Sunday, September 14, 2008

By Golly, We're International Travelers

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail...okay, maybe just the rain part, and some mist, and some waterfall coming at like some multiple hundred miles an hour, or kilometers if we'd been on the Canadian side, which we weren't at the time...would keep us away from our goal of seeing the Niagara Falls after driving over four hours and going through customs twice, so far. But it didn't. We had to go through customs two more times to get home, because it's closer to go to Niagara Falls from the Detroit area via Canada. And more interesting too when you realize your Rand McNally Atlas is only the United States version and no longer includes Canada. Hey, Mom, we drove through Canada without a map! We even detoured up through Toronto!

Here was our first view of Canada, courtesy of customs. We chose to enter by Port Huron.
We arrived in Niagara Falls, Canada, after dark. We'd heard they light up the Falls, so we were anxious to see how they looked. We only took pictures of the American Falls because there was so much mist down by the Horseshoe Falls. This was the only picture that came out, but it sure is a beauty. It is the full American Falls and the little fall on the right side is called the Bridal Veil.

We stayed overnight in the U.S. and then went to view the Falls from that side on Friday morning. Our first stop was to a souvenir shop to purchase ponchos for everyone because it was pouring rain. It eventually slowed down to sprinkles and mist, but the ponchos were still much needed, especially for the camera carrying Hubby and picture taker Wife. Here's one of our first pictures of the Niagara River on our way to see the Falls.

Even though the river looks really calm in the picture below, it wasn't.

These next pictures were all taken from Luna Island, which is in between the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls.

The American Falls

American Falls in the background

American Falls in the background

Below the Bridal Veil Falls, where we'll end up later.

Maid of the Mist boat tour, which goes right under the Canadian Horseshoe Falls...w
e're doing that next time.

We walked over to Goat Island next, where Caboose felt right at home with his goat kin. Goat Island is a large island between the Bridal Veil Falls on the American side and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls on, you guessed it, the Canadian side. Mist is continually rising from the Horseshoe Falls.

See how lovely and windy it was and what great things it did for my hair pulling the poncho hood up and down. I wasn't going to have my picture taken repeatedly with the poncho hood up. Thank goodness the one with it up didn't come out.
Canadian Horseshoe Falls in the background

Canadian Horseshoe Falls in the background

Now you know how men don't like to ask for directions? They also don't like to ask other people about tours. There are all these people with these yellow ponchos on that have obviously gone on the Cave of the Winds tour, but he doesn't want ME to ask anyone how it is. Because really, I don't want to spend $54 for my family to go down and get wet unless it's really good. And because I also don't want to get wet unless it's really good. So I start talking to a lady in a wheelchair that's getting ready to go on the tour with her family (of adults) to find out what she's heard about it. Lovely lady, just didn't find out enough. Hubby has started dragging kids away. I start scoping some more. I see the ladies that I just saw in the bathroom drying their hair with the hand blowers. They have short Reese-type hair, not long Kayren-type hair, but I'm still willing to try for my kids. When I saw them in the bathroom I didn't know Hubby was thinking about this tour or I would have asked them when they were compromising themselves under the dryers, but instead I walked up and asked them on the sidewalk how the tour was. They said it was one of the best values in the area and second only to the Maid of the Mist. They added in that my boys would love it (wet factor) of course not knowing that my girls would love it just as much.

Here we are in our yellow ponchos. They also give you sandals to wear. The kids thought that was pretty great that you get to take them with you. The little fall is the Bridal Veil, and the one on the far left is the beginning of the American Falls. The Bridal Veil is the one that will get us.

It's hard to believe that this beautiful, calm picture is surrounded by all that crashing water.

Look at Sparky's tongue.

We couldn't get pictures under the Bridal Veil Falls or remotely close to it. There was just too much water to safely get the camera out. It will suffice to say that every child was wet from head to toe and that the ponchos did no good. Of course, if you walk up next to a wall of splashing, blowing water with the hood down, more than likely the poncho will not keep you dry. I surprised every member of my family by walking into the waterfall also, but I did it backwards. I had to keep my glasses as dry as possible, you know.

Hubby decided it would only take about an extra hour to drive to Toronto, and he wanted to go find a Starbuck's and get me a mug. Well, it took way more than an hour, but look what I got:

We got the Niagara Falls one on the Canadian side on Thursday night when we were taking pictures of the Falls lit up.

Here are some highlights of Toronto:

They have a Space Needle wannabe, the CN Tower

The Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays play, including Chatty's favorite player, Scott Rolen, who used to play for the 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals ~ he's the far right picture

On the road signs it said "squeeze" instead of "merge," but I couldn't get a picture since we were going too fast at the time.

They have black squirrels too. This one was one of many at a park where people obviously fed them frequently. They would come up and see if you had food in your hand.
The Dawn Treader
I wonder if Prince Caspian, Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace are missing their boat?

We even saw Canadian Geese in Canada! You can't ask for much more than that.


Lora said...

What a fun trip!! I love Niagra and can't wait to take my family there some day. I've never done the Cave of the Winds tour, but I'm sure we'll have to do that when we do go--looks like a lot of fun!
If I'd known you were going, I'd have recommended this little Italian place downtown called Mama Mia's (if it's still there--I've been there 3x, but the last time was almost 20 years ago {did I really just say 20???? wow. I feel old now}). Anyway, my family always loved eating there.

Mari said...

What fun! Can you believe that we live this close to the falls and have never been there? I really want to go sometime. I happy about your collection of mugs growing by 2!

PinkDaisyGirl said...

Mari, you are right. I cannot believe you haven't been there. Pretend you didn't see my pictures and go. But if you plan on getting wet, don't do it when it's cold, although they don't do that tour after some time in October (I think) and then they start back up in the spring. We want to go see the Falls when it's cold and icy. Call us crazy.

Lora, if it makes you feel any better, the first and only time I was there was 30 years ago, so now you don't have to feel so old. I was the only one in our family who had been there, and never up close like we did it. We even saw Mama Mia's. I think I noticed it because of the movie, Mamma Mia, and my kids just thought it was a funny name and it sounded like it went with Mario and Luigi. When we go next time and do the Maid of the Mist, we'll have to go eat there, but only after we've ridden on the boat! If you bring your family to Niagara, you'll have to tell me and maybe mine will go at the same time. Wouldn't that be fun! We could take a picture and be like Heather and Reese! :)

Heather and Reese said...

OH. WOW. I can't wait to go there. It's one of those places I figure I may never end up seeing, but since the Eiffel Tower was on that list and I did actually get to see it, maybe one day I'll get to see all the amazing sites you took in.

And thanks for the hair-drying tip! I never thought about that! All I need to do is carry a small stick of wax with me and hope there's a hand-dryer near by.

Thanks for all the amazing pics.

Bless you!


Heather and Reese said...

That is awesome! It looks like so much fun! That is one of the places I really want to go some day. Hey, maybe Reese and I can go there and meet up with you..someday!

Looks like you guys had a lot of fun!

How is the house?


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