The Garden City Refugee

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Over the River LIII

July 24, 2019

Highlights from my 53rd two-wheeled visit to the Great State of New York:

1. After crossing the QEW on Mountain Road, I spotted this sign being displayed by someone parked off the shoulder, expressing my sentiments about the upcoming federal election here in Canada:

1a. Anyone who is even thinking of voting Liberal should be committed. Or deported to North Korea. Same goes for anyone thinking of voting CUP (Communist Union Party, more formally known as the NDP) or the FGP (Fascist Green Party).

2. Heading over the Rainbow Bridge, I found it odd that there was a long line of Canada-bound pedestrians waiting to be processed so early in the morning. Equally odd was the backlog of U.S.-bound buses, two of which were from Quebec.

3. The Metro bus driver who took me and my wheels to Tonawanda was the same one I had when I visited Buffalo last month.

4. Scenes along the trail between the South Grand Island Bridge and River Road/NY 265:

For the benefit of one reader, this trail reminded very much of our trip to Minneapolis. Except that this one was better.

5. Only a roadgeek like me could appreciate an oddity like a square Interstate shield:

6. When I was eventually served at the McDonald’s in Tonawanda (City of, not Town of), the clerk, who was on her break, asked, “Do you need your order taken?” No, I’ve just been standing under where it says “Order Here” all by my lonesome for the last couple of minutes because I like the view.

7. When taking a plastic straw for my drink, I proudly unwrapped it, stuck it inside and said “Up yours, Walter Sendzik!” to myself.

8. Sitting at my seat, I listened with interest as employees were sniping at each other behind the counter. In particular, one guy said to one of his colleagues, “I don’t hate you, it’s just that we butt heads.” Not content to leave the hostilities in-house, one enraged clerk greeted a customer who came in soon after with a brusque “What do you want?” as if he had anything to do with the clerk’s gripes with his colleagues.

8a. Yes, I filled out the survey listed on the receipt. Yes, I mentioned this. No, I don’t think it will do one bit of good.

9. While standing at the counter and filling out a form, one of the clerks yelled out, “Anyone here need life insurance?” Who knew you could get life insurance at McDonald’s?

10. Seated nearby in McDonald’s was a guy on his phone placing an order for two of his three medications, bellowing out the names of the drugs he’s taking, his credit card number, phone number and date of birth for all to hear. How trusting of him.

11. Just think how many would-be “proofreaders’s” missed this obvious mistake before carving it into stone:

12. Going through Wheatfield, I couldn’t help but reflect on how far from Winnipeg I was in more ways than one.

13. Kudos to the City of Niagara Falls for the new trail, shown at right, which follows the repaved NY 265/384 between Wheatfield and Cayuga Drive.

14. I don’t think I’m alone in failing to comprehend the apparent necessity of having two markers like this practically right in front of each other:

15. It should not take longer for the guy at the toll booth at the Rainbow Bridge to take my loonie and figure out how to open the gate than the combined length of time of my respective inspections at U.S. and Canadian customs.

15a. While fumbling about in the booth, the guy actually asked if it was just one of me. I should have told him that no, I was hauling a brood of Mexicans in my backpack.

16. I find it interesting that the City of Niagara Falls (Canada) has been unable to find the time over the last several months to fix the filter in the water fountain at the bus terminal, yet they have found the time to come up with another scheme to bilk tourists out of their money. This one involves charging them an arm and a leg to charge their phones. Six bucks buys the privilege of a 24-hour rental of one of these portable chargers and if you don’t return it within seven days, your card will be dinged another $55. Welcome to Niagara Falls. Call me a skeptic, but I don’t figure it will be long before they’ll be charging me to lock up my bike.

16a. Before you say anything, I realize it’s a private company’s service, but don’t tell me the city’s not getting a sizable cut of the proceeds as it is in the city-owned terminal.

17. I really don’t mind helping people with directions, but it’s polite to at least say, “Excuse me, sir, can you help me?” first instead of just shoving a Wego map in my face.

18. Among the lineup six or seven deep outside the door at the women’s washroom inside the bus terminal was a young girl holding both hands over her crotch who really had to go. I felt her pain. We’ve all been there.

19. One of those waiting for the GO bus thought it was a good idea to mix Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Coke. Then again, it couldn’t be much worse than the iced tea I had at McDonald’s. Note to self: Order something else next time.

20. Not that I care much either way, but when did it become part of Metrolinx policy to allow GO bus drivers to wear Boston Red Sox caps?

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