Quickie

For various reasons (have you met my new stove and seen the tour schedule?) we found ourselves too short of time and money to do a whole lot, vacation- wise this summer. We decided to do a quickie when we heard about the bike train. We have cycled to Niagara before, we did it as a family when the girls were 8, 10 and 13… it’s not at all hard and is only 200km away, but that’s a three day ride each way… and that was too long for us. (Not distance wise, we’ve done 400km on family trips before, it was too long a time to take off work.) We could do what we have done in the past, box up the bikes and ship them on the train, but to be entirely frank, it’s a huge pain in the arse. You have to take of the pedals and turn your handlebars and tape the boxes and pay the money for the shipping and wait for them to be loaded and unloaded as oversize baggage, and if you’re travelling with a whole family, the time that takes really sucks…but we’ve done it.

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The bike train solves all this. You ride over to Union Station, hand them the bike right there, they put it in a bike rack on the baggage car and hand it right back to you at the end of the ride. It’s spectacular. Ken and I knit the whole way.

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Joe did whatever it is that non-knitters do with a train ride.

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Once there, we got our bikes back and took off on a ride. We decided to go from the Niagara train station to Niagara On The Lake, then cycle back and check into our hotel. The next day we would cycle south toward Fort Erie, then whip back before getting on the train to go home to Toronto. Only Sam was with us this year, since her older sisters have jobs that mean they can’t take weekends off, so Sam was queen for the trip and set much of the agenda. The coolest thing on her list was the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum. (Naturally, and I’m sure all the Canadians will be having flashbacks to 7th grade history class, this is located in the historic home of William Lyon Mackenzie, rebel publisher and instigator of the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837.)

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They had all sorts of printing presses, including one that is the eighth oldest printing press in the world, and with the exception of that very old one, the rest are hands on. We all got to take turns pulling handles and levers and printing our own bookmarks, and Sam set her name in type (“Samantha” instead of “Sam”. More fun that way). Very, very good fun.

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(Bloggers should be interested to know that this, these letters that one moves around to set the type for printing is an invention called “Movable type” Sound familiar?)

They had a linotype press too…it was absolutely fascinating, and considering how time consuming it is, it’s pretty fantastical to know that there are still plenty of newspapers all over the place who still use the technology, and that a realistic alternative only came along in the 70’s. The New York Times used Linotype until 1975.

We Cycled along the Niagara River for the rest of our day.

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We saw orchards with almost ready peaches, and acres and acres of vineyards as we cycled along the “wine route”.

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At the printing press we met a man named Roy Charles Asplin, who is a very charming old man and a neat guy, and he told us that he had made a statue of Lord Simcoe the stood in Simcoe Park in Niagara On The Lake.

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We found it…and with little thought, the next picture was obvious.

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The sock went to the Butterfly Conservatory,

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which is really a fantastic and magical place.

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Butterflies everywhere, even one to match my knitting.

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This whole day took about 60km of cycling, and took us back to downtown Niagara Falls, where we started looking for the hotel. We cycled around Clifton Hill (an insult of incline after 60 k of cycling) we looked up and down the street, but try as we might, we couldn’t find our hotel. Ken finally asked me for the confirmation email so he could take it into another hotel and ask where it was, and I handed it to him…telling him the address, and he started to walk away.

Then he stopped dead, turned slowly and said “We have a big problem.” He pointed at the address. I looked where he was pointing. 433 Main Street, Niagara Falls. “What problem?” I said.

“Keep reading Steph.” I looked at the paper. 433 Main Street, Niagara Falls, USA.

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Damn. Double Damn. There it was, across the river with that big huge BORDER in between us and it. Might have well been on Mars for how attainable it was. We hadn’t planned on a jaunt to another freaking country, so while we all had passports, we certainly didn’t have them with us, and nobody was carrying any proof of citizenship. (Except Sam. That kid was prepared for anything.) We did some fancy dancing, made a bunch of phone calls and found what we were told was the last available hotel room on our side of the border. Stupid, stupid, stupid. (I am back to self blame for the bonehead move on that one, although when we couldn’t find a hotel room I did have a rather good head of steam worked up about the stupidity of having two cities with the same name right next to each other.)

The next day we visited the falls,

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contemplated a daring photo, but realized the risk to the sock was too great,

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cycled south from the falls,

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had a nice lunch, rode and rode and rode, and then turned up at the train station, boarded our bikes and headed for home.

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It was a really good time, although if your view for a whole weekend is like this,

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Then this is all the knitting you get done.

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We’d do the bike train again in a heartbeat, even though today, I am- despite owning a great seat for my bike….acutely aware of my own seat.

170 thoughts on “Quickie

  1. Welcome to my part of the world! (I live in Fort Erie!) I hope you had a wonderful time!

  2. I love Niagra on the Lake! Even as an American, I know you are on the “right side” of that adventure. Next time, maid of the mists? (maybe with superwash?)

  3. That sounds like so much fun! Way to go for Sam to be so prepared! Love the sock and matching butterfly!

  4. I wonder if we have something like that here in Colorado. That would be a nice way to get my bike over to the Grand Canyon. Then again, the lack of oxygen might stop me from riding at all once I got there. It’s always surprising to me how such a small change in elevation here can mean such a huge difference in oxygen levels. Science is crazy!

