Friday, August 19, 2011

'Get Over It'...Conquering My Fears

As I continue with today's blog, I noticed that part of my last one somehow got deleted.  I was talking about the Skylon Tower. I wasn't sure I would be able to go to the top of this.....A trip to the top of this world-famous Niagara Falls attraction combines an exhilarating 52-second ride with the awe of seeing Niagara Falls from 775 feet above the mighty Falls, going at a speed of 12 kilometers (8 miles) per hour. He makes 26 trips per hour. I am SURE that his being Canadian and having a french accent helped ME get to the top of the tower easily, not to mention, he was cute!  I rode what they call the 'yellow bug', which are elevators on the outside of the tower,  and was a bit nervous going up, but if THAT doesn't cure you of your fear of heights, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING ELSE THAT NICOLE WILL TALK ME INTO THAT WILL CURE IT! You can look out through the glass-enclosed 'yellow bug' and view the Falls, the Great Gorge, Niagara wine district, the dazzling cityscape below and the Toronto and Buffalo skylines. From here, you can take in 8,000 square miles of Canada and the U.S.

OK...that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.....NOW, ON TO THE NEXT ADVENTURE!
This morning I was up bright and early and ready to start my day of sightseeing. We began a three-hour guided tour of Niagara Falls with Michelle, our local step-on guide.  There was a story told by the local Native peoples of a mighty waterfall hidden in the middle of the continent. We can only wonder how the explorers felt when they first discovered Niagara Falls. In such a remote, untamed wilderness, surrounded by primeval forest, there being an ever-present mist, and with the crashing of water echoing through the woods, the Falls must have been a scary sight! Niagara, means "The Strait," although it became known as "Thunder of Waters." Sadly, most visitors to Niagara do not see far beyond the glamour of the Falls and miss many of the other treasures....BUT, NOT US!

One stop was to the Floral Clock. There are close to 19,000 plants used each year to make this a popular stop on the Niagara Parkway and has had almost as many photographs taken as the Falls.  ALL of Niagara Falls takes their horticulture seriously. The School of Horticulture, which only accepts 22 applicants per year, does a SUPER job of making EVERYTHING look beautiful!

OK...So far, so good! I still have both feet on the ground! We drove through Niagara-on-the-Lake, which is definitely wine country. Everywhere you looked, there was a winery....along with a gorgeous house!

STILL, I have both feet on the ground....BUT THIS IS ABOUT TO CHANGE!!!  Nicole would like to ride the Whirlpool Aero-Car....yep! Just the word 'whirlpool' and I knew what I was in for!

The Aero-Car is suspended by six sturdy cables (I am SO glad they emphasize the fact that they are STURDY...but, only SIX of them?...) that have been carrying passengers DIRECTLY OVER THE WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS since 1916 (and THAT was to make me feel better as well...). We will be going 200 feet above the Whirlpool Rapids. From looking down into them, they seemed relatively calm. But, the waters below actually go to speeds of 50 kilometers per hour (30 miles per hour) through this channel. Water travels counter-clockwise. Almost as many stunts have taken place here as they have over Niagara Falls, including tight-rope walking, barrel riding, swimming, and even kayaking. Captain Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel, attempted to swim the Whirlpool Rapids in 1883. His body was not recovered for four days. Hhmmmmmm....wonder how long it will take them to find us?

Count the cables....ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX!!!  Yep! They are all there!


We made it back safe and sound. And, it was actually a lot of fun! Besides seeing the Falls, Maid of the Mist had to be my favorite BUT the Whirlpool Aero-Car came in at a close second.  Once I stepped onto the car, where you stand the whole 10-minute ride, I was NOT afraid.
After lunch at Niagara-on-the-Lake overlooking Lake Ontario, with Fort George in the background, we headed back to our hotel (or so I thought that's where we would go after such a traumatic experience earlier). So, goodbye, Niagara-on-the-Lake.....

Fort George and Lake Ontario


Courthouse and Clock Tower

Flower Clock

Itty Bitty Church

Wine Barrel

Goodbye, Whirlpool...

 Nicole decided that I didn't have enough of heights for the day, so we rode the Sky Wheel.

Sky Wheel

 Needless to say, we did NOT go to the hotel but headed straight for Clifton Hill.  Clifton Hill reminds me of the Canadian version of Times Square......    On second thought, lets walk a little further to Table Rock and see the 'Journey Behind the Falls' which was awesome. We were literally  behind the falls, standing a mere 6 feet behind what I hope was some really, really, strong glass!

This is where we were about 6 feet from the falls, BUT DO YOU NOTICE THAT LEAK TO THE RIGHT IN THE WALL? UH-OH! TIME TO GET OUT OF HERE, NICOLE!

I am so glad Nicole chose this trip as part of her graduation present from Lancaster Bible College. It was an honor to go along with her and I must thank her for helping me 'Get Over It'.....

So, Nicole, where does our next adventure take us?


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