The proximity of Lockport to Buffalo is minimal, allowing for a nice leisurely day. This is already splendid news, but is heightened by what lunchtime means for us. Today we lunched at Niagara Falls. We had a slow morning getting ready, which involved putting one of the riders in an Easter bunny costume we found in the once flooded basement, and I enjoyed snacking on the apricot mango jam a lovely lady had donated to us while we passed through yesterday's market. Since we had relatively low mileage ahead of us, we decided to draw names from a hat to see who we would ride with, just to shake things up and get the opportunity to spend quality time with an unexpected partner.
Our directions ended up being a bit out of order, which made for an adventurous approach to Niagara Falls. Lucky for us and the sidewalk chalk we carry, we were able to leave notes for each other and keep ourselves on the correct path together. We arrived at lunch with just enough time to get our passports out and walk on over to beautiful Canada, which we wouldn't see again until our last couple days of the trip over on the west coast. The falls were unbelievable, breathtaking, and made for a very memorable lunch. We set a curfew to ensure that we all got back on the road together safely and with enough time to get into Buffalo before dark, and we also decided to draw new names from a hat and switch riding partners. I love days like today!
With new riding partners came new rainstorms, are all too familiar and unwanted companion, and we pedaled through the mist. Being near a bigger city means bike paths, so we were lucky enough to at least get off the road for a bit of the storm. Bike paths are a marvelous vacation from the unpredictability of sharing the road with drivers, and allows for great conversation amongst riding partners.
The bike path brought us to the last connecting roads that would bring us to our new host. This new host was unlike any host before. This new host was in fact the home of my co-leader's family. We were greeted by his little brother and his amazing dog, Rebel. It took all of five seconds for me to fall in love with that dog. All thirty of us just barely fit, all sardine like, cozied up in a real house. What a perfect setting. Good food, good drinks, good friends, good fun. If that weren't all perfect, the parents were out of town leaving one large bed free to the leadership dream team. All four of us slept on the real mattress as one happy, cuddling family. Please, could this summer get any better? I dare say it'd be near impossible to top these perfect and precious moments.