  5. You mean *you* have not figured out how to bike and knit at the same time? I would have thought you of all people would have managed that. Just because it seems impossible to us mere mortals … you who do six impossible things before breakfast all the time … wow, and I thought you could do *anything*.
    Just kidding! What a great trip, totally understandable hotel snafu to the contrary notwithstanding! Welcome home, and can’t wait to see you in Massachusetts next week. (I’m bringing you chocolate…)

  6. Yep, “saddle sore” takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to a bicycle…btdt! I haven’t been to Niagara in 30 (eek!) years…on a cross-country drive with friends….now it’s just heartbreaking to think how much knitting I could have gotten done…had I known how…ah, for that kind of free time again….

  7. Ah yes, good old Niagara Falls. I’ll never forget the time I went with a friend from South America thinking we could just apply for a day pass type visa to Canada right there at the border. I was seriously disappointed when I learned I was only going to be able to show her the crappy-view US side. Glad you were able to get a room!!

  8. Ha! I have the “bum awareness” after too much trekking this weekend too. Excellent idea – so happy to hear about the bike train, hmmmm. Glad you guys could make it for a wee getaway, Niagara Falls is hard to beat.

  9. Great pictures. I have been to the falls twice, and loved it each time. They are so beautiful.

  10. I’ve read your blog for a while now and enjoy the bike trips you’ve taken with your family. This looked to be a load of fun! By the way – thanks to you – I’ve knit my first pair of socks. Thanks for the humor and wisdom on your blog and in your books!

  11. I love Niagara Falls. I didn’t as a kid, mind you. Growing up 30 minutes away and going every month made it lose it’s appeal. But I went back a couple years ago for the first time since leaving Buffalo and totally fell in love with it all over again.
    And the Butterfly Conservancy totally kicks ass.

  12. My dad grew up in Buffalo and my grandparents still live there, so the Falls are familiar. But they never get old!
    Next time we’re there with bikes, I’ll have to check out those routes. Thank you!

  13. I have done that before – the last-room-in-a-thousand-miles thing, only mine had an inch of water in the carpet and 300 mosquitoes on the ceiling. Yours sounds like a fine fine trip, all in all.

  14. My Dad had one of those old printing presses with moveable type. He used to own a little daily paper here and set his own type every night for hours. He can still read just as fast backward and to the right as he can forward to the left. I know how to do it too, but I’m nowhere near as fast. I bet he had far fewer spelling mistakes than today’s average paper too.
    Getting a hotel on the US side of the border sounds like something I would do too. Though I am lucky enough to have an uncle not too far from Niagara.

  15. I laughed out loud on the hotel snafu.
    Did you know that Kansas City, Kansas sits opposite Kansas City, Missouri? A tremendous amount of creativity there, no?

  16. Really, shouldn’t the US and Canada be more like the EU making it easy to go back and forth between neighbor countries? During my recent vacation to Germany (good place to snag sock yarn) we landed in Amsterdam and got the passport stamped. I could not convince anyone in Germany to stamp it because I’d just come from an EU country and they didn’t care.

  17. How beautiful! I wish we had a bike train down here. We don’t have anything cool like that! Of course we don’t have Niagara Falls around here either. πŸ˜‰ I’m glad you had a great time!

  18. Can I just say that booking a hotel room in the wrong country is totally something I would do. πŸ™‚
    Sounds like a great holiday! And I love the teensy cable down the side of your grey sock.

  19. Holly, we used to not need a passport for the Canada-US border, but now we do, in the post-9/11 world. My kids and I don’t even *have* passports, it’s been on my to-do list for years, ever since mine expired and I didn’t renew it because my name had changed and OH! the paperwork, not to mention the outlay of cash. Thanks for the reminder that I should get on this already.
    I can completely understand missing the pesky minor detail of which country the hotel is in. It looks like a nice little getaway, though.

  20. OMG I so want to do this.. and Sue would too… WOW. thanks for the info. I bet It would be fun cycling with you.

  21. I spent my high school summers waitressing in a coffe shop right across the street from the American Falls. So many people were confused by the duplicate names, and they would argue with you when you told them they were in NF, NY. “NO! We were in NF yesterday, and it’s in Canada!” Yes, I’d say, but this is NF, in NY. They couldn’t believe it.
    Then there were the people who came from Buffalo (NY), over Grand Island so still in NY, but you cross two bridges to get from there to Niagara Falls NY.) They KNEW they were in Canada, because they had gone “Across the bridge to Canada.” Couldn’t convince them it wasn’t Canada unless you went through Customs on the way over the Bridge!
    Sorry about your confusion, Steph!

  22. dang it. canada is soo freakin cool. a bike TRAIN?! it would save our marriage (er, not that uhm.. well it would greatly enhance our relationship). trains for me.. biking for the husband (and me, but the trains!)

  23. You were cycling around in my area! It’s beautiful isn’t it. We’re in a little town in grape country and every direction is downhill from our street. Makes for great leg muscles and glutes! We are in the highest street in the highest town on the Niagara Pennisula. Cool eh! Glad you had a fine time, although not knittingly productive. :O) Sometimes there are other things…. even for the Yarn Harlot. By the way, does the shirt that says Yarn say Harlot on the back??? Hmmmmm…. good product. I’d buy one!

