More Adventures in the Niagara Frontier

After our relaxing stop along the river, we were feeling rather hungry. Mark and Ben had seen advertisements for the Texas Roadhouse Grill , so we made our way there. Although the place was loaded with cars at about 3 in the afternoon, the overall experience there was not stellar.  The fare was OK, but not outstanding.

After eating, I popped over toBJ’s, (which happened to be located in the same shopping area) and picked up some groceries that we needed from there. As an aside, they carry their store brand (Wellesley) red potato salad that is SO good! Of course I picked up a container of that!

Off we went……this time, headed for one of the wonders of the world…..

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Yes, even though I have seen Niagara Falls so many times, it still remains a great wonder to me!

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Just look at these little sparrows, hanging out just a few hundred feet from the falls! They were so complacent, I am surprised no one stepped on them! They were taking little dust baths and picking up tiny pebbles.

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Looking across the Niagara Gorge, there is Canada! About midway down the picture is a ledge where many yellow raincoat clad people are overlooking the gorge.

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And here is a boatload of folks riding up to get a closer look at the Falls. (and getting VERY wet in the process!)

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As the boat cruised closer, everyone nearly disappeared in the mist.

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After walking around the park awhile, Ben and I began to head back to the truck. I stopped to take a couple of pictures, and while I was stopped, a woman came over to me and gave me one free adult admission to the Cave of the Winds.  After discovering it was handicapped accessible, I told Mark he and the kids should take the tour! Mark decided this sounded like fun, so he and the kids went over and got their yellow ponchos so they could descend.

I had NO idea what this excursion was like, but when they recited the events that transpired,  I was nearly ready to get out and *kiss* the ground! Seems the tour begins with an elevator ride down 180′. Did I ever mention my claustrophobic tendencies?  As Mark went into a full description of the adventure, I was so glad no one insisted I tag along…..I think I would rather have ridden the roller-coaster at the theme park earlier in the day!

As I was walking around a bit, I came across this statue with the beautiful arch in the background. The statue commemorates the Yugoslavic inventor, Nikola Tesla. The arch behind him is  a re-creation of the original entrance to the first hydroelectric plant built in the world. (it was inauguarated in August of 1895.)

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After I went back to the truck, Mark whistled and there he and the kids were….decked out in style in their lovely yellow frocks! As an aside, anyone taking the tour gets to keep not only the fancy yellow poncho, but also a pair of sandals!

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 Mark and the kids resurfaced at about 8:30 pm, and we began our journey back home. We stopped in a town north of Buffalo so I could run in and grab Mark a couple of steak burritos….a memory that takes him back about 25 years ago when he was attending University of Buffalo. Surprising that the business still remains!

We got home a little after midnight, and as you can see, we had *quite* the full day! Now, back to relaxing! (for real!)

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Yesterday’s Adventures

Yesterday morning, we  were up and at ’em for an early start to our day. We had decided on Saturday evening that we all needed a little break from the busyness around the house.

We were off and on the road shortly after 8 am. We headed west and stopped by Darien Lake Theme Park.  We arrived at Darien Lake at about 10:30, and the kids and I went inside the park.  I am so *not* an amusement park type of person, but Ben conned me into riding on one of the more “mild” rides.  That accomplished, the kids went on the more daring rides as I followed along with them, waiting at the exit gates. We were there until about 1:30. then we headed on towards Buffalo.

We thought perhaps a ride along the river would be relaxing, and it surely was!  We passed by a marina where there was a nice boat launch and this proved to be a wonderful vantage point to take some pictures of activity. I am unsure if this is actually Tonawanda Creek, or part of the Niagara River.

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 Everywhere we looked, there were two things…boats and geese!

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 While we saw many docked boats, there was also a great deal of activity on the water. We saw small boats and boats that were nearly as big as our house!

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 And, of course, the Sherriff was out looking about to make sure that all were playing by the rules of water safety!

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 When Mark pulled into a parking space, he told us “Shhhhh” as we hopped out of the truck…..seems the guy parked next to us knows just how to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon! (he is located in the lower left of the picture) Ahhhhhh…….

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Mark had encouraged me to step on out onto the dock to take some pictures at the same level of the boats. Great idea….NOT! As I gingerly bounced out, I was totally unaware that the dock was of the *floating* variety! Only when I stopped to capture some shots did I realize that my land legs were swaying about. Since the ride was a bit “bumpy”, I opted to move back to dry land! Ben loved the motion of the dock! I caught the following picture, which I love.

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Yes, Ben was waving so long, but our adventure was not over…..not yet! We still had some ideas about how to relax some more!

And, Who Is This God We Serve?

OK, I know this header is a little unusual and I had planned to comment about our day yesterday, but *something* has pre-empted that entry, and I promise it will come later today!

Let me begin with several days ago…Michelle and Ben are so excited about Kingdom Bound. Kingdom Bound is a *huge* event in this area; it is the premiere gathering in Christian music, drawing many of the hottest groups in the Christian realm. Michelle asked Mark to call together a family meeting so we could decide when we would be able to attend.  Of course, the kids wanted to see the more “rowdy” groups than Mark and I would choose, but being adults, we could compromise some. As it worked out, with the cost of attending being rather high, we decided we would attend Tuesday evening.

All of that changed this morning! And, in one phone call!

Our *local* Christian radio station (Local? This station broadcasts all over New York and Pennsylvania, as well as on the internet!!!) has been having a contest offering 4 full passes to the 3 day Kingdom Bound event.  This morning, as I was dialing, I felt this tremendous surge of excitement that is inexplainable. The first call was busy. Second try, busy. Third try, I heard I was (the ****fortunate***) 7th caller! This is when the “trembling” began and I breathed a prayer, asking God to help me not to suffer “brain freeze”.  The contest involves answering 5 questions correctly in 60 seconds. You may pass if you do not know the answer to any questions.

I cannot remember all five questions, but I do remember answering 7 for the number of years a dog experiences to one of our human years, the toal of 1/2 and 1/8 is 5/8, and the spelling of afghan is “a-f-g-h-a-n-“.  I passed on two questions that I SHOULD have known….Da Vinci painted Mona Lisa, and Peter’s occupation before being a disciple was a fisherman! The two other questions I correctly ansered have evaded my memory….Well, I DID win four passes, and I am STILL shaking and totally amazed.

But, then again, why should I stand amazed?

I made the call from my cell phone, thinking it would take too long to walk to the land line.  I gave all of my pertinent information, then went “live” for the questioning.  Michelle had her radio on in her room, and when she heard my voice, she came running into the bedroom, making me feel even more pressured!  Yikes! After I won the contest, the guys at the station were talking to me, and believe it or not, although my phone said “connected”, I could no longer talk or hear them!Amazing. Simply amazing.

The cost of the evening passes for us to take the kids was going to be over $100. That is a considerable amount of money for a family living on social security. After Mark suffered a spinal cord injury causing him to become paraplegic eight years ago, he has been unable to work. He cannot sit in a chair for long before he needs to lie down and several other issues make it impossible for him to go to a job.  I do have a small soap business, selling supplies to other soap makers, as well as selling some of my own soaps. I don’t say these things for others to have pity on us, but as a testimony of God’s goodness to fullfill the desires of two kids who have been wanting to go to Kingdom Bound for the past two years, but we were unable to work out the details….

And so, this is (yet another) day of praise! Praise that He who owns the cattle on a thousand hills is loving enough to provide such a wonderful luxury to this family!!!!