Saturday, May 12, 2018

New York - Day 12 - Niagara Falls vacinity

Image result for yellow warbler
(not my photo)

Evangola State Park, near Buffalo
Saturday, 12 May 2018

The KOA campground had quite a few yellow warblers, and they are so pretty.  A picture can't capture their beauty as they flit around looking like bits of sunshine.

Today I wanted to see Niagara Falls and was stumped again because I have both an RV (which isn't welcome in many parking lots) and living critters inside it (which I don't want to leave without knowing how I'm going to get back to them.

The parking lot at the American Falls - the largest that's entirely on US soil (so to speak) said no RVs allowed.  I could park farther down the road and take a shuttle in, which I'd have been glad to do, but then I'd have been at the mercy of someone else's schedule in trying to get back to the critters, and I'm just not comfortable with that.  I may feel differently in a year or two, but that's where I am now.

Instead, I went even farther back down the road to the Whirlpool State Park, and the dogs and I took a 2-mile round-trip walk down a trail that allowed me a view of the mist coming off the falls.  Unfortunately, the photo I took doesn't begin to show the power of it.

I realized later if I'd hiked another quarter mile I could have gotten a better picture, but I wasn't going to go back - I couldn't drive to that trail - it was pedestrian and bike only.

The mist sprayed so high into the air it was breathtaking.  Literally, it took my breath away.  The power behind it must be enormous.

I cribbed this photo of American Falls because I never got to see the falls themselves.  I drove around the area a while but just couldn't figure out how to do it.  Decided that would be something for another time and, after all, I saw their power.

Speaking of which, I was surprised, though I shouldn't have been, to see a hydro plant there.  Of course they have been harvesting the power that's so obvious, and they've been doing it for almost 150 years.  There's even a treaty with Canada about it.

That's Canada, by the way, in my photo.  It's right across the Niagara River.  What I also hadn't realized, and it's about time I learned this, is that the water that makes the falls comes from 4 of the Great Lakes - the last one being Erie - and flows into the 5th (Ontario).

After I left the falls area, I drove into North Tonawanda.  Right.  I've never heard of it either but it was a major hub for the amusement ride and player piano/organ industries.  I learned this at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum.  What a delight!  Mr. Herschell first saw a carousel in New York City and decided he could build that, and did in 1883.  He called it a steam riding gallery (it was powered by steam) and it was considered the original thrill ride for adults - no children allowed.  Just as well - the early ones went 8-10 mph.

"Factory" connotes a mechanized approach that wasn't there.  Instead, all the horses and so forth were carved by hand out of real wood.  The carvers came from a number of countries and spoke many different languages and tended to communicate with each other using drawings of what they should be doing.  The music came from a player organ, especially after a military one was perfected (it sounded like a military band and could play marches).

My $5 senior admission bought me, in addition to the exhibits, a ride on a carrousel (their spelling) - one of the first 3 they built, back in 1916.  And they were the original horses and everything.  It was wonderful.  Their motto is: Once around is never enough.

The state park I'm in now is on Lake Erie - my old friend from Erie, PA.

Tomorrow I'm going back into Buffalo to see a few things there if I can.
today's route

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