  24. Ain’t bike butt wonderful? NOT!!! But gorgeous area!!!
    Kat
    PS: Judy, Email me again pls? My yahoo account ate your email… Go figure with yahoo….

  25. I have come to the conclusion that I need to move. Preferably to Canada. More specifically, to Toronto. Like I could be your neighbor. Any houses up there available? Cycling or walking to the grocer. I would love that. A bike train? My kids would kill each other to get to ride on the bike train! Who comes up with this? Why aren’t they in the USA? Oh, wait…it would probably take a decree of Congress, a search for weapons of mass destruction, approval from the Homeland Security people, many covert meetings with Condoleeza, a fillibuster, and someone interested in doing that rather than — oh, I don’t know, creating remote control Humvees or planning where to put another WalMart. (Removing self from soap box now).
    All that to say, I’m insanely jealous. You live in a cool city located in a cool country, and have very cool friends/family. I would have loved the printery/newspaper museum.
    Sign me Still Green with Envy.

  26. I’m laughing at the thought of the sock on the Maid of the Mist! It looks like you had a great trip. I’m also sad that the border requires passports. We have spent some fun hours at Niagara Falls (the Canadian side was prettier) and in Toronto and even Gananoque (great Chinese restaurant) but the cost of passports for the whole family makes another trip out of reach for some time. πŸ™ Thanks for the pics and your blog… it’s fun to read someone who can take lemons and make lemonade!

  27. Who IS this Ken person and is he single? Drop dead gorgeous. Lovely trip. I wish I had it in me to bike that much…or at all anymore. My mitten went to a ball game instead. Thanks for sharing.

  28. A bike train is completely genius! I was just thinking how nice it would be to go on a biking trip with my kids but alas, my husband and I don’t even own bikes at the moment and I think we’d need to rent a trailer to haul 7 bikes anywhere.
    Great pictures!

  29. You don’t know me and I’ll be in the immediately not credible group because I’m not much of a knitter (although I’m learning, which seems like a good thing…addicting, but good). I am an adequate cyclist (in fact on occaission I race my bike) and I’m hear to tell you that less is more in the saddle department. Really…I know that it’s not intuitive, but neither is the fun factor associated with making loops with string. Go to a bike shop, get a saddle that doesn’t have so much width at the back. It will help. Believe me on this.

  30. What a fabulous mini-vacation! You sure packed a lot in a short space of time. The hotel story is SO funny, although I am truly sorry for the stress it caused you.
    I visited Niagara Falls for the first time last year while on a cross country drive with DH. We fell in love with Niagara On The Lake! Unfortunately we were on a tight schedule and didn’t have time to explore. πŸ™

  31. We just did a 5 day trip to Niagara for our anniversary – stopped at all those places!

  32. Well, that’s a fantastic thing to know about. And a good warning to keep in mind when dealing with two like named cities. I kind of think the same thing happens with the Kansas Cities.

  33. That sounds like an absolute blast! A bike train, what a great idea! Glad you got the hotel ordeal all sorted it out, I admit I got a bit of a chuckle out of that story πŸ˜‰ I bet that happens all the time though…who does name two border towns the exact same thing? It must be a conspiracy.

  34. Is Joe, um, well, it looks like he’s flipping us/you the bird. . . . . just every so slightly.

  35. I’ll be on Lake Ontario, near Buffalo, NY this weekend, for my husband’s annual family reunion. On good days, we can see Toronto’s CN tower across the lake from the porch.
    Some years we do take a road trip to Toronto. I’ll try to convince them that they really, really need to visit Toronto, and then I can sneak a trip to Lettuce Knit.
    This time, however, we will do our homework. Last time we went to Toronto, it turned out to be a Canadian holiday and we sat in a ton of summer holiday traffic, in a car with no airconditioning.

  36. What a glorious weekend! Thanks for sharing. I’ve been whining for a bike for the last couple of birthdays. When my kids get a little older, that sounds like the sort of weekend I would LOVE to take everyone on! (although, Niagara Falls for the weekend, from Sydney Australia, is going to have to be re-thunk).

  37. There’s a bike train to Niagara Falls?!! Wow – why didn’t I know about this?!!
    Looks like a fabulous time was had by all, especially the sock.

  38. Way cool trip! We biked this weekend, too. 6 miles to your 60 km in one day! You know, you’re going to be single-handedly responsible for a population surge in the Toronto area the way you blog about it. The tourism office should be paying you. I heard that all I need to get in to Canada is a birth certificate, unless you’re flying. I really hope that’s all I need because I have a trip planned to Mt. Forest, Ontario on August 8th. I’m going to a Nazareth concert.

  39. you are just simply going to have to write
    a travel book —- travel yarns by yours truly
    lovely photos i lived up north usa brought
    back memories -i am in florida tonight the
    sky is in a state of snap crakle pop and
    i just might spit a tornado at you just
    to prove whose in charge turn the lights
    off just any little old time -i live in the
    middle of the lighting capitol- you all come
    after the hurricanes and stuff here now

  40. Not only is it incredible that there was a butterfly that matched your sock, it’s unbelievable that you managed to snap a photo of it *with* the sock!
    What a great mini-vacation. Thanks for giving us a peek.

