were thoroughly doused in our next adventure. The issued blue ponchos had kept us entirely dry on the boat tour despite wet blustery air currents and showers. We wore our waterproof hiking boots and gore-tex jackets too, so we felt well-prepared for whatever the Falls could dish out. We went next to the Cave of the Winds and boldly advised the flip-flop passer outer that we had on our waterproof shoes and wouldn’t take the free flip flops.
Ha! Our waterproof boots, once they filled with icy cold water on the boardwalk so near the falls, kept the water from leaking out from around our feet. We sloshed back to the truck where, fortunately, we had two pairs of dry socks to change into. Note for next time: use the flip flops.
Our park pass admitted us to all the attractions and also onto the trolley. We made good use of the pass, checking out all the stops on foot except for the Schoellkpof Power Station site. The trolley trip there was nice and quick and allowed us time to tour this and see the movie in the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center. Our last stop was for dinner reservations on the Canadian side, 1.6 miles distant. We walked across Rainbow Bridge, the largest hingeless arch bridge in the world from its 1941 construction until twenty-one years later when surpassed by a nearby bridge (Lewiston-Queenston) of the same design.
Perhaps exactly midway across the border we were standing astride the border between two of our favorite countries, the one where all our children and grandchildren live and the one where two of our grandchildren were born. Someone told us earlier in the day we’d find the Canadian side of Niagara Falls cleaner and neater than the American side. The remark didn’t surprise us and we weren’t surprised to find it so, again. We had a nice appetizing walk to the Skylon Tower and made our early dinner seating right on time.
Debbie had arranged for a prix fixe, where everything’s included in one price, at the revolving restaurant atop the Skylon Tower. We would ride the yellow elevator up the outside and have seating in the window for a one revolution per hour dinner. The dinner was several courses, the food was very good, and the views were wonderful. This was a really nice way to spend the evening after walking all over the Niagara Falls State Park.
The spontaneous stop in Niagara Falls allowed one of our best touring days ever. The weather forecast was for rain. We figured we’d be getting wet anyhow (and we did, or at least our feet did), and the rain apparently kept the park from being very busy. We arrived early and stayed until nearly 7:30 in the evening. We didn’t spend enough time on the Canadian side and didn’t quite finish the American side either.
As usually occurs, we left thinking, “We’ll want to return and see more of this”. It was a great day!
See you down the road,