Day 25

We left Brad and Carol’s house at 6:15 this morning so it was still dark as we said good-bye at the Dunkin Donuts pick-up/drop-off point. I was quite content to spend the next hour or so catching up on email using the DD wifi, and the DD staff saw no problem with me doing so. Around 8 I was on the road again, intent on reaching the border.

The day went in two entirely different, though roughly equal segments, a long, straight run to the Niagara River and then a run up the river to the bridge. Coincidentally, this was exactly correlated with great walking weather on the first part and miserable rain (really the first for my trip!) on the second. It was very hard to pull out and use the camera during this second portion so most of my pictures are taken during the first half of the day.

This picture is pretty representative of the first part of the day — overcast with a long, straight, residential road.


Along the way were one or two spectacular houses, including this one with a gazebo-style porch:


There was one section, about a mile long, where drain sewer work was being done. This was difficult to navigate in the presence of traffic:


If the work isn’t completed soon, some of the houses on that road will have hockey rinks:


Coming to this street was a good sign:


As usual, most leaves had fallen with a few notable exceptions:



I dropped into Hock’s Flower Shop to ask permission to use their restroom:


these two women sympathetically agreed; this is Marie and Faye:


Faye and her husband Kevin own the shop, which was originally started back in 1922 — quite old for a flower shop:


They were very interested in my walk and we took several pictures of each other. They have published a few on their facebook page.

Further on I encountered a busy farmer’s market. Check out all those apples:


After checking out all the stalls I drifted over to the hot dog guy, Glen, and bought a couple of chili dogs. When he heard what I was doing, he said that when he was younger he had walked from Buffalo to Detroit, 12-hour days, with a friend, wearing a dress, and that he was burned and blistered so badly at the end that his doctor could see bone when he lifted up his toes. Here’s Glen:


I really enjoyed the brick color in this church:


Meet, from the left, Mike, Rhys, Ron and Dan. They were curious about what I was doing (pretending momentarily that I was a security violation), so we had a good conversation about it.


At that point I had reached River Road, the second half of my day; here is the Little River, a branch off the eastern branch of the Niagara surrounding Grand Island:


Here’s a sign whose meaning I couldn’t even guess:


At this point it started to rain — serious rain. I pulled into a park gazebo and suited up with all my rain gear, including rain pants that made it quite difficult to get out my camera. So for most of the rest of the day I have no pictures.

I did make the effort to pull the camera out for this shot of I-190 crossing over to Grand Island, since I have crossed it so many times in the past:


It was a pretty intense 9 miles walking in the rain, but I pressed through. At one point I asked permission to use the bathroom at the Sunshine Cafe. They said ok; I must have looked pretty cold and soggy so they gave me a free cup of coffee.

It was with mounting excitement that I turned onto the final street leading to the Rainbow Bridge. Camera out again, I snapped this large casino:


Getting closer:


When I got to this intersection, right at the bridge, I thought I was done:


but I then spent another 20 minutes trying to find the pedestrian entrance. It was tucked away in an obscure place with no obvious signage, and I was getting a bit worried. But then it finally appeared:


Here’s the pedestrian walkway, just before I entered it:


The last hurdle was a six-foot turnstile that my cart would obviously not go through. As I was mentally calculating how to break it down, hug the collapsed frame to my body while dragging the bin behind me, a kind tourist pointed to the button on the wall that, when pushed, triggered someone inside to open the gate for wheelchairs. Doh.

The view from the center of the bridge was spectacular:


And so I entered Canada, after 25 days of walking:


I have to confess to being a little weepy at this point, I suppose mostly from relief but also just from a deep sense of accomplishment, and perhaps a little nationalism related to my Canadian roots.

The border guard, Carter, wouldn’t let me take his picture, but enjoyed my answers to his questions. Where are you from? Scotch Plains, New Jersey. How did you get here? I walked. It was a great, happy moment, and he shared it with me.

As I walked out to the street I was greeted by my two sons, Peter and Matthew and my dear brother-in-law, Russ; I had been delayed on the other side, they had been delayed in traffic, and we all arrived at the same time at that spot. It was a frantically happy reunion. Carter came out and helped us take photos, but I forgot all about my camera until it was too late, so I have to include the following picture, which even with the help of my technical guru Matthew, could not be made rightside up:


If it were the right way up, that would be Russ, Matthew, me and Peter from left to right. Here is one of just me in that wonderful moment:


The three of them whisked me off to Niagara-on-the-Lake to lovely accommodations and a fabulous dinner and I will have to tell you about that tomorrow because I’m so tired now.

40 thoughts on “Day 25

  1. Julie

    Well done! Wish you could hear me cheering from out here on the west coast! The look on your face (in the upside down pic) is just radiant. Are either of your boys interested in finishing the walk with you? It’s quite an adventure you’re having!

    And hurray for some upscale accommodations after a cold, weary slog this afternoon. You’ve certainly earned it!

    Julie G

    1. Allan Post author

      You’ll have to wait for today’s story to hear about the boys, Julie. Thanks for that loud cheer.

  2. Kate and John Dening


    Congratulations on reaching Canada, quite an accomplishment, sorry the last part of the walk was so wet. I once took the pedestrian bridge to and from Canada, on the way back I had to jump the turnstile, it ate my money, it wasn’t six feet tall then either.

    I also see you walked past the Love Canal today, not too close I hope.


    1. Allan Post author

      I noticed that I was going to walk through there but then didn’t notice when I was there, due to the rain. There was a long section with giant chemical plants; I suppose that must have been it. I would definitely have been taking pictures had it not been raining.