  41. As someone who had had to go to Niagara Falls, USA on business, and stayed at the hotel you high-lighted, you are lucky that you did not have your passports. In fact, none of the hotels that I have stayed at in that fair city were ones that I would want to have a repeat stay. You were on the best side anyway.

  42. Wow! What an excellent weekend (barring the totally understandable hotel snafu; I’m with you about the names — I’d probably have done exactly the same thing). I’m having train envy…

  43. a question. i am curious as to the needles you use for your socks. are they knit picks? i bought some and tried them a week or so ago and found them incredibly heavy. they were #1 (US).

  44. How much fun!!! I used to ride my bike in Switzerland. We used to do the same thing, put our bikes in the train, ride to a town, bike around the town and then board the train back.
    I sure envy that lucky green sock!
    Gina

  45. was in niagara falls in 2005; we stayed at the days inn on the USA side.
    ahhhhh, the sock got to see the falls as spouse and I did.
    how kewl is it to have a bike train; don’t see anything like that happening on this side of the border any time soon.
    thanks for sharing!

  46. I <3 Niagara on the lake! My husband went to school in Rochester, NY, just an hour or two away. When we went to see the falls we also went there and I fell in love. So sad we now live 3,000 miles away!

  47. Sounds as though you had a wonderful time, despite the mixup, and despite the problems caused by Homeland Security.
    I made my reservation for Borders Books today: I had a blast the last time I heard you speak, and I’m looking forward to another great time. Chocolate. Hmmm. There’s a chocolate place near where I work. Steph? How do you feel about chocolate mice?

  48. Here in Melbourne, Australia, cycling has a huge following. The number of bikes sold each year outweighs cars 4 to 1! We also have The Great Victorian Bike Ride, which does wonders for the smaller communities in Victoria – how would your small town like 4500 people with money to spend? This year I’ve signed up again, and we’re heading through Mirboo North (population 3000) the day after my birthday, so I’ll get to see all of my family – my nana lives there! Check it out at http://www.bv.com.au/great-rides/20004/
    I really wish we had a bike train though…

  49. Yeah to you!!!! for putting the statue of John Graves Simcoe on the blog…and for meeting the artist. A visit to Navy Hall and that statue is the basis of my annual Simcoe Day holiday trek to NOTL. Thanks for giving Simcoe such a public profile…you might even be the one to make him famous!
    Beth

  50. I’ve never been to the Falls. Add it to the list of places I need to go before I die.

  51. It’s probably one of the few places I’ve ever been too, actually–but it looks like a lot more fun on the bike. (Yeah–I would have made reservations in Canada and not been able to figure out why we couldn’t find the hotel…)

  52. Looks like a fantastic trip. Too bad about the Hotel mix up, what a pain, and it totally sounds like sorts of trip mistake that happens when you are a mom with a million things to think of before a trip. Great pictures, as always!

  53. Oh what a wonderful trip! Wow! Sorry about the hotel snafu. Oops. It’s something I imagine a bunch of us could have done rather easily.

  54. Ack! I’m a hotel reservationist. And I pay very close attention when people call me about Niagara Falls reservations because of the whole paperwork problem. You can call me next time if you want, I’ll make sure you get rooms on the proper side of the Falls. I’m a knitter, I’ll do it up right. Hee. πŸ˜€

  55. “Joe did whatever it is that non-knitters do with a train ride”.
    Giving knitters the finger?
    Fantastic pictures!

  56. I too was wondering if Joe’s finger placement was truly casual. My husband the musician is expert at sabotaging my attempts at casual photography in just that way. However, we just returned from a family vacation to Montreal, and I only have one ‘finger-flipping’ picture, being sneakier than usual, apparently!
    Hey, Steph, thanks to you, we had poutine! Being from south of the border, and having had no idea what it was, I had not ever had it on prior trips North. But I remembered your Lachine Canal post, and took the plunge. Yum. Not heart-healthy, perhaps, but Yum.

  57. Sounds like great fun! We used to tour the Canadian Gulf Islands (BC) and the San Juans (WA state) every year making sure we were in BC for July 1 and USA for July 4.

  58. I realy like how you squeezed your knitting into your pictures… I would have done the same…

  59. Well, in the first place, you were probably better off on the Canadian side…the US side we found to be really honky tonk. And, we LOVED Niagara on the Lake and had a wonderful lunch at Peller Vineyards. We now know why the US won’t let the Canadian wines into the country…they would destroy the NY state wine industry!!

  60. I’m really trying to practic metric as much as possible, but sometimes conversions escape me. Google informs me that 60 kilometers = 37.2822715 miles. That’s a lot longer on a bike than _my_ seat would last.
    I loved to statue holding the sock picture. I mentally predicted it before I scrolled down.

  61. long-time lurker, vacationing on Lake Erie in western NY (family summer home). The Canadian side of the falls is awesome, the American side stinks! And Niagara on the Lake? A family favorite of ours too! Will make notes on this post for my next visit across the border. Great post! πŸ™‚

  62. I live in Biketown, USA, and even WE don’t have a bike train! I am truly jealous. Isn’t the lack of decent bike seats for women appalling? Someone could really make a fortune designing something comfy for us!

