The Garden City Refugee

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Over the River LXXX

July 19, 2024

Highlights and lowlights from my 80th two-wheeled trek to the Great State of New York:

1. The Falls-bound regional bus I was on nearly didn’t make it past Fairview Mall on account of a leak. The driver had called it in and asked for a replacement bus, but after a few minutes, the leak stopped. He surmised they had overfilled the radiator, so after getting the go-ahead, he took off. “Keep your fingers crossed,” he said. It was hardly confidence inspiring, but thankfully, we made it to the Falls safely and in one piece.

2. Seated near the back was a DWAM™ who had her mask down past her nose and not even covering her entire mouth. But she was doing her part. She cares. Fortunately, however, she would be the only DWAM™ I would spot on the day.

3. Stuck on the driver’s shield was a DO NOT ENTER notice from Orkin Pest Control. Hmmm.

4. Perhaps against my better judgment, I tried my luck with the Discover Niagara Shuttle again, but this time, my patience was rewarded. It showed up as scheduled and I took it all the way up to Fort Niagara State Park.

I was the only passenger heading north, but there were four others on board when I caught it on my return trip after making my way back to Lewiston and four more got on at stops farther south. Unlike the shuttle to Lockport I tried to catch last year, both vehicles had bike racks and those racks had room not just for two, but three bikes. As the driver on the return trip noted, on a good day, they have five shuttles on the road at any given time, but they have problems with shuttles breaking down and holding onto drivers. Which explains why I and others have had trouble with this free service. You get what you pay for apparently. For the record, I would happily pay a nominal fee for increased reliability.


5. During the ride in both directions, there was a video playing on the big screen behind the driver highlighting attractions around the area and giving some history, including some details on the War of 1812 when the U.S. invaded Canada. Except that Canada wasn’t a country in 1812. The war was actually between the U.S. and Great Britain, the cause of which had nothing to do with any dispute between the U.S. and the territory now known as Canada. They also went on to talk about the “Battle of Queenston,” which was, in fact, the “Battle of Queenston Heights.” Details, details.

6. Spotted on Portage Road was a Niagara Falls police car pulling out of a donut shop. After all the ribbing I’m sure they get, you’d think they wouldn’t make it so obvious.

7. Spotted on a sign outside a church in Lewiston, “Ketchup on Jesus and relish His love.”

8. The lighthouse at Fort Niagara State Park:


9. There must be a lot of developmentally challenged children in Youngstown . . .

10. Maybe the historical significance is part of the reason they go so crazy with salt around these parts during the winter months . . .

11. Murals in Youngstown . . .


12. The Plucked Chicken . . .

13. View from the public dock in Youngstown looking down the river. On the left is Niagara-on-the-Lake and on the right is Fort Niagara.

14. More support for America’s elected president . . .

15. Scenes at the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine . . .




16. Does he “need” the favor for the Bills to win or to help sell his house?

17. The “free gift” for anyone who receives blood from someone who has taken mRNA injections is a fatally compromised immune system along with blood clots.

18. Before getting off the shuttle, one of the passengers said to me, “Don’t forget your bike.” Gee, thanks.

19. New selfie magnet on Old Falls Street . . .

20. When paying with my nickels and dimes at the Rainbow Bridge toll booth, I noticed a dime on the ground. I got off my bike to pick it up to hand it to the woman in the booth, but she said I could keep it. So my toll was 90 cents. Another frequent crosser discount.

21. Whereas the line waiting to get into the U.S. stretched all the way across the bridge, I had two open lanes waiting for me when returning to Canada. The call of the Great State is indeed powerful. Canada, not so much. Kind of like Checkpoint Charlie. There was never a big lineup of travelers waiting to get into East Berlin.

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