Monday, July 4, 2011

Can You Turn Right on Red?

My dream of the East Coast was this romantic get-away.  It would be summer, warm and beautiful (I was dreaming of this during the rainy Portland winter).  We would see lots of greenery around, deciduous tress, grasses, bushes and flowers all in bloom.  Niagra Falls would be as beautiful and romantic as the picture I had on my computer backdrop for months and months.

Well, some of that was true... except that people on the East Coast are CRAZY drivers, Californians are mild compared to the Atlantic states (especially New York and New Jersey drivers).  Leaving Atlantic City, we were passed by a black SUV going at least 100mph, weaving in and out of cars, even passing on the shoulder.  We encountered lots of greenery on the drive through many rolling hills and the views of some cities were great. Niagra Falls is a total tourist trap - made less beautiful by all the man made money makers around it. 

We stayed in Buffalo on our way through NY State, then crossed the border into Canada the next morning.  We had a bit of confusion with the parking meters and exchanging some currency - but after an hour and a half (thing seemed a bit against us in Canada) we made our way to the Falls. There were quite a few tourists walking around the area, it was a warm muggy day with some sprinkles here and there, but not worth wearing a sweater for.  We could see the falls along the road, and stopped at the first sidewalk to take pictures.  The Falls themselves are beautiful and amazing!  The roads, walkways, and boats put there to make money from the tourists aren't.  From the Canada side, we did not have to pay, I'm not sure if the same is true of the US side.  The US side had a walkway/trail built down the side of one of the falls that looked like an interesting adventures, but ruined the pristine view of the Falls.  We walked around a little, looked at the gift shop, and tried to find something... anything gluten free for lunch.  Apparently Hard Rock Cafe can NOT cook or serve  ANYTHING gluten-free and several other casinos were not open during lunch.  We did find a little restaurant, The Secret Garden Restaurant, that could make a safe chicken salad for me.  Then we moved on, were were quite ready to get out of the area as soon as we filled our bellies.

The far side of the falls.
Note: the boats full of tourists.

Me at the falls :)

The Secret Garden behind the Secret Garden Restaurant. 
It was a really neat place.

After visiting the Falls, we drove through Ontario heading for Michigan.  Driving through Canada was a little different from driving through the US.  The speed limit is in kilometers, on the highway it was 100km/hr.  It seemed a bit strange to be going 120km/hr and have a police car pass us.  I felt like we had gone back in time 10 years.  I can't pinpoint why, maybe the Niagra experiences and problems started it, but the country seemed a bit run down.  When we got within 10km of the border, the traffic on the highway came to a complete stop. We ended up sitting in the car for an hour in completely stopped traffic waiting to pay the toll.  Jarrett and I enjoyed the break with some Trivial Pursuit and yet another East Coast thunderstorm.  It was really odd, but once the traffic started moving again, we made it to the toll both fairly quickly.  After the toll both, we crossed through the border crossing into the Michigan without incident.

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