A 9-day road trip in the Advanced-RV Giddy Up takes Andrew and Katharine from Advanced-RV headquarters near Cleveland, OH, along the shore of Lake Erie, and into Canada. Follow along in Part 4 of our 7-part series, as the couple heads from New York into Canada.
Two tasks that we had to complete before leaving for Canada were topping off Giddy Up (much cheaper in NY) and emptying Giddy Up’s black and gray tanks. Tank dumping was first on the task list. I had located a Water Treatment Facility in Lockport that allows for free tank dumps. So we made the short drive through orchards to Lockport. As advertised, the staff there happily invited us to drive up to the dump-out and dump. Of course, there is a first time for everything. The facility is really optimized for commercial tank trucks – so Giddy Up’s relatively short hose required us to creatively move some of the facility’s hoses around and into the sewage pit. It was not the easiest of tasks nor the most enjoyable, but the two of us managed it without being sprayed by sewage or falling into the pit. (Thank you, Jesus! Just saying.)
We continued on into Canada over the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge and drove North up the Niagara Parkway—following the water that Lake Erie pumps into Lake Ontario via Niagara Falls (to our south). We stopped along the Parkway at a picnic spot at the McFarland House. Built in 1800, the House is the oldest property owned by The Niagara Parks Commission. After a short walk around the park and peering down the cliffs to watch the water flowing by and filling Lake Ontario, we had a nice lunch.
Getting back onto the parkway, a short drive found us in Niagara-on-the-Lake. It was still too early to check into the Oban Inn, so we decided to drive onward west along the lake to scope out our territory for the following night’s stop. Two wineries, Puddicome and Legends Estate, were on the “possible list” so we set the GPS to their locations and drove on, taking the roundabout way along the shores of the town, hugging the lake. We were rewarded—so to speak—by being stopped at a drawbridge that was up. As I consulted the car’s GPS, I noticed that the waterway in front of us connected Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. We watched a ship make its way in front of us. I was puzzled by the ship’s speed as it cleared the bridge—it slowed down while a large black cloud of exhaust came from its stacks. Given that the ship stopped, I had to assume that the exhaust was from a strong backing bell. Why had the ship stopped? The bridge came down, and we moved forward. Going over the bridge, the answer was suddenly clear—the ship was in Lock #1 of the Welland Canal—part of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The ship was snugly in its lock waiting to be “pumped down” into Lake Ontario—which is better than going down the Falls in a barrel.
We eventually got up on the Queen Elizabeth (high)Way and hit torrential rains, which continued to help us clean up Giddy Up’s front from PA bugs and tree pollen. QEW runs up to Toronto—I could not help but think about driving up there and telling the Capitals to play well tonight.
Gabriella at Legends Estate Winery was very helpful, and we decided to make the call for Thursday night at Legends. This time we took the QEW all the way into Niagara-on-the-Lake. More highway driving but quite the view driving high over the Welland Canal on the Skyway (bridge) this time. We arrived at the Oban Inn and did some creative parking in the parking lot to fit Giddy Up into a spot in the hotel’s parking lot. We checked in, took a nice walk about the golf course and the town—with lovely views over the lake and across the way to New York’s Old Fort Niagara—and got situated for the evening. Suffice to say, we enjoyed taking a (long) hot shower in a larger space.
Dinner reservations were for 7:45, and we were seated by a window in the dining room. We were trying to figure out the changes from the last time we were here 27 years ago. Reading the history inset of the menu, we were, shockingly, provided our answer. A fire in December 1992 destroyed the old Inn. The Inn was rebuilt based on the old design, and parts of the Spa were updated/modernized a few years later. We were glad to hear that the cat that we recalled greeting us on the wooden reception desk from 1990 was not lost in the fire—but was interred on the Inn’s grounds after living a long 17-year life.
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