If you are a family man like me, there comes a dreaded point every other summer or so when you must face the inevitable . . . the summer vacation.
This post has very little to do about urban exploration but quite a bit about taking my 3 progenies (hereafter to be referred to as 'the monsters' or 'the unspeakables') on a much-anticipated family vacation to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. Since I had to endure this horror, I feel that I must share this with other sympathetic souls . . . sorry - misery likes company.
I also wish to provide some advice to other parents out there . . . bring a LOT of alcohol - it helps.
Here's a brief 2.5 minute video of the 2-day Niagara / Great Wolf Lodge experience which I have distilled for you.
We started off at the requisite unpleasantness of the physiographic falls itself . . . this is the point in the river system where approximately 165,000 cubic-metres (per minute!) of the wet stuff dumps itself over a precipice on its way to join it's salt-water brethren in the North Atlantic Ocean.
Looking down into this gorge of doom, we saw a beautiful decomissioned Ontario Power Generating Station (also decommissioned and now with a grass-covered roof) as well as a crowd of very wet tourists enjoying a shower at the 'Behind the Falls' tour.
One of the more enjoyable attractions (from an Urban Explorer's point of view) is the Rankine Hydro-Electric Power Generating Stations, commissioned in January, 1905 and decommissioned in 2005 after one-hundred years of supplying electricity to Niagara Falls' famous vibrating beds. They certainly do not construct buildings of this quality anymore.
The old barge that ran aground back in 1918 appears to be in the same fixed location as it was when I last visited it as a teenager more than 2 decades ago. This barge broke away from a tug with two sailors aboard ( Gustav Lofberg, 51 and James Harris, 40). The quick-thinking men flooded the barge in order to ground it against the shallows and then waited 19 hours until rescued. I wonder if the sound of running water made them want to pee . . .
There is also the very kewl railed derrick a short distance away from the barge which used to operate the sluice gates at the Rankine generating facility.
The skyline (from the river) of Niagara falls at first appears familiar with the Minolta Tower, constructed which opened in 1962. I do understand that this tower does change hands as frequently as some South-American countries change governments, but it will always be the Minolta Tower to me. The Tower is now jostled for space with many newcomers such as the Fallsview Embassy Suites and the Marriott.
After playing tourist among the many unwashed foreigners down at the Falls, it was time to retire to our reserved rooms at the Great Wolf Lodge . . . If I only had a change to 'retire'. The munsters insisted that the communal bedtime story event be attended at 8:00 PM.
With very little sleep that night, I was to endure the majority of the next day riding down terrifying water-slides at the 103,00 square-foot indoor water park. Were it not for the kindness of the bar-keep and the unrelenting barrage of tropical blender-drinks, I may have very well perished.
I sincerely hoped that reading about this misadventure was as unpleasant to you as it was me experiencing it . . . Until next time, Happy & Safe Exploring !