  63. Thank you so much for telling us about the bike train! G and I have been wanting to go to N-on-the-lake and a bike tour sounds so perfect for us!

  64. I’m sure this is too personal, but I have to ask: What kind of bike and what kind of bike seat do you have? My man wants to do more biking but when he tells me that I have to toughen up my bum so I can ride for longer distances I can’t help but think there’s a better way. Someone told me to look into comfort bikes but he says everyone laughs at those. If you get a moment, would you mind giving me a suggestions?

  65. Love these biking vacation trips. Curious about who what where when and how you started to do them, and if and how you (and the girls, especially) actually train, or do you just ride around town enough that you’re conditioned. I notice you never blast right off in the spring. ; ) Maybe you’d do a post on it someday? Pretty please?

  66. Sounds like a great vacation. I will say (from experience) that you didn’t miss anything by not staying in the Days Inn on the US side. I was just there in June and the hotel was not high on our list….no wifi and no free breakfast. Just close to the falls.

  67. Brilliant! Once again our neighbors to the north prove that they have more common sense than us Americans. If I could easily bring my dog and my bike on the train, I could get rid of the car for good.

  68. Whooo, lovely trip, lovely photos! I especially appreciate seeing some of the other side of our continent, as I’ve never gotten that far. (And frankly, if I ever get further east than Chicago, would prefer it be in Canada than the US. The thought of NY or DC give me the willies. [g]) I enjoyed reading up on Lord Simcoe – and love his wife’s name: Elizabeth Posthuma Gwillim, although sad about her middle name. Hey, you know there’s a 1965 transcription of her diary? That’d be a really interesting read.
    The falls look magnificent, the Butterfly Conservancy ditto! And *very* cool on the museum. Glad you had fun, and thanks for all the pix!

  69. Thanks for the butterfly pictures. They are beautiful. Cool that one matched your knitting.

  70. Thanks for the photo tour of my old stompin’ grounds. I’m from Grand Island – just up river from the falls – and still have family there in St. Catherines. My grandfather had a peach farm there on the Niagara escarpment when I was a kid. A delicious memory!
    What a great mini-vacation idea. I’ll have to check to see if we have a bike train over here on the left coast.

  71. ps Kansas City is in two different states, Kansas and Missouri, but at least not two different countries. I wonder how many other duplicates like that there are out there.

  72. what a fantastic outing!!! i love,love,love NOTL. i’d love also to know more about the bike train. i guess the info is on the VIA site?

  73. VERY cool trip, Stephanie! Looks like some good fun to be had locally! My husband and I are looking for a vacation of similar nature this year so maybe we should consider a trip like this.
    His mother’s family (Mackenzie) are descendants of Willie Lyon (in fact they apparently live just down the street from where the pub was that WLM planned the rebellion, on Yonge in Thornhill)…this of course, might be the family joke, my history isn’t so hot so they could just be pulling my leg. At any rate, it would be neat to get a picture with my own sock and Kev in the printery. *big grins*
    Thanks for the post! We’re already planning!
    Glad you had such a great time. πŸ™‚

  74. Looks like a great trip for a short one. I loved visiting the falls on my way back from Toronto a few years ago. Two of my room mates are riding RAGBRAI this week, which is a week long bike ride across the entire state of Iowa.

  75. Great post! I’m reading it, commenting, and listening to a playlist — all while riding in a car! Whenever anyone asks why I needed an iPhone, I tell them the absolute truth: so that I can read the Yarn Harlot any time that I want!! Best excuse ever.

  76. As an American, I hate to admit this, but the Canadian side of the falls and the Canadian side of the Soo is much, much nicer!! Your side has beautiful flower gardens, our side has t-shirt shops. Embarrassing really! Sometimes I think about defecting as Canada seems like the USA in the 50’s. Kinder and Gentler.
    I know the passport requirement is probably a good idea but sad that we can’t travel between our two countries without redtape.

  77. That sounds like a wonderful weekend. My dh and I went on our first date to Niagara Falls. It was the middle of winter, and I was in sneakers. We decided to cross into Canada, because there’s NOTHING on the American side, and he was a nervous wreck. Good thing we didn’t need passports! It’s such a beautiful place, summer or winter, and the bike trip sounds really fun. If you want to see some great old printing presses in action, movie-wise, rent the old Disney movie Newsies. It’s a true story about when the newspaper boys who worked for Pulitzer’s paper (is that the NY Times?) went on strike. It’s a musical, but lots of fun.

  78. Strangely enough, I was recently musing to myself about your annual bike treks. I’m so glad you got one in this year. Short and sweet… and so glad you didn’t have to cross over to the US side. Last time I was there it was rather gaudy, as I recall.

  79. Sounds like a great time. Glad that you found a place to stay. How scary. You would think that there would be some sort of warning to tell you that – HEY you do realize you are booking a room in the US or the other way around. Glad that all worked out and you had a good time.

