N is for Niagara Falls

One doesn’t NEED a passport to go to Canada; one could get an enhanced driver’s license or non-driver’s ID, or similar products. BUT the things are only good for traveling by land or sea, not by air.

JEOPARDY! answers. All but the first from a Niagara Falls category introduced by host Alex Trebek, who said: “The honeymoon’s not over with one of North America’s most scenic attractions.”

Niagara Falls gets is enormous power because the Niagara River’s water is rushing between these 2 Great Lakes, which are only 36 miles apart but have a 300-foot difference in elevation.

In 1901, a 63-year-old schoolteacher named Annie Taylor became the first person to go over the falls in one of these; she made it, but I’m gonna pass.

There’s plenty of water going over the falls right now, but would you believe that in March 1848 for about 30 hours the Falls actually stopped flowing due to a massive upstream accumulation of this stuff.

The tradition of honeymooning here at the falls began way back in 1801 when the daughter of this then-U.S. vice president came here with her new husband; three years later, dad fought a famous duel.

Ferries with this dewy feminine name have been plying the waters below the falls since 1846; some of the most famous guests: Edward VIII, Teddy Roosevelt & Marilyn Monroe.

The falls are divided into two sections–the straight-line American falls over here, & over here on the Canadian side, this cataract, named for its distinctive shape. I have been to Niagara Falls at least thrice, with my family planning a trip there this year. Let me tell you about my previous visits.

When I was 10, give or take a year, my parents, sisters, and I went to Niagara Falls. Oddly, I have a stronger recollection of the floral clock on the Canadian side than I remember the falls themselves. I do recall that the kids were all asleep when we came back through to the US side, and that I was disappointed by that.

In 1998, our SBDC annual meeting was in Niagara Falls. By this time, the Canadian side had a bunch of casinos, and we were all given some casino money – from a sponsor, not the program – with which to start gambling. Since I had never gone before, I gave it a shot. But I found/find casinos annoying loud and rather boring. Worse, I was actually winning, which you might think would be exciting, but which I found actually worrisome. So I changed machines, promptly lost my money, and just wandered around the area outside. My strongest recollection, though, was crossing the borders, in each direction, on foot. I waved my US passport and about a half dozen of us went across; ah, the days before 9/11.

In 2002, the State Data Center had its semiannual meeting there. It was in May, and my wife had just finished her school year; she was a grad student. Even better, it was our third wedding anniversary. So we drove out, had a hotel room for three nights, and ate out every night, and all was reimbursed except for her meals. She explored all day while I had my meetings. It was great. We walked across the border, me with the passport, my wife with her standard driver’s license.

So now we’re planning a trip to Ontario. We all have passports, including the Daughter. One doesn’t NEED a passport; one could get an enhanced driver’s license or non-driver’s ID, or similar products. BUT the things are only good for traveling by land or sea, not by air, and though we’re traveling by car THIS time, we might want to fly to Vancouver, BC or Calgary sometime in the future. Oh, those pictures: they’re supposedly Niagara Falls in 1911. Are they really Niagara Falls? Apparently so. Are they from 1911? Almost certainly not. It’s one of those legends that are partly truth and partly fiction. The e-mail from which I received the photos even came with this narrative:

Margaret writes: Her mother had a cousin living in Niagara Falls that year. She told the family that she and her neighbours woke up in the night feeling something was wrong. It took a while but they finally realized that it was the lack of noise. They had all become so used to the roar of the falls that the silence was unusual enough to alert their senses. Of course, at that time nearly all the houses were near the falls. Can you imagine walking on Niagara Falls? JEOPARDY! questions:

What are Lakes Erie and Ontario?
What was a barrel?
What was ice? (See the falls DO freeze!)
Who was Aaron Burr?
What are the Maids of the Mist?
What is Horseshoe Falls?

ABC Wednesday – Round 8

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