Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Jacob's 2004 Adventure: Part IV- Day One At Niagara Falls

Instead of waking up and seeing the cabinet in my bedroom covered with Superman memorabilia, I woke up to a view of a city stretched out far below me. The sun was out and the world was bright, I was in the midst of an adventure far from home.

I sat up and looked at the book and picture on the foot of the bed. I smiled as I saw these reminders of my wonderful experience the night before.

While we were all waking up, my aunt was on a mission. She tossed on a little outfit and went down to the front desk to talk to the morning concierge. She told her version of the story and ended up redeeming herself for being an hour late the day before. This generous concierge gave us an upgraded room for the price of the room we were supposed to have. Poor guy never knew what hit him.
We all got dressed and hauled our stuff to the new room. It was great! A living room with a couch and pullout bed, a bedroom with two big beds and a beautiful view of the Falls, a bathroom, a separate shower, and a even Jacuzzi. Style, baby.

After getting settled in, we set out for adventure.

Getting a late start, we went down to the T.G.I. Fridays that was connected to the lobby of the hotel. After a quick breakfast, we were on our way.

We walked for a while to see what we could see, then we decided on our first destination: The Maid of the Mist.
Our journey to the Maid of the Mist was roughly a half hour to 45 minute walk. It led us through the new casino, which we'd be returning to later. When we came out the other side of the casino's mall area, we were directly across the street from the Skylon Tower. One of my goals for the trip was to see the view from the top of the tower. My aunt said she'd go up with me...until she actually saw it. Apparently I was the only one of the four of us who isn't terrified of heights.

To get to the Maid of the Mist from where we were, we had to make our way down a huge hill, which was easy and I thought quite fun, but there was one thing we overlooked, on our way back we'd have to go back up that hill.
Deciding to make it easier on myself by not fighting gravity, I let 'er rip and flew down the hill. Mom matched my speed. As Grandma observed, she thought I had lost control and Mom was chasing me. With that, Grandma began chasing us while yelling to my aunt "Help your sister! Help your sister!"
We finally made it and got in line. We got our tickets and they led us down an elevator and through a long hallway. We were given ponchos, which we quickly put on, then we went aboard the Maid of the Mist.

The boat rocked as it traveled against the current and it took us practically right below the Falls. It was so incredible. The rocking, the wind, the mist spraying you. Mom thought the same effect could be achieved by going to the firehouse and having them hose you down, but I absolutely loved it. The poncho came in handy, but my legs were soaking wet for the rest of the day.

After getting back on dry land, it was time to eat. Right by the gift shop was a cute little eating area overlooking the river. There were one or two little restaurants, drink stands, live music, and a little craft stand. I decided it was souvenir time and approached the craft stand. They were selling leather bracelets that they would personalize for free if you wanted. I thought about it, I wanted one, but I didn't want it to just say "Jacob," too predictable. After some thought, it came to me. Over the past few days, I had met so many people from message boards and they kept referring to me by my message board name, "BoyOfSteel". So I picked a nice black bracelet, told the lady what I wanted it to say, and watched as she burned the letters "B.O.S." into it. After I ate me an ice cream sundae, we were once again on our way.

As we walked, I made a last-ditch effort and offered my aunt $15 for the casino if she took me to the top of the Skylon Tower. No luck. It was worth a shot. Maybe next time.
Shortly later, we found ourselves at the base of the hill, gritted our teeth, and started to make our way up. It's insane how tiring it was, even for me in my wheelchair, I felt like Frodo scaling Mount Doom. About 90% of the way up, a guy working a parking lot at the top of the hill came down and asked if help was needed. My mouth said "No thanks, I've got it" but my brain was saying "Screw you, buddy! I made it this far on my own and I'll make it the rest of the way!"

We took a breather at the top and then we headed into the casino. I had set myself a $50 limit for casino use over the entire trip. That night I lasted over an hour on $40 and the credits I won at the quarter slots. I don't think that's too bad for my first time.

Upon getting back to the hotel, we were all hungry again and decided to go to the steakhouse in the hotel. The atmosphere in the restaurant was great. Dimly lit, very friendly staff, hot waitresses, and amazing view of the Falls, which were lit up at night. I had a nice steak, a baked potato, and a drink called an "Orange Slice." The drink was okay, but went fast, everything else was fantastic!

Slightly buzzed from my drink, I followed as we made our way back to our room.

From the comfort of the room I relaxed and watched as they shut the lights on the Falls off one by one. I worked on my travel journal on my laptop, but we were so busy throughout the trip, I never even finished documenting the first day's journey to Toronto. Then it was time for bed. I had to rest up for what was sure to be another full day.

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