  80. Great bike trip! How very beautiful it is at the Falls. I do think you were on the best side for that trek. We did it after leaving Toronto two years ago (yeah I saw LK but didn’t learn to knit until a month later!)
    Now I must ask – what kind of saddle do you have for your bike? do you have a Brooks? They’re great for the bum.

  81. I have just e-mailed the URL for today’s edition to a friend of mine in London, England. He’d asked in February or so if it would be possible to see Toronto, Niagara Falls and Ottawa in a 2-week trip. I’d said, Oh, Yes!!! But he couldn’t get here after all. He can see some of it vicariously through your bike trip.
    I have always revered your knitting skills. Now I pay homage to your legs.

  82. Your bike trip sounds wonderful! As for the hotel snafu, what is a vacation without an adventure and a story to tell?!

  83. What a great trip! I love trains – all that knitting time and no traffic! Guess what – we stayed in that Days Inn last summer when we visited the falls. I figured it was about the only place between Boston and Cleveland that my kids would #1 – be interested in and #2 – make any impression at all on their school friends as a vacation spot. It is amazing how few people have actually bothered to go – maybe it is not exotic enough or far enough away. But it is so cool! Should you ever get to the other side there are some great things to see there too (NY State has a great museum attached to its power plant) as well as a Hard Rock Cafe for your dining amusement. Hope the sock had a good time too.

  84. this is quite possibly the most civilised holiday travel I’ve EVER come across. I wish we had such forethoughtful public transport arrangements here in Ozland.

  85. I remember seeing bike racks on Amtrak the last couple of times I rode the train up and down the west coast of the US. Their web site says they do have them on many trains, but you need to call to find out if your train will have one and to reserve space.
    http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Copy/Title_Image_Copy_Page&cid=1080080554487&c=am2Copy&ssid=43
    Someone once told me of a similar problem with being in Vancouver BC and finding their hotel was in Vancouver, Washington. The US Vancouver is across the river from Portland and about 4 hours from the border.
    I like the gray sock.

  86. I have never heard of that printing press museum. And I have been to Niagara Falls and region more times than most. I’ll have to look into it. Luckily I don’t need a hotel. But I chose to stay in one a couple of years ago and was being cheap. I ended up in one connected to a strip club. This year we are staying at my uncle’s.
    The butterfly conservatory is definitely one of the best attractions in the area. If you like gardens, the horticultural college in whose grounds it sits is also nice in summer. As a child I did not appreciate it. Nor the greenhouse. But no matter how many times you see the falls, in how many different seasons, they are pretty spectacular.

  87. Quelle synchronicity – I spent 6 days last week in a residential “Introduction to Letterpress Printing” class. Produced a 4-page pamphlet on an 1833 handpress – took 2 days to set 500 words of type and 2 days to print the pages and a half day to put the type back in the drawer – gave me a whole new respect for all those poor souls who set type by hand to print the Bible or Tom Jones.
    PS: I try hard not to envy your bike trips. I can’t bike due to physical issues, but I am convinced that if I could, I would instantly be thinner and taller and possibly blonde

  88. Sounds like a fabulous mini vacation. I’d love to see Niagara Falls and that butterfly museum! How neat!

  89. Much sympathy sent from Kansas City, Missouri… right next to Kansas City, Kansas. Who thinks these things up, anyway?
    Great pix, thanks!

  90. As I recall, from a month-long bicycle tour of Ireland, one of the three of us had purchased extra sanitary napkins to prevent her bum from being overly sore. But I don’t know whether the extra padding worked or not.
    When we “mounted up” the second morning (after biking for one day), there were a chorus of groans from all of us.
    We biked from Dublin westward (as far as we could go), then south and east and back up (northward) to Dublin.
    Thanks for reminding me of it.
    Happy knitting,
    Janey
    janeyknitting AT yahoo DOT ca

  91. I have cycled that same trip with my family many years ago. The photos are wonderful but almost brought me to tears… I miss Canada…. and SW Ontario. Thanks for sharing.
    We’ll see you 9/14 in Seattle.

  92. I just saw Sicko. Highly recommend it. Is is true, Stephanie, have we “us of a” people been fed a load of bull by the medical companies about the awfulness of Canadian “socialized medicine”? I know this isn’t about knitting, but who knows? one day I may be knitting in Canada (in a hospital). Take care.

  93. What a great trip! At least you were stuck on the pretty side of the border. We only had time for the USA side when I went and we missed the best views.

  94. oh, what fun! We recently did a fair bit of cycling (for us) on Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands off Northern WI and I could see myself spending more of my vacation time on the bike. Not till the kids are big enough to pedal their own weight, though. 65# of kids in the trailer, not so much fun.

  95. The shot of the sock in front of the moveable type is so fitting. Must admit at first glance I thought, “oooh, pretty letters” and had flashes of stringing them into a necklace or knitting them onto a shawl. I think I need therapy.

  96. I used to live in the Niagara area, and you’ve made me nostalgic. It is beautiful there. I’ve been to the butterfly conservatory twice; I hope to take my children someday. Your butterfly photo is gorgeous!
    I live in NB now (Hoping to see you in Halifax, if I can get away). In NB, you still only need photo ID to go across the border, not so in Niagara?

  97. Hey, the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is much, much nicer than the American side anyway. You guys have all the best scenery.

