“I don’t have any reasons, I’ve left them all behind, I’m in a New York state of mind.” – Billy Joel
Miles Traveled: 0.0
Very excited about today. And my Mucinex DM is working like a boss, so I’m feeling better than I have in the last few days – thank goodness! I took it easy this morning and was a lazy sloth for the better part of it – the rest was much needed! So I read a little of my book and did a bit of people watching in the casino (I’m staying at the Seneca Niagara Casino – only the best places from Hotwire.com). Since I’m not a gambler, as we learned back in Biloxi (Alice and I couldn’t even figure out the slot machine things – we just hit buttons, lost a buck and called it a day), people watching is the next best thing one can do inside a casino – holy moly, the Seneca Niagara did not disappoint!
After my cultural tour of the casino, I walked to the Jeep and drove over to the Buffalo Niagara International airport to pick up my special guest for the next few days. My mom has arrived to join me on the road for a few days – so trouble looms in the distance! I told my dad I’d do my very best to not let her fall into the falls! Excited to have the momster take part in my great American road trip – and she’s traveled with me before so she’s used to being dragged all over creation and is a great sport about it.
We swung by the hotel to drop off my mom’s “small” bag (it is in fact a large duffel bag on wheels – though in her defense it was not full – that we may have to tie down to the roof of the Jeep in order to carry it with us…totally kidding) in the hotel room and to let her sit down after being on the plane all morning. After a few minutes we headed off to see the famous Niagara Falls in the oldest state park in America. Niagara Falls is apparently the cultural melting pot of New York – and I’ve been to NYC so that’s saying a lot. For a time there, I had to remind myself that I had not crossed a border. The state park is quite touristy, as to be expected. But if you can look past the tourists, the gift shops, and the chaos, it is actually a beautiful place. Lots of winding paths and trails to walk through for different views of the falls. So my mom and I walked from one end to the other of the falls on the US side. Every view offering different insight into the power of that water rushing down the river (those are not white water rapids I’d like tackle in my lifetime) and over the falls. That water was ripping through that river! Really cool to see.
The last stop was to walk up to the observation deck for a great view of the three waterfalls and then to venture down to the Maid of the Mist – which is the boat ride that goes along the falls, while you get soaked by the mist in your super cool souvenir, blue ponchos. Sometimes you just have to be a tourist and go with it. It was awesome! I don’t think you really get an appreciation for the amount of water coming down those falls until you are at the base of them – crazy! It was a lot of fun – and if you ever go for a visit, here’s my travel tip of the day. Go in the middle of the week, and hit the boat ride at the end of the day – no lines, it was not a full boat, plenty of space to get a great spot for pictures, and did I mention no lines or waiting.
Things I learned today about the falls:
- Niagara Falls is the collective name of 3 separate waterfalls – American, Bridal Veil, and Horseshoe Falls. Had absolutely no idea there were three.
- Roughly 600,000 gallons of water travel down the falls per second. That’s just crazy.
- The water that flows over the falls comes from 4 of the 5 great lakes – it ultimately makes its way via the Niagara River to Lake Ontario and onto the St. Lawrence Rivers and finally to the Atlantic.
- They remove the boardwalk where you can pay $15 to get soaked on the US side of the falls at the end of each season (November) and rebuild it when the park opens in the spring. Hello job security.
- Fish actually travel over the falls and about 90% survive – which is incredible.
- Combined, the falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world.
After the park visit, we went back to the hotel to drop the Jeep off for it’s nap and then headed to grab some dinner – and as we walked, witnessed a ‘circus act’ involving a cable and a dude on a motorcycle (something you’d only see outside of a casino) – before calling it a day. Today was a lot of fun and so great to experience Niagara Falls with my mom!
Until next time…