Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Door County to Onieda, American Tourism at its finest

"See the USA from your Chevrolet". Remember that tune? That's us. We're so quick we only point at the sites as they roll by. "See Lena, der it is. Get back in da car." Actually, we did stop at Niagra Falls enough for me to do a watercolor sketch and take a gazillion pictures. Niagra has been a tourist carnival since the first Jesuit priest fell on his knees an shouted "Hallelua", "I can see the honeymoon capital of the world." Boy was he right. Like 'Old Faithfull' a case of loving something to death.

There used to be eagles nesting, osprey fishing and bear snagging fish but all that is gone. Lunar Island, situated in the falls, used to have a 'moonbow' but it went away due to the urban lights. Bolts have been drilled into the face of the falls to hold the soft limestone from eroding, otherwise the falls would move upriver as it has over the millenia. Talk about moving real estate. The Hilton at Niagra and all the other honeymoon suites would be out of business.

Curiously, there is a lot of electrictiy produced here. They can make a million megawatts of power but they only do so at night to allow some/half, of the water to spill over the falls during the day for the tourists. What with all the demand for power and brownouts here in the east, I can feature where there may be a time in the future when they won't be able to afford the luxury of spilling water for tourists.

We passed miles and miles of coal plants along the Great Lakes. Coal for steel and coal for electricity. Pretty dirty. Funky too. Makes me wonder how the fishery is holding up. We met a couple fishermen that went out almost daily and caught their limit of Brown trout and Salmon. That was impressive. 5 to 25 lb'ers! So it must be OK?

One of the things that has impressed Betts and I is the amount of rural America. We think of the east as an urban landscape but that is hardly so as there are miles and miles of farms tucked away in the country. I was going to say hills but I have yet to see one for the last 2000 miles. The highest thing around are the bridges. As an ex-Ironworker I have been impressed with some of the bridges we've crossed coming through the Great Lakes. Hundreds of feet in the air and miles long they are impressive. But Gawd! this is flat country. We're definitely westerners. We've got mts., and valleys, rivers and canyons in our blood. I'm glad to have traveled the flat lands so I can appreciate the west better.

This quick sketch shows 'Horseshoe Falls' from the U.S side looking at the many storied hotels of Niagra Falls, C.A. Water from Lake Erie, dashes down cataracts falling 187' over the falls. Horseshoe Falls is 2200' wide. Altogether, Horseshoe, Bridal Veil and American Falls is almost a mile wide. A great mist from the falls drenches everything for miles including the tourists.