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Day 187 – 13th June 09

Posted by TravellingStrom on June 13, 2009

Saturday – Toronto, Ontario

I finally hooked up with 340, my internet buddy but had to get wet to do so after waiting for the border to open 🙂

Well, I woke up very tired at 6am and could not get back to sleep, so I got up. After a few hours of mucking around I got on the road. It was an overcast day and not all that warm, but I only had to get to Niagara Falls to start with for some photos.

When I got to the waterfall area I managed to find a parking space right outside the visitors centre, what a bonus. The bad news was, if you look you can see police and barriers just over the road. Well, that is called the Rainbow Bridge and is an entry point into Canada. It was closed due to someone called Hilary Clinton celebrating 100 years of shared water with Canada, or something. Anyway, whatever I was locked out of Canada for quite a few hours more.

Because of the delay, I ended up going for a four hour tour of the falls and the other attractions in the region. Something I learned straight away was that there are no waterfalls called Niagara Falls, that is the name of the town, which is a very very touristy town. The falls are called the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls, at this time there are 3 of them. First off we headed to a water fall experience called Cave of the Winds. The bus had about 25 people on it, one group of 10 were Columbian and a real pain, more on that later. We grouped up at a statue of Nikolas Tesla, the inventor of alternating current, or AC power, this is where we were issued custom fitting designer waterproof clothing, NOT!

We then descended over 200ft in an elevator that was operated by a Tyrannosaurus Rex, or what I thought was one anyway! 🙂

The view was nice from here, that is of the Horseshoe falls, and by the way that is Canada over there, eh! To our right was the Cave of the Winds, this is where you are right underneath the falls and get quite damp. Those boats go right up close, apparently I had bought a ticket that included a ride in one of those later on 🙂

I cannot believe they have a no smoking sign down here, I mean the wind is howling past it is very wet and you spend most of the time making sure your overcoat is covering you 🙂 That is me and then Guido, a young German who was also by himself, we ended up getting photos taken by the other, he was over here on work experience, I interpreted that to mean a lazy holiday 🙂

Next stop was the Horseshoe Falls, this is mostly on the Canadian side, but it is impressive, just in the amount of water that goes over the edge. There is never ever 100% of the available water going over, due to the hydro schemes on both sides that divert a large proportion for electricity. It is an impressive sight despite that though 🙂

That is Guido taking some snaps.

Just over there is what is known as the Rainbow Bridge, this is one of the border crossings into Canada and was of course closed at this moment. When the mist is at its best after full flow and the sun is in the right spot, there is a rainbow that goes across the gorge, so it was named by the Native Americans. We then went to the main viewpoint for the Horseshoe Falls.

After this was a balls up, we could not find the tour guide James, not the damm bus, ooops, I hope we did not miss it. But, no he had had to go pay the ferryman for the boat rides, so after a long wait for the bloody Columbian family we went to our next stop at the Daredevil Museum, this is a tourist trap, but it shows the collection of artefacts and info, usually obituaries, of the people who had dared to ride the falls. Most of the people who had survived had done so by riding the Horseshoe Falls in Canada, the American side was littered with rocks at the bottom.

As we waited for the ‘family’ yet again, James the guide told us that the white building over there was the original factory for Nabisco, which is a name derived from Niagara Biscuit Company, cool eh, the things you learn! Of course they are no longer there, the taxes and rates are too high to do business here.

The next stop was the Maid of the Mist tour, where we were once again presented with our fashion statement waterproof garments. This is the boat ride under the edge of the falls, or very close to it, the wind generated by the falling water is impressive down here and of course the mist is wet 🙂

This is the platform where the elevators are and where there is a viewing platform.

Then on into the mist, this first fall is where we did the tour of the Cave of the Winds, you can see all th elarge rocks at the bottom, don’t jump over the edge here, but apparently a lot of suiciders do.

Then we went to the Horseshoe Falls, this is very cold wet and windy but enjoyable nonetheless. As you can see I had the hood up this time so I did not get wet hair 🙂

And here is a small video, the lens was a tad damp 🙂

Some more photos, very impressive boat ride this, I enjoyed it, hangover, what hangover 🙂

Then it was back to the tower where we went to the viewing platform and could see all of the falls at once.

Once again when we left this area, although everyone was told that the bus was leaving at 3.15pm, the Columbians had their own agenda, or more likely because they were talking all the time did not hear the message, so we left them and headed off to the Whirlpool 🙂 This is where the water at full velocity hits the opposite shore of the curved bay and creates an anti clock wise motion. The water has sped up here due to a tightening of the gorge and the rapids are the most extreme on the planet, no one has survived them and it is now a banned practice and an offence to try.

Guess what, the Columbians are back, James’ boss picked them up from the viewing area and brought them to the whirlpool, they were specifically told not to go down the pathway but to stay at the bus, did they listen, like F%$& they did, once again we had to freakin wait, all this time was adding an extra hour to a 4 hour tour, grrrr! But, it did give me a chance to check out a couple of classic style bikes in the parking lot. The shiniest part on the Yamaha was the brand new spark plugs 🙂

After this we were dropped off at the start point where I got prepared for the border crossing into Canada. This was where I got a bit of a surprise, besides the fact of the $4 toll to cross the bridge, but as I went over the water, my GPS ran out of information? I thought the maps I had bought had included Canada, but apparently not. Well, this could be a bit of a problem methinks!!

Ahhh, but lucky for me I just followed the highway signs that said to Toronto and I found an info centre 🙂 The chap in here was great, I gave him the address for 340, my Canadian friend and he photocopied a street map and I wrote down every turn to get there and after a few hours and lots and lots of traffic I ended up at the right place.

So, after 10 years of internet typing, I finally met the man himself 🙂 It was quite late by now, well by my terms for riding and at 7.30pm it was still bright daylight, so we went down the beer shop for a decko at some beers, as you do 🙂 I ended up getting a slab of Labatt Blue, a nice lager, I also got some coke because there were about 2 nips of Bundy Rum left that DS and I did not drink the other night, how very restraintful we were 🙂

So we had some beer and a delivered pizza, I did some washing at the same time, basically we just got to know each other for a while. Well, by a while I mean about 2am or so, but that is what happens. It was already established that I could stay a 2nd night, so no need to rush these things eh!

Day – 140 miles and 225 km
Trip – 18,529 miles and 29,820 km


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15 Responses to “Day 187 – 13th June 09”

  1. Bill aka Netfather said

    Freakin Canadians have a lot of imagination eh? The Beer Store? ROFFLMAO.

  2. I don’t know about you Richard, you complain about driving in the rain, layers on, layers off, sun in, sun out…yada yada. Then you go and buy tickets to float beneath the falls…all that mist, and once again, layers on, layers off. Hahaha…just don’t know about you mate.


  3. Ken & Beverly said

    Hey Richard,
    Got a package today, I assume it is your shock. It is now in the box downstairs. Ride Safe,

  4. Jeremy said

    Great trip reports – keep em coming

  5. DS said

    Hey, you got out of here just in time, it’s been raining hard since you left…

    • travellingstrom said

      I am stuck in North East, it has rained all day, and apparently for the next 3 days

      Shit happens

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