Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Suspicious Activity????!!!!

No, we haven't fallen off of the face of the earth!!  Dan and I, along with Gin and Syl, left PA July 23rd and headed to Four Mile Creek State Park in Youngstown, NY.    Nancy and Bill - we took this picture below especially for you!

Tricia, Dan, Gin, and Syl
Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil!! 
Friends Mac and Mo and my son and DIL joined us as well.  We spent the next week running ourselves ragged (but in a very good way!)  visiting Niagara Falls (both US and Canadian side) multiple times, and hiking just about every NY State Park in the area!  We were much too busy to blog (plus our internet and cell service were sketchy at best!).
Group shot (minus Brandon!)

Here he is with my DIL - check out the rainbow in the lower right!
Niagara Falls - US side
We left NY today and are now at Geneva SP in Ohio...right on Lake Erie.  I thought it was going to be a few days of rest and relaxation until I saw the bike trails here!   I promise I will post pictures of all of our fun we had the past 10 days or so as soon as I slow down!  ;-)

Life is good, indeed!!

On to Ohio.....

Tuesday, July 31- Thursday August 2, 2012
Geneva State Park
Geneva, OH

This will be our third state that we have traveled in with Gin and Syl.    We are all like minded when it comes to so many things that it makes hanging out and traveling together very natural!  I think that all four of us found that we really liked this State Park.  It was easy to get to, not crowded, the sites were paved and spaced decently and, it had bike paths!  Another bonus is that it borders Lake Erie.  We spent the next two days exploring the park and riding our bikes.   At this point,  I was in relax mode, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds and only had my camera with me one time.

Giu, Syl and Dan enjoying the breeze off of Lake Erie!

There is a very quaint little “beach” town, Geneva on the Lake, that was within pedaling distance.  We rode our bikes to town one night for dinner and ate outside at Eddie‘s Diner.     We had only paid for two nights and could have stayed longer but we really wanted to head south to our next campground before the weekend warriors arrived!   On to the next state.....

Life is good!

Monday, July 30, 2012

One last hike...

Four Mile Creek SP
Youngstown, NY

Brandon and Amanda weren’t scheduled to leave until that evening so we decided to get in a little hike.  Syl, Brandon, Amanda and I headed over to Artpark to hike some of their trails.  We hiked a small trail with a sacred Indian burial mound and then headed over to hike along the river.  It was a trail that was still being developed but the section that we were on was great.  The views of the river were awesome and wildflowers bordered the trail.   No pictures this time as I was enjoying the scenery and taking in the moments as they happened!

We headed back to the campground, and Amanda  and Brandon  packed up all of their stuff.  Dan and I drove them back to the airport.   With hugs and a few happy tears,  we said our “byes” and “see you down the road”.   Dan and I stopped by the store and farmer’s market to stock up on a few things and then headed back to the campground.  The next day was going to be a travel day and we were both pretty tuckered out from a very busy week!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Back to Canada!

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

Dan, Brandon, Amanda, and I decided to head back to Canada for the day.  This time, we were going to park on the US side (for free using our campground pass!) and walk over to Canada via the Rainbow Bridge.  We wanted to do Journey Behind the Falls.  We walked thru the commercial section and gawked at all of the craziness.  We walked and walked and walked and walked.  Brandon had told us about a barge that had gotten stuck in the river pretty close to the Falls.  We were finally able to locate it and get a decent picture.
close up picture of the barge

view to see how close it is to the Falls
The barge has been there since 1918.  It was being towed when it got stuck on a sandbar.  The tow rope snapped and the barge was swept downstream towards the Falls.   2500 feet from the Falls, it was grounded on a rock shoal and has remained there all this time.

Amanda and I were a bit nervous to do Journey Behind the Falls.  The roar of the Falls in the tunnels underneath is quite loud and you can’t help but wonder “what if??!”.  There were two areas in the tunnels that opened up so that you could actually see behind the Falls.  There was quite a bit of water spray back into the tunnel and the roar was like thunder.   There were also two outside viewing areas adjacent to the Falls where you could view the Falls from the side.    

This attraction was quite crowded and it took a bit of time for us to exit.  During that time, Brandon kept us entertained.

We spent some time walking around looking at the flower gardens.

We also had to make a stop here….

See, when we were in Canada two days earlier, Gin and Syl lost their brand new camera.  Everyone had pretty much written it off as gone.  But, in the off chance that a good Samaritan had found it and turned it in, we had told them that we would check lost and found.   We inquired at the police station and they checked their records.  Alas - a camera matching our description had been found two days prior.  However, it was locked up and no one in the station had the combination.  One of the officers told us to give her 30 minutes and she would see what she could do.  We waited a bit….and wondered what our chances were.  With fingers crossed, we went back to the police station.  Voila!  They had Gin and Syl’s camera!  Whoop whoop.  I had to sign for it, let them copy my driver’s license and give them my phone number.  They then handed us the camera.  We were absolutely so excited for Gin and Syl.  Now we needed to come up with a clever way to give it back to them.  So we took a picture to commemorate the event and  headed back to the campground.  When we got back, Gin and Syl were inside their RV eating their dinner.  We were all so excited we could barely finish our dinner (and Amanda actually didn’t!) when we went outside.  Brandon had seen Gin a few minutes earlier and told her that I had a picture I wanted to show her!    