  98. Those were great photos – thank you so much for sharing. The bike train is brilliant, it makes so much sense. My husband-to-be and I biked around Niagara on the Lake and that wine country (did some long distance jogging too)…it was simply magic. We had a good time reading up on the history of the area. Gee…no wonder you look so great in your knit items – you are really healthy and fit!!

  99. Haha. I loved the falls when I went. It’s been forever since that though. Can you believe it? Your husband DID NOT KNIT the entire way!! Omigod!

  100. What a fun trip! I’m sure you could have charmed the border guards into letting you pass. They let the TB guy back in, after all πŸ™‚

  101. Ahhh…..what a nice little vacation. Well……….. with the exception of your little hotel mix-up. Glad you had a wonderful time.

  102. If the newspaper waited that long to convert, they were WAAAAY behind the times.
    I got into printing in 1961, and NOBODY was using hot type!
    At that point, we needed one slug of hot type, and they sent me to Philadelphia for it to the only place within about 500 miles in any direction that had a linotype machine. The guy there fired it up and set the type so I could watch it. They seldom used it, and were getting ready to junk it.
    When the newspaper stopped using it, their machinery was already antique!

  103. That sounds like an awesome trip! I wonder if there’s anything like that in NH – probably be all mountains though and since I live on one, biking a more flat terrain would be more of my idea of vacation.

  104. Glad SOMEONE is riding their bikes. Being a child of the 60’s, you’d think I would be riding my bike, protesting the war, making love (therefore making more babies) and eating organic, but the whole thing would just interfere with my knitting – so GOOD ON YOU, STEPH! Cause I’m just too lazy.

  105. Fantastic! I love it. I really need to try one of these cycling holidays some time – a short weekend one sounds ideal.

  106. What a nice quickie! We have a great Bike train here.. but it is only a short ride through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. But you have to be careful which way you ride … one way you bike down hillish the whole way and the other.. well you see what I mean!

  107. Wow, what a fun little jaunt. I have to say I was a little freaked out when I saw the name Asplin. That’s my husband’s family name. And so Roy Charles is probably a relative. Too funny!

  108. Ooh, lovely trip! I too wish for a bike train.
    However, I do have the answer for bicycle-induced ossification of the buttocks. A few years back, I converted to the recumbent side of the force. Took a week or so to get used to the balance, but talk about comfy- I can bike all day, and not be sore. (I don’t have a picture of my bike handy, but here’s an online pic of something similar. http://www.bicycleman.com/recumbents/bike_e/bike_e_fx.htm.)
    Alas, I have not yet discovered a bicycle that one can ride while knitting. πŸ™

  109. Bike train! What a fabulous idea. (filing it away for when children are older).
    I tried a bike with a suspension (compression?) seat post last week and it was very nice on the arse. You can use it with any seat and it aborbs the shock really well.

  110. Looks like fun. We drove part of Route 66 earlier this summer! it was such fun. Now i’m doing natural dyeing! YAY for summer.

  111. I grew up in Port Huron, Michigan and went to the Falls when I was about 7 on a family trip. Thanks for the pictures of the Falls and your beautiful country!

  112. YAY Steph! We went on a camping trip to Niagra falls. It was a blast. We drove/camped from Indiana to the Falls. We went to all those same places, and really it is a 5 star vacation place. It is one of the nicest vacation spots I have ever visited.

  113. Sounds like a wonderful trip!
    BTW It is possible to knit and bicycle at the same time. My mother tells me that when we lived in Austria after WWII the Austrian ladies there would bike and knit at the same time. Knitting was a necessity because ready made clothes were very scarce at that time.

  114. Loved the pictures! Queenston is one of my husband and my most favorite places to visit. We love the bike path along the river. We now live too far away to visit often. Thanks for the reminders of why we like it there so much.

  115. we’ve been debating a recumbent divorce-bike for touring so I can knit and pedal. have not figured how to knit and kayak yet. kinda need my hands for that one.
    try a skinnier road-bike women’s saddle. supports the ischial tuberosities beautifully. saved me…err…you know.

  116. AMAZING! What a great post, I’m going to have Mr. Bicycled-Across-Europe-As-A-Lad read it! I think even *I* might be up for such a thing, definitely something to look into. Anyone else find themselves wishing they could come back as a YH sock?

  117. That sounds like such a good idea!
    Too bad that here in the States our train system has been neglected, and bike paths are few and far between most places.
    Time to move to Canada!

  118. What a fun getaway! We’re going to the Falls this fall, and I can’t wait to see how much knitting I can get in!

  119. I grew up in Fonthill, which is about a half hour drive west of Niagara Falls. We spent plenty of Sunday afternoons down there, looking at the falls through our binoculars (my parents wouldn’t ever give us money to look through the ones Niagara Parks supplied.) Then we’d meander down to Fort George, and have a picnic at Niagara Glen. Mmm, mom’s peanut butter sandwiches, and hard-boiled eggs. Oh yeah, and powdered skim milk mixed in Tupperware cups. Yummers.

