We were going to muse about the U.S. and Canada and human rights. But too much actual stuff happened today for us to tell you all, much less go all philosophic. So here are a few of the high points. “Every inch of the way we know / From Albany, to Buff-a-lo-o!”
Spanish-American War veterans’ tombs in Buffalo. Now, there was a necessary war! (Not.) The tall stone monument marks this section of the cemetery.
At the Peace Bridge, after failing to find the bike lane, we were accosted by Customs and Border Patrol officer Smith. Once Jeffrey explained our situation, Mr. Smith became friendly and helpfully directed us to leave the area and pass under the bridge to the south walkway. En route, a kind construction worker in fluorescent green stopped us by the “inoperative” sign you see here, returned with us to the area from which Office Smith sent us, put us onto the “closed” north walkway, and called ahead for his Canadian counterparts to expect us.
Jeffrey presented his passport on the Canadian side, denied carrying “weapons,” explained our purpose, and we were admitted. The Canadian official told us how best to reach the path along Lake Erie. Here we are at the twelfth largest lake (by surface area) in the world.
Then we pedaled 20 miles (31 km) north, following the flow of the Niagara River, to Niagara Falls.
This last photo was taken by Sofie, spouse of our new friend Knud. Their daughter and her boyfriend are under the green umbrella. Knud and Jeffrey are near the rail in the right middle of the photo (look for the trike’s yellow cargo bag) talking about tricycles (Knud built one) and human rights (Knud and Sofie help refugee children in Denmark). Knud tried out the trike and took Jeffrey’s photo too. Note that Jeffrey removed the U.S. flag from the trike; it is in poor taste to fly it when we are guests in Canada.
Others joined the fun at the falls, where a Ride for Human Rights created a stir. A sample: Shan and Devi, from London, England.
Justin and Justin. The former handed Jeffrey a donation; the latter, a traffic cop who chases buses on his bicycle, talked with us about immigration and asylum and gave us route suggestions.
Jonnie, from China, handed Jeffrey a donation. Aura and her mom, from Venezuela, said they will donate on line. Kasim, a respiratory therapist from Windsor, ON, who treats sleep apnea, said our adventure inspires him to bike, and to donate also.
With cash and more friends for Human Rights First and for refugees, we headed west through small towns, then through miles and miles of farms and fields. Joe called out to us and we talked of the joys of being outdoors.
The farm roads were paved, but in the deep woods we encountered bad gravel roads. One road was so steep, wet and soft that our drive wheel spun and we could not ride uphill. Jeffrey had to get out and push, happy that I weigh only a pound (under ½ kg).
We stopped at a house to ask directions. Eric and his son helped us find the nearest motel, in Grimsby. En route, racing nightfall, by some kids practicing with drum and bagpipes, we paused at the edge of the high Escarpment that surrounds Lake Ontario and caught a glimpse of Toronto, far away across the narrow western bit of the lake. Tonight we’re back on Lake Ontario’s southern shore after a long, full day.