Yeah!  Camera found and returned to it’s happy owners!

 We ended the day with another great sunset!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A down day?!?

Four Mile Creek State Park
Youngstown, NY

For three days, we had done the touristy things and had encountered crowds galore.  We wanted a somewhat down day and decided to take advantage of the numerous gorge trails nearby.   Dan, Brandon, Amanda and I packed a lunch and headed to Devil’s Hole State Park.  There were several trails to hike along the Niagara River.  We chose to hike  the Devil’s Hole Gorge trail.   The trail’s description notes it as a moderate trail with numerous boulder stairs, inclines, rock falls and narrow passages.    We were up for the challenge.  I chose not to take my camera as I really just wanted to enjoy the scenery.   We saw the Devil’s Hole which had a cave-like entrance.  Brandon and Dan explored it; Amanda and I chose to stand guard on the trail!  We also saw Giant Rock.  It is a two story rock that fell from the Canadian side and landed on the US side; right along the river.  It sure was a sight to see!  We saw several whirlpool rapids and watched the whirpool boats zoom back and forth.  After our hike, we enjoyed our picnic lunch and then headed to Whirpool State Park.  We walked along the rim trail enjoying the whirpools in the Niagara River.  It was pretty neat to see the many whirpools and watch the water flow in multiple directions.  There was a small education center and we looked at the displays and read the information plaques.  It was a nice down day and  was a much needed break from the chaotic crowds!

Life is good (albiet a bit tired at this point!)

Friday, July 27, 2012

Canada bound!

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

We headed out to tour the Canadian side of the Falls.  We all piled in Gin and Syl’s car and headed North.  Dan, Brandon, Amanda and I were going to walk across the Rainbow Bridge to Canada but when we got to the exit only lane and there was really no easy, safe way to exit the car so we ended up riding to Canada.  When we got to the border, the immigration officer had…well let’s just say he must have been having a bad day and it was portrayed in his personality (or lack thereof!).  It took us about 15 minutes and a whole bunch of questions to get thru immigration.    In all of my travels, this was the most red tape to get into a country (and this includes China!!).   Argghhh!    We found a place to park and headed out to the Falls.
View from walking underneath Rainbow Bridge
I had always heard that the views were better from the Canadian side of the Falls and what I heard was proved right.


Maid of the Mist in the background; birds upfront! 

The mist was quite heavy!
We walked along the Falls taking time to enjoy the scenery and snap a few pictures.
The four amigos!

The "kids"!

The flowers were in full bloom and gorgeous!

As we walked closer to the end of the walkway, the views were even more amazing.

Brandon had been to the Falls before with my sister, Barbara.  He remembered a few things and acted as our impromptu tour guide.  It was the first visit for the rest of us and it was neat to see everyone’s reactions.

We were able to see quite a few rainbows on the Canadian side of the Falls, too.

We had made plans to stay in Canada to watch the illumination of the Falls and the fireworks.  We had some time to spare before nightfall so Brandon, Amanda, and I went to explore some more.  We ended up acting quite goofy!

Ever see a moose with sunglasses!?!

Biggest Hershey Kiss ever!
We headed back to where Dan, Gin and Syl were to watch illumination.
They were laughing when we left and are still laughing! 
Illumination was pretty but I thought that the colors would be much more vivid and pronounced.

Night time at the Falls

After illumination but before fireworks, Dan, Brandon, Amanda and I decided we were going to walk back to the US.

But before we got on the bridge to cross, we needed to stop and use the facilities.  Dan comes out of the men’s room and is laughing.  He tells Brandon he needs to take my camera and go in the men’s room and take a picture.  Hahaha - this was a weird request!!  Brandon was a bit skeptical but went in with my camera.  This is what is in the men’s room….
Moose in the bathroom!
We all chuckled and then headed to the pedestrian bridge.
Brandon and Amanda in the dark!
We got to the US/Canadian border....

and had to take a few snapshots.

Standing in two countries at one time!

I can cross this off of my bucket list!

A smooch in two countries!!

Monkey see; monkey do!
We had timed it so we could watch the fireworks in two countries at the same time!

It was a perfect way to end a fantastic day!  Gin and Syl picked us up on the other side of the border.  We were all so tired the ride back to the campground was rather quiet!

Another good day on the road!