Niagara Falls

I’m so tired of seeing myself write “beautiful”, that I’ve promised myself not to use that word while describing the Niagara Falls. My thesaurus gives me (among many more, of which many are totally inappropriate) these alternatives: attractive, pretty, alluring, lovely, delightful, gorgeous, stunning, arresting, beguiling, exquisite, magnificent, drop-dead-gorgeous, devine…

We got up early and were at the falls around nine. The weather forecast the evening before had not been uplifting, it promised severe winds. But we were so lucky. The severe winds came during the night and really rocked the RV , so we woke up several times. But in the morning it was all over, and the sun was shining from a blue sky. We started on the American side which is the “less fantastic”, our guidebooks informed us. That was true – the view from the Canadian side is much more stunning. The two photos above are both taken from the Canadian side, the top picture is of the so-called horse shoe fall. I never understood why they call it that till I actually stood there. Guess what, it’s shaped as a horse shoe…

A rather strange thing is that it’s the Canadian side that’s the over-commercialized one. On the US side the falls are in a state park and it’s all very neat and there’s just one souvenir shop, the same kind as you find in all state parks. On the Canadian side it’s all glaring commercialism in ghastly colours (casinos, chain hotels, huge adverts, souvenir shops etc.). Luckily your back is to the glare when you’re looking at the falls. So the funny thing was that this probably was the cheapest touristy thing we’ve done yet – even the parking was free (but that was because the meter was broken). We had lunch in Canada in a restaurant that would’ve been absolutely terrible in the high season. Today there were only a few people in there and we could choose a table by the window and eat our sushi (so many Japanese tourists) with a view of the falls. We crossed the Rainbow bridge to Canada on foot, since the RV cannot leave the US. That was fine – it was only a short walk and it was much easier to find parking on the US side. And the customs officers on both sides were nice and polite – a novelty after the ones in the airports who all seem to suspect you of harbouring terrorist sympathies.

At two we were on the road again, still heading west. So now we’re in Ohio, although still on Lake Erie. We were lucky and found another open campground – right by the lake.

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Gone west

First we went to Vermont, to a campsite in the Green Mountains. We didn’t particularly like it, but we can’t be picky at this time of year, where open campsites are few and far between. As a family we’re not quite in agreement about the quality of campsites. David and I don’t like the ones with lots of “entertainment”, whereas Dane loves them. We like the quiet ones where the love of nature is the reason for camping, rather than playing party games with other campers. The campsite in Maine (outside Freeport), where everything was taken care of by one person, Missy, who also had a job at L.L. Bean, was just for us. Undisturbed in the woods, small, few amenities, nice and friendly staff (in this case only Missy).

But there was nothing wrong with the surrounding landscape. In the neighbourhood there was a so-called hidden lake. In American terms that’s a lake that’s not accessible by car. It was a four mile (6,5 km) hike up there and back, a very suitable distance for us. On the way up there was a lovely little waterfall and the weather was good, even if it was cold. The lake was beautiful and David naturally had to fish it. Dane and I lasted one and a half hour, then he had to come down again with us. Very reluctantly!

There was no Internet connection at the Vermont camp and we were only online for a few hours at a café in the nearby college town Middlebury. In that time we couldn’t find a single campsite on the route from Vermont to Buffalo, N.Y., so we decided to give up seeing the Niagara Falls. But, when we got back to camp that night, we had second thoughts. So close, and then not going!!! So we decided that we could “rough it” if we had to. By “roughing it” I mean parking the RV somewhere and not having access to electricity and water. And we decided to do the whole trip in one day. By far our longest journey – 400 miles (650 km). That may not sound like a lot, but when the first 100 miles are on little roads in the mountains and all of them are in an RV with a march speed of no more than 58 mph (95 km/t), it’s quite a distance.

Having decided that, we jumped into bed and enjoyed the fact that the furnace could keep the temperature at a steady 60 degrees (15 C) throughout the night. At six we got up and at seven we were on our way. We were well rewarded for getting up early, with little traffic and beautiful vistas.

After a long, long day’s drive with a very patient and good Dane, we arrived in Buffalo, safe and sound. Most of the day was spent on the New York Thruway, a tollroad going through the entire state. It cost 18 dollars to cross almost all the way from east to west. That may be expensive, but I’m all in favour of tollroads, so I don’t mind. And particularly not when every plaza on the way offers free Wi-Fi! That was how we found a campsite that was actually open today (but not tomorrow). And that is why I can sit in the RV and write this. With the lights on and water in the taps.

Tomorrow, it’s the falls!

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Guess where we are!

Yes, you guessed it! Or you didn’t? Then it’s just because you’re too young (like us, ha ha) or too old. We’re in Woodstock, N.Y. A place that seems to have revived itself as a center for spiritualism, a refuge for old hippies (I’ve NEVER seen so many in one place, not even at Roskilde Festival) and a center for hip photo galleries, a film festival for independent films etc. Quite well done! Surely, there are tourist traps with loads of hippie-stuff and we fell for it all. The clothes we were wearing that day still smell of patchouli

As you can gather from the pictures, the weather changed rather abruptly. The temperature dropped a lot and it rained all night and most of the days we spent in New York State. But we still enjoyed our visit to Woodstock!

Today, in Massachusetts, it’s beautiful, high blue sky, no wind and around 14 degrees Celcius. But brrrrr, it’s cold at night! We’ve bought Dane a sleeping bag and extra blankets for us. And told Emil to bring his sleeping bag from Denmark. If you think we’re without heating in our RV, think again. We have a furnace, which runs on propane gas. Apart from being noisy – but not as noisy as the aircondition – it works fine. It’s just that that kind of heat isn’t very sleep inducing, so we prefer not to have it on so much.

We haven’t got the ultimate picture of the autumn colouring here in New England yet, but the weather forecast is very promising, so come by again tomorrow! It is exactly as beautiful as everybody had told us it would be – and the New England towns we’ve passed on our way to this evening’s campsite were all quite lovely. We passed another Whole Foods supermarket, where we’ll shop tomorrow for the first days with Emil. He’ll probably be real disappointed with all that lovely, wholesome, healthy food – he’s been looking forward to eating junk food for a week!

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