Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Niagara Falls....slowly I turned, step by step and Ontario Canada

Glenda and I continued our trek west after our incredible time with Steve and Debbie from Down the Road with a stop in Niagara Falls, NY. Seeing the falls has been on our bucket list for some time so we made sure to plan a couple days there as we moved west. We reserved a site near Niagara Falls at Daisy Barn Campground. Our site was actually a back in site however it was an end site and the manager who lead us to the site took us out into a grassy lawn area so we could pull through. Due to the size of our rig it made it much easier to get into the site that way and they had no problem letting us drive on the grass.

Like most campgrounds in the NE, it had mostly seasonal folks with more permanent set ups for longer term stays. This was a convenient campground for our visit to Niagara Falls.

The campground was near the Niagara Falls Scenic Byway into the downtown area. We were able to score a parking space fairly quickly even with all the tourist activity in town. Our first stop the Visitor's Center to get the lay of the land. We had heard about the Maid of the Mist boat tour so we found the ticket booth and got our tickets. A boat leaves every 15 minutes and the ticket is good for all day any day so no rush to get on the boat. Glenda and I took a walk out on the observation deck about 200 feet or 20 stories above the river. 
Glenda is afraid of heights so she didn't venture too close to the railing. I, however, enjoyed the scenic view from above.

Views from above on the Observation Deck

Looking up at the Observation Deck

After a few photos and after we got over our awe at the views, we headed down the elevator to the boat dock. Of course there was a line but the boats hold a lot of folks. As we walked down the ramp there we people handing out plastic ponchos to wear. OK...We're going to get wet.

A boat came in and unloaded very quickly and on we got. The tour consists of the boat heading along the front of the American Falls and Bridals Veil and then pushing as hard as possible again the current of water coming off the Horseshoe Falls. That's when you really feel the power of the water and tons of mist. Hence the name of the boat tour MAID OF THE MIST.

Coming up to the American Falls

American Falls and Bridal's Veil Falls

Enlarge the photos for best viewing 

Horseshoe Falls

Panorama of Horseshoe Falls

Folks walking out on the wooden stairs to the Hurricane Deck on Cave of the Winds and feel tropical-storm like conditions as they stand underneath the Bridal Veil Falls.

There are so many ways to experience Niagara Falls....Boat tour, walking under the falls or follow the walking path throughout Niagara Falls State Park, it was designed by landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted with over 400 acres of natural, lush terrain and protected wildlife.

As we motored up close to Horseshoe Falls the thundering water was close to deafening. It felt like a heavy rain of water and a roar like no other I've heard. Very exciting and intriguing. 

After our ride we took some additional time to get close to the falls and see it from the top side too. 

This was everything we had expected and more. In addition we decided to take a walk across the International Bridge to Niagara, Canada for a quick look and some dinner. We had the opportunity to go into Canada with Steve and Debbie from Down the Road while in Maine and since we still had our passports....lets go. 

On the American side you just walk through a revolving gate and begin your walk across the bridge. Then on the Canadian side you hand over your passport and answer a couple questions and on you go. 

International Bridge


Everyone told us the views of the American Falls from Canada were spectacular too and they were.

Such a different perspective of the massiveness of the falls. 


Horseshoe Falls with Maid of the Mist boats

We walked by the downtown tourist area of Niagara, Canada on our way to the restaurant a few streets away. Glenda found the Sand Stone Grillhouse on Victoria Ave. The food and service were wonderful and casual. Glenda had Salmon and I had a pasta dish. After our dinner we headed back to the tourist area near the falls and took in more of the views. We also stopped in the Hershey's Store and the Coca Cola Store. 

Of course we bought some chocolate and Glenda had a Diet Coke to go. 

As we walked along the Canadian side downtown there was an outdoor shopping area with street performers and a Zipline that took riders along the Canadian side from the downtown toward Horseshoe Falls. It looked like a fun and exciting ride. 

Shameless selfie

Ready, Set 


Glenda enjoying the Falls view

It was a long day and we did a lot of walking and it was time to see if we could get back into the USA.

Before we crossed back over, we stopped into the Duty Free store and bought a few gifts and souvenirs. They had to carry the items back to the customs area at the border and then they gave them to us. A first for us. 

In any event, they let us back in and we made our way back to the truck with our thoughts still on what we had witnessed that day. Getting close to the end of our Northeast adventure. 

