Niagara Falls

My Rochester Bucket List

In less than nine months I will (most likely) be moving away from Rochester, NY. I’ll graduate from UR with two degrees and will be looking for jobs in the West Coast/Northwest. (That is, of course, unless an amazing opportunity affords me to stay).

While Rochester has been an absolute bastard at times (a garbage plate, if you will), the city has no doubt grown on me. I’m at the point where I kind of like it. Who’da thought? People here are genuine, there’s an art culture just waiting to explode, and while Rochester lacks a thriving socio-environment for young professionals—no friendly downtown district, poor upkeep of natural resources—I get the sense that Rochester will be an incredible place to live in about five years.

Downtown projects are looming, tax breaks are given for new businesses, public transportation is getting better, and (my fav) Costco is coming. Plus, Global Warming.

So why not stay?

Because mountains. And the Pacific. I’m a West Coast kid, and I can’t help it. Home is home. But right now, this next year, I want to enjoy Rochester and Western New York as much as possible.

So here it is, my Rochester, NY Bucket List:

Rochester, NY-3

1. See a performance at the Eastman Theatre

The beautiful and rarified Eastman Theatre (1922) hosts over 700 performances a year. Wow! Why haven’t I seen one yet? Oh yes, classical music is expensive. Can’t we just do one night of local punk bands? Just one night?

2. Enjoy a Haunted Hayride

As a Halloween fanatic, I was impressed, last year, with the level commitment I saw Western New York dedicate to the holiday. Unfortunately I had just moved across the country and couldn’t even afford a hayride. This year? Oh yes. It is happening.

3. Visit Buffalo for authentic Buffalo chicken wings

I mean, I’m here?

4. Tour the George Eastman House

Before switching apartments, I lived just down the street from old George (Kodak guy). Yet, because of busyness, I never got a chance to tour his old stomping grounds. I did attend a summer concert in his backyard, however. Seems like a cool place, a mini-Hearst Castle. (more…)

Niagara Falls and the Speaking, Nasty Universe Pt. 2

When we last left our heroes, Kevin was cussing in a stranger’s driveway and angrily kicking rocks; Megan was hiding, due to embarrassment, from inside of their broken car.

(For part one, click here).

TOWtaly

About six hours we waited. Time slowed down, it seemed. We listened to podcasts; we took walks and explored the street; I peed in the bushes. There was one bright spot when a local, older couple offered us both Pepsi. They left though, and soon we were back in the car, having to pee again.

When 5pm struck, we knew the same-day-Toyota-service-possibility went out the window, so we called around for rental vehicles and prayed for a way home.

Enterprise had one left, an SUV, of course, for $108 a day. There was another place in town, a local shop. They charged only $35 a day with three cars left. The caveat? Well, they closed at 5:30pm.

The last we heard, the tow was coming at 5:09pm.

TOWnality

After six hours of sitting in a black car on a hot day—hating and focusing on everything that went wrong and everybody, including ourselves, who let us down—5:15pm struck, and all of a sudden two tow-trucks slowed down and parked next to our broken Prius.

Two tow-trucks at the same time—it was amazing, like something out of the books. Our luck, if even for a second, was finally turning around.

The first guy approached with a look of horror. He was the one we first talked to, who said we could make it to Toyota if we tried. His name was Dan.

“I am SO sorry,” said Dan, “I didn’t know you guys were still here! Your call was cancelled twice; I thought someone gotcha!” His thick Upstate accent broke a smile on my face for the first time in hours. (more…)

Niagara Falls and the Speaking, Nasty Universe Pt. 1

I’m not sure if there is such a thing as a “Speaking universe,” one that tells you to stay in bed and avoid the day. Maybe it’s a cough and a dry throat at the start. Or maybe it’s an audiobook that won’t finish downloading.

Whatever or wherever “Signs” come from, well, this last Wednesday morning I ignored them all.

The plan was Niagara Falls. Megan and I would pack a lunch, hop in the car, and drive for an hour and a half to the State Park. Since we moved to Rochester, Niagara has been on our radar—mine especially, incessantly nagging at my curiosity to come visit.

“Stay in bed!” said the Universe. Instead, I threw a liquified shot of Emergen-C powder into my dry throat and headed out the door.

Highway 490, Revisited

About 30 minutes outside of Rochester we heard a funny noise below our car. It was just for a second. Like a… well… as if something fell out. But the car was handling great, and there were no warning signs. So we kept driving.

Five minutes later, that warning sign showed up. If any of you readers drive a Prius, then you’re aware of just how scary the big red exclamation point is. We took the first exit we could (paid a toll) and stopped at the nearest gas station for a gander.

We landed in a town called Batavia, and it was there that we learned we had a major oil leak. I knew this because I bought a fresh quart, emptied it into my car, to which my car—as if in protest—urinated it back onto the gas-station concrete.

Roadside ASSistance

Instead of an in-depth analysis, here’s a quick play-by-play of everything that went wrong soon after.

  1. After calling Allstate Roadside, the tow truck guy called me and said we were “Right around the corner,” from the Toyota dealer and that we could make it if we tried, and we’d save an hour.
  2. I disregarded my wife’s advice to wait, and had her plug in the Toyota dealership address into our GPS. Under five-minutes away.
  3. Megan accidentally chose South Main instead of West Main on the GPS.
  4. Five minutes later, we ended up on a country road, surrounded by large fields and spread-out houses. This was where our car finally jilted us to the side of the road and drove us no more.

(more…)