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  • Writer's pictureSandra

🇨🇦 Canada here we come!

published 21st of june, 2022

It's Thursday 09/06/2022, we're in no hurry because it's still raining. It's about 50 km to the border and we've heard that certain foods are not allowed to be brought into Canada. So Seb' sacrifices himself and eats 4 eggs for breakfast. We also ate the dairy products and fruit so as not to get into trouble. We even drove to a "dump station" at a mobile home dealer to drain our gray water. The passports are ready to be prepared at the border. Canada here we come!

We drive through Buffalo, an ugly city in my opinion, and I wonder if the terribly bad roads are somehow due to Niagara Falls or simply to the heavy traffic and too little maintenance investment. As we get closer to the border bridge, you can already see the spray from the waterfalls from afar – I already find that impressive. At this point in time, I'm still assuming that the border action will be a longer affair. Finally, the "Rainbow Bridge" (border), in close proximity to Niagara Falls. But the weather probably played into our hands in that case. The maximum 10 minutes we spend on the bridge, we are busy admiring the view.

You're welcome to wait! However, there are not that many “cross-border commuters” in front of us.

As we advance towards the border booths we see a sign pointing the way for RVs. The only "RV" in front of us follows the signs to the left around the building and we follow that one. We park in the marked parking area, turn off the engine and wait for things to come. I take the chance and listen to the quiet room when the border officer asks Sebastian what we want in Canada and how long we are staying, collects our two passports and sends us around the building. We follow the instructions and don't wait 5 minutes until the officer comes back to the bus. He sees me there for the first time and simply asks me if I'm Sandra (whose passport he's holding in his hand), I say yes. When he takes a look inside the bus, I release the brakes on my wheelchair to let him on, but he immediately says, no, no, not necessary: ​​You are all set!

We say thank you and can hardly believe our luck... but to be honest we are also a bit perplexed. No questions about anything, no bus inspection, Lennox's presence hasn't even been noticed. We could have smuggled in 10 Mexicans and whatnot. I ask myself again why all the paperwork is necessary at all, if nothing, absolutely nothing, is checked anyway. But I'm glad that everything was so easy.

Actually, I don't want to go to the waterfalls until tomorrow when the weather is better, but now we're there, I'm curious and it has already cleared up a bit. We park the bus. It is 10 minutes max to the falls. I was honestly expecting more crowds and on a really sunny day as a wheelchair user I probably wouldn't get a glimpse of the exhilarating scenery. But I'm lucky, I can see the flowing water flowing all the way to the falls over the little wall or through the open railing, up to where it finally turns into a torrential free fall. I'm flabbergasted... the masses of water and the force of nature impress me immensely. But I'm not quite satisfied yet, I don't like the viewing angle yet. I want to see the whole thing standing and I want at least one great photo of me STANDING at Niagara Falls. With foresight, I already put on my orthoses (leg splints) on the bus. Seb' has been warned and has to help me to my feet because I don't have a walker or crutches with me. It's an "act", I haven't stood up for a few days... but it works and I'm proud and happy "over the top" when I stand on the railing and can admire the whole spectacle in all its glory. Lennox is probably also curious and doesn't take long to ask, he jumps on the little wall and enjoys the water mist that is around us. A little cooling is always good!

The mission "Niagara Falls" is thus successfully completed. ✅️ The $25 (€18.40) parking fee for 2 hours was totally worth it. 🤑

We continue our bus journey without a plan... without a specific destination in mind, but always along Lake Erie. When we spot the "Skydive Burnaby" (Ontario) sign on the road, we can't help but obey it. Where there is a drop zone, there is plenty of space for parking and, moreover, (almost) always good people! When we arrive at the small, inconspicuous drop zone, the weather is a bit worse again and there is no jumping activity. But 2 golf carts jet across the meadow. We stop and wave and there they are already approaching. They greet us in a friendly way and we tell them that we are skydivers from Germany and ask if we can stay here for the night. (Yes, I still call myself a Springer, even if I'm no longer "active".) As might be expected, we are made very welcome and allowed to stay.

We chat with Scott (a true original in a cowboy hat) and Mike for a while until the rain picks up again. But soon the sun comes out again. Lennox (and Seb') go exploring while I set up pasta for dinner. When the noodles are almost ready, Seb' comes running (I've seen him run very seldom in all these years) and says I don't need to cook, we're invited to Mike's BBQ. Ooh, even better... in my mind I already see delicious spare ribs and other delicacies on my imaginary plate. Mike and Tara are the drop site owners and live in the beautiful house above the landing field.

We spend a great evening with a cool group. Everyone is nice, interested and the food and wine are great. The sun is shining the next morning, but the jumps don't start until around 12:30 when the first tandem guests arrive. Quite a few fun jumpers have strayed to the site lately, Mike says. At more than 50 Canadian dollars (€37) for a jump ticket, that's understandable. It's a pity really, because the drop zone is nice and familiar, with a huge landing field and a caravan

and a 182 Cessna

well equipped. Unfortunately, the current fuel prices have also risen extremely in Canada. Scott (tandem master, rigger and senior) gives us a little tour and tells us about his history.

Scott is a dropzone kid, his father owned a dropzone further west of Burnaby. His mother was also a jumper. He has spent his whole life (approximately 55 years +-) on the drop field and knows many of the "old" jumper legends. He's a fine guy with a heart and a lot to tell! We wait for the first Cessna tandem load, Seb' helps with the "catch"

while I get into conversation with the next tandem guests and give a bus tour. There's still not much going on, but it's hard for us to make the bend, because the jump place always feels a bit like home ❤️

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