We did some geocaching and took a walk/hike on the Devil's Hole Trail along the Niagara River the next day. I'll cover that next time. Thanks for following along. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

A visit to Cooperstown NY and the Baseball Hall of Fame...Holy Cow

Our last outing with our friends Steve and Debbie from Down the Road was to Cooperstown in NY. Steve had been to the Baseball Hall of Fame there several years ago and wanted to share the experience to going again with me. Of course, I was all for that as a Cubs fan for years and them finally winning the World Series after 108 years. I'm not a huge fan of baseball in that I don't follow all the players and know all their stats however I do enjoy watching and can appreciate the talent.

In addition we stayed at a State Park called Glimmerglass about 15 miles away. This park is electric only so we had to fill our water tanks and use the dump station for the black tank on the way out. This was a first for us after 3 years of full time RV'ing. We usually have sites with both electric and water.

This also means we used out water pump to get the water out of the onboard tank. When only using the water in your tank you have to be a little more conserving with a limited amount of water. Good experience for us and would definitely do it again if need be.

While at the park we did some geocaching and getting our steps in each day. Our site was shaded and not too far from Steve and Debbie. Good choice for our visit to the Baseball HOF.

We all piled into our truck and drove into town and found a nice parking space for our huge truck. With our size parking can be an issue. We saw a parking lot not too far from the HOF and right next to Doubleday Field. Click on the link to learn more.

Abner Doubleday is known as the founder of baseball. therefore a field named after him. Cooperstown is known as the birthplace of baseball.

We got our tickets and I asked for the Senior discount. Well the young lady at the booth flattered me by asking me to show my ID. I wanted to kiss her. Once I proved my OLD age we headed to the second floor and started our exploration. So many displays and stats from players dating back to the beginning of baseball. Players I knew as I grew up...kid, teenager and adult. Wonderful displays of individual players we all know like Babe Ruth, Jose Canseco, Pete Rose, Jackie Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Mark McGuire, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and on and on.

These are some of the photos I took of the many displays. I hope it brings back some memories for you as it did for me. Click on the photos to enlarge for better viewing.

Evolution of baseball mitts

The Chicken

Negro League

Evolution of Bats

Of course the HOF would not be complete without a display and acknowledgement of the women's league that came into being. The AAGPBL, which began play in 1943 and lasted a dozen years and gave more than 500 women an opportunity that had never existed before. Popularized by the 1992 feature film A League of Their Own (“There’s no crying in baseball!”), the so-called “lipstick league” was the brainchild of Chicago Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley as a way to keep the ballparks busy during World War II if manpower shortages threatened big league baseball.

So much history and so much to take in as we made out way through the displays. Room by room we saw more and more until we came to the World Series Room and the display for the current World Series Champions. THE CHICAGO CUBS. Go Cubs Go, Go Cubs Go...Hey Chicago what do you say, the Cubs are going to WIN TODAY.  And that they did after a 108 year drought. 

As far back as I can remember my Mom was a Cubs fan...therefore my brother and I became Cubs fans. Walking into the room with the World Series display put a HUGE smile on my face. 

In addition to the display there was a video playing with excerpts from the World Series games where the Cubs were down 3 games to 1 against the Cleveland Indians. They excepts continued the comeback game by game. 3 games to 2 then 3 games to 3 until the final deciding 7th game. In the 7th game the Cubs came out to a 6-3 lead only to see the game tied up in the 8th inning 6-6. As the 9th inning started it began to rain...enough to stop the game for about 15 minutes or so. Story has it that the veteran players on the teams called all the younger players together in the locker room and told them this is our time and our destiny. The Cubs came out in the top of the 9th inning and scored 2 runs and stopped the Indians in the bottom of the 9th to win the game and the World Series. As that video played that part where the last out took place a chill went over my body and I knew my mom who passed in 2009 was smiling in heaven. I think I watched that video several times before moving on. 

I still get goosebumps as I sit here and type this post. 

We continued on into the HOF area commemorating the induction of players into the HOF. 

The plaques

In addition to displays for the players they even had some statutes for fans that showed extraordinary fortitude in following teams and players.

I'm glad that Steve suggested making a trip to the HOF and adding an extra special experience to our travels together. 

We found a place to have lunch and headed back to the campground for our final night and a campfire. Memories and experiences...that's what our lives are about. We're making memories. 

Next up we parts ways with our friends and move on to Niagara Falls, NY. 
I hope you'll follow along.