  3. Chris and Nancy

    Whoops, I answered on day 24 when I meant to answer on day 25 πŸ™‚
    Yea Allan !!!! We knew you would prevail and succeed !!! You made it to Canada !!! How wonderful to have your sons and brother-in-law Russ meet you !!!!

    1. Allan Post author

      It was indeed wonderful, Nancy, especially going from the low of slogging to the rain to the high of an anticipated accomplishment and sharing it with family.

  4. Bethany Bull

    Wow well done! What an accomplishment! I could feel myself getting excited with you as you got closer and closer. You know, I usually read your entries when I’m up in the night with Sammy, and I think you’re going to need to continue blogging when your journey is done and just throw in a few pictures and some puns to satisfy all your followers. πŸ™‚

  5. Fiona More

    Great that you are now on Canadian soil. Loved the upside down pic. Have a great time with the boys. Woohoo

  6. Jonathan

    Like Caesar and the Rubicon so Allan (Quick Step) Wilks crosses the Niagara! No turning back. On to Rome!!!!…er..Matt’s house.

    1. Allan Post author

      LOL brother. I hope to arrive with six more days walking, but I hope not to enter his home with a conquering spirit. Mya and Abi are getting excited.

  7. Joe Abdy

    I think the picture with the all the water that from construction could be on purpose. Perhaps they do want hockey rinks. This is very close to Canada. Congrats on reaching a big milestone! Or is it kilometerstone now that you are in Canada?

  8. Dave

    Allan – What wonderful news – can’t wait to share with the churches this morning. It’s been so much fun to be a part of your journey – congratulations on making it to the border – onward to Toronto!

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks, Dave. It has been quite an adventure so far. Hopefully the next six days can be slightly shorter in length.

  9. Tom Turner

    Congratulations on such a major accomplishment! As I saw the view from the bridge and your meeting with the family I was trying to grasp the feelings that must have been racing through your mind. I bet that was one of the best dinners with family and most wonderful night’s sleep you’ve had in a long time.

  10. Wen-Ling

    Praise God, Allan!
    We told your story again to some folks with whom we traveled to Ocean Grove with yesterday!

    Praying God’s grace & provisions during your journey continuously,

  11. Tom & Bonnie Brackney

    Huge congratulations ! OHHH Canada ! what are you going to do for a encore, will share the news this AM in Church. Going to miss going to your blog each day. Stay safe enjoy your family, hope you come by our way again, we could go for Greek food again. Tom & Bonnie

    1. Allan Post author

      Still six days to go! Yes, we are definitely passing by to see you guys and do Greek again.

  12. jim lamason

    I was sitting at lunch when your marker went up that you had crossed the border.. I let out a loud YESSSS!!! So loud matterfact that one of the ASMs came in to the break room to see what all the huzzas were about… I was celebrating and cheering you on all the way… The big celebration will have to wait till Thursday right? Well rest up and then yes… as always PRESS ON! And yea.. Your NJ “family” is very proud of you…. Sorry Canada you cant have him all to yourselves πŸ™‚

  13. Michèle Dextras

    Wow, you have been so well received by American people along the way where you have been mainly in small towns and villages. Anxious to see what the Canadian experience will be when I suspect you will probably be more in suburbia and big cities.

    Congratulations on making it to the border and as we say in french “bonne continuation”!

    1. Allan Post author

      Thanks Michelle. I will leave it to you to judge the difference between American and Canadian hospitality, based on my reports. As you say, this last part of the walk will be quite different — mostly urban, especially as I round the lake.

  14. Alison Sutherland

    I’ll tell you bro…you weren’t the only one weeping when you crossed the border…I know it happened yesterday but as I read it today…you got me!!!

  15. Glenn

    Thanks for stopping by, I wish I had more time to talk with you but we were a little busy and I hope the Chili dogs were good!
    I think what your doing is great and I truly believe everyone should take a nice long walk, you meet a lot of great people along the way and it’s a great sense of accomplishment.
    You now belong to a brotherhood of walkers (just you and I that I know of) so if you decide to do it again let me know, I might just join you. Stay Safe!

    1. Allan Post author

      I’m glad to be included in this brotherhood, Glenn. Keep on cranking out those dogs and breakfast sandwiches — you had a lot of satisfied customers!

  16. Sharon Garvin

    I got teary eyed when you crossed the border too. I rotated your pic in Photoshop, but couldn’t figure out how to post it… πŸ˜›

  17. Jim and Kathy McLaughlin

    Congrats on a wonderful accomplishment, we are really enjoying this journey with you. I would like your agents number to book you for a future mens breakfast or such. May God bless you and protect you
    on the rest of your journey.

  18. Cheryl Biswurm

    Feeling excited for you just reading this! I would be weepy too if I were there. What an accomplishment!!!

    1. Allan Post author

      It was a wonderful moment. I guess it was my non-sports version of winning the super-bowl. Well, maybe winning a spot in the super-bowl. Well, maybe winning a football game.

  19. Muriel D.

    It is so much fun following your blog. You don’t know me. I don’t know you and as far as I know, I don’t know anyone you know and you don’t know anyone I know. However, I am grateful that the curvy highway of the internet brought me to your site. I also became emotional when you reached the border (well, when I read about you reaching the border). What a highlight. Congratulations on your accomplishment to this point. Godspeed and blessings as you complete your adventure.

    1. Allan Post author

      Muriel I’m very glad you are along with me for this walk. I love to think of the people that are seeing what I’m seeing through the blog.

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