Niagara! Niagara! part 1 by stegaliu
October 6, 2007, 6:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been out of touch for the last few days because I was on a whirlwind work trip to Niagara Falls. A production manager (PM) I work for from time to time was shooting a commercial for Thompson’s Water Seal on the falls and needed to truck in some equipment from NYC. Nevermind that the falls are MUCH closer to Toronto, a capable production town with all the gear one would need. I dont get paid to make those decisions.

I hired an Accomplice (pictured above) and we met at 9am Wednesday to pick up the truck. The plan was to make a few stops, return to our respective homes to sleep and pack, and then hit the road in the evening. Nine hours later we were still loading, so we opted to drive out as soon as we were done and drive through the night. This means we had no passports, no change of clothes, no bathroom necessities, and no cameras (thus why all of these pictures are crappy cellphotos).

We were also driving without real directions. The PM had only told us to go to “Cave of the Winds” and that we were staying at “some Indian casino.” Was this Cave also the casino? Was it in some park? Was it anywhere near the actual falls? We just decided to point the truck north and figure it out later.

Google maps says it takes 8 hours to drive to Niagara Falls from New York City. This is assuming that one A) drives a non-commercial vehicle B) drives the speed limit C) does not hit traffic/construction and C) does not stop. If you want to know what its like to drive a truck to Niagara overnight, stare at the picture below while vigorously shaking your monitor. Repeat for 9-10 hours, stopping every 90 minutes for coffee and a pee.

At 2:30 I wake up the Production Manager to let him know that we are passing Buffalo on our way to… where exactly? “Cave of the winds”. Oh right, how silly of me to want to know more about where I’m headed with $9000 in petty cash and a truck full of irreplaceable camera gear.

It turns out that Cave of the Winds is INSIDE the Niagara Falls State Park. At 3am we turn onto a bridge and drive around a gate that says “Do Not Enter.” Park police are on us within minutes. Luckily, they seem to have to the first useful information of the day.

Yes we are in the right place. No there is no one else here. Those trucks right over there, those are the company’s.

Once the officer pulls off we realize how dark it is. All we can hear is the uninterrupted flow of the falls coming from… somewhere. We park near a camera truck and I text the PM, “parkd next to strada crane. what now?” (I was too lazy to put the ‘e’ in ‘parkd’ but somehow thought it prudent to specify that we were beside the Strada crane, as opposed the techno, luna, or just plain crane. Exhaustion affects judgment. Remember that.) The PM texts back, “cool. there in 15.”

Forty minutes later a white Expedition careens into the lot. The PM is in his pajamas. He has to be at work in less than three hours and doesn’t even ask how the trip was.

We speed out of the park and I now see that the small bridge we had crossed spans a violent stream on the brink of the falls. In the distance I see the large neon stalk of corn glowing in what appear to be gay pride colors. This is where we are staying, the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel. It is a 26-story beacon of tacky, a brass ring among the 3 and 4 story EconoLodges and HoJo’s that make the American side of the falls just so splendid.

After we check in I hand the PM an envelope with $9000 in cash. He peels off several hundred dollar bills to reimburse us for gas. The boss heads upstairs to crash. My Accomplice eyes the crisp Benjamins he’s just been handed and looks longingly at the gaming floor. I order the last beer before the bar closes (4am, even in a casino) and head upstairs to shower and sleep.

I won’t see my Accomplice again until the following morning.

Check back for part 2, the conclusion of Niagara! Niagara!


1 Comment so far
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Ah, the movie biz. How glamorous for you. Can’t wait for Part 2: The Trip Home….

Comment by T

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