Niagara Falls Canada and US

We started this month by going to Niagara Falls.  We opted for a campground on the Canadian side of the border, but that cost us some surprises. I will get back to this later.

We visited both sides of the falls, Canadian and American. The first day we drove back to the US side and walked the park. The weather was beautiful as you can see on the pictures. I don’t really think that these pictures capture the magnificence of the falls, its beauty and power. Brent, as an experienced kayaker, said that the rapids prior to the falls made his heart stop with its powerful turbulence and hydraulics. Interesting Fact: Four of the five Great Lakes are drained by this one massive waterfall.

Below the pictures show the american falls that are called Bridal Veil and in the background the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You can also see the Maid of the Mist below, which is the boat that takes you near the falls.

 

And yes, the crazy Troncalli’s went on the boat. We got pretty wet and cold, but it was a great experience. We saw the falls up close, were blown by powerful winds and drenched with water throughout. It was not cheap, but between all the things you can spend money here, this seems like the best. The Canadian side also has a boat, but they have not opened for the season yet.

Above are a few pictures from to the top of Bridal Veil (US side). On the picture you can see workers in the water that were building a platform. It seem pretty dangerous and they were doing everything without power tools.

The next day we explored the Canadian side. We found free parking (most parking close to the falls are $20+) at Dufferin Islands, which was about 3/4 of mile upstream from the Canadian falls. Our kids rode bikes and we ran. The wind was blowing about 25 miles per hour, but it was a fun run.We got to see the Horseshoe Falls under great visibility and were mesmerized by the beauty and magnificence of it. Interesting (scary) thing is that a little boy 9 year old survived the falls only wearing his life jacket. He was fishing with his grandpa on the upper river and fall out of the boat. The stream dragged him down the river and through the falls.  I can’t imagine what must have went through his mind falling down over hundred feet through the inferno of the falls and somehow by passing all the rocks. He was fished out by the crew of the Maid of the Mist.

 

IMG_4380IMG_4365IMG_4364

 

IMG_4378

Maid of the Mist getting close to the Horseshoe Falls.

 

We stayed at Jelly Stone campground on Canadian side. That meant we had to cross the border back and forth couple of times and didn’t have any problems. Note that part. Our campground was pretty deserted and almost no attractions were open. It was not very expensive and that made the deal. The other campground that had pool or hot tubs open were over $100 per night.

Shopping at the local Canadian Wal-Mart was interesting. They had it organized a bit differently and their selection was adapted to Canadian customs. Certain things I could not find (soy yogurt) and others I didn’t understand as they were labeled in French.  One thing that stood out was the packaging of the milk. They had milk packaged in bags as the picture shows. This bag included 3 little bags that total 4 liters. I still remember milk being sold in plastic bags when I was little living in Czech. This brought back some memories.  Marco really loved the milk, so I had to test it. I haven’t had cows milk since August. This milk tasted so so good. Not sure what it is, maybe the cows grazing in cold climates or the way they take care of the milk or the bag, but it is really good tasting milk. I googled it and found out that Canadian rulles for milk are much stricter than in the US.

candian baged milk

On the last day we went to Fallsview Waterpark on the Canadian side. The kids loved it and we enjoyed it very much. All was good until we returned to our car parked nearby and found out that someone had cut through our lock and stole Brent’s bike. They left mine behind (thank you !). Well his bike was a good bike 10 years ago, but it was still a usable mountain bike, so that was bummer. And they managed to put a dent on the truck. Did we say truck is not ours? Yep and we are very sorry Dad. Brent actually debated where to park and decided to park on a very public visible spot on street. We filed a police report and went our way.

The next day we headed across the border to camp south in Pennsylvania.

We got detained on the border. It was not fun. We were hoarded in the room with about 30 other people. Most of them left paying fines, so I was calculating quietly how much this would cost us. The reason for our detention was that we had firewood. Interesting thing is that we brought it from America and had it in the bed of the truck the whole time. We had crossed the border twice with it and nobody said anything. That was until today. Luckily it was still in packaging and they let us go with a warning. Yes we are never going to travel with firewood across the border in our truck ever again. We are probably not going to be crossing the US and Canadian border in an automobile any time soon. I am sure crossing borders on our sail boat will have its tricks also.

This concludes our route North. We are slowly heading south to Georgia, where we will unpack, pack and get ready to move on our boat.  I did get used to living in the trailer (moving out from class A RV month ago) and now another move. I am hoping this one will be for a while longer.

Washington, DC and Philadelphia

…. and all that in Chief Long Trailer.

April 23rd – 29th
We are back! Now it is me (Eva) writing, so we are back to funny English and grammar issues. I will do my best. I guess one good thing about homeschooling is, I do learn more of English grammar.

After spending some time (not enough) in the Asheville area, we headed towards Washington, DC. Here we stayed in Cherry Hill campground, which I would highly recommend. It was not the most economical campground, but it was convenient, and they really do a good job. Plus, it is located on public transportation. While here we visited the Museum of Natural History, Air and Space Museum and Museum of Native Americans. The kids and Brent really liked the Air and Space Museum, I could skip that one. We toured the Capitol and went to the Library of Congress, which I was really impressed with. We did get our tickets for the tour of the Capital by emailing our local representative, otherwise we would have to wait in line in the morning. That would not be so much fun with our three M’s.

DCIM100GOPRO

We also went to see Bernstein Tribute at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. This show was a combination of music, singing and tap dancing. It ended with a beautiful piece called “Tap and Rap”, which was tap dancing to Bernstein’s music. We were all very impressed and the kids loved it. The ride home on the subway was interesting as it was late, kids were over-tired, which made them hyperactive. They were tap dancig in their seats on the subway, well mostly in their seats. Luckily there were very few other passengers in our subway car and the one unlucky person who managed to walked into ours moved way up front.

The last day’s highlight was the ice cream on the lawn and then the brawl to get all their energy out. There is so much more to do in Washington, DC, but it is tough to do it all in three days and honestly it is a lot to absorb.

The next stop on our route was Philadelphia, where we did some history lessons on the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but the highlight was the market. I loved the Reading Terminal Market, where we did some shopping and enjoyed a Cajun meal. The kids got their hand rolled donuts. They tasted so fresh and were melting in our mouths (yes we adults stole some bites from our children).

We swung by Chinatown, where some ladies tried to talk to our children in Mandarin. Chinatown gave us little taste of China, which brought some memories back. The buildings and the smells, yep the smells of sewer were there also just like in some of the parts of China. Even with the reminder of that, we do yearn to go and travel China. We may do a heritage tour in a couple of years, so Mei and Makai can experience their birth place. We did love Philadelphia for its history and culture.

We stayed in Philadelphia KOA South. The campground was ok, unfortunately they had so much rain that most of the grounds were pretty muddy. They were also doing a lot of work, which meant more mud. This KOA just seemed the be the closest campground, that was not a parking lot, to the Philadelphia downtown.

Our original plan was head to New York after Philly, but I think we all got tired of the big city. So, our next stop is Niagara Falls. The city there is not small, but we are to explore natural wonders, not manmade structures and history. We would love to also go to the Adirondacks, but the weather was not great there lately. Most of the campgrounds are closed and it snowed there a couple of days ago, so there was some leftover snow in places.