On Wednesday Rob and I met some other members of his family at the Springville Auction. At every reunion it is a ritual to go here and I loved the idea of an auction and flea market to browse around.
The place was amazing, full of colorful folk looking for a bargain yet doing so in a timely manner with no pushing or jostling to be seen. Everyone was impeccably polite and cheerful. Junk and treasures sat next to each other on tables, in boxes or spread on the ground while small groups of people would gather around a hoped for acquisition patiently awaiting the auctioneer's arrival as he moved methodically up and down the aisles selling off lots with a professional efficiency. I was spellbound and anxious to take part so while Rob went to the office to get me a ticket, I scoured the tables for a treasure to take home. I found some Elric books and a box of moldy cameras both of which I lost in the bidding but then inadvertently raised the bid on a tacky plant stand to $12.50 by sweeping the hair off of my face. I held my breath and stood like a statue until the bid went past me to $15 then scuttled of out of range.
There were some awesome characters here and I so desperately wanted to take some close up portraits but these gentle folk were not the kind to intimidate and I had no intention of upsetting anyone so I kept my lens down for the most part. The gentleman above sold me a bowling pin for $1 which I was enthralled with and I asked for his photo. He's wearing a pith hat, or safari hat, and he reminded me of a pub in England where the landlord wore the same kind of hat while serving which said 'Pith On' on the front. At closing time, he would turn the hat around to reveal the back reading 'Pith Off'.
We checked out the flea market which was unfortunately closing up for the day, meaning we'd have to arrive earlier next year, won't we Rob? And then we bumped into Mark and I had my photo taken with my own Chevy Chase.
There is also an animal auction but I didn't really want to watch that as I'd get upset seeing animals sold off to be eaten, so we left after stocking up on sodas.
We then headed to North Tonawanda which I'll mention in the next blog and Rob casually mentioned that we were only an hour or so from Niagara Falls, and did I want to go? Hell, yeah!
As we approached, we could see the mist from the falls drifting up on the skyline. I was getting very excited.
I have to admit to a little disappointment when I saw them from a distance as I'd envisaged them being much taller, but as we approached my awe grew and I started to appreciate the power and the beauty of this natural wonder.
This photo of Rob's captures the force of the water and it was quite intimidating to be able to get so close.
These poor folks were drowned rats as they disembarked from a sightseeing boat. We didn't really have time to do this but it will something to look forward to on the next trip, on the Canadian side.
We both sat on this rock for photos and also climbed up to the vantage point but the spray from the falls ensured that we didn't hang around for too long.
I saw this dude on the tower viewpoint. I somehow thought he'd have a bigger tougher looking camera to go with the hairdo!
The casino by the falls. Made me want to be back in Vegas...
Heading back homewards to camp, we passed again through North Tonawanda where I spotted this fabulous mural on the side of The Riviera Theater. We stopped for ice cream further down on our journey and then Rob drove through a small town anticipating my reaction as he neared the railway station.
I thought I'd either died and gone to heaven or it was an apparition that loomed out of the darkness as Stuart's headlights swept over the railway line. A beautiful Alco C424 stood majestically alone in the middle of nowhere and I was leaping out of the door before Rob had come to a halt. I couldn't believe my eyes and had to stand and take it in before I could take a photo. I clambered up the side and peered into the cab and then ran alongside the train finding yet another C424 parked back to back along with older abandoned engines behind them. I didn't know what to photograph first and was actually about to overload and have a fit until Rob said we could come back in daylight. So I contented myself with a quick tripod shot and Rob's promise and finally climbed back into Stuart again.
We got back late to camp having stopped for a pizza first and I remember being exhausted with my legs itching furiously from whatever I'd rubbed against in the dark, but finally drifted off to sleep with big blue and yellow trains being the last thought in my mind.