As the Spirit airlines jet touched down the flight attendant said “Welcome to Niagara Falls International airport.” Subconsciously I wondered when the Buffalo International airport was renamed. So as I got to baggage claim and car rental kiosk, I found that I had landed in NFIA but, booked my rental car reservation for the BIA.
Of course Alamo, the only rental agency at the airport, was fresh out of cars and so in a heavy snow I walked off the airport grounds to the local Budget agency, where I was promised a reservation on the phone. When I got there, of course the young agent Manny had no cars. Double ugh. Approximately 30 minutes later, I drove off the airport in only one of three cars assigned to this location. Don’t ask.
After living in Milwaukee three years, Boston seven and growing up in northern NJ, I have considerable hours logged driving in snow. What I quickly was reminded though of my years of experience is that it’s not fun. Not only am I running late for my rendezvous, but I was having a time of it trying to drive and read the map(sorry, just bought an Iphone and hadn’t learned to use the Map ap). Then my entire attention was diverted to my windshield, as I quickly was blinded by a frozen snow and sleet combination that grew worse every 10 feet I drove. Thank goodness the rental had washer fluid but I was 110% committed to trying to see where I was going through a horrible continually dirty windshield.
To make issues worse, the roads in Niagara Falls are narrow and often filled with pot holes, which along with double towed 18 wheelers and yikes, what a mess! My biggest fear though is running out of that precious windshield wiper fluid, which is worth more than its weight in gold in lousy wintry conditions no matter where you live! So I continue south on I-190 and eventually arrive at my destination, where I have to pry back my tensed fingers from the steering wheel. I made it in time but merely by the grace of the guy upstairs.
The irony of this story is that the same evening my friends wanted to take me back to see Niagara Falls at night in the dead of winter. So off we went and I am grateful we did because seeing these magnificent falls is one thing but, seeing them at night with the multi-colored lights and all the frozen ice formations was awe inspiring.
So if there is a moral to this story, it would be to enjoy the natural wonders of where you live now but, do everything in your powers to leave the snowy, wintry and dangerous roads of the great white north in your rear view mirror and find your place in the sun to enjoy soon. Wilmington, Brunswick County and Myrtle Beach may not be your cup of tea, but since we are one of the most sought after destinations on the east coast for retirees, we look forward to seeing your smiling faces and remember, leave your ice scrapers at home!