Next Time, We’ll Look at the Falls

It is a slow news day here in RegenAxe land, so this post reaches back into time, back to 1982, back to our great bicycling adventure.  In 1982, Anne and I packed up all our cares and woes, drove to Texas, left the car with my brother and started a six-month bicycling odyssey.  The subject of this post is just one day out of this adventure, the 18th of June.

To set the stage, by this point it had been almost three months, since we had set out and of those three months, we had been on the bike for almost two.  We rode hard, but we also played hard too.  The previous day we had biked through Rochester, NY.  While eventually, this city would play a much larger role later in our lives, on that day its only mention is, “Rochester isn’t very far in the morning.  It is nice to go through while we’re still fresh, lots of construction though.  The headwind is tough after Rochester, seems like we’re hardly making any progress.”  From such an inauspicious introduction, it was unforseen that we would give this city four of our friends (Bob, Chris, Nink & Alice), one of our sons and much of our treasure (to the UofR).

On our trip, we brought a 35mm camera along, hence the pictures with this post, but we also kept a journal.  In this case we mainly means Anne, she kept the journal that is now the basis for this post, but to echo that old Shake n Bake commercial, “And I helped!”  Maybe if I helped more back then than I did with the journal, Anne might be more willing to help more now with this blog.  What do you say, Dear?  😉

Anyway, on the evening of the 17th we camped on the shores of Lake Ontario.  We spoke with another biker who had come from Thunder Bay, ON and was almost to his destination, Syracuse, NY.  He was a big guy and he told us of all the broken bike frames that he had had.  On the following morning, we set off for Niagara.  Here is Anne’s commentary:

We get an early start, because we want to get to Niagara, with plenty of time to explore.  We stop in Wilson at 10:30 [AM], just in time to catch-all of the high school kids mobbing the stores.  We press on and get some strawberries for “le pique-nique” [picnic].  When we get to Niagara [Canada], we get our room, cash money [traveler’s checks] and start sightseeing.  We cross the border three times in one day, ride the Maid of the Mist, walk our feet off, visit the Indian Center and eat in a Japanese restaurant before collapsing into bed!

On the 18th, we only rode 45 miles, but the previous day we had ridden 65 miles and the day after we rode 70 miles.  By this time in our trip, all our lollygagging around the falls aside, we were racing to the Soo and Cousin Anne and Mr. Bill’s 4th of July weekend wedding.  The next day, after we had plunged into southern Ontario, we met some new friends, three women bikers, Sarah Davis, Barbara Neal and Janet Bayer, but theirs is a story for another post.

Our day at Niagara Falls was a special day.  It pretty much marked the halfway point of our great adventure, both in time and in mileage.  We had ridden 2,500 miles together already and we still had another 2,500 more to go.  Beyond those miles we had years yet to travel and hopefully years more yet in the saddle together.  It would be challenge for any cyclist to repeat our feat of that day and cross the border as blithely as we did way back then.  Though I doubt anyone could ever still do so for just 10¢ a throw.  It’s the little things that you treasure, like one slim dime.

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