May 14: Medina to Niagara Falls, NY - The Great North American Sticky Bun Hunt - CycleBlaze

May 14: Medina to Niagara Falls, NY

The falls are impressive from the top...
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THERE'S NOTHING to be said about Niagara Falls that you don't already know. We came in from the Canadian side after an aeronautical crossing in a crosswind across the bridge. At first sight the falls look less than they are. "My first reaction was 'Is that all the fuss is about?'" is how Steph put it. But then you take the Maid of the Mist - there are several boats and they all have the same name - and you get as close to the bottom of Horseshoe Falls as the captain dare go. And you look up. And high, high above you, water falls over a ledge and straight down. There are figures for how much falls. Figures that mean nothing. It is simply a lot, a very lot, of solid, unrelenting water that crashes in a steaming wall into the lower river and mills and boils around you as the air fills with water so cold, so dense, that you no longer feel foolish in the blue plastic cape handed out at the start.

. . even more so from on the water.
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I've no idea how many people throw themselves off the bridges, over the falls. I know some days are more popular than others, some months more urgent, and that nearly everybody pauses several minutes before leaping - and takes off his shoes before he does so. The city licenses body-catchers, amateurs rather than professionals, who pick up $100 for each corpse.

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The falls are moving backwards into the USA. At the moment the best sights are on the Canadian side, because the water falls out of America. The most America can offer is a concrete viewing tower built out into the water, for Americans to walk out, turn round and get an idea of what Cannucks are seeing for nothing on their side.

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I don't suppose they are yet getting overexcited at the tourist office on the American side, which is also called Niagara Falls, but little by little the water erodes the rock and the falls move deeper into the USA. Give another million years and the whole sploshing match will be American property and the imbalance between the two sides of the water will change.

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Niagara Falls on the American side, where we stayed in a motel run by a family called Patel, whom I impressed by saying they were from Gujarat (not difficult... almost all Patels are Gujarati), is just another town. The Canadian side is anything but. The city has fought to keep the boulevard beside the falls a green, linear park. But two streets back begins the most hideous, bloated, dollar-grabbing tourist trap you have ever seen. This is the world's densest collection of haunted houses, waxworks, slot machines and... well, you think of and they'll find it for you.

Crossing to and fro isn't hard. Getting into and out of Canada is pulling up, saying hi at the gate, then riding on. Getting into the US is as pleasant but the lines of traffic start in mid-bridge. I assume that on busy days they go right back into Canada.

TODAY'S BIG NEWS: We almost saw our first dragits. They were just before the bridge on the Canadian side and not quite what I was expecting, nor where I was expecting. I was too slow to get a picture and confirm it, therefore. Next time...


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