  120. That looks fabulous! Thanks for the beautiful photos and the history lesson. Must put that on my “someday” list.

  121. Wow! Another knitter who bikes, or are you a biker who knits? The bike train is a great idea. Our family took AMTRAK to New York City many years ago to do the 5 Borough Bike Ride (a great ride!) but we had to box up our bikes and it was a bit of a pain. My husband and I are heading to Toronto for our quickie vacation in a couple of weeks! Maybe I’ll get to Lettuce Knit.

  122. Fantastic account of your journey on the first Bike Train trip! So sorry about the mix-up on the hotel reservation. Representing the Chamber of Commerce that booked your Bike Train ticket, I can tell you we’ve learned a lesson. Rather than just asking if we can help make a hotel or B&B reservation for our Bike Train clients, and accepting the “no, thanks, we’ve booked a hotel already”, we’ll now be asking for the name and address so we can help avoid the confusion you encountered. Any time you want to repeat the trip, check out our website, http://www.niagaraonthelake.com, where there are hundreds of gorgeous accommodations offered (all on this side of the border). Or apply for a NEXUS card–it’ll get you across the border in seconds at the Whirlpool Bridge (two minutes from the Train Station)–and it’s small, it’ll fit in your knitting bag!
    Thanks for being such an enthusiastic participant in the new Bike Train project!

  123. Johan Mitchell–In 1964 when the big power failure hit the east coast, the Phila Bulletin was the first newspaper back with its hot type, and scooped the Phila Inquirer by 1/2 hour… They had to remelt the lead after the power came back on. I remember how thrilled my father was by that scoop (he worked at the Bulletin). The linotype machines didn’t vanish from the big daily papers until the early ’80s.

  124. I grew up in Germany, and all this reminded me of how when I was 17, I went on a 500 km bike trip. It was a fantastic trip because it showed me what I was capable of.
    They have bike trains over there now too.
    What a great trip you got to take!! I am jealous…

  125. My hub is a printer, he’d probably LOVE the museum.
    I intend to show him this post for two reasons.
    1. The printing museum
    2. SEE men DO knit!!

  126. Steph, Wonderful trip! I love biking, knitting AND printing– 2 of the 3 are on my website. I envy your sockie & its visit to the Print Side. http://the3toad.googlepages.com/
    Socks are about the only thing I knit, but printing…. Heck, I have my own cast iron presses and movable type. Do I know how to have fun or WHAT! πŸ˜€

  127. From the US going into Canada you still don’t need a passport if traveling by car, at least until Dec 2007. The backlog of passport applicants is now taking 12-14 WEEKS!!! YIKES!!
    Anyways, looks like great fun!! I’ll have to add it to my “things I need to do before I’m 90” list. The scary thing would be taking all my kids!

  128. Oh my gosh!! Steve and I did the EXACT same thing with the US/Canadian hotel on our 10th anniversary. What a shock to be driving around Niagara Falls Canada, looking for 3rd Ave (or whatever it was) and not finding any B & B at the address only to discover we were booked in the USA!! Such are the joys of online booking. πŸ™‚

  129. We actually went to the Mckenzie Printery on a school field trip, and my first few jobs in the publishing world used linotype and moveable type. I didn’t follow my father into his profession (accountant) I actually followed my mother who was an antiquarian bookbinder. Having spent many happy summers in Niagara on the Lake I am sure you have a wonderful time.

  130. I used to be a typesetter in a print shop that used linotype. Setting the type for those is one noisy and noisome enterprise. Nothing like the smell of a hot pig in the morning…
    Sounds like a fascinating museum, and this family will be checking it out next time we cross the border. Last time we three went through there we visited the butterfly conservatory which I heartily recommended to my parents when they tried to take some overseas guests to the falls a couple of weeks ago. Their guests however had neglected to obtain the appropriate visas for entry into Canada, nor did the inform my folks of their error, and so most of their time at the falls was spent ‘splainin’ themselves to the border patrol in a little office just off the Rainbow Bridge. Oops.

  131. Fantastic Trip and pictures! And good for your Sam, planning the darn thing! I just finished all your archives, and feel free to be a full fledged commenter now. Squee!

  132. I lived in Niagara Falls my entire life up until 2 years ago (a few other places as well in my university/college years)! I moved because I married a St. Catharines guy, which is where we live now. Actually, I worked on Clifton Hill until just last year! Sounds like you had a nice visit.

  133. Holy cow. What a great idea for a trip!
    Between the Ottawa Winterlude that you posted about and this, I’d say you have a second career in travel writing for yarnies.

  134. You were so close to me! I live on Grand Island, an American island in the river.
    And yes, the Canadian side is obviously much more beautiful.
    If you can come to the Niagara area to ride your bike, you can come to Niagara or Buffalo to speak to the local knitters, right? πŸ™‚

  135. I lvoe that sock your knitting… whats the pattern? The color blue you have is awesome!
    And I am sure you will get that done in no time biking or not! lol

  136. What a fantastic trip! I have always been fascinated by biking trips (avid reader of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five as a kid) but have never been on one.
    I think it’s time to plan one – I have heard that there are great bike trips on the Gulf Islands. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Looks like you had a great time despite the USA hotel snafu (I hope you weren’t charged too much). Sam, you are one ready woman!

  137. I’m a little envious of your trip. You said you like your saddle — what is it? I could use a different one on my commuting bike.

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