This trip started-out as just a ride that I was going to do to find the “Whispering Giants” in Sharon, PA and Dunkirk, NY. I’m doing the Whispering Giant Tour this year. (See my Whispering Giant page for more details about Giants I have found.)
A friend (Mitzi) mentioned to me that she wanted to see Niagara Falls. When I looked-up Dunkirk, NY on the map, I noticed that it was not far from Niagara Falls. So, I asked her if she wanted to go with me on my search for Whispering Giants and to see Niagara Falls. She quickly said she wanted to go. I mentioned the trip to another friend of mine (Don), who is also doing the Whispering Giant Tour. Don is a very experienced at taking long motorcycle touring trips. He quickly stated that he wanted to go. So, we started planning and decided to add a Whispering Giant in Canada (North Bay, Ontario, Canada) and some along the northeastern states.
We made it to North Bay with no problems. Due to a big rainstorm on the east coast, we changed our plans for the return trip and came back to the US via Michigan instead of via the northeastern states. It was a great trip.
We met in Manasses, VA on the morning of August 14, 2015 to start our trip. That’s Don with the yellow Honda and Mitzi on her Honda trike. My bike is the Harley Street Glide.
I usually fly an American flag and a Texas flag on my bike. Since we were on a trip to Canada, I decided to temporarily switch my Texas flag with a Canadian flag, As you can see, Don carries a “Winnie-the-Pooh” bear on his bike. That little guy has logged a lot of miles!
During a gasoline stop (on the way to Sharon, PA), we came across a biker who was delivering a monument he made to the family of Keith Matthew Maupin. Maupin was a US Army soldier that was captured and executed in Iraq in 2004. I don’t think there is any group that is more patriotic and supportive of our troops than American bikers.
Don (right) and I (left) got the pictures we needed with our bikes and rally flags for the first Giant on our journey for the 2015 Whispering Giants Grand Tour. This is a fun and interesting tour for a great cause.
This Giant is in Sharon, PA.
August 15, 2015
On day two of our trip, we stopped at the lighthouse in Dunkirk New York. I enjoy visiting lighthouses and learning about their history. They all have unique stories.
Mark Twain dropped by for a reading of his writings to the visitors that day. He got chummy with Mitzi right away!
Don and I got our picture with our second Whispering Giant of the trip in Dunkirk, NY (just a mile or so from the lighthouse).
On our way to Niagara Falls, we came across
a giant waitress. So, I had to get a picture.
This is a pic of Don and Pooh Bear about to cross the border into Canada. I took a selfie of Mitzi and myself as we were about to cross the border and one of Mitzi crossing over from the Canadian side. Even though my name is Canada and folks have asked me all life if I was from Canada, this was my first trip north of the border. We had a great time in Canada and I learned some things about Canada that I’ll share in this blog.
We finally checked into the Embassy Suites on the Canadian site of the border. We had heard that the view of the falls is better on the Canadian side. It is true! This is the view from our hotel.
We took a guided tour of the attractions the next day. There were only five of us in a tour bus that normally holds 16 people, so we had plenty of room to stretch-out. We got to by-pass some of the lines and our tour guide was great at giving us details.
At Niagara River. To control the flow of water, gates are opened and closed. Don and I hiked a bit to tour the river. We got to see the water level rise and fall due to the opening and closing of the hydro control dam gates. The water moves incredibly fast.
The beauty and power of the falls is incredible. Seeing the falls in person is definitely a bucket-list worthy location.
I think the biggest highlight of the trip has to be our boat ride on the Hornblower. We got very close to the falls. You could really hear and feel the power of the falls.
I bought a coffee at the Starbucks in our hotel. I gave them US money and they gave me this funny money in exchange. Their money really is funny. It looks funny and feels funny. They don’t use pennies or one dollar bills. They use one dollar and two dollar coins.
For the best exchange rate, exchange your US currency for Canadian currency at a casino – just don’t blow your new Canadian $ in the casino!
Our hotel was only a couple of blocks from a casino. I learned that one can loose Canadian money in a casino just a quickly as in an American casino! Oh well, they had a very good buffet.
Here is one of the few pics with all three of us together. Our tour guide took this pic at the Floral Garden Clock at a park on the Niagara Parkway. It was actually very interesting. The clock works and even has a second that sweeps. Our guide took us inside of the clock so we could see the mechanism.
After spending a full day exploring Niagara Falls, it was time for us to get back on the road to find the Whispering Giant in North Bay, Ontario, Canada.
I had to stop on the way at a Harley dealer to get a poker chip (I collect Harley poker chips). This dealer is in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. All three of us bought more souvenirs there. Don even started collecting poker chips!
We visited the Dionne Quints Museum in North Bay. They were born on May 28, 1934. At that time, quintuplets were extremely rare. In fact, they are thought to be the first quintuplets to survive infancy. They were born to french speaking parents. The english speaking doctor who delivered them got the government to give him custody and raised them speaking english. He then charged admission for tourists to see them. It took their parents nine years to regain custody of their daughters, who did not speak french.
After doing our laundry at laundromat near our hotel, we headed to the shore of Lake Nipissing to watch the sunset. We were surprised to see people walking way out into the lake. It has sandbars that enable walking far into the lake.
Time to start heading home.
Since a big rain storm was heading to the east coast, we changed our plans to ride back via the east coast states. Instead, we decided to cross back into the U.S. in Michigan. On our way to Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant thats in the same building
as the visitor center.
As usual, Mitzi parked her trike in a handicapped parking spot. After lunch, we discovered that a $200 parking ticket was on Mitzi’s trike for parking in a handicapped space.
The strange thing is that she has a handicapped license plate (hip problems) and the local parking enforcement person still issued the ticket!
We rode down to the municipal building to challenge the ticket. By coincidence, the senior enforcement officer was coming out of the building just as we pulled-up. When Mitzi showed him her license plate, he said that the young enforcement officer must have issued it because a permit was not displayed on the trike. They don’t have license plates in Canada with the handicapped symbol. He quickly dismissed the ticket. This officer, and everyone else we met in Canada, was very friendly.
We crossed back into the U.S. at Port Huron, MI
Once we crossed over, we noticed a lighthouse that we had to explore.
View from the top of the lighthouse, looking across to the Canadian side.
Since we changed our route due to the rain storm, we decided to go to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI on the ride home. That turned-out to be a great decision. The museum is awesome. I is worth a return trip. Here are a few pics from the museum:
There are no “restrooms” in Canada. They always call them “washrooms.”
They still have pay phones in Canada. I can’t remember the last time I saw a pay phone in the U.S.
I had to sample some foods from Canada. Poutine is very popular. It’s french fries with cheese curds and gravy. They even have it at the American fast food chains in Canada. It’s pretty good. I’m sure I gained a few pounds during the trip.
The Moose Droppings candy was good. I didn’t try the smoked salmon candy – that’s too weird!
The gasoline pumps in Canada only work with credit/debit cards that have a chip. I couldn’t even use my Shell card at the Shell pumps in Canada, as it doesn’t have a chip. I only have one card with a chip (AmEx), so it got well used during the trip.
It was a great trip. I’m already planning my next trip (Tennessee and North Carolina).